November Better Reading BE: Books that Inspire, Educate and Bring Light to Your Life

November Better Reading BE: Books that Inspire, Educate and Bring Light to Your Life

This year we’ve seen readers looking for strong non-fiction titles that fall into the wellness and self-care genres. We get it. Books are a way of making sense of the world and 2020 certainly has been a difficult year to make sense of. As always, we’re with you on your reading journey, so we’ve created…

Better Reading BE

On the last Tuesday of every month we will do a Facebook LIVE that focusses on titles we feel inspire, educate, empower and nurture readers. We’re looking for special books: books written by experts in their field, books that celebrate women, and books that educate. Subjects that are covered include mindfulness and meditation, healing and health, powerful memoirs, and self-development.

We look forward to taking this new journey with you. To rewatch our first BE LIVE, click here. Below are the titles we discussed.

BE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Unbecoming by Joanne Fedler

Why we love it: Unbecoming is a funny, heartbreaking and provocative homage to midlife unravelling as women on the brink of elderhood speak honestly about their lives and wonder what the hell to do with vaginas that are not ready to be put out to pasture just yet. A must-read for any woman over 50, but a delight for all. This is a novel but reads like a memoir, or an invitation into a secret sisterhood.

What it’s about: While on her three-month marriage-and-motherhood sabbatical in the country, Jo bumps into her old friend Fiona who invites her on a ‘sacred silent walk to mark her 57th birthday. The last thing Jo wants is to share anything about herself – these are Fiona’s friends, not hers. And what’s she going to say? That she has no idea who she is anymore? But under the canopy of the open night sky, around a small, tended fire, the women share wise counsel, spill their secrets and offer up their stories, each exposing corners of truth the others – and all women – need to hear.

Phosphorescence by Julia Baird

Why we love it: One might think that Julia Baird had a crystal ball and glimpsed into the future, with the very timely publication of Phosphorescence. If there is one book you need to read this year, as the world seemingly spins out of control… this is it. Absorbing, achingly beautiful, inspiring and deeply moving, this book will give you hope.

What it’s about: Phosphorescence is a beautiful, intimate and inspiring investigation into how we can find and nurture within ourselves that essential quality of internal happiness – the ‘light within’ that Julia Baird calls ‘phosphorescence’ – which will sustain us even through the darkest times.

Turning Down the Noise by Christine Jackman

Why we love it: Seeking ways to channel and capture the clarity and peace of mind so often lacking in our lives, Jackman writes with a lightness of touch, sharing her own experiences and digging into her subject with the zeal of an investigative journalist and an enquiring mind. Both experienced meditators and those simply wanting a little peace in their lives will love this book.

What it’s about: Through her personal quest for a better way of being, author and respected journalist Christine Jackman seeks out the best ways to regain clarity and peace of mind in a busy and noisy world.

Lifespan by David Sinclair

Why we love it: David Sinclair has proposed a radical new theory of ageing, suggesting that we can reset the code, slow, stop or even reverse ageing. And his research backs it up. Fascinating, educational and empowering, Lifespan hands you back the reigns to your own health. Listen to the fascinating podcast we recorded with David here.

What it’s about: What if ageing is a disease? And that disease is curable. In this paradigm-shifting book from acclaimed Harvard Medical School doctor and one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people on earth, Dr. David Sinclair reveals that everything we think we know about ageing is wrong, and shares the surprising, scientifically-proven methods that can help readers live younger, longer.

The Wim Hof Method by Wim Hof

Why we love it: Wim Hof has become a modern icon for his astounding achievements, breaking world records withstanding extreme temperatures and running barefoot marathons over deserts and ice fields. He’s unusual and inspiring. This is a great book for anyone who needs to really try something different in their life – as crazy as it sounds, it’s backed by science and countless followers who swear by the method around the world.

What it’s about: In The Wim Hof Method, this trailblazer of human potential shares his simple three-pillar approach that anyone can use to improve health and performance – and see real results within just a few days. Refined over forty years and championed by scientists across the globe, you’ll learn how to harness three key elements of Cold, Breathing and Mindset to master mind over matter and achieve the impossible.

Parting Words by Benjamin Ferencz

Why we love it: This stunning book contains the nine humble, compelling and life-affirming lessons that Benjamin has learned along the way in his extraordinary, and long, life. These are lessons that we can all harness for ourselves. A gorgeous gift for any friend who needs support right now.

