Whenever I go on holiday I always take two types of books with me. I like to take a really great fictional novel I can get totally lost in and I also take away something that will inspire me to make a change in my life or a book that I can learn something valuable from. Over the years I have collected many fantastic books (all thumbed to pieces, covered in suncream and often missing a few pages due to leaving them by the pool) but there are a few that I really wanted to share. Holidays provide one of the best times to sit back, relax and re-evaluate life – these books are some of my faves and will help us all in our quest to becoming the best versions of ourselves…

What: Thrive

Who: Arianna Huffington (who started the Huffington Post)

What’s it all about? After years of stress, hard-work and little sleep, Arianna fainted through exhaustion, hitting her head badly on her desk on the way down. That was the wake up call she needed to realise that surely there was more to life than this. In her book she redefines the way we measure success, introducing us to a third metric that includes four important pillars: Wellbeing, Wonder, Wisdom and Giving. You’ll learn about how one should really measure their lives, and the lessons that Arianna shares from her own experiences are both witty and brilliant.

Best piece of advice: Sleep your way to the top – quite literally! Arianna is an advocate of turning off all electronic devices and getting into bed early. Nothing will keep you motivated and creative like a good night’s sleep.

Best for: Burnt-out business women.

What: Lean In

Who: Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook)

What’s it all about? This book is for anyone who’s thought twice about taking a promotion because they want to start a family, for those women who have a tendancy to sit at the back of the meeting room struggling to get their voice heard, or for any woman who has doubted her decisions at work, cried in the office or felt that being a woman in the workplace can sometimes feel a bit more difficult than it should. So that’s most working women then… The biggest lesson I learned from this inspiring book is that I am not alone in nearly any of the negative emotions I have felt relating to business. Sheryl’s suggestions are practical, funny, easy to implement and will most definately gain you quick results. She has had an amazing career that spans five years at the Treasury, a stint at Google and is now working at Facebook. She reminds us that we are all capable of amazing things despite what we feel might be holding us back.

Best piece of advice: To accept that promotion / better job / extra-responsibility even if you are thinking about starting a family. It still takes nine months to actually make the baby and by that time to you will be able to leave and come back at a much higher level than if you hadn’t. Let go of the guilt.

Best for: Those trying to juggle family and work-life. Getting the balance is never easy but it is possible.

What: May Cause Miracles

Who: Gabrielle Bernstein

What’s it all about? A positive life change begins with a positive thought. Gabby believes that changing the way we think can have an incredible impact on the results we see in our days. So, for ease, she has put together a 6-week guide to happiness that will help you to think in a way that you’ll start to expect miracles to take place all the time. It’s all about choosing love over fear and pressing the reset button on negative feelings about yourself. I especially love her affirmations.

Best piece of advice: Adopt an attitude of gratitude!

Best for: Happy hunters and wellness warriors.

What: Food, inc.

Who: Based on the film by Robert Kenner and Edited by Karl Weber

What’s it all about? Based on the powerful documentary about the American food industry, this book will make you change the way you eat for good. Did you know that the medical costs imposed by the fast-food industry are much larger than its annual profits (not that the industry pays the bills!). This book will make you question the way you buy your food and make it impossible for you to eat meat again without knowing exactly where it came from. It looks at the hazards of genetically engineering food, the way animals are treated, pesticides, fast-food, kids’ nutrition and how we can all become much more nutrition savvy!

Best piece of advice: Give up meat for more than one day a week… Hello Meet-Free-Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday!

Best for: Meat eaters that want to make a change.

What: The 4-Hour Work Week

Who: Tim Ferriss

What’s it all about? Tim introduces us to a new way of thinking smart and getting rich. Forget the rat race he says, you can have it all and work less than you ever have before. I found this particularly helpful with practical tips on managing business without feeling like you have to be in the office 24/7 for things to run smoothly. This book shows you that there is no point in working for work’s sake – there is a big difference between being busy and being efficient. It will inspire you to create the life you actually want to live and will make you understand that there is never a ‘right’ time for doing it. It’s all about taking the plunge and giving you the tools to survive once you have. Time management features heavily in this book, which is brilliant for a workaholic like me!

Best piece of advice: Go on a low-information diet. Too much information will clutter our minds and make us less productive in the long run. Pus, consuming all that info takes way to much time.

Best for: Those wanting to escape the 9-5, do things their own way and make a lot of money in the process.

words by Sadie MacLeod