9 non-business smart thinking books you should read this year


You don’t need to re-read How to Win Friends and Influence People to expand your business brain.

There are loads of non-business books out there that can help you think and feel differently about how you make decisions, work hard, and manage your life. Here’s our pick of the best!

1. Thinking, Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman
If you’re often wondering why we do the things we do, this book will shed a very bright light on our decision-making processes. Kahneman is a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist who happens to be very good at making deep concepts very readable.

How it will help you in business: Find out what’s fueling your rational and irrational decision-making.

2. In Praise of Walking: The new science of how we walk and why it's good for us Shane O'Mara
According to neuroscientist Shane O’Mara, walking isn’t just walking. In Praise of Walking details its miraculous benefits for the mind and body, its evolutionary origins dating back millions of years, and how it can help us continue to survive as a species.

How it will help you in business: Perspective on life and a new pace.

3. The Art of Logic: How to Make Sense in a World that Doesn't Eugenia Cheng
This is a mathematician's guide to life, including how to think, argue, and simplify complicated problems. Cheng talks us through meaningful real-world scenarios, including sexism, white privilege, politics, and prejudice. Even the most maths-phobic readers can get something out of this.

How it will help you in business: Get better at working through tough problems and situations.

4. The Courage To Be Disliked: How to free yourself, change your life and achieve real happiness Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga
It’s tough to accept that other people might not like us, but according to Kishimi and Koga, it’s the key to accepting yourself. This is the first time it’s been published in English, and it’s full of insight into how we respond to other people and expect them to treat us.

How it will help you in business: Liberate yourself from what other people may or may not think of you.

5. Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine Derren Brown
He’s not just a famous TV illusionist, Derren Brown is also obsessed with the concept of happiness. If positive thinking and goal setting hasn’t helped you, this book could show you some alternative paths to true joy.

How it will help you in business: Perspective on the things that are most important.

6. The Design of Everyday Things Donald A. Norman
First published in 1988, this is the bible of cognitive science and design. In this updated edition, Norman talks us through the science and psychology behind good design, including examples of how and why smart design can make our lives easier.

How it will help you in business: You’ll think about the accessibility of your products or services completely differently.

7. Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams Matthew Walker
According to Professor Walker, underestimating sleep is a big mistake. If you’ve ever wondered how caffeine and alcohol actually affects your Zs, and what we can learn from different species’ sleeping habits, this is essential (bedtime) reading.

How will it help you in business: Good sleep = good work.

8. Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come: An Introvert's Year of Living Dangerously Jessica Pan
Ever worried your natural introversion might be holding you back? Jessica Pan thought so, and she did something about it. This is her experience of talking to strangers, public speaking, stand-up comedy, and solo travelling.

How will it help you in business: Get better at meeting new people and making the most of it.

9. How to Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned from Things Going Wrong Elizabeth Day

Based on Day’s podcast, where she interviews famous names about their biggest failures, this is an ideal read for anyone who thinks failure is the end. She takes us through all the big life events - work, parenthood, dating and more - and proves that things can only get better after those inevitable failures.

How will it help you in business: What business owner doesn’t fear failure?

Your Amazon wishlist is now stuffed full of inspiration, uplifting insights, and smart attitudes. While you’re broadening your mind, Solna can take care of your business’ invoices.

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