Inspiramos

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Useful Resources

At Inspiramos we strongly believe in one of Anthony Robbins' maxims that "Leaders are Readers." As such we would recommend the following resources that we have either read, viewed or listened to in their entirety.

Books

Bandler R. & Grinder J. "Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Volume 1." Grinder and Associates (1996).
In coaching we often hear the advice to "find somebody who does x or y well and model them." Despite this it is surprisingly rare to find good examples of modelling in coaching and training literature. This classic written by the co-founders of NLP not only gives an insight into the patterns of the work of Erickson but also a feel for what it takes to model a genius rigorously. This is not an easy book to read but well worth it just for Erickson's special inquiry with Aldous Huxley into the nature and character of his various states of consciousness. If you want to cut to the chase though the patterns of Erickson's techniques are laid out in section 3 (the last 70 pages or so)

Bandler R., Delozier J., & Grinder J. "Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Volume 2." Grinder and Associates (1996). The second volume of this NLP seminal piece on modelling is both ingenious and awkward! The book is ingenious because of the depth to which it analyses how humans communicate and represent the world around them. In order to do this Bandler and his co-authors introduce the reader to the concept of the "4-tuple." The 4-tuple refers to how we use our senses to frame our representations; this in turn assists the hypnotist or communicator in identifying lead representational systems, preferred modalities and congruence within representations with a view to providing resources and new outcomes for the person involved. Interestingly, it is in this volume that Bandler and his colleagues introduce the reader to the eye accessing cues often used in training and coaching sessions. It should be pointed out that the authors themselves acknowledge that the system of eye accessing cues is in and of itself a generalisation - something we are not often told in the training room. Why is this book awkward? In this volume the text font and size subtly change throughout leaving the reader considering if this is some kind of hypnotic game brought in by the authors! There are also two long transcripts (pages 120 - 231) of Erickson at work in hypnosis that are dissected in detail by the authors in order to explain exactly what is happening. While these hypnotic transcripts are difficult to read an investment of time in them will bring rewards to scholars of NLP and advanced interpersonal communication.

Bandler R. & Grinder J. "The Structure of Magic II. A Book About Communication and Change." Science and Behaviour Books (1976). We have all been on those development courses or coaching sessions where we have been told the importance of our representational systems (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory and gustatory) in terms of our understanding of the world and how that impacts on our performance in life It is not until you read the original work on this by the founders of NLP that you realise how superficial modern training and coaching sessions are. Framed more in a therapeutic setting this book delves into using the client representational systems to identify incongruity, to challenge them through polarity sorting and then how to reach harmony through the process of integration. In addition this book looks at the impact of "fuzzy functions" in human relatioships (especially family relationships) before proffering a formal notation process to be used in therapy and coaching which is based on a combination of algebra, logic theory and group theory. This is a very deep piece of work (not the most exciting to read) which acknowledges many intellectual contributors; not least Bertrand Russel's work on "Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy" and "Principia Mathematica." Hard going to read but with an abundance of learning.

Bavister S. & Vickers A. "Teach Yourself NLP." Hodder Education (2004).
For those interested in NLP and performance psychology this is a short and succinct text that clearly outlines the key themes of the subject. Albeit a basic text it is very tightly laid out and organised - perfect for anybody with a procedure orienatated meta-program!

Byrne R. "The Secret." Simon and Schuster (2006).

Rather than a book on self development this international bestseller is a book about personal transformation. Rather than being grounded in the traditional self development disciplines like psychology this work is grounded deeply in metaphysics. Byrne contends that The Secret a.k.a. the Law of Attraction has been the preserve of a select few thoughout history but is now, mainly due to her work, in possession of the masses. For the sceptic this book is a massive challenge because it dispells the Universe's traditional continuums of space and time and acertains that the Universe will deliver what we ask for, believe in and subsequently receive through the Law of Attraction. This is well written, easy to read (although sometimes repetitive) and asks very deep questions. It is underpinned by the apparently separate yet remarkably similar comments and quotes from both historical and present day practitioners of The Secret. The question is .... "Do you believe....?"

Byrne R. "The Secret - Daily Teachings." Atria Books (2008).

It is often said that true developmental change does not stem from a training or coaching event but the process of learning and applying new insights over a significant amount of time thus forming a positive habit. "The Secret - Daily Teachings" is a book made up of 365 quotes, statements, insights and observations that reinforce the messages of the "The Secret"; one to be read and pondered on every day for a year! Although this book is clearly a marketing extension of the original "The Secret" it is a pleasure to read and serves to frame every day in a positive way. We suggest reading each contribution at the start of each day thus allowing the Law of Attraction to take its effect throughout the same day! Great fun and packed with great quotes for the training and development professional.

Byrne R. "The Power" Simon and Schuster (2010).

This book can be treated on a number of levels. At the basic level it is true that it can be considered a blatant marketing extension of "The Secret" that rehashes the Law of Attraction as something called "the power". There are a series of on-line and scathing reviews that represent this school of thought. Our analysis is less scathing as the first thing you notice from this book is that the band of contemporary practitioners of the Law of Attraction who were the mesh of "The Secret" are absent this time. Whether due to contractual reasons or not there is no more reference to Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield, Jo Vitale and the rest of the gang (numbering around 25). What we get instead is a similar yet less sensational piece of work that relies on Byrne's own research into the Law of Attraction and its philosophical roots. While a handful of the historical quotations may appear to be a little tenuous (in relation to the Law of Attraction), the majority are dusted off gems indicative of, and testimony to, Rhonda Byrne's extensive reading. At the very least this is a further contribution to positive thinking. At the most it is life changing. For us, it was a significant contribution to positive thinking (but no more than "The Secret") and a massive introduction to the historical gurus of self development and observers of The Law. Above and beyond Proctor, Canfield, Vitale et. al. now consider Neville Goddard (1905-1972), Christian D. Larson (1874-1962) and Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380). Their gang numbers a lot more than 25!

Covey, SR. "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Powerful Lessons in Personal Change." Simon and Schuster (2004).
Although first written in 1989 the quality of this polemic is evident in its longevity and international acclaim. In the new edition Covey challenges the reader to undertake a paradigm shift in a world of increasing blame, conflict and lack of life balance.

Duncan, K. "Teach Yourself Running Your Own Business." Hodder Arnold (2005). This book is the logical sequel to "Teach Yourself Setting Up a Business" by Hughes and Weller. Indeed, we have seen them sold as a set in a couple of reputable bookshops. If you are new to running a business this book is useful because it considers the tools you need to run a business, getting the money right, getting the communication right, time management and how to keep motivated and enthused. If you are not new to running a business the book would also be useful as it serves as a checklist of the behaviours that may be refined. The book is laid out as a checklist of 110 things to get right with an associated text for each.

