8 uplifting books to read this Ramadan
During the Holy Month of fasting and inward reflection, feed your soul with some soothing and uplifting literature.
We have compiled a list of inspiring reads from finding the perfect balance in your life, to fast tracking your career, we've also got heart warming stories from fact to fiction and some artistic peaceful colouring for grown ups...
1. David Nichols – Us
David Nicholls brings all the wit and intelligence that graced bestseller, One Day, to this bittersweet novel about love and family, husbands and wives, parents and children – Us, which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize for fiction last year. The tale follows Douglas Petersen, who finds himself facing a double empty nest when his wife Connie announces that she'll be leaving home to 'rediscover herself' at the same time that their son leaves home. Thrown through a loop, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the ultimate lifetime trip: one that will draw the three of them closer. Everything is booked from the hotel to the flights, and the stakes are high, so what could possibly go wrong?
2. Malcolm Gladwell – David and Goliath
Detective of fads and emerging subcultures, Malcolm Gladwell's books topple the popular understanding of bias, food, marketing, intelligence and so much more. In his new book, Gladwell asks: What if everything we thought about power was wrong? Maybe, in the ancient story of David and Goliath, of the shepherd boy who topples a giant, David actually had the advantage all along.
Join in on this extraordinary journey that takes us from art to basketball, the brain to revolutions, along the way weaving unforgettable stories of misfits, outsiders, tricksters and underdogs who have faced outsized challenges and won. And the best part is, it's not "When you read it, you feel like you can topple giants".
3. Arianna Huffington – Thrive
Prolific author and international media mogul, Arianna Huffington, who started the award-winning news platform The Huffington Post opens up in this candid exploration about getting the perfect balance in life, in which to Thrive. She likens our drive for money and power to two legs of a three-legged stool. It may hold us up temporarily, but sooner or later we're going to topple over. So she explores the need for that stabilising third leg – a 'Third Metric' for defining success – that is necessary in order to live a healthy, productive, and meaningful life.
4. Sheryl Sandberg – Lean in
Facebook COO and one of Fortune magazine's 'Most Powerful Women in Business', Sheryl Sandberg, looks into the global imbalance of power between the genders – women hold just 20 percent of seats in parliaments globally, and in the world of big business, a meagre eighteen of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg draws on her own experience of working in some of the world's most successful businesses and looks at what women can do to help themselves. Learning to 'lean in' is about tackling the anxieties and preconceptions that stop women reaching the top.
5. Matt Haig – Reasons to Stay Alive
At the age of 24, Matt Haig's whole world caved in, when he could see no way to continue living. Reasons to Stay Alive is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. This is a moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth. We think Haig sums it up best when he says: "I wrote this book because the oldest cliches remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven't been able to see it...Words, just sometimes, really can set you free."
6. Emma Farrons – The Mindfulness Colouring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy for Busy People
You thought colouring was just for kids, but think again. This is the bestselling adult colouring book, that proves that working with your hands is one of the best ways to soothe anxiety and eliminate stress. This pocket-sized colouring book offers a practical exercise in mindfulness that draws on your creativity and hones your focus. The beautifully illustrated, The Mindfulness Colouring Book is filled with templates for exquisite scenes and intricate patterns, prompting you to meditate on your artwork as you mindfully and creatively fill these pages with colour. Take a few minutes out of your day, wherever you are, and colour your way to peace and calm.
7. Martin Lang – Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources
Lang has an unusual gift for narrative, and this work has been acclaimed worldwide as the definitive biography of the Prophet in the English language. Based on crucial Arabic, some important passages are translated here for the first time. Lang's style is extremely readable and reflects both the simplicity and grandeur of the story. The result is a book which will be read with equal enjoyment by those already familiar with Muhammad's life and those coming to it for the first time. This book was given an award by the government of Pakistan, and selected as the best biography of the Prophet in English at the National Seerat Conference in Islamabad in 1983. In 1990, after the book had attracted the attention of Azhar University, the author received a decoration from President Mubarak.
8. Alastair Campbell – Winners: And How They Succeed
Alastair Campbell is best known as the political spin-doctor for British Prime Minster Tony Blair's Labour government. Speaking from relative experience, Campbell draws on his awareness of the mindset of high achievers, not only is he a high achiever himself, but he in the rare position of knowing many of the world's most successful figures in business and sport personally. The likes of Richard Branson, José Mourinho and Anna Wintour were interviewed and share their own key models of success.
It might come as no surprise that hard work and a sheer determination to win is a fairly consistent attribute in these people, but Campbell provides deeper insights into the boldness and focus that has brought these figures so far in their professional goals.