Books

The following is a selection of books, which I found interesting, have influenced me or which I think can be helpful in our way of self-development, (self-)awareness and mindfulness. 

Lost Connections by Johann Hari

This book is one of the most moving and touching books I’ve ever read. I originally was in the bookshop to collect a business book, when, while I was waiting at the cashier, the title of this book caught my attention. As a coach, I was very interested to read it; the title was tellingly, also for myself, not suffering from depression.

I especially like to share the following paragraph out of it from almost the end of the book - if you ever think or been told you should take antidepressants; read this book first and bear the following in mind;

“You aren’t a machine with broken parts. You are an animal whose needs are not being met. You need to have a community. You need to have meaningful values, not the junk values you’ve been pumped full of objects. You need to have meaningful work. You need the natural world. You need to feel you are respected. You need a secure future. You need connections to all these things. You need to release any shame you might feel for having been mistreated” (Hari, 2018, p. 256).

Learn to speak out what hurts you, eliminate things from your life which do not fulfill you, but most importantly; reach out for connections. But sadly, and that’s why, in my opinion, this book and the research Johann Hari has done with it, is so important; you can’t solve it only on your own. As Hari says; “Once you understand that depression is - to a significant degree - a collective problem, caused by something that’s gone wrong in our culture, it becomes obvious that the solution has to be - to a significant degree - collective too.”

Hari put a lot of personal research into this book with impressing examples from around the world, from social experiments and projects to natural tribes and cultural understanding. I bet, even if you’re generally sceptical to such a holistic human approach, this book, the examples Hari comes up with, will move you too. Some of it are so obvious and evident.

This book will make us rethink our priorities in life, and really broadens our understanding of where we basically all come from; from a tribe, a community. I can only agree with Naomi Klein “The more people read this book the better off the world will be."

A lot of what Hari reveals within his research also corresponds with experiences I made and gained while being in touch with ancient cultures during my travels - where the community comes first. True connection to ourselves, to others and to nature are the deepest wealth and richness we can strive for.

Mindful Work by David Gelles

A book that outlines the tremendous mutual benefits of mindfulness for employees and employers . An insightful guideline to more awareness at work.

High-level managers at global companies, employees as well as mediation masters give their insights and share their thoughts. 

Author David Gilles also offers with this book a programme for changing the way we work - a change that will make us all less stressed and more focused. 

The Social Animal by David Brooks

An all-time favourite. An interesting book about moral, education, parenting, relationships, and how connections, encounters and feelings form our life and the way we think. Inter alia, it describes beautifully how trust between people, if in business or private life, develops. 

 

Read here what Paul Bloom, professor of psychology at Yale University, says in The Washington Post about the book and David Brooks.

Vom Versuch, nicht Weiss zu schreiben by Charlotte Wiedemann

If I’d translate the book’s title word by word it would probably be “on the attempt of not writing white”. It is a book about how our media, the industry (and the journalists themselves) form, affect and influence our world view. It particularly tries to emancipate from the tight sight of eurocentrism, from the “white western view” on countries across Asia and Africa. It is a very personal book. Charlotte Wiedemann takes the reader with her through several journeys, e.g. to Iran, Africa, Indonesia and Papua Neuguinea. As a journalist herself she writes about what it means being a journalist in a very critical, profound way and with a lot of respect towards the local people. She writes a lot about places I have also been, aloof the beaten paths. With her careful and distinctive ability to observe she provides the reader with some very interesting insights. She writes very disillusioned, very frank, very raw and very sad sometimes. I like the book that much because it nails a topic I often get sad and angry about; mass media can produce such a wrong, sometimes superficial, and often “white/western-centered” view.

 

The book is a plea towards a respectful journalism and with this it is also a beautiful work and attempt for more respect towards foreignness. Read more on this topic in one of my blog posts.

 

The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

We all know the typical travel book - this one is completely different.

With philosophical thoughts on all the things that includes travelling, from airports to landscapes, from holiday romances to the content of mini bars, Alain de Botton asks what the point of travel for pleasure is and invites you to be open and less miserable if something doesn't go as planned during your journey.

 

Read here more about Alain de Botton and his books.

Notizen eines Weltbürgers - Ryszard Kapuscinski

I read this book in German, in English it's available under the title "Lapidarium". The book is an anthology of the topics that interested and absorbed Kapuscinski the most; the impact of globalisation, the increasing gap between the rich and the poor, the interpretation of history, Africa and Europe.