Every Sunday, I share a list of inspiring books that I’m reading this week.

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

Haruki Murakami

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending | Elizabeth Dunn, Michael Norton [Psychology, Finance]

Can money buy happiness? Much has been studied on this topic. On whether wealth greater than $75,000/yr yields greater happiness. According to two scientists, who share their fascinating research in behavioural science in this book, it turns out money can buy happiness—if you are spending it right.

Favourite takeaway:
The five key principles of happy money are:

  1. Buy experiences
  2. Make it a treat
  3. Buy time
  4. Pay now, consume later
  5. Invest in others


Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action | Simon Sinek [Leadership]

Simon Sinek explores how leaders can inspire cooperation, trust and change. He explains how this works using a concept he calls “the golden circle”.  It looks like a bulls-eye, with the outer ring labeled “what”, the middle ring “how” and the centre ring “why”. He argues that when it comes to influence, most people and workplaces work from the outside in. They can explain what they’re doing, and some even can explain how they do it. But very few can describe ‘why’ they do what they do. According to Sinek, this is backwards. Those who start with WHY never manipulate, they inspire. And the people who follow them don’t do so because they have to; they follow because they want to.

Favourite takeaway:
“There are only two ways to influence human behaviour: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.”


Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person | Shonda Rhimes [Memoir, Self-help]

Shonda Rhimes is by all accounts a hugely successful woman. She “owns” Thursday night and is considered the Queen of TV with her three wildly successful shows: Greys Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and her previous hit Private Practice. Her production studio is called ShondaLand – I mean, she works and creates award winning shows in a world that is named after her. How awesome is that? But something was missing. At Thanksgiving dinner, her sister complained to her: “You never say YES to anything!” And those words stung Rhimes because they were true. Rhimes realized that she had lost herself. And she argued it had happened one “NO” at a time. So at the start of the new year – as a personal New Year’s resolution, Rhimes decided to tackle her ‘no’ demons – both her growing social anxiety and her unhappiness with her weight – by saying YES to every opportunity, come what may, for an entire year. In this part memoir, part self discovery book, Rhimes shares her year of YESes. Along the way Shonda sheds her fears and her excess weight. She also finds her voice and her strength. And she will inspire you to take action: to dance it out, stand in the sun and be your own person too.

Favourite takeaway:
“Who you are today . . . that’s who you are. Be brave. Be amazing. Be worthy. And every single time you get the chance? Stand up in front of people. Let them see you. Speak. Be heard. Go ahead and have the dry mouth. Let your heart beat so, so fast. Watch everything move in slow motion. So what. You what? You pass out, you die, you poop? No. (And this is really the only lesson you’ll ever need to know.) You take it in. You breathe this rare air. You feel alive. You are yourself. You are truly finally always yourself. Thank you. Good luck.”

And that’s what I’m reading this week. What are you reading to find your spark?