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My Top 5 books of 2021

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

Books are my happy place. I love reading. And I love sharing my book reviews with you all.

2021 has been a funny sort of year. It's been frustrating, and good. Endings and new beginnings. Hellos and goodbyes. And lots and lots of terrible things on the news.

I've done what I always do, read my way through the year.

Fiction, and non-fiction.

These are my Top 5 books of the year.

In 2021 I've managed to read and (almost) finish 22 non-fiction books.

Please note: these books are not necessarily new. It just so happens I've read them this year.

1. Humankind - Rutger Bregman

This book has shaped how I look at the news and the world. The premise of this book is that human beings are generally, well, kind. But that when humans started claiming property and people in power started wielding that power that we all have become fearful. A perspective-shaping, myth-busting, life-changing book (and yes, I know that's saying something)

2. How Confidence Works - Ian Richardson

We use the word 'confidence' so easily. But do we really know what it means? Is it self-esteem? Impostor Syndrome? Or is it, as Ian Richardson, psychiatrist and neuro-scientist, explains, a future prediction mechanism built on your beliefs if you Can Do something and if something Can Happen as result. A clearer way of describing what confidence is I've yet to encounter.

3. How emotions are made - Lisa Feldman Barratt

I was a bit intimidated first of all. A big scientific book about the brain. And about how emotions are made. It's uprooted everything I ever thought I knew about emotions. There is no 'elephant and rider'. There are no emotional 'monkeys' jumping on your back and hijacking your ability to respond rationally. Instead your brain constantly predicts the future, based on your previous experiences and your social environment, and no one's experiences are the same. A hugely important book!

4. Dare to lead - Brene Brown

Four attempts it took me. Four attempts to bite through terms like 'rumbling with vulnerability' and 'circling back'. The book talks about the need for organisations and leaders to be more open, to make values real, to build trust and to be more open about the stories we tell ourselves to others. The real eye opener is the question 'do you believe everyone always does the best they can with what they've got?' Think about that for a while. Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart. Powerful stuff.

5. Why men hate women - Laura Bates

OK, so I haven't finished it. Not yet. It is scary. Laura Bates has immersed herself in the quite frankly frightening world of (online) misogyny. She identifies groups of men who have found a world online that ranges from incels (involuntary celibates) to pick-up artists to men who avoid women altogether. What they all have in common are misogynistic views. What's frightening is the seeping of this online behaviour into the real world, resulting in - yes - women experiencing Everyday Sexism, outright misogyny, sexual assault, but also in it infiltrating politics and every day life. So yes, I started this book list with the assumption that everyone, in principle, is kind. That it's fear that's leading to bad behaviour and violence. Let's all keep that in mind, very firmly. Very very firmly.


Do YOU have three books on the go at any one time? A To Read list on your laptop? Are you ACTIVELY discouraging people to add to your To Read list?

In other words, do you LOVE reading? Why not join BOOK CLUB in Pick 'n Mix - the community for creative, multi-passionate women (it's FREE!)?

Tineke Tammes is an ICF credentialed Career Coach, who supports professional women in making successful transitions to careers of Freedom, Flexibility and Fulfilment! Besides that she is also a lifelong feminist, part-time portrait artist, never-only-read-one-book-at-any-time reader, and obsessive doodler. Oh, and she knows a bit about change management too.

Join her now in Pick 'n Mix - the FREE community for creative, multi-passionate women or sign up to the newsletter.

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