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7 Books That Will Make You Smarter

We love a juicy fiction novel as much as the next person, but when you’re craving some brain food, nothing beats diving into a thoroughly-researched, well-written book. These are the ones currently sitting on our nightstand.

'Atomic Habits' – James Clear

Atomic Habits – James Clear

If you’re not really into self-help books, hear me out. This book doesn’t ask you to overhaul your entire life. It’s about making teeny tiny changes that compound over time. James Clear is a habits expert who knew that was a thing?. He believes that “real change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions.” 

These minuscule yet life-altering changes are what he calls atomic habits. The book is a juicy 320 pages long, and the audiobook, read by the author, will keep you hooked for the full 5.5 hours.

What you’ll get out of it:

– Step-by-step guide to building better routines

– Strategies for developing better habits including Habit Stacking and the Two Minute Rule

– Inspiring stories from über successful human

Atlas of the Heart – Brené Brown

If you haven’t seen Brené Brown’s TED Talk on The Power of Vulnerability, please stop reading and watch it now. It will be the most enlightening 20 minutes of your day. 

Brown is a researcher, public speaker, author, podcaster and all-around hype woman. She has dedicated a considerable chunk of her career to showing people how to be better, more compassionate and engage humans – at work, at home, in our relationships and in our communities. 

Her most recent book of which there are 8 examines the 87 emotions and experiences that define what it is to be human. Backed by extensive research, Atlas of the Heart comprises 336 pages with the audiobook set to drop in mid-February 2022.

What you’ll get out of it

– An toolkit for creating meaningful connections

– A reminder to pulse-check your own emotional fluency

– All of the feels

How Space Works – DK

You don’t need to be an astronomer or a 4-year-old to find space absolutely fascinating. DK Dorking Kindersley is a publishing house responsible for so many of the educational books you probably grew up with. How Space Works is a fascinating visual journey through the universe.

The book uncovers some of the most mind-boggling facts about space. Did you know the moon moves nearly 4cm further away from the earth each year? Or that the Milky Way is on a collision course with another galaxy? This book is jam-packed with quality dinner party material.

What you’ll get out of it

– Clear, jargon-free explanations of some of life’s most perplexing concepts

– A peek into life as an astronaut

– Bucket loads of fun facts that blurt out next time there’s a lull in the conversation

Design a Healthy Home – Oliver Heath

One for the indoor plant lovers – Design a Healthy Home is all about optimising your space to support your physical and mental wellbeing. The tips in the book are backed by the latest research in Biophilic Design and can help improve air quality, maximise natural light and lead to improved sleep, relaxation and social connection.

Design a Healthy Home was truly a team effort – Heath worked with a psychologist, sustainability expert, designer and a slew of researchers from his design firm to bring the book to life. Totalling 192 pages, it’s the kind of book you can dog-ear and come back to when you need a bit of inspiration. 

What you’ll get out of it

– 100 design ideas to spruce up your space

– A crash course on Biophilic Design and permission to flex that you know about Biophilic Design

– Easy tips on creating a restorative, nurturing environment

Think Again – Adam Grant

Another TED star, Adam Grant, is an organisational psychologist whose name has become synonymous with motivational quotes. In his #1 New York Times Bestseller, Grant dives into the critical art of rethinking and how it can lead to increased success, happiness and wisdom. 

Thing Again will make you take stock of what you don’t know – and the simple act of acknowledging everything you still have to learn will be as humbling as it is inspiring. Avid readers have 320 pages to soak up. For audiobook junkies, this is a meaty 6.5 hours – the perfect companion for a long road trip.

What you’ll get out of it

– One of the most essential lessons in life: how to embrace being wrong

– An invitation to let go of the views and biases that no longer serve you

– Plenty of inspirational quotes to pepper across your social channels if you run out of things to post

Why Weren’t We Told? – Henry Reynolds

An oldie but a goodie, this truth bomb was first published in 2000. It sparked a LOT of discussion around the representation or lack thereof of First Nations Australians. Historian Henry Reynolds documents his experience with unfairly detained Aboriginal children in North Queensland, his friendship with Indigenous land rights activist Eddi Mabo, and his realisation that the narrative we all grew up with around our ‘peaceful history’ is shockingly far from the truth. 

Why Weren’t We Told? sits alongside thirteen other books authored by Reynolds – and all of them are littered with hard truths and histories that challenge our image of the past. In 288 pages, Reynolds presents an alternative truth that continues to ruffle feathers to this day.

What you’ll get out of it

– A confronting but necessary look into Australia’s ongoing current of discrimination

– Some firepower for when your racist relative makes an unsavoury comment at the next family function

How to Keep Your Brain Young – Prof. Kerryn Phelps AM

Professor Kerryn Phelps has a long and dazzling list of achievements behind her. After working as a GP for more than 30 years, Phelps is perhaps the best person to distil the science of neuroplasticity – in layman's terms, the art of keeping your brain young and spritely. 

Phelps argues that while ageing physically is inevitable, ageing mentally is not. She shares tips, tricks and habits that can help keep you sharp as you get older. It’s not all brain games. Phelps also covers diet, lifestyle and mindfulness in this 368-page handbook.

What you’ll get out of it

– An overview of how the brain works

– Simple exercises for staying sharp and fending off brain fog

– The hope that you won’t turn into a vegetable later in life

Got any book recommendations for us?

Tweet us @wisraustralia or send us a DM on Instagram at @wisraustralia.

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Disclaimer: This article contains general information only, and is not general advice or personal advice. Wisr Services does not recommend any product or service discussed in this article. You must get your own financial, taxation, or legal advice, and understand any risks before considering whether a product or service discussed in this article may be appropriate for you. We have taken reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but the information is subject to change. We may not update the article to reflect any change.

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