The seven books that changed my life

I have seven books stacked next to me here. That in itself is quite a big deal I’m a ‘passer-onner’ of books. If I enjoy a good book, especially if it’s if it’s a good blockbuster I tend to pass it around with my friends, but books that I know I’m going to return to time and time again that I folded over the pages, that I’ve underlined bits and written things in the margins, I keep close to me because I know I’m going to keep going back to them and I’d like to share them with you! Click on the book titles to buy…

Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig
This book change my life because for me, it was the first time I was reading something that described how I felt and I realized that there was no shame in it. He broke it down in a way that made it make sense and he made me realise you may not get better but you do find ways of coping.

Mindfulness Guide For The Frazzled by Ruby Wax
Ruby Wax is an acclaimed writer as well as an actress and comedian. She’s also gone through her own mental health issues throughout her life. She went back to university so she could learn all about the brain and in this book she’s broken things down in a Ruby Wax way about why we act the way we do. It’s funny, warm and engaging while also being incredibly informative.

First We Make The Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson
Sarah talks about living with anxiety in its most extreme form. For me, it broke down something that seemed so huge and overpowering and big and scary. She breaks it down and tries to make sense of it but what she doesn’t say is that reading the book will cure you, rather it will help you live with it.

The One Thing by Gary Keller
This book is completely different to all of the others as this is a business book. I was recommended this book by someone who said what you need to do is you. It doesn’t matter how big or mad or outrageous it might seem, this book encourages you that you can do it. It helps you break it down so achieving your goals doesn’t seem to overwhelming. I wouldn’t have my website if I hadn’t read this book and followed their way of thinking!

The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters
This book looks at how our brain works and how our thought processes affect our behaviour. It’s written in such an incredibly easy way to understand. The reason it’s called the Chimp Paradox is because even though we’ve evolved, there’s still part of us in essence that still thinks and acts like a chimp! It will help you break those thoughts down and understand that a you’re not going mad and we all have them!

Shut The Duck Up by Pete Cohen and Bobby Cappuccio
This deals with that voice in our head that stops us from doing things. Basically there is a duck just quacking in our head, constantly drip feeding us negative chatter and the difficult thing as a human is finding how we turn that off. It will help you turn that negative internal monologue into something more positive and has helped me appreciate each day rather than dwell on the bad things that have happened.

Confessions Of A Menopausal Woman by Andrea McLean
This book has changed my life  – this whole website wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for me writing this book! When I started to write the book, I started asking questions and engaging with woman, hearing their stories and listening to their questions. When the book was finished, I was desperate to keep that conversation going and that’s how came about! Thank you me for giving me the opportunity to bring this website to you!

These are the books I love, but what books have made an impact on your life? Share them below – I do love a new read!


11 Responses

    1. Hi Zoe, Absolutely there have been novels that have changed the way I have thought about things. "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak was an incredible insight into living as a young Jewish girl in the Second World War and stayed with me for years afterwards.
      So did "a Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khalid Hosseini which is about living under the Taliban in Afghanistan.

      And don’t even get me started on "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn… I read this on holiday and couldn’t put it down. I ignored my whole family until I had finished it!

      Andrea x

  1. The book that made a huge impact on me was Wild by Cheryl Strayed. She lost her mum at the age 22 and couldn’t handle her grief. One day in a book shop, she saw a book on the Pacific Trail and she decided to hike the PCT for 1100 miles over 3 months. It spoke to me because she carried on living in grief but she took herself out of society and into the world of the wilderness to find who she was and to live in a world without her mother.
    Also, just a note on menopause, I haven’t had this yet but it has effected me deeply when my mum had it. She had an awful menopause and it affected our relationships as a family. She would wake up on a Sunday morning full of the joys of spring, make everyone breakfast and start the day being happy. By the afternoon, she would be rowing with my dad because he hadn’t done something right and everything was awful and miserable. Her moods would change so dramatically and quickly. We all walked on egg shells around the house, never knowing if there was going to be a terrible row. Horribly, sometimes I was glad she wasn’t at home because then everything was calm. I love my mum but I’ll nevet forget that time.

