My favourite books of 2021

A selection of some of the books I’ve enjoyed reading most this year.

It’s interesting that compared to last year, this year’s list of favourites seem to be dominated by non-fiction. Maybe a need for more fiction in 2022!

Still a great mix of some brilliant books and something for everyone!


Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

By Sebastian Junger

Such an interesting book that really gets you thinking about society and the world we live in. Includes stories of war bringing societies together, explaining why community is so vital to our happiness and the reasons military veterans have such a difficult time returning to society.


Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most

By Greg McKeown

This is a book we all need to read! 

Some stand out quotes are, “Burnout is not a badge of honour” and “Relaxing is a responsibility”

If you find yourself getting sucked into the ‘more must be better mentality’, over working, over-thinking and constant procrastinating then this the book for you.

Covering how to free up wasted energy, creating systems to make life easier, and most importantly, just to start!


Do Purpose: Why Brands with a Purpose Do Better and Matter More

By David Hieatt

I read this book from start to finish in one go.

It’s so brilliantly designed and David Hieatt has such a compelling way of writing. It doesn’t seem possible that he can pack so much value into so few words but he always does.


The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams

By Deepak Chopra

I listened to this on Audible but had to get the actual book too. It’s a book I’ll listen to and read over and over again.

On the back of the back it says, “within its pages are the secrets to making all of your dreams come true”. A bold claim but from listening to it I can’t help but agree. If you can action the advice he provides then you can’t fail to live a happier and more fulfilled life.


Ego is the Enemy: The Fight to Master Our Greatest Opponent

By Ryan Holiday

A book describing the danger of ego and why we must fight to control it.

I’ve read a lot of Ryan Holiday’s book and really like the way he uses stories to inspire and illustrate his points.


Grit: Why passion and resilience are the secrets to success

By Angela Duckworth

Straight in there as one of my all time favourite books & definitely one I’ll be revisiting.

Whether your goal is personal development, guidance on parenting or leadership, it’s a must read/listen.

It destroys the idea that natural talent is all that matters when it comes to succeeding in life. Instead Duckworth explains it’s about grit. Having the passion and perseverance to work at something you care about for a really long period of time.


Peak: How all of us can achieve extraordinary things

By Anders Ericsson & Robert Pool

I read this book around the same time as Grit and loved the similarity in the messages in both.

Much like Grit, what I took from this book is that yes high achievers are often genetically gifted to a certain extent. But actually the reason that most people are successful is because they’ve practiced and trained deliberately for a considerable period of time.

A welcome reminder that success is usually earned. Most people we see who are good at things haven’t got there by chance. They’ve usually put in a lot of effort for a really long time.

Another fascinating book that is well worth a read.


Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart( A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness)

By Dr. Mark Epstein

Not a book I would normally read but I found it really interesting. I particularly enjoyed the stories and examples of situations with his clients, along with his own experiences which helped it all make sense.

I really like this from the final chapter, “Things did not have to be perfect for me to be okay, it seemed. With some gratitude, I realised that my awareness was now stronger than my neurosis. This did not mean that things would never go to pieces, only that I did not need to fall apart when they did.”


The Boys In The Boat: An Epic Journey to the Heart of Hitler’s Berlin

By Daniel James Brown

This is definitely one of stand out books of the year.

My Dad got it for me for my birthday which added significance. As did the fact that my Grandad rowed for one of the colleges at Cambridge at around this time. But just an amazingly inspiring book. A must read whether you like rowing or not.


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values

By Robert Pirsig

It’s described as, “One of the most influential books written in the past half-century” and it’s definitely thought provoking.

Again, not a book I’d normally read but I took a lot from it. There’s lots of pages I want to go back and re-read that really made an impression on me. Sign of a good book I guess.


The Score Takes Care Of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership

By Bill Walsh with Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh

Brilliant book on leadership from one of the greatest NFL coaches of all time.

Initially I thought this would be just another book about the sacrifices and standards required to be successful. But I was pleasantly surprised.

As described by his son Craig Walsh, “The lessons he shares in The Score Takes Care of Itself are both a beacon for leadership and a cautionary tale – what to do and what not to do.”


Camino Island

By John Grisham

This was an impulse buy having not read anything by John Grisham before but I really enjoyed it.

I found it a really easy but gripping read and couldn’t put it down.


The Source: Open Your Mind, Change Your Life

By Dr. Tara Swart

One of the most impactful books I’ve read in a long time. There is so much in this that I’ve taken and applied both myself and in my coaching with clients.

She combine science with spirituality and her real world experience working as a psychiatrist and neuroscientist to provide guidance and strategies on how to positively change your life.

Can’t recommend it enough.


Open Side: The Official Autobiography

By Sam Warburton

Admittedly I’m a huge rugby fan but I don’t think you need to like rugby to enjoy this book. It’s a fascinating insight into professionalism, preparation and leadership from one of the best players ever to play the game.


Run or Die: The Inspirational Memoir of the World’s Greatest Ultra-Runner

By Killian Jornet

Just a beautifully written book about an incredible athlete.It’s translated from Catalan which makes the ways things are described so nice to read.


Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think

By Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund

A friend bought me this which is always nice because you end up reading something you might not have otherwise.

I found it fascinating, informative and reassuring in lots of ways. Written before the Covid Pandemic but hugely relevant.


Win Forever: Live, Work, and Play Like a Champion

By Pete Carroll

Another hugely successful American Football Coach who was one of the first to recognise the importance of defining his coaching philosophy.

His ‘Win Forever’ philosophy is defined by being the best you can be, maximising your potential hit is built on always competing in everything you do.