Our 2019 booklist

Brief summary

Mark Manson’s thought-provoking book encourages readers to change the way they see problems and choose the values they live by.

Top three takeaways

  • Choosing the values you live by will be liberating
  • Adversity and failure are necessary for growth
  • We don’t often get to choose our problems, so it is on us how we choose to deal with them

Other people should read it if…

They want a provocative and often counterintuitive self-help guide that subverts the genre’s norms.

Find out more about The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.


Brief summary

A young architect returns to his hometown with his fiancée (a budding artist) to help revitalize its dilapidated post-industrial shorefront.

Favourite quote

“Right off she saw it for what it could be; quiet and green, a good place to become an artist, which is what she had wanted to be since college. She’d postponed that dream the last six years while she did marketing research, focus groups and the like, for a large Manhattan advertising agency.”

Other people should read it if…

They’re a fan of Barbash’s other work, or writers like Ben Markovits, Joshua Ferris etc.

Find out more
about The Last Good Chance.


Brief summary

An extraordinary memoir documenting a woman’s determination to educate herself – against the wishes of her End of Days survivalist parents in rural Idaho – and the price she had to pay for it.

Favourite quotes

“My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.”

“If I yielded now, I would lose more than an argument. I would lose custody of my own mind. This was the price I was being asked to pay, I understood that now. What my father wanted to cast from me wasn’t a demon: it was me.”

Other people should read it if…

You want to be inspired.

Find out more about Educated.


Brief summary

A memoir of Meades’ childhood in 1950s England with wonderfully baroque language and a gleeful willingness to get into the unsavoury and ‘not spoken about in polite company’ elements of life.

Favourite quote

“Until the era of enclosures, rural diaspora and urbanisation, childhood had been the province of the lettered classes. Childhood is the condition of wanting to be someone else.”

People should read it if…

They appreciate an iconoclastic, idiosyncratic take on life and have a dark sense of humour.

Find out more about An Encyclopaedia of Myself.


Brief summary

A compelling demonstration – via stories, exercises and structured advice – that, regardless of job title or career path, we can all gain the courage to be more creatively confident in our work.

Favourite quote

“For much of the twentieth century the so-called ‘creative types’ – designers, art directors, copywriters – were relegated to the kids’ table, far from serious discussions. Meanwhile, all the important business conversations took place among the ‘grown-ups’ in boardrooms and meeting spaces down the hall. But the creative endeavours that seemed fanciful or extracurricular a decade ago have now gone mainstream. Education thought leader Sir Ken Robinson – whose riveting 2006 TED Talk asking ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’ was the most popular in history – says that creativity ‘is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status’.”

People should read it…

To discover what they are capable of when they are encouraged and challenged to think more creatively.

Find out more about Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All.