Haralambos M. & Holborn M. "Sociology: Themes and Perspectives." 5th Ed. Collins (2000).
To A' Level and degree students of social science this may seem a very strange addition to a reading list on a training and development website. The reason for adding in this book is that it is the best organised publication that covers the whole continuum of social phenomena (e.g. gender, religion, race, crime, family, education etc.) against the different sociological and philosophical schools of thought (e.g. Marxist, functionalist, symbolic interactionist, post-modernist). Modern coaching demands that the coach must be flexible to see scenarios from a plethora of different potential perspectives; in NLP this is like "perceptual postioning." So if you want to feel comfortable with any audience as a trainer or coach because you can see most subject matters from from most philosophical or sociological schools of thought and be in a position to ask great questions this is the book to have as the definitive platform. In terms of being streetwise in the training room we could not recommend this any higher.

Hicks E. and Hicks J. "Ask and it is Given" Hay House (2008). This is one of several books published by the Hicks' under their Teachings of Abraham banner. The book implies that "Abraham" himself is some kind of cosmic sage(s) with whom Esther Hicks can communicate and subsequently share her learning. Ask and it is Given became an instant bestseller upon publication and is widely accepted as the inspiration behind The Secret. Upon reading the book it is very clear that there is a link between the two publications. Having said this Ask and it is Given is more subtle and less sensationalist than the book and film it inspired. For example, this book appreciates that it is very difficult to attract a very positive and resourceful emotion if your current emotion is very low. The contention is that while the Law of Attraction is the key it is necessary to think and (very importantly) feel one's way to the next attainable point of desire and attraction in smaller meaningful steps. The brilliant part of this book is Part Two that outlines 22 strategies to support the reader to think, focus and feel new points of attraction and desire. One of the strategies, Segment Intending, is very powerful and useful in moving towards positive outcomes.

Hill N. "Think and Grow Rich." Vermillion (2004). This international bestseller was first published in 1937 and is quoted by many wealthy people as a key contributor to their growth in riches. The book is the result of 20 years of research into the thinking and behaviours of five hundred of the richest people in the USA. Napoleon Hill, a contemporary of Dale Carnegie who became wealthy himself, presents the book as a detailed philosophy to becoming rich. The book itself proffers a philosophy of wealth based on thirteen "steps" and is essentially a manual of self discipline and mental focus with plenty of exercises and drills to help generate results. Some of the steps are not out of the ordinary, eg. developing desire, faith, imagination, organised plans and persistence. Perhaps more interesting though are the steps on specialised knowledge, autosuggestion, the power of the Master Mind and sex transmutation. In post-depression America these latter steps may have appeared odd or strange but with the passing of time these steps are not out of step with some of the modern thinking in quantum physics and philosophy. A book well worth reading whether you seek material wealth or spiritual wealth.

Honore, C."In Praise of Slow. How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed." Orion (New Ed. 2005).
Did you know why historically battles and duals only took place at dawn? Because we had not split time into minutes, hours and seconds - the only point of reference we had to meet each other was the sun! Now that humans have mastered the measurement of time we are moving to a speed culture that includes speed walking, speed reading, speed dating and fast food. While speed can be useful the relentless infatuation with it may be driving us to a dangerous compromise of quantity over quality. This is a fantastic global and cultural tour that warns of the danger of superficiality overriding wisdom and depth.

Hughes V. and Weller D. "Teach Yourself Setting Up a Small Business." Hodder Education (2006). This very easy to read book proved to be very useful in the setting up of Inspiramos. Both authors who jointly set up their own business back in 1980 have taken a lot of time to answer all of the silly questions that people think but are perhaps fearful of asking. The chapters (including subjects like money, premises, methods of trading, marketing, doing the books and employing others) all conclude with simple checklists to ensure that the would be business owner has a good idea if they are on the right lines and what else they need to consider to ensure success. For anybody thinking about starting a business from scratch this is possibly the best 170 or so pages they could read.

James, O. "Affluenza." Vermilion (2007). This Sunday Times bestseller tracks the origin and spread of "affluenza" from the USA and across the English speaking world. Affluenza is mental distress (James deliberately avoids the word depression) caused by the relentless pressures of consumerism in the 21st century. Brilliantly researched, James builds a convincing argument that the pressures of modern society and the requirement to perform and be successful actually drives us away from our intrinsic motives and motivations. Drawing from the philosophy of Erich Fromm laid out in his book "The Sane Society" , James argues that we are being detatched from our Authentic Selves in order to become Marketing Characters. This dichotomy is the source of affluenza. All however, is not lost, as James' study took in a series of non-English speaking countries where affluenza is less evident. Indeed, the sociological and psychological set up of some of these countries proffer "vaccines" for affluenza. The only problem is that with the advent of globalisation and the freeing up of markets the perfect environment for the virus to spread now exists.

Johnson, S. Dr. "Who Moved my Cheese?". Vermilion (2002).
Handling and managing change is a key thread in coaching and development with a whole range of approaches. This short, simple, metaphorical book, first published in 1988, is one of the finest examples of teaching and coaching through a story line. Why not follow the antics of such characters as Sniff and Scurry, two little mice looking for their next fill of cheese? This is the Law of Requisite Variety explained for all in a fun way.

Kiyosaki R. "Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach their Kids - that you you can learn too." Time Warner (2004).
This is an easy to read book; the strength of it being the rhetorical questions it asks about our assumption relating to richness and wealth. Indeed, the first sentence of the book is one such question. "Study hard and get good grades and you will find a high-paying job with great benefits." This is the mantra of the vast majoritiy of parents in the developed world. How true is it though?

Knight S. "NLP at Work - The Essence of Excellence." 3rd Ed. Nicholals Brealey Publishing (2009). A great text that introduces the practical application of NLP into the work environment. Inasmuch as this is the 3rd edition the book does well to keep on top of changes in the work environment with some great insight into subjects like e-mail communication, website utilisation and clean questioning. There are also some really interesting developments in areas such as the use of humour which is not typically found in  NLP works. The book contains useful case studies and examples although these may need refreshing in subsequent editions due to their appropriateness (e.g. Lance Armstrong). In addition some of the NLP step processes feel long compared to their layout in some other texts (which assumes the other texts are thorough!); some having up to 13 steps. When all is said and done this book is a must for the work based NLP practitioner.

Lewis Dr. J & Webster A. "Sort Your Brain Out." Capstone 2014. This very easy to read book comes highly recommended by a raft of high profile leaders and captains of industry including Dame Sarah Storey OBE. The book sits comfortably in the middle of the triangle that has neuroscience, social psychology and biochemistry as it vertices. Based on the most recent research the book is full of advice on some obvious subjects like diet, exercise and sleep but also some far less obvious subjects that serve to enhance personal performance e.g. keeping senility at bay. A great book to read at the turn of a new year to support those well intentioned resolutions!  

Machiavelli N. "The Prince" Vintage Classics (2009). We first came across "The Prince" when reading Professor Brian Magee's "The Story of Philosophy." We were then subsequently surprised to see it residing on the business and personal development shelves of a number of book shops. Indeed, The Guardian has gone as far as to say "Everybody should have a copy of Machiavelli's The Prince." The question is why? This classic treatise in political philosophy was written in the 16th century by Machiavelli to regain favour with the Medici family in their machinations to acquire land and wealth in Italy. The book is twenty six short chapters of political and military strategy outlining the best (and sometimes quite cynical) practices for a Prince to prosper and become abundant within his principality. Evidence supporting the practices is quoted throughout. Although Machiavelli's name has become synonymous with cunning opportunism the read is fascinating. It is in this masterpiece that Machiavelli argues that it may be better to be feared than loved. To get the very best from the book read it as a metaphor of the corporate organisation.

