Top 10 books about self-improvement

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Wednesday December 22, 2021 at 3:54pm
In time for new year resolutions, a cultural historian chooses some of the best guides to making a better life, dating back to some of our earliest literature.

1. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
The Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius (AD 121–180) believed that all suffering is in our minds. Suffering is caused not by external events but by our reactions to those events – by faulty judgments and unrealistic expectations. Given that most external events are beyond our control, Aurelius argues in his Meditations that it is pointless to worry about them. Our evaluations of these events, by contrast, are completely within our control. It follows that all our mental energies should be directed inwards, with a view to controlling our minds. The key to a happy life, then, lies in adjusting our expectations, because “only a madman looks for figs in winter”.

2. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D Burns (1980)
The science underpinning Burns’s book may no longer be cutting-edge, but its core message remains a powerfully relevant one. A more down-to-earth version of Stoicism, it is based on the premises of..   View whole article

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