  2. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel G. Marque
    I was 11 yo and lived in nowhere in the middle of the countryside of an undeveloped country. I was a naughty girl, but with thirsty for knowledge. My lovely teacher could see the anxious to live the life. And secretly, let me and 2 more friends go to her house to read books that were forbidden At this time. We did not have any idea what’s going on in the country. She explained what dictatorship means. And that books and knowledge were the first things that make governments afraid of. We had such good time on these days ❤️?. See the opening sentence of the book
    "Many years later, before the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía had to remember that remote afternoon in which his father took him to meet the ice"
    Who does not shiver?

    The Catcher in the Rye Field, J. D. Salinger. It had a great impact on my youth helping me deal with typical teenage topics like confusion, anguish, alienation, language, and rebellion.

    In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
    For the first, and perhaps the only one, I saw such an accurate combination of journalism with literary imagination. The book gathers all the elements, in millimetrically measured doses, for the realisation of a masterpiece. Maybe a big influence for me when I decide to be a journalist.

    Macbeth, by William Shakespeare
    A spectacularly well-written drama in elegant language. Well-made phrases about the human condition in the face of power and war. Source of inexhaustible inspiration.

    1Q94. Trilogy of books that took Murakami to stardom. A landmark, I knew the Japanese literature through it. The re-reading of the classic 1984 by George Orwell is a must read to better understand the futurist vision of the Japanese author, as well as his open criticism of contemporary society. It is acidic and very intense.

    The Chrysanthemum and the Sword by Ruth Benedict
    It made me understand a lot of part of the Japanese psyche and culture. In an age without internet and little knowledge about this fascinating country. It was my first time as an immigrant, with two small children. I was totally displaced, in an Asian country and desperate to understand everything, even why they eat whit chopsticks and sit on the floor. It was a balm this book, at this time for me

    Wowww!!!I feel guilty now! there are so many more books. But not enough space to talk about ?❤️

  3. Born To Win by Muriel James, Literally changed my life by how I was treating people
    and how they were treating me! By changing the way I behaved around certain friends and family gave me the respect and confidence I deserved. Very easy to read and all makes sense!

  4. Your book confessions of a menopausal women changed my life in more ways than one!
    – because I know that I’m not in this alone.
    – I realise what I was feeling was normal ( what ever normal means)
    – it made me re think my life and what I could change to help myself.
    – it’s mad me want to try new things running and yoga.
    – take a look at what I’m eating and tweak things to give my body some help.
    – not to be afraid to ask my doctor questions.
    – also be proud of my body ! Yes it’s ok to have hot sweats and be menopausal.
    Big thank you

  5. Love this list! Have read most of them but have ordered the others. Have you tried I Heart Me by David Hamilton? Incredible read charting the journey from "I’m not enough" to "I’ve had enough" to "I am enough". Highly recommend xx

  6. For me it was Feel the fear and do it anyway, by Susan Jeffers. I had just been appointed as an HR Mgr after having years of working in various HR admin depts. I do not consider myself very ambitious, however I managed to get there, as others saw my potential. For me, I felt thrown in at the deep end and was overwhelmed, but I consider myself “a coper” so just carried on to the point where I felt anxious and tearful almost every morning getting in the car. It was then I discovered this book, it’s easy to read and basically tells you that, yes life is scary and unfair at times, but you will survive and it will pass. Like you Andrea, I went back to this book and carried it with me. I did survive and got several other very good HR mgr roles over the years. I was made redundant in 2016, and decided I’ve had enough of HR. I am fortunate that I can afford not to work, im not saying I won’t work again (I’m 56) and who knows what the future will bring, but this book made me look at life differently and have a much more positive attitude to life in general.

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