Books, glorious books! One of the best things about adventure is the gift of time. Hours spent turning pedals on deserted trails means hours dedicated to listening to audiobooks, and long evenings in the tent means time to curl up with my Kindle.
I’m always looking for inspiration on what to read or what to listen to next – so I thought I’d share my reading list from the last six months with you all.
If you’ve read any of these titles and want to add your thoughts, or have a questions about a specific book – go buck wild and leave a comment at the bottom. Enjoy!
THE TEN BOOKS I ENJOYED THE MOST
1. The War of Art: break through your blocks and win your inner creative battles – by Steven Pressfield
Pressfield is an absolute genius, with a fascinating personal story about his own journey to success. If you’re a creative soul – this book explains why sitting down to do your work is a real struggle, and offers tips on how to get your muse to ‘show up’ every day. Expect a gigantic kick up the bum.
2. Revolutionary Ride: on the road in search of the real Iran – by Lois Pryce
I know Lois to be a talented storyteller, and so I was expecting a great adventure book – it delivered on that. What I wasn’t expecting was to be right by Lois’ side as she took on the role of a detective gone rogue, unpicking and unearthing the history of a country we (in the UK) know so little about. This book became less about the motorcycle journey, and more about learning what life is really like in Iran – through the eyes of the people. LOVED IT.
3. Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking – by Susan Cain
I read this book at just the right point in my life. In reading this I realised that I am not (as many would expect) an extrovert, but am in fact an ‘ambivert’. That is, I am half extrovert, half introvert. If you’re an extrovert – this book probably isn’t for you. But if you’re an introvert – it will rock your world.
4. The Successful Author Mindset: a handbook for surviving the writers journey – by Joanna Penn
If you are a creative soul, this honest account of the self-doubt, disappointment and ambition that goes along with the creation of ‘art’ will make you (and your brain) breathe a huge sigh of relief. You are not alone. What a wonderful thing to know as you drag yourself back off to the writing dungeon.
5. Dare to Do: taking on the planet by bike and boat – by Sarah Outen
I thought I was in awe when I read Sarah’s first book ‘A Dip in The Ocean’, but this story about her 4 year journey around the world is just next level superb. Extra special mention goes to the chapters during which she kayaked along the Aleutian islands in Alaska. The description of the scenery and the sheer scale of the challenge made me pee my pants with glee and wet them in fear all at once.
6. Free country: A penniless adventure the length of Britain – by George Manhood
A hilarious romp through the back roads and back rooms of England by two lads who set off from Lands End with nothing but a pair of Union Jack boxer shorts. A light-hearted easy read. I snorted several times a minute.
7. Turning Pro: tap your inner power and create your life’s work – by Steven Pressfield
A follow up to ‘The War of Art’. It runs through every possible excuse you’ve ever given yourself for not fulfilling your creative potential, and makes you see those excuses for what they are. A down to earth guide that I’ll be re-reading over the coming years to keep me on track. The perfect antidote to believing your own bullshit.
8. Run! 26.2 stories of blisters and bliss – by Dean Karnazses
I ADORED this book! Dean is the most infectiously (is that even a word?) positive person, and you can’t help but smile at his sheer love for running and appetite for pain. Definitely a must read for people who love to run. I’m off to read all his other books now…
9. Adventureman: anyone can be a Superhero – by Jamie McDonald.
Okay, so I’m a bit biased considering I smooch the author on a regular basis (being his girlfriend n’ all), but genuinely – it’s fabulous. Jamie has a rough n’ ready style of storytelling in which he just… says it like it is. It’s 100% raw honesty, with one liner’s that could come straight from an Only Fools And Horses Script. Above all, the stories in this book will restore your faith in mankind.
10. The Way of the Runner: a journey into the fabled world of Japanese running – by Adharanand Finn
Adharanananananananaddd (I can’t spell his name, still), takes his family to Japan for 6 months to learn more about Japan’s long distance ‘Ekiden’ phenomenon. A really insightful read – covering the runner’s angle, but also revealing a lot about Japanese culture as a whole. I’m a huge fan.
11. Myths of PR: all publicity is good publicity and other popular misconceptions – by Rich Leigh
Okay I know I said my ‘top 10’, but I just read this book, and I can’t leave it off the list. A genuinely fascinating insight into the bonkers world of communication. The social media chapter especially is priceless for small businesses owners or those looking to build a brand of any kind, including personal brands. Strong opinions, no BS language and cultural references (including Anchorman) that left me snorting out my Diet Coke.
OTHER BOOKS ON…
And here’s a list of other books I read across the topics of running, storytelling, writing, speaking and philosophy. Plus a dabble in fiction – something I haven’t done for a very long time!
- Running with the Kenyans: discovering the secrets of the fastest people on earth – by Adharanand Finn
- Operation Ironman: one man’s four month journey from hospital bed to Ironman – by George Mahood
- The Long Run – by Mishka Shubaly
- Ultramarathon Man: confessions of an all-night runner – by Dean Karnazes
- The Barefoot Runners: they ran to save their lives – by Jane Jago
- The Path: a new way to think about everything – by Michael Puett & Christine Gross-Loh
- Man, Nature and the Nature of Man: a personal vision of eastern philosophy – by Alan Watts (audiobook only)
- The Art of Travel – by Alain de Botton
- Bonkers: my life in laughs – by Jennifer Saunders (nice easy read & very funny! Her views on yoghurt adverts alone are enough to read it for)
- Spectacles: a memoir – by Sue Perkins
- Live and Laughing: my story – by Michael McIntyre (The 3rd time I have read this book – incredibly inspirational every time)
- The Life of Lee – by Lee Evans
- Wildflower – by Drew Barrymore
- Neverwhere – by Neil Gaiman
BOOKS ON SPEAKING AND STORYTELLING
- The Wealthy Speaker 2.0 – by Jane Atkinson
- Into the Woods: how stories work and why we tell them – by John Yorke
- Story Engineering – by Larry Brooks.
BOOKS ON HOW TO WRITE AND SELL BOOKS
- How to make a living with your writing – by Joanna Penn
- Business for authors: how to be a business entrepreneur – by Joanna Penn
- Successful Self publishing: how to self-publish and market your book – by Joanna Penn
BOOKS I STARTED BUT DIDN’T FINISH
Largely because (after about 50 pages of trying) these books just didn’t float my boat, or in the case of the book launch title – I felt like I was being shouted at on every page. Help.
- Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall
- Book Launch: How to write, market and self-publish your first bestseller in 3 months AND use it to start to grow a six-figure business – by Chandler Bolt.
- Rabid: a cultural history of the world’s most diabolical virus – by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy (not finishing this book may have something to do with being bitten by a dog in Chile…)
That’s your lot! I hope there’s a few titles in there that get you scurrying to Amazon in a frenzy. And if you’ve got any suggested titles for me to help keep me sane through the next 6 months… I’m all ears.