What it’s about: 100-year-old Benjamin Ferencz is the last surviving prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials, where he prosecuted 22 leading Nazis. Parting Words follows the story of Benjamin’s life, and each chapter includes his learnings on how we can all make the most of ours – from the subjects of ambition and determination to happiness and love.

Stories of Hope by Heather Morris

Why we love it: Stories of Hope examines Heather’s extraordinary journey, in the form of a series of beautifully rendered tales of the people she has met, the remarkable stories they have shared with her, and the lessons they hold for us all. This is a wonderful book about the power of listening.

What it’s about: From a young age, Heather Morris discovered that people would tell her their stories if she stopped and listened. In Stories of Hope, she explores the art of listening – a skill she employed when she met Lale Sokolov, the Tattooist of Auschwitz.

KIDS BE BOOK: Dare to be You by Matthew Syed 

Why we love it: With worldwide problems looming large in their lives, there has never been a tougher time for young adults to navigate self-doubt and conquer the anguish of fitting in, while trying to find their own path and discover their unique identity. Inspiring and entertaining, this is the book every adult wishes they’d been given during puberty. A book for our times.

 What it’s about: Learn how to stop doubting yourself, embrace change and let your kindness loose. This book has simple steps and easy strategies which will inspire tweens and teens to fearlessly follow their own path. Includes real-life examples of people who have successfully made a difference to their own life and to the world.

Reviews

Dare to try: Read an extract from Dare To be You by Matthew Syed

Review | Extract

29 October 2020

Dare to try: Read an extract from Dare To be You by Matthew Syed

One size doesn’t fit all: Printable activity sheets to discover your awesomeness

Review | Book Life

22 October 2020

One size doesn’t fit all: Printable activity sheets to discover your awesomeness

Transforming mindsets: Read our review of Dare To Be You by Matthew Syed

Review | Our Review

20 October 2020

Transforming mindsets: Read our review of Dare To Be You by Matthew Syed

Bring Some Silence Into Your Life: Try an Extract From Christine Jackman's Turning Down the Noise

Review | Extract

16 September 2020

Bring Some Silence Into Your Life: Try an Extract From Christine Jackman's Turning Down the Noise

    Turning Down the Noise Author Christine Jackman on Ways to Find Peace

    Review | Author Related

    15 September 2020

    Turning Down the Noise Author Christine Jackman on Ways to Find Peace

      Christine Jackman's Turning Down the Noise is Essential Reading in a Busy World

      Review | Our Review

      14 September 2020

      Christine Jackman's Turning Down the Noise is Essential Reading in a Busy World

        Preview Reviews: Phosphorescence by Julia Baird

        Review | Preview

        20 April 2020

        Preview Reviews: Phosphorescence by Julia Baird

          Phosphorescence by Julia Baird: Your Preview Verdict

          Review | Preview

          8 April 2020

          Phosphorescence by Julia Baird: Your Preview Verdict

            Utterly Sublime, Deeply Moving: See Why you Must Read Julia Baird's Phosphorescence Here

            Review | Extract

            30 March 2020

            Utterly Sublime, Deeply Moving: See Why you Must Read Julia Baird's Phosphorescence Here

              We Need this Book. Julia Baird's Phosphorescence is the Perfect Read

              Review | Our Review

              24 March 2020

              We Need this Book. Julia Baird's Phosphorescence is the Perfect Read

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                          Publisher details

                          Parting Words
                          Author
                          Benjamin Ferencz
                          Publisher
                          Hachette
                          Genre
                          Non Fiction
                          Released
                          27 October, 2020

                          Synopsis

                          100-year-old Benjamin Ferencz is the last surviving prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials, where he prosecuted 22 leading Nazis. PARTING WORDS follows the story of Ben's life, and each chapter includes his learnings on how we can all make the most of ours - from the subjects of ambition and determination to happiness and love. How many people do you know grew up as a poor immigrant in America during the Great Depression, won a scholarship to Harvard Law School, landed on the beaches of Normandy on D Day, were present at the liberation of concentration camps including Buchenwald, Mauthausen and Flossenburg, held leading Nazis to account at the Nuremberg trials and have fought for an International Criminal Court to hold war criminals to account the world over? Now you know one. Benjamin Ferencz turned 100 in 2020. In this extraordinary book, he shares his remarkable life story and the nine humble, compelling and life-affirming lessons he's learned along the way that we can all harness for ourselves.

