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7 Books That Have Been Given the "Life-Changing" Seal of Approval

December 30, 2020

A library of books

We (Tom and I) used to feel compelled to read books from cover to cover, but after listening to Naval’s take on books, we’ve learned to adopt a more relaxed approach to reading, and we encourage you to do the same.

Naval Ravikant’s thoughts on reading books:

When you come across a blog, you don’t read every single article. Instead, you find the articles that interest you and read those. Treat books like a blog archive. Skim through the book for ideas that capture your interest, skip boring chapters, and read only what you need. Let go of the pressure to finish every book you start. 

You might find that certain books you pick up now might not resonate with you until much later in life.

If you’re searching for some book inspiration, you’ve come to the right place!  We asked a few friends of Saint Belford to share one book that has greatly influenced their life so you can feel inspired to create your very own reading list for 2021. 


What’s one book that has greatly influenced your life? Share one of your biggest takeaways or insights from that book.

Simple, Soulful, Sacred by Megan Dalla-Camina
. It is an absolute go-to, nightstand, bag worthy book that essentially is a practical guide to coming home to yourself. It taught me to really slow down during my days, to mindfully notice every little experience, and to inject more gratitude into those experiences. 

It was also a beautiful reminder that the wisdom we seek is within. If we allow ourselves the space to tune in, to listen, to remember, the wisdom will surface. All we need to do is surrender to that process of leaning in, trusting, and allowing. 

Daniella Elias, Amity Created


Gloria Steinem’s ‘My Life on the Road’. It was the first feminist text I read by a woman who was a journalist, activist and feminist that showed what living a life dedicated to something bigger than yourself looked like. 

Her life was anything but ordinary and yet she wrote about all the ordinary moments that lead to great learnings and awakenings. She tells stories of the different people she met throughout her work and travels that helped her to understand life; from the truck driver, to the doctor, to her mother, everyone she writes about reminds you of someone you know.

Her life story, one of activism and breaking barriers, introduced me to a different way of living, to the passion of creating change and breaking the system of oppression, and all the isms that go with it. 

She is brave and bold and clever and yet she felt like an ordinary woman living a life that was in line with her values and beliefs. She was the first person to truly teach me what integrity looked and felt like and what it meant to live a life of alignment between your beliefs, thoughts and actions. 

Kate Rizzo, Grow Club


I have about 10... But here's two that have really done wonders for me.

Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty—It's about finding meaning and purpose in everyday life. 

Biggest takeaway was digging to the deepest why behind what you think you want. And using intention in everything you do to determine the things you really want and the person you want to be. As well as overcoming the ego.

Spirit Hacking by Shaman Durek—Absolutely shook me to the core. It's all about tapping into your spirit. Biggest takeaway was not identifying with emotions but instead leaning into them, understanding why they have been presented to you and then letting them go to move forward. The book does a really amazing job at understanding identity and how to separate yourself from the perceived identity you create through conditioning and outside validation. 

Monique Medved, Finally Found Podcast 


The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. The book really highlights how it's the small daily disciplines that are both easy to do and easy not to do, that ultimately determine the outcome of our life. It’s easy to read 10 pages of a book everyday or meditate for five min when you get out of bed, but it’s also easy not to do them because they seem so small and insignificant.On their own they are small, but done daily and compounded over years, these are the things that truly define the trajectory and outcome of our lives.

James Harrisson, The James Harrisson Show 


I’ve got two books to share:

The Self-Care Project by Jane Hardy helped me redefine self-care. It’s not just about the activities and rituals we engage in. It’s not just about checking things off a list. It’s about the boundaries we establish to protect our wellbeing. This book is such a refreshing and practical guide to incorporating self-care into your everyday life. A must-read for those who are new to the concept of self-care. 

Atomic Habits by James Clear. This was such an empowering read. Definitely one of the most practical books I’ve read to date. Applying what you learn in this book has the capacity to truly transform all areas of your life.

My biggest takeaway is this—our behaviour is largely influenced by our environment and the cues we are exposed to. A small change in what we see or experience can greatly influence the habits we engage in. For this reason, optimising our environment by removing sources of temptation is a far more effective strategy for building new habits than trying to exercise willpower.

Alex Phillips, Saint Belford


Skin In The Game by Nassim Taleb is a book I continuously reread. It contains a bunch of original ideas and is somewhat of a business book in disguise. Taleb is blunt and arrogant but brilliant. It’s serious, fun and entertaining all at the same time. If you’re into business, science or philosophy you won’t be disappointed. 

One takeaway:

Taleb’s “Minority rule”. The most intolerant minority actually control much of modern life as we know it. This is why peanuts aren't allowed in primary schools and all new establishments need handicapped parking and access. It's also why most restaurants today have vegan and gluten free options on the menu. I'm sure you can think of other examples where minorities play such an influential role in society. You can read this chapter free onlinehere.

Tom Stanford, Saint Belford