5 beach reads for a better year

Summertime and the reading is easy. Embrace your holidays with these uplifting summer books to make next year the best of your life.

1. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Author Gretchen Rubin sets herself a yearlong challenge in this book after experiencing an epiphany while taking a routine bus trip. She realised she wasn’t living in the moment enough, instead allowing time to pass without focusing on the important stuff. Her challenge was to spend 12 months living her life according to popular and age-old research about how to be happier. The book recounts Rubin’s findings and arrives at several verdicts, which include the ideas that novelty and challenge are formidable sources of happiness, money can make a difference if you prudently spend it and small changes can make a big difference.

2. The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control by Walter Mischel

Instant gratification is one of modern society’s biggest issues. Whether it’s the new car, hottest travel destination or latest smartphone, we want everything and we want it now. Renowned psychologist Walter Mischel is the engineer of the “Marshmallow Test”, which researchers at Stanford University carried out in the 1960s and ’70s about rewarding delayed gratification. In The Marshmallow Test, Mischel questions whether self-control is a genetic gift or a skill you can master and explains how you can apply it to everyday challenges.

3. Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time by Rachel Bertsche

Have you ever wondered whether you could have the body of Jennifer Aniston or the wardrobe of Sarah Jessica Parker if only you had the means and the time? Author Rachel Bertsche discovered for herself by trying to attain “celebrity perfection”, attempting to follow Gwyneth Paltrow’s supremely healthy diet and Jennifer Aniston’s hard-core exercise regimen, among other crazy challenges. This fun book is full of humour and insight into the lives of these celebs, but mainly it’s a perceptive tale of the search for contentment and the valuable life lessons learned along the way.

4. The Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb

How many women have made the common but insightful joke that they could do with having a wife of their own so the family unit maintains a semblance of work-life balance? In The Wife Drought, political and social commentator Annabel Crabb discusses the idea of “the wife” in a historical context and the role it plays in today’s society. She also addresses the idea that men are rarely taken seriously in the workplace when they request flexibility. Don’t expect an angry feminist rage fest, but rather a thoughtful and engaging discussion of how we can all change to make life fairer and more balanced for everyone.

5. Carry a Big Stick: A Funny Fearless Life of Friendship, Laughter and MS by Tim Ferguson

You might remember Tim Ferguson as one-third of the Doug Anthony All Stars, the edgy, subversive, politically incorrect trio (with Richard Fidler and Paul McDermott) from the late 1980s and early ’90s. If not, you may recognise his face from stand-up shows and comedy routines around the traps. Everything was fine and dandy for Ferguson, living the highly frenetic life of a busy comedian, until he woke up one morning and discovered his left side was completely paralysed. Hello, multiple sclerosis (MS). This book is an uplifting narrative of how to laugh in the face of adversity. Ferguson’s resilience and ability to see the funny side of life make every mountain of hardship seem like a modest molehill.

Now that you’ve found happiness on the beach, find more contentment in the workplace by learning how to make every workday feel like a Friday.

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