I am something of a bookworm so here is run down of my favourite books and articles. Particularity those that have helped me in some way. They are in no particular order.
This this list will be updated over time, as I read, and re read these books, so keep checking back.
How shyness became an illness by Christopher lane
I am so glad I never took the route of medicating my Social Anxiety. That’s my conclusion after reading…..It details how the common fear of talking to others became an illness. What I read horrified me. It’s just one long catalogue of stories about corporate profiteering, simplistic explanations from scientists, Fallacies, biases, inept ideas, outright lies and half-truths. Social anxiety disorder is not the problem people think it is because we have been deceived into thinking it is a disease. I wonder how much suffering would be alleviated if people had been convinced that it’s a disorder rather than what it is, which in most cases is a normal response to a social circumstance. If there was any book that SA sufferers need to read, it’s this.
Quiet. The power of Introverts By Susan Cain
Here is a book that explains the cultural ideal of being outgoing and bubbly, and show that those who don’t fit in still have worth in this world. Explaining the strength that not talking, keeping quite, reading to yourself can provide. I covers fields including relationships, parenting, and business.
After this you will see that wanting to be by yourself does not make you a freak, or abnormal, but you offer something extroverts do not have.
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
A shame researcher Brene explores people who are living amazing lives to find out any common threads. The answers she find are unexpected as they are profound.
In a world that ell us were are not good enough, we find we have to rush around constantly trying to prove ourselves worthy of love, and so afraid that we are not.
This book describes ten points we can uses to cultivate compassion and courage so we can find our happiness from a place of peace and acceptance.
By accepting our limitations and vulnerabilities we can connect to other in a meaningful way that enriches our lives and leaves us in a a place where we know we are good enough as we are.
This is an essential read for those who feel they are never good enough. Yes we are imperfect but that silent mean we don’t deserve live and belonging.
The Mindful path through Shyness by Steven Flowers
Looking at shyness form both psychology and ancient wisdom this book teaches us that we should not give too much weight to what goes on in our minds. Instead we should cultivate an awareness of the present moment, that will help us develop acceptance and compassion for ourselves and others. It contains anecdotes and practices which make it a must read for SA sufferers.
The Feeling Good Handbook by Dr David D. Burns
This massive tomb, although not strictly on SA is full of ideas. It explains the sort of twisted thinking that can lead to our suffering. Looking at topics like self esteem, procrastination, anxiety, fear and much more. There is also specific chapter on social anxiety.
An essential read for those interested in the cognitive behavioural side of mental health.
Self compassion by Kristin Neff
Trying to feel above average can’t happen all the time. The result is we beat ourselves up and feel ashamed not living up to the ideal. Neff offers us another way. To accept the imperfections we have and treat ourselves better, with kindness, compassion and care for yourself just as much as you do others. This advice here offers a way out from the suffering and the self loathing, and is an essential read for all of us.
Buddhism and Daoism
Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
Using the teachings of the Buddha, Brach explains the reasons why we are so unhappy and what can be done to alter your perspective. By accepting the truths of impermanence, fear and desire, we can open our hearts even in the face of hardship and suffering. Finding joy, connection and happiness.
This book explains well how ancient wisdom is still relevant today, and can be used to find some tranquillity and fulfilment in a world that tells us to keep consuming because you are not good enough.
The Tao of Pooh
He’s doesn’t strive, fret or think he’s smart. He just is.
That’s Pooh Bear.
This is the lesson of the book written by Benjamin Hoff. Who shows how Pooh follows many of the ideas of Taoism in his adventures within the Hundred Acre Wood.
Hoff contrasts Pooh’s behaviour with the other characters, most of all Owl, Rabbit and Eyeore. Showing how modern life is characterised by a frantic, knowledge obsessed, cynics who suck all the joy our of it.
It’s a delightful little book that contains a lot of wisdom on how to live well, and is a great read for anyone who wants to learn more about Taoism.
The Way of Zen by Alan Watts
There has been a lot of praise for Alan watts and they way he explains eastern ideas to a western audience.
Whilst I have come across watts before this book the Way of Zen beautifully brings home how good he is as translating eastern ideas to a western audience.
In this book outlines the complex history of Buddhism and Zen.
He delves into it roots, originating in India and the teachings of the Buddha. How it transformed over time and absorbed the ideas from Taoism to become Zen Buddhism.
He explains nuanced and complicated ideas in eastern thought with a style and clarity I haven’t come across often.
I’d say this is an essential read for those westerners interested in understanding eastern thought.
The book doesn’t cover in and greater detail the practical side of Buddhism. So don’t expect information on how to meditate or become more happier, compassionate.
But it does explain something of the philosophy to give you a brief but clear understanding of what Zen is and why it’s such frustrating and compelling system of thought, a way of life.
Happiness by Matheiu Ricard
In this book, Ricard draws upon centuries of Buddhist tradition to methodically deconstruct the reasons why we fail to find happiness. He then describes a way out of our suffering for both ourselves and the whole of humanity. He makes the argument that happiness itself is a goal we should aim for and work towards but that that modern society makes it so difficult because we waste so much effort on the wrong things, like wealth and status.
Ricard explains that to achieve happiness we must perceive the difference between genuine happiness and the false transitory feelings of pleasure we can also experience.
The book explains how we can develop such skills and diligently work towards creating lasting happiness in our own lives.
One of the best and most comprehensive explanations of Buddhist thought.
Success and happiness Essential Reads
Yes Man by Danny Wallace
This book is a combination of madcap adventure with a poignant lesson on how to live life. It’s about a young man who realises one day that he is not living the life that he once did. The great times out with his friends are replaced with nights spent at home, alone.
Something was wrong with his life.
Then one day he meets a random guy on a bus that says something to him which changes his whole perspective.
From that moment he has a mission and it leads him into a daft, silly but touching journey that holds some very important lessons.
Because of this it has to be one of my favorite books of all time.
The Elephant and the Twig By Geoff Thompson
Likely to be one of the first self help books I ever read. I look back upon it as still feel as though its relevant. Written by a martial arts expert and former nightclub doorman. Geoff writers from personal experience on how to face fear and helplessness. Broek down into fourteen rules it covers your mind habits, goals, criticism and much more. An important read for anyone who wants to break through the barriers of fear and anxiety towards realising something of their potential.
War of art by Steven Pressfield
The obstacle to creativity is Resistance. Here the best-selling author outlines what resistance is, why it’s such a problem and what it takes to fight and overcome it. An essential read for anyone who wants to create art, write or build. It outlines the struggles you will face and what you can do to become a success at the work you have chosen to do.
The Pursuit of Perfect by Tel Ben-Shahar
The desire of achieving perfection is what results in frantic effort to achieve the fittest body, a flawless life, and a successful career. Ben-Shahar shows how this desire leads to our own suffering, and offers us ideas along with exercises to alter the perceptions we have about ourselves.
Covering work, education and love, Ben-Shahar’s book is an important guide to one of the most common pitfalls in trying to live well and find happiness.
F*ck it Therapy by John C. Parkin
Is a middle fingered approach to the social norms that manifest as our fears. Breaking free of those prisons by noticing and understanding then.
Happiness comes from the freedom to be who you are. This book gives us a guide to breaking those bars around us that keep us small and average.
It’s a call to action, to arms. To live well is to awaken and get a little surly.