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What better way to relax after all the excitement of Christmas than to light your wood burner, settle into a comfy armchair and get stuck into a good book. If you’re wondering what to read next, help is at hand! Here’s a round-up of the Do What You Love team’s favourite reads of 2016 – books that touched our hearts, made us think and inspired us on many different levels. Getting your read on never felt so good!

Credit Kelly HoppenImage credit: Kelly Hoppen

Beth Kempton‘s pick of 2016… Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World by Leigh Ann Henion

On the surface this is a beautifully written travel memoir of an adventurer who travels the world in search of incredible natural phenomena, but underneath it’s a highly relatable discussion of the inner conflicts of any mother with a desire for inspiration. It tells some unforgettable truths about motherhood, spirituality, and the beauty of nature.

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Paul Kempton‘s pick of 2016…. Life is Good: How to Live with Purpose & Enjoy the Ride

This is a fascinating story about two brothers who had an idea, realised a big dream, but never changed. The book follows the brothers’ journeys from their scrappy upbringing outside Boston to the runaway success of their socially conscious clothing and lifestyle business, which is now worth more than $100 million. One bit that particularly stood out for me was how their company found itself in a very challenging position following the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013.

“We met with some of our team to discuss what a brand called Life is Good should say in such a moment. It wasn’t an easy conversation. No matter how we sliced it two young men had chosen to commit a horrific crime whose aim was death and destruction.…But following those acts, and as a direct reaction to those acts, millions of people performed acts of love. The Boston Marathon bombings showed two human beings at their worst and millions of human beings at their best… We realised that love was the real story.

So we created a T-shirt that said “BOSTON” on the front with a small heart in the centre of one of the Os, and the words “Nothing is stronger than LOVE” on the back…

Much to our amazement, BOSTON LOVE became the best selling T-shirt we’ve ever made. In less than 60 days, that one T-shirt generated over half a million dollars in profit. And we donated every penny to The One Fund established to help victims and their families.”

This is a perfect example of how we can find a light in the darkest moments. It reminds us that we all have the power to choose what we take from an event, and that it’s ok to put out a strong and powerful message in a tough time. This book is a truly inspiring read, packed with valuable takeaways to help you tap into the power of optimism and live your best life.

Life-is-Good-The-Book-How-to-Live-with-Purpose-and-Enjoy-The-Ride_27887_1_lgRachel Kempton‘s pick of 2016… What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

Everyone has a role model. Someone they look up to and admire. For me that person is Oprah. A champion of living the life you want, Oprah has made history with her top-rated, award-winning talk show, launched her own television network, become the USA’s only African-American billionaire, and been awarded both an honorary degree by Harvard University and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She has taught any of us who were willing learn that, regardless of where or how you begin in life, you can make a difference in the world.

For 14 years Oprah has been sharing all her experiences and life lessons in O, The Oprah Magazine’s widely popular “What I Know For Sure” column, a monthly source of inspiration and revelation, which she has also turned into a book. It’s a fascinating read that gave me a rare, powerful and intimate glimpse into Oprah’s heart and mind while reminding me about the most important things in life: things like finding joy; resilience; truth; connection; understanding; gratitude; possibility; clarity; and power. To sum it up I’d say that this is a great guide to being a better person. Oprah’s wise words speak to your soul, reassure you that it’s ok not to be perfect (because we’re all human, right?) and make you want to change your life for the better.

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Fiona Duffy‘s pick of 2016… Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

In Lean In, Sheryl shares her personal stories, uses research to shine a light on gender differences, and offers practical advice to help women achieve their goals. The book challenges us to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what we can do, and serves as a rallying cry for us to work together to create a more equal world. It’s an inspiring call to action, a blueprint for individual growth and so far, it’s worked for me. It has made me stand up and be counted. It has given me the confidence to voice my opinion. And it’s encouraged me to make brave decisions so that I can spend more time doing what I love and work on starting my own business.

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Louise Gale‘s pick of 2016… The Magic by Rhonda Byrne

I loved this book so much as it re-enforced the power of feeling gratitude in every aspect of our lives, practicing throughout the day with various exercises over a 28-day period. The context being that ‘like attracts like’, so practicing what we are thankful for, will bring more of the same. I do say thank you to the universe and notice how this has changed my own life, however this book takes a gratitude practice to a whole deeper level. In a nutshell, it reminds us that magic happens when we consciously use those magic words for everything we already have and experience – “thank you, thank you, thank you”.

Magic

We’d love to know what you’ve enjoyed reading this year so please do share your recommendations in the comments section below…