Advance Performance | New Books to Inspire You to Be Your Best Self in February
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New Books to Inspire You to Be Your Best Self in February

New Books to Inspire You to Be Your Best Self in February

Be inspired by the amazing achievements of engineers, how to be more human, learn the formula to meet new people and make positive connections, and discover how an act of kindness changed Eleanor Oliphant’s world.

How to Be Human: The Manual by Ruby Wax

It took us 4 billion years to evolve to where we are now. No question, anyone reading this has won the evolutionary Hunger Games by the fact you’re on all twos and not some fossil. This should make us all the happiest species alive – most of us aren’t, what’s gone wrong? We’ve started treating ourselves more like machines and less like humans. We’re so used to upgrading things like our iPhones: as soon as the new one comes out, we don’t think twice, we dump it.

We can’t stop the future from arriving. But even if nearly every part of us becomes robotic, we’ll still, fingers crossed, have our minds, which, hopefully, we’ll be able use for things like compassion, rather than chasing what’s ‘better’, and if we can do that we’re on the yellow brick road to happiness.

Ruby wrote this book with a little help from a monk, who explains how the mind works, and also gives some mindfulness exercises, and a neuroscientist who explains what makes us ‘us’ in the brain. She aims to answer every question you’ve ever had about: evolution, thoughts, emotions, the body, addictions, relationships, kids, the future and compassion. How to be Human is funny, true and the only manual you’ll need to help you upgrade your mind as much as you’ve upgraded your iPhone.

Built: The Hidden Stories Behind our Structures by Roma Agrawal

Imagine you woke up one morning to find everything created by engineers had disappeared. What would you see? No cars, no houses; no phones, bridges or roads. No tunnels under tidal rivers, no soaring skyscrapers. The impact that engineering has had on the human experience is undeniable, but it is also often invisible.

In Built, structural engineer Roma Agrawal takes a unique look at how construction has evolved from the mud huts of our ancestors to skyscrapers of steel that reach hundreds of metres into the sky.

She unearths how engineers have tunnelled through kilometres of solid mountains; how they’ve bridged across the widest and deepest of rivers, and tamed Nature’s precious – and elusive – water resources. She tells vivid tales of the visionaries who created the groundbreaking materials in the Pantheon’s record-holding concrete dome and the frame of the record-breaking Eiffel Tower. With colourful stories of her life-long fascination with buildings – and her own hand-drawn illustrations – Roma reveals the extraordinary secret lives of structures.

How To Meet New People Guidebook: Overcome Fear and Connect Now by Keith Schreiter & Tom “Big Al” Schreiter

Can we feel good about meeting new people? Absolutely. Instead of dreading that first encounter, we will look forward to meeting new people and controlling the outcome. Our fears go away when we know how to engage people successfully.

Meeting new people is easy when we can read their minds. Discover how strangers automatically size us up in seconds, using three basic standards. Once we know how and why strangers will accept us, meeting new people is easy. We can control the outcome.

We don’t have to be a psychologist or an outgoing superstar. All we have to do is use these little formulas to instantly bond with the new people we meet.

The payoff for learning this skill? Think of the power we will have to create new contacts, new networks, new business, and new friends. And we can use this skill anywhere, anytime, on-demand when we need it.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Fiction)

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live. Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

An astonishing story that powerfully depicts the loneliness of life, and the simple power of a little kindness.

We hope you find some inspiration from the books selected this month. If you have read any books which have inspired or motivated you, or leadership books you would like to recommend, please do email us at inspiration@advance-performance.co.uk or tweet us at @advancemomentum