Magee B. "The Story of Philosophy." Dorley Kindersley (2001).

The praise bestowed on Professor Bryan Magee by The Times aptly describes this book; "As a popularizer of philosophy Bryan Magge is unsurpassed." This book falls into the same category as Haralambos and Holborn's "Sociology. Themes and Perspectives." because it provides the reader with a raft of ways to consider different scenarios, not least the philosophy of knowledge and the philosophy of learning. Starting with the Pre-Socratic philosophers Magee takes us on a beautifully illustrated trip through Greek philosophy, early Christian philosophy, the birth of modern science, rational philosophy, the great empiricists, the revolutionary French thinkers, German philosophy and up to democracy and philosophy in the twentieth century. Beyond giving the reader different thinking approaches the book is packed with concepts and methods that are very useful in the training and coaching environment. A small sample of many examples of these include the Socratic Method, the Dialectic, the concept of Universals (very similar and perhaps a precursor to nominalisations in NLP), Linguistic Analysis (again very similar to Virginia Satir's Meta-model), and our favourite which is Ockham's Razor. An excellent offering for the scholar of philosophy or for the interested lay person.

Mckenna, P. "Change Your Life in 7 Days." Bantam Press (2004).
For those people who have heard about NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) and wondered what on earth it is all about this is perhaps the book that most simply explains the theory and combines it with some easy yet very powerful personal development techniques. While the term "NLP" is not used once in the book the initiated will immediately spot the themes of perceptual positioning, reframing and anchoring among many others.

Molden, D & Hutchinson P "Brilliant NLP." Pearson Education Ltd. (2008).
A basic and useful introduction to NLP with some good working examples in it. Not dissimilar to "Teach Yourself NLP" by Bavister & Vickers.

Moore, P. "E=MC2 The Great Ideas that Shaped Our Lives." New Burlington Books (2003). This very readable book is made up of 49 two to three page biographies of those geniuses who have shaped our lives through seeing their ideas come to fruition. These people have contributed in terms of our understanding of the nature of nature, the structure of nature, the earth, the universe, mathematics, medicine and the inventions we use. Some of the names are household names like Einstein, Ford and Edison; others are not. From a training and development point of view the book offers a multitude of examples of beautiful thinking and sheer persistence. We particularly liked the story of Robert Ehrlich (1854-1915). Ehrlich was the founding father of using chemicals as "magic bullets" to kill bacteria; he coined the term chemotherapy. When looking for a chemical to kill spirochete, the bug that causes syphilis, his first 605 efforts had no effect. Compound 606 did! He then found out that compound 606 was very difficult to manufacture on a wide scale. He went back to the drawing board and found success with compound 914. Ehrlich and his assistant produced and tested every compound individually!

Morgan, F.E. "Living the Martial Way: A Manual for how a Modern Warrior should Think." Barricade Books (1992). We were attracted to this book while developing an interest in the philosophy of the martial arts. The book serves to put the martial "arts" into a holistic context.  The first contention of the book is that those who practice martial "arts" are sports people and enthusiasts of hobbies. Rather than be a martial "artist" the key is to live the martial "way"; a lifestyle rather than an activity. There are some very interesting chapters on the history of the martial arts and the link between religion and the martial arts. There are also some dated chapters like the one on physical training. However, this book makes some really interesting points about the key attributes associated with the martial arts that are often misunderstood by non-practitioners. This book comes into its own in its discussions of topics like loyalty, honour, discipline, courage and the like.

Mulford, P. "Thoughts are Things." United Holdings Group (2011). We first came across Prentice Mulford as one of the authors quoted by Rhonda Byrne in "The Secret" and realising that he was working in the latter part of the nineteenth century quickly discovered how inexpensive it is to download his work onto an e-book. Thoughts are Things was instrumental in the founding of New Thought Philosophy and Mulford is often referred to in the same breath as the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Collier and Wallace Wattles. As such the premise of this treatise is that everything within the Universe is sourced from thought and that the mastery of thinking is the foundation stone of how we generate the outcomes we want. In short, the book openly proclaims that we are what think and shares with us the origins of this contention as well as the key disciplines of how to put it into practice. The book does show its age a little and may be a difficult one to digest if you are sceptical about the Law of Attraction. However, when read in the run up to a new year (as we did) it is dfficult to suggest that it is not an inspiring book for thinking about new mental resolutions.

O'Connor, F. "Work Less, Achieve More - Great Ideas to Get Your Life Back."Headline Publishing Group (2009). This very easy to read book does what many time management and project management offerings fail to do to handle unhappy, stressed and overworked people's lives; and that is to deal with the cause rather than the symptoms of the chaos. By applying the simple economic principles of supply and demand laid down by James Denham-Steuart as early as 1767 O'Connor leads the reader through a simple and effective threefold strategy of saying "no" nicely, prioritising viciously and planning instead of firefighting. The key principles of the book are very simply laid out using examples and can be applied both individually and at an organisational level. For anybody thinking about project managing the launch of a business O'Connor's example of Green Cleaning Services shows that it is not a difficult task; rather a task that requires the thorough application of simple ideas. This book is more about a paradigm change in the way we think about lifestyle than a simple reorganisation of an already flawed "to-do" list.

O'Connor, J. "NLP and Sports." Thorsons (2001).
As a subject matter NLP can be challenging to define and put some kind of parameter around. This book is a great read because it applies the key principles and techniques of NLP to sport, regardless of which sport you participate in. We challenge you to read this book and religiously follow the techniques in it. If you do the chances are you will discover peak performance. One of the Inspiramos team did this and took an hour off of their best marathon time!

Owen, N. "The Magic of Metaphor - 77 Stories for Teachers, Thinkers and Trainers." Crown House Publishing Ltd. (2007).
One of the challenges of working with a widely mixed audience is to ensure a blanket understanding of your material. One way to do this is to use similes, analogies and stories. This collection of short stories from many eras and many parts of the world is a beautiful read and a perfect tool for simplifying concepts while entertaining your audience.

Owen, N. "More Magic of Metaphor - Stories for Leaders, Influencers and Motivators." Crown House Publishing Ltd. (2006).
While "The Magic of Metaphor" is a fantastic book this truly is an excellent book that takes the use of metaphor to a new and deeper level. In this offering we travel with the newly qualified Young Magician and his wise magic carpet Sayyid to pick up knowledge through stories all around the globe. What differentiates this book though is how Owen analyses each story through the leadership theories of Clare Graves (Spiral Dynamics) and Ken Wilber (Theory of Everything) to give a wonderful and entertaining insight into leadership, influence and motivation. A must have.