                          Publisher details

                          Stories of Hope
                          Author
                          Heather Morris
                          Publisher
                          Allen & Unwin
                          Genre
                          Non Fiction
                          Released
                          29 September, 2020

                          Synopsis

                          Heather Morris, author of the internationally bestselling novels The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka's Journey, grew up on a farm in rural New Zealand. On her way back across the paddocks from school, Heather would visit her great-grandfather and listen to his experiences of war - stories he told only Heather. From a young age, Heather discovered that people would tell her their stories if she stopped and listened. In Stories of Hope, Heather Morris will explore the art of listening - a skill she employed when she met Lale Sokolov, the Tattooist of Auschwitz. It was her ability to listen that led him to entrust her with his story. Stories of Hope will examine Heather's extraordinary journey, in the form of a series of beautifully rendered tales of the people she has met, the remarkable stories they have shared with her, and the lessons they hold for us all.

                          Publisher details

                          The Wim Hof Method
                          Author
                          Wim Hof
                          Publisher
                          Penguin
                          Genre
                          Non Fiction
                          Released
                          29 September, 2020

                          Synopsis

                          The world-renowned guru known for his record-breaking endurance of cold temperatures, details a science-backed, heart-centered approach to improving your mind, body and performance. THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER The 'Iceman' Wim Hof shares his remarkable life story and powerful method for supercharging your strength, health and happiness. Wim Hof has become a modern icon for his astounding achievements, breaking world records withstanding extreme temperatures and running barefoot marathons over deserts and ice fields. Most of all, he's shown us that these feats are not superhuman - but that all of us have the ability to be stronger, healthier and happier than we've ever imagined. In The Wim Hof Method, this trailblazer of human potential shares his simple three-pillar approach that anyone can use to improve health and performance - and see real results within just a few days. Refined over forty years and championed by scientists across the globe, you'll learn how to harness three key elements of Cold, Breathing and Mindset to master mind over matter and achieve the impossible.

                          Publisher details

                          Unbecoming
                          Author
                          Joanne Fedler
                          Publisher
                          Serenity Press
                          Genre
                          Fiction
                          Released
                          20 October, 2020

                          Synopsis

                          You can do one night, Jo reminds herself as she follows five women into the Australian bush. Where are they going to sleep? And pee? Jo probably should have let her husband Frank know. Just in case. Because you never know what can happen in the wild. While on her three-month marriage-and-motherhood Sabbatical in the country, Jo bumps into an old friend Fiona who invites her on a 'sacred silent walk to mark her 57th birthday - the first since her husband Ben died. The last thing Jo wants is to share anything about herself - these are Fiona's friends, not hers. And what's she going to say? That her young adult children have made life choices she doesn't understand? That she has no idea who she is anymore? That everything is falling apart - even her 'happy marriage' to Frank? But the unexpected intrusion of a young backpacker into their secret location, unleashes powerful and conflicting emotions in each woman, provoking conversations and confidences that stray into the shadowlands of motherhood, the mysteries of midlife, the future of monogamy and mother Earth. Under the canopy of the open night sky, around a small, tended fire, the women share wise counsel, spill their secrets and offer up their stories, each exposing corners of truth the others need to hear. Unbecoming is a funny, heartbreaking and provocative homage to the midlife unravelling as women on the brink of elderhood speak honestly about their lives and wonder what the hell to do with vaginas that are not ready to be put out to pasture just yet.

                          Publisher details

                          Lifespan
                          Author
                          David Sinclair
                          Publisher
                          HarperCollins
                          Genre
                          Non Fiction
                          Released
                          10 September, 2019

