I Love books. I mean, I really love books. There’s something truly nourishing to the soul about burying myself between the pages.

Whilst I can see the appeal of a Kindle type device – great for travelling as they save so much space in a suitcase – for me, it has to be real, physical books. The simple pleasures. The feel and sound of the paper at the turning of a page – it truly is a beautiful thing. One of life’s pure indulgences. It has the ability to ignite the senses along with the imagination.

My choice of reading material last year was somewhat different to my norm. I usually opt for fiction – losing myself in imaginary worlds with all the twists and turns of a good plot. But this year has very much been all about fact.

A pile of books

When I look back over my reading material from the last twelve months, I notice a common thread running through: they all relate to health in one form or another. Here’s a sneaky peek at the ones which made the biggest impact upon me over the course of the year…

Amelia Freer Books

Amelia Freer

As January dawned, Amelia Freer came on my radar and immediately kickstarted my obsession with her positive nutritional feast (excuse the pun!). I devoured 3 of her books in a very short space of time. Her easy to follow approach to getting us to eat in a healthier, balanced, more nutritionally-sound way was just the tonic to serve up after the festive frivolities!

I particularly liked her Nourish & Glow 10 Day Plan. This plan was a practical, healthy and super tasty alternative to doing a cleanse. Very easy to follow and satisfyingly nourishing. I’m not sure I had the ‘glow’, per se, but I felt great! Ultimately, It’s a great guide to simplifying what we should be eating each and every day.

The 4 Pillar Plan – Dr Rangan Chaterjee

This book…just incredible! I believe this book has the power to save the NHS. Bold statement? Perhaps, but if we all heed the easy, common-sense advice which the enthusiastic doctor clearly illustrates – and take accountability for our own health – then it’s a very real possibility. It can help everyone lead a better, healthier and happier life. Simple.

Dr Chaterjee 4 pillar Plan books

I quickly become obsessed with this book – to the point where I was not only reading it myself but also buying it for others who I believed it could benefit. I have read and re-read it countless times and I know it’s going to be one of those books which becomes a brilliant reference book for a very long time.

The likeable TV doctor creates an incredibly clear, sensible plan which anyone can follow. He has revolutionised the way we think of our health and how we can regain control over it. In an easily-understandable format he explains how, if we align the 4 pillars – relax, eat, move and sleep, we can transform our lives. He blows fad diets and gym assaults out of the water and simplifies what we all need to do to acquire optimum health.

Dr Chaterjee 4 Pillar Plan books

Sometimes these kind of books still sound like they’re written by medical boffins for medical professionals – not this one. He talks about the mechanics of the body but explains it in a way which we can all understand.

Thoroughly recommend you read it – he will make you feel better than you have in years!

Authors note: I cant wait to read his latest book ‘The Stress Solution’ and meet up with the man himself at the end of January …watch this space!

The Psychobiotic Revolution – Scott C Anderson, John F. Cryan Ph.D, Ted Dinan M.D Ph.D

This book was a natural predecessor to The 4 Pillar Plan after I listened to the good doctors podcast with John Cryan. His knowledge and enthusiasm were infectious and quickly got me hooked. I had to delve deeper!

This book is written by the leading researchers in the field of gut health and is stacked with information. I took this book on holiday with me – not my usual relaxing read. It is a more difficult book to read than I’m used to – due to the subject matter, but the authors have a way of breaking the science down into an easily digestible (*sorry!) format. Written with splashes of humour which make it a more enjoyable read.

It highlights how gut health drives psychological wellbeing – the gut-brain axis – and by adjusting our diet we can improve our mental health. Although a relatively young field of medicine, it’s one which is so crucial to many aspects of our overall good health.

This is a guide for the everyday person on a science which could radically alter the understanding of many conditions – including anxiety & depression. It gives practical solutions to common ailments too. All in all, a super interesting, practical, thought provoking read which answered many of the questions I had. It makes absolute sense.

Ikigai inside page from the books

Ikigai: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life – Hector Garcia

The People of Japan believe everyone has an Ikigai (pronounced Eek-i-gai) – a reason to leap out of bed each day, a purpose, a reason for being. The authors interviewed the residents of the Japanese island of Okinawa – one of the worlds blue zones where the worlds longest-living people reside. Here, they discovered the key to a longer, more fulfilled, happier life lay in the regular practicing of their own Ikigai.

I have to confess, I have a mild obsession with Japanese culture so I was very curious to explore this concept. This book doesn’t disappoint. It’s simple, yet a tad bewitching. Not only beautifully presented but it’s also a pleasure to read.

It’s an inspiring, magical, pretty little book which provides the tools for you to discover your very own Ikigai. Harness it and bring meaning and joy to your life. If you feel like you’ve lost your mojo, this book may just help you to rekindle it.

Ikigai illustration from the books

I also read a similar book by the same publishing house which explores the intriguing concept of Wabi-Sabi. (Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life by Beth Kempton).

Ikigai and Wabi Sabi books

It’s not as simply written as Ikigai, but then the subject matter is somewhat harder to interpret. This book still has some wonderful insights for anyone who wants to transform their lives. So, if you want more time, space and to find happiness exactly where you are – this one is for you.


High Peformance Habits: How extraordinary people become that way – Brendon Burchard

Wow! Going from the gentle, lulling Ikigai to BAM! This beast of a book! Such a wake up call! So inspiring, motivating and utterly practical. This is the book which makes you get things done!

With twenty years research and a decade at the top of his game as the worlds leading High Performance Coach, Brendon Burchard puts all he has uncovered into one incredibly practical guide. He shares the 6 habits required which, when applied consistently, have the power to deliver an extraordinary life. His energy, enthusiasm and passion for his mission are truly infectious.

Inside High Performance Habits books

Science-backed and thought provoking, this book has challenging exercises which make you internally analyse in order to create your own map for improvement. This book delivers daily practices you can implement now to attain your future goals. You don’t have to want to be a CEO of a global company to appreciate and apply the lessons in this book …if you want to be the best you can be – your very own ‘Oh Fabulous Me’ – or just into self development in general, you really need to read this book.

If you’re not where you want to be in life, this is the book which will help you get there.

These were a taster of the books which had the biggest impact upon me last year…but what’s on my must-read list this year?

So far I have…

The Stress Solution – Dr Rangan Chaterjee

The Motivation Manifesto: 9 declarations to claim your personal power – Brendon Burchard

The Charge: Activating the 10 human drives that make you feel alive – Brendon Burchard

Becoming – Michelle Obama

…and that’s just for starters! Watch this space…

Have you made a resolution to read more?  What books have you recently read that had a big impact upon you?

Happy reading you Fabulous people!



Hi friends, I'm Claire: Wife, Mother of 2 girls and a furbaby, 40+, creative designer, business woman, health conscious and curious minded...

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