Peters, Dr. S "The Chimp Paradox." Vermilion (2012). It is important to lay down the context of this book before considering its content. Hailed by no less than the likes of Sir Chris Hoy this book is billed as a mind management system and is crammed with stretegies and tactics for whatever one wishes to put one's mind to. Dr. Peters himself is a psychiatrist but no ordinary psychiatrist; he is/was the performance director for the British cycling team and hailed as the guru of their success. Therefore, if it assumed that the content of the book (rather than just Dr. Peters himself) played a part in the performance of the British cyclists this is certainly a book where it is necessary to put the theory into practice. The content itself is very clearly laid out and deals with the interplay between the metaphoric parts of the human mind, dubbed by the author as "the chimp", "the human" and the "computer." The content has similarities to the work of the Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman in his book "Thinking Fast and Slow."  One of the concepts we particularly liked was that of the "square of communication." It would be accurate to say that Peters (and Kahneman) have struck upon something related to the workings of the human mind that, if worked with, can genuinely enhance desired outcomes.

Robbins, A. "Awaken the Giant Within." 2nd Ed. Pocket Books (2001).
A must read book for anybody seeking personal motivation. In this book Robbins proffers his model of Neuro-Associative Conditioning (NAC) as the model of motivation for personal happiness and success.

Risner, N. "It's a Zoo Around Here - New Rules for Better Communication." Limitless Publications (2005).
This is a very short and easy to read metaphorical treatise equating human communication styles to the personas of lions, monkeys, dolphins and elephants! While this book has nothing like the metaphorical depth of "Who Moved My Cheese" it is an invaluable tool for anybody who is taking up a role as a leader of people and who wants to truly enjoy the meaningful interpersonal connections that entails.

Rosen, S (Ed) "My Voice Will Go With You: The Teaching Tales of Milton H. Erickson." Norton (1991).
Milton H Erickson has been called the most influential hypnotherapist of our time and to that extent his work and case studies have been pawed over by a multitude of academics (including John Grinder and Richard Bandler) in order to model the secret of his sucess. Many of his linguistic and communcation techniques (eg reframing and indirect suggestion) have been laid bare and are commonly used in therapy and other disciplines now. This is a great book for the scholar trying to get psychological insight into how to appeal to the subconscious or for the less scholarly looking for a very interesting read.

Russell, B "The Problems of Philosophy." Vook (2010). This short classic is one Bertrand Russell's attempts to create a brief and accessible guide to the problems associated with the discipline of philosophy. The book focuses very much on our experience of "knowledge" including to what extent external objects actually exist. The book contains very interesting and essential ideas including "sense data" and Russell's 1910 distinction between knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by distinction. From a personal development point of view the book is valuable because it questions the reader as to the validity of what they unquestionably believe and experience on a day-to-day basis.

Starr, J "The Coaching Manual."Pearson Education Ltd (2008). This manual of the processes, principles and skills involved in personal coaching is described as the most current, comprehensive and practical he has ever seen by none other than Dr. Stephen R Covey. The book is easy to read and is full of examples to illustrate the fundamental skills, structure and process of coaching. There are also excellent chapters on barriers to coaching and emotional maturity in coaching. The book has been described as "basic." We would counter this because the principles and skills required to coach are actually basic. Coaching really is well thought out questions (invariably open ones) that test and marry up values and beliefs in a way that produce positive developmental outcomes. We agree with Julie Starr when she says what is not said in coaching is as important as what is said. For example, in a coaching capacity how often do we proffer solutions, strategise on behalf of the coachee or strive to show off how much information we know? Why add fruit, cream and custard to what should be the perfect sponge!

Stowell, SJ & Starcevich MM. "The Coach - Creating Patnerships for a Competitive Edge." Revised Ed. Centre for Management and Organizational Effectiveness (1998).
A great read for anybody interested in one-to-one coaching. The behaviours required of a top coach are identified and de-mystified into the 8 Step model.

Syed, M "Bounce." Fourth Estate (2010). This gripping study into performance psychology and the true nature of expertise is a revelation for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is difficult to argue with the credentials of the author. Although a journalist now Matthew Syed is an ex-Olympian and a three times Commonwealth table tennis champion. Secondly, the arguments within the books are very tightly referenced to contemporary research in sports science, neuroscience, psychology, sociology and economics. Thirdly, the book covers the whole globe and a whole array of disciplines (sport, business, medicine and firefighting to name a few)in order to tackle its main subject matter; How are champions (in any discipline) made? The conclusion to this tour de force is that as a society we have had the wool pulled over our eyes to accept that talent is the answer when in fact the evidence does not support this! We are then taken on a journey through the new evidence that spills out an array of validated concepts that a person serious about developing others cannot help but embrace. The 10,000 hour rule, purposeful practice and the attainment of deep automated knowledge are just a few concepts from this very rich crop. You will also learn the value of praising effort and not performance; key to the success of our next generation.

Tolle, E "A New Earth." Penguin (2009). This book is a worthy and brilliant follow on from "The Power of Now" with its investigation of how ego and ego identification can impact detrimentally on our experience of life. When reading Tolle it is difficult to know whether to be bowled over by his insightful simplicity or to feel as though you are missing something deep and insightful. Whichever camp you fall into there is something in this book for you. As with "The Power of Now"  Tolle makes it clear that true oneness with the universe (i.e. without ego identification) can only be found in the present moment. We really liked the concepts of the three modalities of awakened doing introduced at the end of the book. It seems totally reasonable that to live in the present and to choose either to accept, enjoy or enthuse about our experience of life would make the journey that is life far more happy and rewarding. The secret lies in remembering to be present.

Wattles, WD "The Science of Success." Sterling Publishing Company (2007). This fascinating book is in fact a trilogy of three of Wattles' most popular works; namely "The Science of Getting Rich", "The Science of Being Well" and "The Science of Being Great." Wattles himself died in 1911 making this work at least a century old. As a self-taught philosopher and theologian and a leading proponent of the New Thought school he has many modern advocates. Rhonda Byrne cites "The Science of Getting Rich" as her motivation for creating "The Secret." Warren Buffet also cites the same book in explaining his wealth. Interestingly, both Byrne and Buffet are on the record as being particularly influenced by Chapter 7 which is dedicated to the power of gratitude. The second book, "The Science of Being Well", covers a number of health matters. The segment dedicated to diet has a very uncanny similarity to Paul McKenna's "I Can Make You Thin." All in all the value of this resource will depend on your orientation towards the the New Thought movement, the Law of Attraction and the Christian slant of the book (while Wattles uses such titles as Universal God, Universal Intelligence and the Supreme Spirit his references within the book are all from Christian source material). At its best this book will be life changing vis a vis Byrne and Buffet; at its worst it is still a powerful treatise on disciplined thinking.

Wiseman, R. ":59 Seconds. Think a little, Change a lot." Macmillan (2009). Derren Brown describes this book as a "triumph of scientifically proven advise over misleading myths of self-help. Challenging, uplifting and long overdue." In this book Britain's only Profeesor for the Public Understanding of Psychology takes a number of phenomena including happiness, creativity, persuasion, motivation and decision-making (among others) and reviews the academic published data on them to proffer a serious and rigorous framework for personal development that can be practiced in a matter of seconds. The book is easy to read, humerous and very insightful. As an aside it raises questions about the scholarly depth of much of the published self-help literature in the market place. Even "established" schools of thought like NLP have only a limited claim to be based on scientifically valid foundations. All in all one is left thinking that self development really is a complicated mix of scientifically proven methods and techniques backed by a willingness to act and believe.