                          Synopsis

                          In this paradigm-shifting book from acclaimed Harvard Medical School doctor and one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people on earth, Dr. David Sinclair reveals that everything we think we know about ageing is wrong, and shares the surprising, scientifically-proven methods that can help readers live younger, longer. For decades, the medical community has looked to a variety of reasons for why we age, and the consensus is that no one dies of old age; they die of age-related diseases. That's because ageing is not a disease – it is inevitable. But what if everything you think you know about ageing is wrong? What if ageing is a disease? And that disease is curable. In LIFESPAN, Dr. David Sinclair, one of the world's foremost authorities on genetics and ageing, argues just that. He has dedicated his life's work to chasing more than a longer lifespan – he wants to enable people to live longer, healthier, and disease-free well into our hundreds. In this book, he reveals a bold new theory of ageing, one that pinpoints a root cause of ageing that lies in an ancient genetic survival circuit. This genetic trick – a circuit designed to halt reproduction in order to repair damage to the genome –has enabled earth's early microcosms to survive and evolve into more advanced organisms. But this same survival circuit is the reason we age: as genetic damage accumulates over our lifespans from UV rays, environmental toxins, and unhealthy diets, our genome is overwhelmed, causing gray hair, wrinkles, achy joints, heart issues, dementia, and, ultimately, death. But genes aren't our destiny; we have more control over them than we've been taught to believe. We can't change our DNA, but we can harness the power of the epigenome to realise the true potential of our genes. Drawing on his cutting-edge findings at the forefront of medical research, Dr. Sinclair will provide a scientifically-proven roadmap to reverse the genetic clock by activating our vitality genes, so we can live younger longer. Readers will discover how a few simple lifestyle changes – like intermittent fasting, avoiding too much animal protein, limiting sugar, avoiding x-rays, exercising with the right intensity, and even trying cold therapy – can activate our vitality genes. Dr. Sinclair ends the book with a look to the near future, exploring what the world might look like – and what will need to change – when we are all living well to 120 or more. Dr. Sinclair takes what we have long accepted as the limits of human potential and mortality and turns them into choices. THE EVOLUTION OF AGEING is destined to be the biggest book on genes, biology, and longevity of this decade.

                          Publisher details

                          Dare to Be You
                          Authors
                          Matthew Syed, Toby Triumph
                          Publisher
                          Hachette
                          Genre
                          Non Fiction
                          Released
                          08 September, 2020

                          Synopsis

                          Discover the power of diverse thinking in this exciting new book from the bestselling, award-winning author of YOU ARE AWESOME, Matthew Syed.From the bestselling, award-winning author of You Are Awesome comes the much-anticipated follow-up, DARE TO BE YOU.What would you dare to try if you stopped worrying about fitting in?If you're the kind of person who thinks: I don't like standing out from the crowd ... I wish I could be more like the cool kids ... There's no point trying to change things ... then this book is for you.Because guess what? There's no such thing as normal.Drawing examples from sport, science and even business, Dare to Be You empowers young readers to follow their own path, love what makes them different and question the world around them. With You Are Awesome's trademark mix of hilarious text, stylish illustration, personal insights and inspiring real-life examples, including Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai, Matthew Syed introduces children to the power of diverse thinking.When you stop doubting yourself, embrace change and let your kindness loose, you become your own action hero. This groundbreaking, practical and positive book will help kids develop the inner confidence to grow into happy adults who know - and, more importantly, LIKE - themselves.

                          Synopsis

                          Through her personal quest for a better way of being, author and respected journalist Christine Jackman seeks out the best ways to regain clarity and peace of mind in a busy and noisy world.Author Christine Jackman knew her life looked successful - an executive position in Sydney, a house in a harbourside suburb, meetings with CEOs and phone calls with government ministers - but it didn't feel that way. Inside, she felt constantly off balance, her thoughts and internal compass - as well as her ability to care for the people she loved most - drowned out by the noise in her life.So Jackman embarked on a quest for a better way of being. Turning Down the Noise follows her journey as she explores what is happening to our brains, our lives and our communities as we navigate a never-ending assault on our senses and attention, whether from actual noise, exposure to media or the pings and alerts on our phones. More importantly, she reveals how we can reverse the damage through simple daily acts designed to strip out the stimuli and reclaim the silence.Seeking ways to channel and capture the clarity and peace of mind so often lacking in our lives, Jackman writes with a lightness of touch, sharing her own experiences and digging into her subject with the zeal of an investigative journalist and an enquiring mind.

