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24 February 2020

Five books to help you whistle a new tune this year

It’s easy to dream of quitting your day job to chase that side hustle or passion project you’ve dreamt of pursuing for years. But what if you don’t know what your passion is, exactly? Is it the life of a thrill-seeking explorer or high-flying exec? Are you a budding muso or driven to invest? If you need help figuring out what motivates you, here are five books that promise to help you think about where you want to go – in totally different ways.


By ING - Five books to help you whistle a new tune this year 1

A Job to Love, The School of Life

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a fun question to be asked as a child. But what if you’re already grown up and still aren’t sure what you want to do for a living for the rest of your life, fear not: A Job to Love offers a roadmap out of the uncertainty. The nice-looking hardback comes courtesy of The School of Life, the global organisation set up by Alain de Botton that uses philosophy to solve life’s most important yet everyday problems. Combining philosophical research with practical questionnaires and exercises, A Job to Love works from the assumption that we must first understand ourselves, our aspirations and our sometimes-confused desires before we can find a job that’s right for us.


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Mindful Money, Canna Campbell

There’s a good reason why getting on top of your finances is such a common New Year’s resolution: who doesn’t want to pay off their debts, set aside a little nest egg and grow their personal wealth? But then life happens, and the resolution often gets postponed to next year. And the next. And then the next. Canna Campbell gets it: as a young mother and budding entrepreneur, she developed an approach to financial management that draws on the power of mindfulness as well as her training as a financial planner. Mindful Money is her book about this approach – a practical guide that outlines the rituals and habits she used to achieve financial independence, which then allowed her to focus on the things in life that she really values.


By ING - Five books to help you whistle a new tune this year 3

Wild, Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed was working a series of dead-end jobs when she decided, more or less on impulse, to pack up her things and hike more than 1,500 kilometres from the Mojave Desert up to Oregon, Portland. All this despite the fact that she had no hiking experience and could barely bear the weight of her stuffed-to-the-seams backpack. The experience was hard and harrowing – she lost her hiking boots, as well as most of her toenails, in the process – but she gained something completely, absolutely worthwhile: as she writes in Wild, her captivating and beautifully written memoir, the experience showed her a “way out of the woods”. The book lays bare life’s challenges – as well as the power we each have to overcome them and heal our wounds.


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Shark Tales, Barbara Corcoran

At first glance, Barbara Corcoran’s Shark Tales might look like a standard business self-help book. (Its subtitle, How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business, definitely nudges things in that direction.) But while the book is full of great advice if you’re looking to start your own business, it’s also a bold memoir about hardship and perseverance. Corcoran is best known as one of the investors on the reality TV business show Shark Tank. But as she recounts in the book, her life began far away from the bright lights of show business (or the large venture capital cheques of the business world). If you’re looking for a rags-to-riches tale with heart and practical tips on forging your own path, Shark Tales is for you.


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Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert

In Big Magic, author Elizabeth Gilbert sets out the attitudes, approaches and habits you need  to live a creative life. Even if you don’t want to become a painter or pen the next great Australian novel, keep reading – because while Big Magic has advice for budding artists, it’s primarily concerned with helping people live “a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear”. In her signature writing style (you may know Gilbert for her 2006 book Eat, Pray, Love), the author outlines her insights on inspiration and tips for living a life as creatively as her own. There’s good stuff in here, no matter the path you’re travelling.

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