Wiseman, R. "Rip It Up: The Radically New Approach to Changing your Life." Macmillan (2012). This book is an evidence based tour of the social and psychological research associated with aspects of wellbeing including happiness, attracting relationships, mental health, will power, and persuasion among others. The book is funny and easy to read and in a similar style to the brilliant ":59 seconds." The central concept in the book is the "as if"  principle that asserts that behaviour is the precursor to emotion and not the other way around. This is indeed a radical challenge to traditional psychological approaches and what is commonly understood; explaining the title of the book. As such the book is also a homage to the philosopher William James while casting doubt on the developmental and therapeutic value of Freud and the psychoanalytical schools. Each chapter ends with fun exercises that put the "as if" principle into practice.

Woodsmall, M & Woodsmall W. "People Pattern Power - The Nine Keys to Business Success." Next Step Press (1998). Hailing from the International Research Institute for Human Typology Studies the Woodsmalls have created the classic book that identifies and lays bare some of the key human perceptual filters (called meta programs in the NLP literature) while guiding the student in how to work with them to enhance their own impact. The book is written from the point of view of a new manager who joins an organisation called Success Incorporated and who receives induction training from the MD, the Head of Sales, the Head of Negotiations, the Head of Training and the Head of Personnel; each in turn explaining how to apply each of the nine keys to their own area of expertise. This structure makes the book formulaic and predictable for the reader but depite this the quality of the content wins through. Perhaps the book appeals more to those with a structurist organisational meta program rather than those with a free spirit organisational meta program!

Audio

Achor S. "The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work." Random House Audio (2010). As a student, researcher and lecturer at Harvard University Achor is well placed to uncover what the keys to happiness and success are. Indeed, his in depth research starts with a counter-intuitive finding which is that success does not lead to happiness but that happiness leads to success. It is this fact that differentates those who survive in the competitive exnvironment of Harvard and those who do not. This is a fantastic read that offers seven very practical principles to unveil happiness. Perfect for the cynical reader who places value on understanding supporting evidence before taking action.

Bandler R. "Get the Life you Want: the Secrets to Quick and Lasting Life Change with Neuro-Linguistic Programming." (Unabridged) Audible Inc. (2009). We picked up this audio book during our first browse on the audible.co.uk website. The audio book is split into three sections; namely getting over things, getting through things and getting to things. During the five hours of narrative 35 life enhancing exercises are shared by the author. Some of the exercises are a little bit more left field than others (e.g. mentally preparing to complete a tax return!). The vast majority of the exercises use the familiar NLP techniques of mapping submodalities across from positive experiences to negative representations. The tried and trusted SWISH pattern also features. A new concept to us in the book which we found very interesting was that of "spinning" feelings to generate great outcomes. All in all we found our very modest investment in this audio book to be very good value. It is just a real shame that the audio book is not narrated by Richard Bandler himself as this creates one level of detachment from the content for the listener.

Ben-Shahar T. "Choose the Life you Want: 101Ways to Create Your Own Road to Happiness" (Unabridged). HighBridge Company (2012).  One of the challenges in determining our own wellbeing and happiness is a failure to recognise how much choice we actually have. Starting from this premise this book highlights those choices (there are 101 of them laid out in short chapter form) and guides us through the options that are optimal based on current research in neuroscience and social psychology. While many of the choices may appear obvious many are not and one soon starts to learn how much we are creatures of self limiting decisions and habits. Fun, easy to read and very informative.

Brown B. "I Thought it was Just me (but it isn't) (Unabridged) Audible Inc. (2010). Dr. Brown is one of the world's leading academics on the subject of shame and this polemic is a study of shame based on interviews with hundreds of American women over a period of 7 years. Brown exposes how subtle and complexed shame is with its social, psychological and cultural threads. It is the universal emotion that nobody (including mental health professionals) wants to talk about. However, Brown has discovered in her research that there is such a phenomenon as "shame-resillience" that is made up of four different elements. She also shares some great concepts that are invaluable for trainers and coaches. Her concept of "critical awareness" and the series of questions she has derived to draw this out in people is brilliant. When it comes to training and coaching specifically we think that this book offers great value on two specific points. Firstly, we learned that shame is a deep and multifaceted emotion that can not be dealt with using "cook book" solutions. Secondly, and probably one of the key points of the book is that "you cannot shame or belittle people into changing their behaviour." Given that shame can be subtle and is experienced differently by different individuals it therefore becomes very important for the trainer and coach to check their own behavioural patterns when working with clients in order to maximise outcomes.

Butler-Bowden T. "50 Prosperity Classics: Attract It, Create It, Manage It, Share it." Nicholas Brealey (2008). This book delivered more than we were expecting. While we expected the usual clearly outlined reviews of classic books in this field we also expected that it might focus on publications focussing on the "how to" of becoming rich quickly in cash terms. This is certainly not the case. The fifty classics however, are split into the four sections of attracting prosperity, creating prosperity, managing prosperity and sharing prosperity.Furthermore, the books are not exclusively about the acquisition of money; they are about the acquisition of prosperity and include some unusual and unexpected offerings. We reviewed this book during an economic downturn and it certainly serves to refocus the mind in both a philosophical sense and practical sense in terms of driving future prosperity.

Butler-Bowden T. "50 Psychology Classics" Gildan Media Group (2007). A very important part to understand when working in the field of training, coaching and development is the importance of individual and group psychology. This book is therefore a must read piece as it presents a very compelling overview of the discipline. The audiobook has fifty chapters that last for twelve and a half hours. Each chapter is dedicated to a classic psychology book. Within each chapter the classic book is outlined and reviewed. Butler-Bowden then shares with us a full biography of the author, their psychological school of thought and their other publications along with an overall critique. The result is a very powerful journey through the founding fathers (and mothers) of psychology, including psychoanalysis (Freud, Klein etc.), behaviourism (e.g. Skinner) and humanistic psychology (e.g. Maslow and his hierarchy of needs). The book covers a whole series of modern psychology classics too including Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink" , Seligmans "Authentic Happiness" and Goleman's "Emotional Intelligence." This book is a very solid foundation brick for the training and coaching professional that is brimming with ideas and concepts that can help support the development of individuals and groups. It is also just a very interesting book to read in general!

Butler-Bowden T. "50 Self Help Classics" Gildan Media Group (2006). Inspired by having read "50 Psychology Classics" we turned our attention to this award winning offering and were not disappointed. The format is the same (this was published first) and therefore it serves as an encyclopaedia of self help. The 50 classics selected by the author span thousands of years and range from the spiritual (e.g. The Bible, The Bhagavad-Gita and the teachings of The Buddha) through to contemporary works, some of which are already reviewed in this section (e.g. "Awaken The Giant Within"  by Anthony Robbins). The only additional comment worth making relates to the medium selected to read this book (and "50 Psychology Classics" for that matter). We chose the audio book medium which works well if listening sequentially. If these books are to be used as reference books it is probably better to have them in hard copy or on an e-reading platform. This is a must have for anybody serious about training, development or self help. 

