Summer reading to sort your life out

Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body. As by the one, health is preserved, strengthened, and invigorated: by the other, virtue (which is the health of the mind) is kept alive, cherished, and confirmed. – Joseph Addison

If you’ve ever read a good book, you’ll know of their magical powers to transport you to new worlds and change your mindset forever. Sometimes all it takes is a paragraph, a mere collection of words, for you to reach that Aha! moment and go forward with renewed focus and conviction.

Of course, you could spend your summer nose deep in some trashy magazine or flipping through the latest romance novel, but where’s the life-upgrade opportunity in that? The MAYYA Movement team has sifted through our book collections for life-changing reads and came up with a list that we are sure will change yours — the perfect kind of read for long days at the beach.

Get de-cluttered

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Mary Kondo 

This mysterious manual from Japanese organization guru Mary Kondo has been a hit since its release in the US in October last year. Flicking through its tidy pages you’ll understand why: it provides a fool-proof system for de-cluttering your life. Why? Kondo-san boils down all of your cluttering woes into one, simple over-arching question: Does your stuff make you happy — or in Kondo’s words — spark joy? “If it does, keep it,” she writes. “If not, dispose of it.”

Her manual also includes helpful tips on how to get rid of those hard-to rid-yourself of things, like expensive items that make you feel guilty to throw out yet linger in your cupboard for years. Her unusual Japanese approach is sure to amuse as well as radically change your life — if you let it.

Get productive

The Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott

There are only 24 hours in a day. Wouldn’t it be nice, then, to go through it being as productive as possible, with ninja-like skills to master your inbox, tackle those niggling personal tasks and devour chunky work projects? 

This well-written guide on productivity doesn’t help you “manage” your time but shows you how to make better use of your energy, attention (as well as manage your interaction with digital devices — a must). One of the best productivity guides we’ve read so far. 

Get happy

The Art of Happiness, A Handbook for Living by the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler

“Happiness,” explains the Dalai Lama in this seminal text, “is determined more by one’s state of mind than by external events.” The Art of Happiness was first published 17 years ago but the gems of wisdom from the Dalai Lama are as relevant as ever. Written by psychologist Howard C. Cutler following numerous interviews with the Dalai Lama over a course of several years, it provides insight into Buddhist philosophy through the lens of western psychology, making it relevant and impactful. 

Be content and lead a good life

Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life, by Ruth Soukup

Don’t let the title deceive you. Ruth Soukop’s book is about more than just getting in control of your spending; it’s about learning to be happy and live well. And, according to Soukop, this has a lot to do with your bank account. Not because having money matters, but because: “Ultimately, how we spend our money is a direct reflection of what is in our hearts.” With a number of practical tips interwoven through her personal story, Soukop tells a delightful tale of what really entails a good life — a life that, after reading, can be yours too.

Build character

The Road to Character by David Brooks

Are you going through life trying to build an impressive CV, or becoming the person that you truly aspire to be? Do you live your life through selfies? David Brooks ponders such questions in his latest book which studies the lives and character traits of those with true character. An interesting read which will have you putting down the selfie-stick and rethinking your own narcissistic tendencies. 

Be the person you want to be

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

This is one of the oldest and most important life-improvement guides ever written. Like The Art of Happiness, Seven Habits was first published more than 20 years ago, but the lessons contained within its pages about true success in one’s personal and professional life still ring true today. If you haven’t read it, read it again, or if you have read it, maybe it’s time to dust off this goldmine for wisdom again. 

Learn to say “No”

The Curse of Lovely: How to break free from the demands of others and learn how to say no by Jacqui Marsden

Are you the loveliest person you know, always saying yes to everyone else, but secretly screaming inside as you are constantly saying no to yourself? If so, you are likely cursed with the case of “Lovely” and need to read this book. Pronto. Jacqui Marsden, a psychologist and trained journalist, breaks down the psychology underlying these wonderfully selfless (but ultimately so damaging) patterns of behavior and helps you to break free and finally say NO, without feeling guilty about it. 

Take your relationship to the next level

The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman

While the title is cringe-worthy, don’t be put off by the important life lessons masked as a cheesy relationship self-help book; the contents of this book are worth their weight in gold. Gary Chapman unlocks the secrets behind how you and your partner give and receive love. Even if you’re not in a relationship, what you’ll learn about yourself and others in this book will enable you to love others more fully and also discover how you, too, can feel more loved. Because, isn’t that what life’s about after all?

Got a summer read that you want to share? Add in your comments below.