I love to read, but finding time in a busy week to curl up on the sofa or to lay out on a beach towel with a good book isn’t always easy to do. With a growing pile of books on my bedside table, mid last year I decided to do something different.

I swapped out my spotify playlist for an audiobook on my way to and from work each day. 20 minutes each way of learning about life, work and relationships rather than learning the lyrics to the current top 50 songs!

Doing this proved to be an awesome way to not only increase my knowledge, but also to create a pause and transition between work and home (I’ve alway’s had problems ‘switching off’ at the end of a work day).

In those 40 minutes 5 days a week I managed to churn through about 20 audiobooks of varying lengths and topics. Some had me nodding in agreement, some had me snoring and some were so good that I would sit in my driveway until the end of a chapter while the sky grew dark and my neighbours peeked out to see why my car was still running!

Here are the top five driveway-worthy books that challenged my thinking and in many ways have shifted my approach to business, health and mind.

Radical Candor

By Kim Scott

This book is a must read for anyone who aspires to be a great leader. Offering actionable insights based on Kim Scott’s experiences building and leading successful teams at Google and Apple.

The Radical Candor Matrix including the concepts of Ruinous Empathy (you care but don’t challenge) and Manipulative Insincerity (you neither challenge nor care) really made me think about how I interact with others and her Rockstars and Superstars definitions also made me assess the dynamics of my work team – who falls into which category and how do I effectively manage them?

 The 5AM Club

By Robin Sharma

This book is the ultimate guide to early rising habits sharing a little-known formula you can use instantly to wake up early feeling inspired, focused and flooded with a fiery drive to get the most out of each day.

The story like narrative to this book lends itself well to audiobooks. I was already rising at 5am before I listened to this book, but I found that the 5am club helped me to bring additional structure to the start of each day.

Stealing Fire

By Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal

Plato described ecstasis as an altered state where our normal waking consciousness vanishes completely, replaced by an intense euphoria and a powerful connection to a greater intelligence. 

Ever felt like you were totally ‘in-flow’ with the people and planet around you? Connected to something more powerful than yourself?

Stealing Fire explores the state of ‘ecstasis’; the term borrowed from the Ancient Greek ἔκστασις, “to be or stand outside oneself, a removal to elsewhere” from ek- “out,” and stasis “a stand, or a standoff of forces” is a term used in Ancient Greek, Christian and Existential philosophy. A highly addictive book that had me questioning the way I think, feel and interact with other beings and my attitudes towards medical, spiritual and recreational measures that humans take to reach a higher state.

Big Magic

By Elizabeth Gilbert

I love Elizabeth Gilbert.

I probably read Eat, Pray, Love on a bi-annual basis when I am at a crossroads, looking for new direction and fantasising about running away for a year to explore myself.

Big magic differs from Liz’s other books as it is incredibly practical with a goal for readers live more creatively. A creative life does not necessarily mean “pursuing a life that is professionally or exclusively devoted to the arts,” but “living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.” If you want to write or act or paint, this book wants to help you do that. But if you want to take figure skating lessons, learn to draw or build model airplanes, this book wants to help you do that too.

Braving The Wilderness

By Brené Brown

“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.” Social scientist Brené Brown has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives—experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy.

Much like Liz Gilbert, I love all of Brene Brown’s books but this most recent addition really came along at the right time, challenging me to question my fears and delve deeper into who I am.

For an even bigger list of my favourite reads, you can check out this blog post on the Gold Coast Innovation Hub website.

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