                          Synopsis

                          A beautiful, intimate and inspiring investigation into how we can find and nurture within ourselves that essential quality of internal happiness - the 'light within' that Julia Baird calls 'phosphorescence' - which will sustain us even through the darkest times.Over the last decade, we have become better at knowing what brings us contentment, well-being and joy. We know, for example, that there are a few core truths to science of happiness. We know that being kind and altruistic makes us happy, that turning off devices, talking to people, forging relationships, living with meaning and delving into the concerns of others offer our best chance at achieving happiness. But how do we retain happiness? It often slips out of our hands as quickly as we find it. So, when we are exposed to, or learn, good things, how do we continue to burn with them?And more than that, when our world goes dark, when we're overwhelmed by illness or heartbreak, loss or pain, how do we survive, stay alive or even bloom? In the muck and grit of a daily existence full of disappointments and a disturbing lack of control over many of the things that matter most - finite relationships, fragile health, fraying economies, a planet in peril - how do we find, nurture and carry our own inner, living light - a light to ward off the darkness?Absorbing, achingly beautiful, inspiring and deeply moving, Julia Baird has written exactly the book we need for these times.
                          Benjamin Ferencz
                          About the author

                          Benjamin Ferencz

                          Benjamin Ferencz was born in 1920 in a country that no longer exists. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and was awarded their medal of freedom in 2014 (the only previous recipient had been Nelson Mandela). He was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946, led efforts to return property to Holocaust survivors after the war, participated in reparations negotiations between Israel and West Germany, and he was essential in the establishment of the International Criminal Court. He has four children by his wife Gertrude, who was his high school sweetheart and who sadly passed away in 2019. He turned 100 in March 2020.

                          Books by Benjamin Ferencz

                          Wim Hof
                          About the author

                          Wim Hof

                          Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof got his nickname “The Iceman” by breaking a number of records related to cold exposure including: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes. Using “cold, hard nature” as his teacher, his extensive training has enabled him to learn to control his breathing, heart rate, and blood circulation and to withstand extreme temperatures.

                          Books by Wim Hof

                          Joanne Fedler
                          About the author

                          Joanne Fedler

                          Joanne studied law at Yale on a Fulbright scholarship and was a law lecturer and a volunteer legal counsellor at People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) in Johannesburg, South Africa, before setting up and running a legal advocacy centre to end violence against women. She was appointed by the Minister of Justice to sit on a project committee of the Law Commission to design new domestic violence legislation. Some day Joanne hopes to set up a writer's colony, grow her own vegetables and live in a place where she will never be stuck in traffic. She currently lives in Sydney with her husband and two kids.

                          Books by Joanne Fedler

                          David Sinclair
                          About the author

                          David Sinclair

                          David Sinclair, PhD, AO, is a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School. One of the leading innovators of his generation, he has been named by Time as "one of the 100 most influential people in the world" and top fifty most influential people in healthcare. He is a board member of the American Federation for Aging Research and has received more than thirty-five awards for his research and major scientific breakthroughs. Dr. Sinclair and his work have been featured on 60 MinutesTodayThe Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesFortune, and Newsweek, among others. He lives in Boston and enjoys hiking and kayaking with his wife and three children.

                          Books by David Sinclair

                          Christine Jackman
                          About the author

                          Christine Jackman

                          Christine Jackman began her career as a journalist with The Courier-Mail in Brisbane, Australia, in 1993. She has worked in New York as a foreign correspondent for NewsCorp, in the Canberra press gallery and as the social issues writer for The Australian. After several years as an award-winning staff writer for The Weekend Australian Magazine, Christine embraced freelance journalism, with features published in Good Weekend, Vogue and The Australian Women's Weekly. She is also a communications consultant.

                          Books by Christine Jackman

                          Matthew Syed
                          About the author

                          Matthew Syed

                          Matthew Syed is a leading columnist and feature writer for The Times and the host of the UK's biggest podcast: Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy on BBC Radio 5. Matthew also gives business talks to major international corporate clients including. Before becoming a writer Matthew was the England table tennis number one for almost a decade, three times Commonwealth Champion, and he twice represented Great Britain in the Olympic Games.Matthew Syed's first book, Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice, was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year. His second, Black Box Thinking, was a Sunday Times No.1 bestseller. He has also published a collection of his award-winning sports columns in The Greatest.

                          Books by Matthew Syed

                          Heather Morris
                          About the author

                          Heather Morris

                          Heather Morris is an Australian writer and social work administrator. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was auctioned by an Academy-Award winning screenwriter in the US. The Tattooist of Auschwitz is her debut novel.

                          Books by Heather Morris

                          Julia Baird
                          About the author

                          Julia Baird

                          Julia Baird is a journalist, broadcaster and author based in Sydney, Australia. She is hosts The Drum on ABC TV and writes columns for the Sydney Morning Herald and the International New York Times. Her writing has appeared in a range of publications including Newsweek, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Guardian, the Good Weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald, the Sun-Herald, The Monthly and Harper’s Bazaar.

                          Books by Julia Baird

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