Byrne R. "The Secret" Simon and Schuster (2006). This is the exact narrative of the book (reviewed above) but with the interview excerpts of the contributing philosophers, psychologists and quantum physicists coming from the original sources leading to a variety of voices being introduced and heard. Great for getting motivated on a car journey!

Canfield J. "The Success Principles." Harper Audio (2004). Narrated by Jack Canfield himself this book is a reminder that success is not just delivered on a plate and that a range of principles, when put into practice, facilitate the delivery of the plate. The principles for success (that are not anything revolutionary) are clearly outlined and explored one at a time. There is no reliance on "talent" as the key to success. Instead the focus of the book is on the "inner work" that needs to be undertaken to facilitate success. The book is honest and clear and essentially focuses on how to think successfully, including some of the uncomfortable stuff like how to pick yourself up after a setback. This is a very useful book for the self-help advocate that has examples of the principles quoted throughout. From the critical perspective, it can be suggested that a small number of the examples selected (e.g. fast food outlets and real estate initiaitives) may not be appropriate given the economic and health setbacks that have occurred since its publication.

Chopra D., Williamson M, & Ford "The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the True Power of your True Self" D.HarperCollins Publidhers (2010). This audio book runs as three extended signature style lectures given by the authors in turn (Chopra, then Ford and then Williamson) and lasts in total for nearly seven and a half hours. The subject is that part of the human make-up that is always there and governs our self destructive behaviours; whether it is bursting into a fury, taking another alcoholic drink when you do not need one or participating in reckless and petty gossip. This ever present character is called The Shadow. The lectures (in particular Chopra) contain phenomenal and powerful insights with all three teachers drawing on a very similar point. In short, in our Western philosophy we have built up a dualistic tradition.Through the use of contrast we have created "good" and "bad" and "light" and "dark". We have created opposite interpretations of existence. We therefore see "good" and "bad" traits in ourselves. Eastern philosophy on the other hand does not work like this as demonstrated by ying and yang for example. There is no "good" and "bad" just a functioning whole made up of different aspects that are worthy adversaries of each other and that maintain balance. These great lectures are dedicated to embracing and valuing The Shadow and levering it as part of a whole to create happy and authentic selves. A great listen.

Csikszentmihalyi, Prof. M. "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience." Nightingale-Conant (1994). This truly is one of the most celebrated works in performance psychology. Professor Mihaly has studied the experience of "flow" or what sports people now call the zone since the 1960s. This review applies to the unabridged audio version narrated by the author who has a gentle style and comes across very similarly to the narration of Eckert Tolle. It may come down to a matter of taste as to enjoy the audio or book version. Professor Mihaly's studies have analysed the behaviours and beliefs of athletes, chess grand masters, scientists, climbers, surgeons and also refer to extended research embracing groups including amputees. Because of the specific areas of very precise research it may sometimes feel like Professor Mihaly is quite prescriptive about what we should do to experience "flow" as simple people. This is not his intention however. The research based formula is clear. If you read this polemic and understand the 8 characteristics of enjoyment (which is a totally different concept to pleasure), and the 5 factors that constitute a complexed personality, "flow" is in everybody's grasp. It really is a choice as to embrace the  research based principles or not!

Duhigg C. "The Power of Habit" Random House Audiobooks (2012). This is fascinating journey into the structure and function of habits. Based on the most recent evidence lent to us by neuroscience we learn of the revelation that 40% of our daily behaviour is grounded in the habit cycle with its associated craving. In and of itself this is not a challenge providing that the behaviour is not counterproductive, dangerous or pathological. The insight on how to reshape behaviour is worth the price of the book alone. Needless to say when collections of people are brought together institutional habits can have devastating effects. The British case study used by Duhigg to outline the extent of the devastation institutional habit can cause is the Kings Cross fire which is now etched into London's history. A book well worth reading and not a surprise to learn it was a best seller.

Dyer W. "Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao." Hay House (2007). 500 years before the birth of Christ a Chinese sage and contemporary of Confucious called Lao-tzu wrote what is widely regarded as one of the ultimate commentaries on th nature of human existence. Consisting of 81 verses the commentary is called the Tao Te Ching or The Great Way. Through an in depth analysis of the existing translations of the Tao, Dyer proffers a modern and highly valid interpretation of each and every verse. The result is one of the most powerful pieces of personal development literature ever published. This is not about the acquisition of skills and behaviours, it is about a philosophy of living a peaceful and authentic life that extends a challenge to many of our modern ingrained cultural practices.

Frankl Viktor E "Man's Search for Meaning." Blackstone Audiobooks (1995). This fantastic and internationally renowned piece of work offers learning on a myriad of levels. The learning comes at an academic level; before his death in 1997 Viktor Frankl was a leading professor of psychiatry. However, the learning also operates at a very human level; Viktor Frankl was also a survivor of the Nazi death camps. One of Frankl's many observations in the death camps was that it appeared to be the case that regardless of how dehumanising and horrific the experiences became; it was those prisoners who saw a meaning in their existence that somehow managed to cope. The book essentially comes in two parts. The first part of the book is a narrative of the death camp experiences sharing insight into the psychological and sociological factors that come into play when one has literally nothing. The second part of the book introduces logotherapy (also known as the Third Viennise School of Psychotherapy) which is an existential school of psychotherapy that focuses on how people construct meanings to their lives. This is a must read book that is very hard to do justice to within one paragraph!

Gladwell M. "Blink." Hachette  Audio (2006). This book is insightful as it considers a phenomenon we may not give the attention it deserves; namely intuition and first impressions. Drawing on the psychological and neuro-scientific research on this subject Gladwell highlights and applies  the pros and cons associated with intuition and first impressions to a remarkably diverse number of situations which in turn gives the book its entertainment factor. A must read with fascinating insights into military strategy, the music industry, food and drink tasting, divorce prediction and policing to name just a few.

Gladwell M. "Outliers." Hachette Audio (2008). In this book Gladwell takes us on a phenomenal journey to understand "outliers"; the people who are that successful that they become statistical anomolies literally lying outside what would be described as the normal population distribution. Gladwell's work is rigorously researched and draws conclusions that one might not expect. While some of the story of what makes success is to do with the way people are, there is a lot of evidence linked to where people are from. Indeed, Gladwell produces evidence from history, sociology, anthropology, and a whole range of different disciplines the have contributed to the successes of very specific groups of people. If we frame this study in the context of the nature versus nurture debate Gladwell produces a strong argument grounding a lot of the variables determining success in the nurture camp. This book is a great read with a lot in common with Matthew Syed's "Bounce." including the importance of the 10,000 hour rule.

Greene R. "Mastery." Penguin Audio (2012). This book is a great fusion which outlines and considers the psychology of mastery and success and then demonstrates how they have been applied by offering up a biographical analysis of many of the great masters in history including Mozart, Charles Darwin, Einstein, Temple Grandin, Buckminster Fuller and Caesar Rodriguez among others. The fact that some of the masters are not household names contributes to the books appeal. Some of the insights are fascinating. For example, the oft quoted 10,000 hour rule is mentioned but Greene also has the insight to calculate this figure to 7 years; the length of the original apprenticeship for trades when literacy was in its infancy. Well recommended.

Haanel C.F. "The Masterkey System" Core Media Productions (2007). This piece first appeared around the time of World War I as a book and a 24 week correspondence course. Part of the New Thought movement it was heralded as the key to life and success; a key to be kept secret. It is quoted by Rhonda Byrne as the book that inspired The Secret. Apparently those who knew of the powers held in the book remained safe during the Great War and prospered during the Great Depression. Certain sources suggest the Catholic Church banned The Masterkey System in 1933. Putting its philosophical routes aside, the book is dedicated to acquiring the ability to take control of the direction, clarity and focus of thoughts and images. Each of the 24 chapters has a visualisation exercise to complete. It is not until one tries these exercises that the realisation strikes you that a lot of our day-to-day thinking lacks direction, is vague and is without genuine purpose. This is a must for those who wish to enhance the power of visualisation and clear thinking. Although this is a review of the audiobook we would probably recommend the book version and taking time to digest and perfect each chapter in sequential order.

Hawking S. "A Briefer History of Time." (Unabridged) Random House AudioBooks (2006). This enhancement of "A Brief History of Time" is four and a half hours of Hawking explaining the phenomenal development of the universe as we understand it. Along the journey Hawking makes understandable concepts that hitherto were the preserve of academia. The hope of this book is to point us in the direction of a Unified Theory outlining our understanding of our universe. While we do not have this at the moment Hawking does an excellent job in outlining what we do have (e.g. theory of relativity, theory of gravity and the developments in quantum physics). Although this is not a personal development book in the pure sense we have included it in our list for a single reason. A key skill for any coach or trainer is to explain potentially complicated concepts using analogy and metaphor. Hawking does this brilliantly and it is no surprise this book has sold so well; he has made something complicated accessible to the masses. Some of the metaphors and analogies he uses to explain key ideas (including black holes and worm holes and space/time) include playing ping-pong on a moving train, a spinning ice skater and a Russian doll set.

Heppell M. "Edge - How the Best get Better." Audible Ltd. (2012). This is an easy to follow guide based on Michael Heppell's research as to what it is that makes successful people successful. Given the nature of the content this study shares similarities with books like Jack Canfield's The Success Principles. Apart from the similarity this book has to others in identifying differentiating key behaviours, the audio version is refreshing because it is narrated by Michael Heppell. Heppell narrates well and his North East English accent (Geordie?) and use of British examples of success lend the book credibility above and beyond some of the American work in this field that can be perceived as evangelical and distant. The key behaviours for success are clearly and eloquently laid out. The key challenge the reader is left with after reading this book is where to start on the journey to success? As with many books in this genre it is up to the reader to challenge their own beliefs and values to get the ball rolling. The theory is easy; the practice is more challenging. 

Hill N. "The Road to Riches: 13 Keys to Success." Brilliance Audio (2011). This audio work is delivered in the style of a radio countdown of Napoloeon Hill's keys to success from number 13, Cosmic Habit Force to number 1, A Definite Chief Aim. It is hosted by Greg S. Reid who introduces each key in turn which is then presented using fantastic original lecture footage (the highlight of the audiobook) from either Napoleon Hill himself or his close friend W. Clement Stone. Once presented the key in question is then opened out to an elite panel for discussion. Among others the panel includes Bob Proctor, Mark Victor Hansen, Loral Langemeier, Ruben Gonzalez, Marcia Wieder, John Assaraf and Brian Tracy. This is a great piece in order to start to understnad the richness of Hill's work and we would recommend listening to this before reading "Think and Grow Rich" as it constitutes a modern and simplified summary of the 1930s classic.

Kahneman D. "Thinking, Fast and Slow." Penguin Books Ltd. (2011). First a quick introduction to the author. Kahneman is quite possibly one of the world's most eminent thinkers as demonstrated by his winning of the Nobel prize for his development of Prospect Theory. An economist and psychologist by trade (Princetown University), Kahneman has outlined much of his life's work in this book that is the best book we have encountered on the subject of thinking. We are taken on a journey of our two minds, the first which is fast, intuitive and emotional, and the second which is slower, deliberative and logical. We are then taken on a tour of the phenomenon that shape our thinking which fly in the face of the idea that we are rational in our thinking. We are often asked by our clients if it is possible to teach optimal thinking. This is of course, debatable. If there is a book that can help this is it and it flags a plethora of biases, effects and heuristics that we are prone to fall into by the fact we are human. So if you want to grapple with the Halo Effect, the Endowment Effect, Utility Theory, Prospect Theory, risk framing, the planning fallacy and dozens of more challenges this is the book for you. One of the biggest learns for us is to try and think beyond the fascinating notion that "what we see is all there is!"

What would Napoleon Hill Do?" (Unabridged) Highroads Media Inc. (2010). Napoleon Hill, the original philosopher on the science of success, died many years ago. This audio book is an analysis, re-editing and updating of the key principles of success mostly taken from his two best selling books; "Law of Success" and "Think and Grow Rich." The excellent editing reinvigorates and simplfies the 13 key principles of success and actually goes on to outline a 14th principle of success that Hill only discovered after the publication of "Think and Grow Rich" in 1937. Above and beyond the philosophy ("Think and Grow Rich" is reviewed in more detail in the book section above) the editors also take us on the journey of the development of the New Thought Movement and the birth of the personal development movement in America. It becomes clear that a baton has ben passed from Dale Carnegie to Napoleon Hill to W Clement Stone and onto Jack Canfield. A great audio book to have stored and well worth revisiting as there is an abundance of hidden gems.

Proctor B. "It's Not About The Money." Gildan Media Corp. (2009). For readers who may be a little sceptical about the Law of Attraction this is a great offering from Bob Proctor who is an advocate of The Law. The reason why it is a great offering is that Proctor does more than band around the idea that we can utilise one of the universal laws for our advantage. This audiobook, lasting nearly six hours, is packed with strategies and tactics for personal growth and development. Among the many topics covered are limiting beliefs, the relationship between paradigms, performance and profit and the brilliant concept that in fact believing is seeing! Published in 2009 this work is also conemporary with contemporary examples. All in all, it is not about the money, it's about the use of right thought and right action; it is these that attract money. Stop chasing maoney and attract it by listening to this audiobook!

Proctor B. et al "Teachers of the Secret: Recorded Live" The Power Within inc. (2007). This live recording takes the personal development propounded in The Secret one step deeper because this is not structured as a series of talking heads as the The Secret is. Instead, we experience 5 sequential seminars, each over an hour long, delivered by Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield, John Assaraf, Lisa Nichols and T. Harv Eker. At points this offering may come across as rather evangelical (particularly T. Harv Eker) to the British ear but that is not to say that it is not full of personal development gems. T. Harv Eker makes a funny yet great contribution on financial aspiration which keeps this piece fresh - he did not feature in The Secret. He also introduces some interesting ideas for personal coaching purposes e.g. he contends that the way in which a person does something (it could simply be getting out of a chair in a slovenly way) is invariably the way they do everything!

Redfield J. "The Celestine Prophecy" Hachette Audio (1994). At the time of posting this is our first developmental offering from the world of fiction. The experience was not ideal; this story is abridged and one suspects that a lot of the depth and impact may be diluted by this fact. The story is a first person experience of a trip into remote Peru in search for a mystical and historic manuscript and the series of conspiracies and adventures associated with its discovery. The manuscript offers Nine Insights into the secret of life; a renaissance of human spirituality and consciousness. The developmental component is exposed through the gradual unveiling of the Insights as the journey progresses. The unveiling of the Insights are the crux of the book and they truly are treasures to work with. There are some great passages and the avid reader of personal development books will recognise the references to sensory acuity, Law of Attraction, dramaturgical conditioning and other key personal development concepts in the unveiling of the Insights.

Rock D. "Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus and Working Smarter All Day Long." HarperCollins Publishers (2011). This is a great book that operates on two levels. The first level is the academic and scientific level. David Rock goes to great lengths to share with the reader the latest research in neuroscience and what the implications of this research are in terms of thinking and working effectively on a day to day basis. The second level is equally as interesting. Using a hypothetical family made up of "Paul," "Emily" and their two children Rock takes us on a journey through a typical day and analyses all of the key moments that happen to them in the day. He then replays the moments again but on this time he applies the principles discovered in the research. Enlightening and fascinating.

Rozek J. "The Six Figure Second Income." Gildan Media Corp (2011). The American evangelical stlye and grand title of this audio book will potentially be a turn off for some listeners. However, if you can strip this out in your mind and take on board Rozek's very useful hints and directions on how to set up an on-line business you will stand to learn a lot. While he uses some strange examples like a dog grooming information business to make his points Rosek very successfully demystifies the porcess of setting up on-line. We learned a lot from beginning to end. At one end of the continuum you can work out if your opportunity is product based or information based (the latter is far simpler and cost efective to pull off). At the other end of the comtinuum there is plenty of advice about ongoing marketing efforts, web site design and even how to get customers to pay you through the site.

Satterfield Prof. J. "The Great Courses - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - Techniques for Retraining your Brain." The Teaching Company 2015.  There are many great courses available from the Teaching Company which are available on Audible.com. We have listened to many and we have not been disappointed yet. Delivered by Professor Satterfield this series of over twenty lectures is a journey through the history, the evidence and the application of CBT to everyday challenges and conditions including anxiety, anger and depression among others. Needless to say it comes with a caveat saying that the series should not replace the service of a qualified practitioner. The lectures are rammed with great personal development techniques which are evidenced based and easy to work with. CBT is steeped in empiricism and all of the techniques seem to stem back to the bio-psycho-social triad and the relationships between thought, emotion and behaviour and challenging that relationship. The lectures are enhanced through the application of the ideas and techniques to a number of relevant case studies throughout.

St. John N. "The Secret Code of Success: 7 Hidden Steps to More Health, Wealth and Happiness." (Unabridged) Harper Audio (2010). Although this is a self-help polemic offering a tight and understandable model to eject "head trash" and "take the foot off the break" it is also a lofty critique of traditional self-help and popular psychology models. St. John contends that much of the multi-billion self help movement in the United States is based on what he calls "how to" programmes. "How to" programmes are based around changing behaviours. However, given that the subconscious is responsible for upto 90% of thinking and is unknown to us, a "how to" approach is like using a chain saw to bang a nail into the wall; it is quite simply the wrong tool! Furthermore, St. John argues that because of the same principle people who are successful do not really know how they have achieved their status; and typically these are the authors of self help (or "shelf help") books. The secret of success therefore resides in unravelling the "why tos" and "why not tos" of the subconscious. Invariably it is the latter of these two concepts that contributes to personal inertia. St. John does this in a clear and fun way packed with stories and metaphors. For scholars who like a very systematic approach to self development (St. John advocates the use of a secret code success journal to work in) this is great. We will not give the seven steps away here but needless to say one of them is the use of what Noah St. John has copyrighted as "Afformations."

Tolle E. "The Power of Now" New World Library (2000). To review this tour de force is a difficult task as we learn from Tolle that our words are no more than signposts. Tolle himself is a very interesting author. Of German origin this academic experienced spiritual enlightenment and is now a spiritual leader and best selling writer in his own right. The premise of the book is that human society is in a state of demise with the majority of the population experiencing a form of "insanity". This insanity is the dominance of what Tolle calls the "Egoic Mind." The Egoic Mind generates thoughts, feelings and emotions that are false; invariably rooted in past events, future expectations or institutions offering temporary remedies for current problems (collectively making up "psychological time"). What Tolle teaches is us though is that we are not our minds and that our Egoic minds have split away from our true identities that lay in the stillness, peace and truth of Being in the Present. Becoming a Being in the Present is not a simple task and requires work including "Surrender". This is the journey Tolle takes us on throughout the book. The audiobook is narrated by Tolle himself (in a question and answer format). His beautiful use of the English language with a German accent leaves you feeling relaxed and as if you have spent seven and a half hours with a psychoanalyst (visions of Frued and a couch come to mind!) Falling somewhere between religious philosophy and psychotherapy this is an invaluable self development contribution especially if you experience stress or allow events from your past or anticipated pressures in the future to make your present intolerable.

Williams Prof. M, and Penman Dr. D. "Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World." Hachette Digital (2011). In a world where we are increasingly flooded with information and expectations it is not surprising that many of us feel increasingly stretched. The effect of these life pressures are different for different individuals. What is true though is that however the effect is manifested, it is indicative of a detachment not only from our true selves but also the natural world around us. Mark Williams is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Research Fellow at Oxford University and co-developer of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), a therapeutic methodology that has proven success in a number of conditions including depression. In short, this book is a simply written eight week journey that re-establishes that relationship with ourselves and the natural world in a world that is increasingly frantic. The exercises are surprisingly simple in theory but the fact that they can be difficult to put into practice is indicative of how much the artificial and frantic world has permeated our minds (try closing your eyes and seeing how long you can blank out all your thoughts for!). If you are seeking tranquillity through a well researched and well presented method this is definitely the book for you. If you get the paperback version of the book it comes with a free CD with the various meditations and exercises on it. 

Wiseman R. "Night School: Wake Up To The Power Of Sleep" Audible Studios (2014). Inasmuch as we spend about a third of our lives asleep it is surprising how little we know about sleep. This great book written by Britain's only Professor for the Public Understanding of Psychology brings all of the research on sleep and dreaming together in a very digestible way. The outcomes of the research are clear. We cannot underestimate the value of sleep and dreaming but despite this the developed world is sleepwalking its way towards a health disaster as we become preoccupied with busy lives and technological devices that make it impossible to switch off. On the reverse side of the coin the evidence suggests that the correct management of sleep and dreaming proffers us an excellent opportunity for personal enhancement and performance. The book is packed with great information like the idea that eating cheese before sleep is a total myth that can be traced back to Charles Dickens! There are great research based tips on managing jet lag. