Easy summer reading list:
Time to relax, read and reflect!
We don’t know about you, but one of our favourite things at this time of the year is the prospect of days in the sun, reading and reading and reading. We checked with the team and many have long ‘must read’ lists, some of which are quite esoteric.
Happily, that’s not the theme of this favourite books list for the summer break.
Instead we have listed five books which we believe will be relaxing reads, as well as foster health, wealth, wisdom and reflection.
So here we go with the ultimate retirees reading guide for Christmas and New Year 2022.
1. Wealth – The Barefoot Investor
Yes, Scott Pape’s multi-million copy bestseller has been around for a while. It was first published in 2017, then updated in 2019. He has a new edition out, for kids, too. But this classic deserves a place on your bookshelves. In the introduction, Pape promises, ‘No funny stuff, just money stuff’. He is very, very good at plain English explanations of finance. And is very, very good at encouraging the reader to set good budgetary habits and to get out of debt, ASAP. This book continues to sell well. There’s a reason – it’s an Aussie classic. Grab a copy if you’ve never read it. Or maybe reread it, to remind yourself of common money sense.
2. Health – Four Thousand Weeks
This is not your usual health ‘how-to’ recommendation. It won’t help you lose weight, reduce your blood pressure or improve muscle tone. But Oliver Burkeman’s very thoughtful exploration of our 4000 weeks (average lifespan) is a wonderful encouragement to rethink what we do, how hard we push ourselves, and whether we are ‘living the life’ or stuffing too much into our days hoping someday we will get to that ‘happy place’. Burkeman writes well and warmly about the many different ways of reviewing our goals and activities. His book offers a calm oasis in an overly busy life. And following his lead may well lead to greatly reduced stress and more reasonable expectations.
3. Reflection: The Artist’s Way for Retirement
Subtitled ‘It’s never too late to discover creativity and meaning’ this is one of writer Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way series. Cameron published her notes from a writing class in New York more than 20 years ago after several publishers rejected her manuscript. The rest, as they say, is history, with The Artist’s Way going on to sell millions of copies and remain in print across the years. This edition looks specifically at the challenge of maintaining purpose and creative endeavour post full-time work. One of Cameron’s strengths is her warm, encouraging voice. Another is the setting of ‘exercises’ at the end of each chapter, willing her reader to do the necessary reflection and writing that leads to much stronger self-knowledge. She is a master of her craft and this book is a wonderful aid or gift for those struggling to redefine their next chapter.
4. Wisdom: The Consolations of Philosophy
Ok, now we are onto the meaning of life. And what a delightful way to delve into this big topic, with Alain de Botton as a guide. De Botton is quite the genius, but he wears his learning lightly, preferring instead to share gems of knowledge in a straightforward and practical fashion. Consolations considers the work and lives of six or seven famous philosophers across the ages and ways we might apply their insights to our everyday dilemmas. You could sit and read this book cover to cover as the content is sufficiently engaging. Or you could dip into it with your morning coffee, say 10 minutes a day, and imbibe the knowledge slowly, savouring it as you go.
5. Self development: Atomic Habits
James Clear’s book cover promises ‘an easy and proven way to build good habits and break bad ones’. That’s a BIG claim, so I’m not sure that it can be delivered in full. But given the New Year is a time of resolutions, big and small, this easy-to-read backgrounder on the formation of habits is really useful. Clear covers the science, the many practical ways this science has been applied and suggests many diverse ways to refashion your thinking in order to create sustainable positive change. Atomic Habits is not the only book in this genre, but it cuts through with no-nonsense explanations and real life examples of steps toward a new you. It would also make a great gift for friends or loved ones struggling to make lasting change in their lives.