Nuance Reads: books to change your mindset

New Year’s Resolutions really aren’t my thing. They only seem to add an extra layer of guilt as the year inevitably gets crazier as it flies by. But it’s hard not to get swept up in the hype of the possibility of a fresh start or doing this differently this year. That’s why at Nuance, our holiday reading tends to heavily revolve around books that have the potential to shake up our outlook – or even, change our minds. While some are just colossal disappointments, every now and then you stumble upon gold which really does alter the way you look at the world. We thought we’d get 2019 off to an inspiring start by sharing some of the books that have left a lasting impression on us. We hope they have the same effect on you.

 

ESSENTIALISM | Greg McKeown

Without spoiling the story… The concept of ‘essentialism’ is all around the pursuit of less. And what better way to kick off the new year than doing a bit of a life audit and culling all the meaningless crap from our daily lives?! Throughout this book, you’ll be asked to dig deep and separate the stuff that really matters from the things we ‘just do’ on autopilot. The aim of this publication is to reclaim control of where we spend our precious time and energy, instead of allowing others to choose for us. This is the kind of book you should keep on your bedside table and refer to often!

How it changed us: Honestly, it gave us a whole new way of approaching what we do and really hammered home that less actually can lead to more. After reading Essentialism, we had a new lease on life and a solid list of the stuff that’s vital to our happiness, wellbeing and success. Basically, if it’s not on your list of definite ‘yeses’, it’s a definite ‘no’. Getting clear on what really matters is pretty liberating stuff.

 

THE PSYCHOPATH TEST | Jon Ronson

Without spoiling the story… For a start, it’s hilarious (in a slightly disturbing way). The sixth book by the author of Men Who Stare at Goats, Jon Ronson, The Psychopath Test explores what it legitimately means to be a psychopath and how we can diagnose those walking among us. Throughout this journey, he delves into the industries of doctors, scientists and everyone else who studies psychopaths to really get inside the minds of the mad. He even spends some time in a mental asylum. It’s a pretty mind-blowing concept (pardon the pun) and a great read.

How it changed us: Well we did start obsessively questioning who of our friends/ neighbours/people in our lives could potentially be undercover psychopaths. This book makes you rethink the meaning of madness and for us, made us aware of how we tend to put people into categories. It also opened our eyes to the grey areas of personalities and how you can’t just view people in black and white.

 

INFLUENCE: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSUASION | Robert Cialdini

Without spoiling the story… Basically, it explores the reasons why people say ‘yes’ and how much of human behaviour is automatic – and Cialdini’s got the research to back up what he’s claiming. With thirty-five years of hard-core, evidence-based research on human behaviour under his belt, Cialdini has become regarded as the authority on influence. This book takes you through his ‘six weapons of influence’ and how to use them in your average day. And then he goes on to explain how to avoid them being used against you (what a star!).

How it changed us: Just try saying ‘no’ to us and you’ll see what we learned. Just joking, unfortunately – but seriously, this book taught us a hell of a lot when it comes to the power of persuasion. It also opened our eyes to loads of times we automatically said ‘yes’ when really, we wanted to say ‘no’. We’re much harder to con these days. Thanks Cialdini.

 

THE AS IF PRINCIPLE | Richard Wiseman

Without spoiling the story… Victorian philosopher, William James, had a theory that our actions actually dictate our emotions rather than the reverse (e.g. laugh and you’ll feel good, don’t wait until you feel good to laugh). And The As If Principle proves this to us through a series of experiments, moments in history and case studies. Wiseman (appropriately named) then goes on to break down how we can apply this old school principle to our own lives – for example, if you want to rekindle your marriage, act like a newlywed. Don’t just wait around for things to change. Grab the bull by the horns.

How it changed us: It’s the type of read that gets you excited about making changes and taking charge. What Wiseman says definitely makes sense and we have to say, after trying a few of his practical steps ourselves, we did find that faking it really can make those tougher moments so much easier. But don’t just take our word for it, try it for yourself.

 

DAVID AND GOLIATH | Malcom Gladwell

Without spoiling the story… You know the drill – the little guy ends up surprising the big guy, but Gladwell’s book goes much deeper than that. Expect the usual offbeat arguments and storytelling that Gladwell’s famous for, backed-up by hardcore stats. David and Goliath challenges how we view obstacles and disadvantages, and explores people’s perceived weaknesses as actually being their biggest strength. In a similar vein to The As If Theory, Gladwell proves that the belief you have in yourself can be just as powerful as your experience or intelligence.

How it changed us: It made us rethink our odds. As Gladwell puts it ‘Giants are not what we think they are’ and this book does help you reframe what you always thought were your biggest weaknesses, as actually your edge. Now when something ‘bad’ happens, we’re working on seeing it as an opportunity. We’ll get there.

 

Got an opinion on any of the above? Or perhaps a recommendation for our next thought-provoking read? Let us know – we’d love to hear what you think. And in the meantime, happy reading.

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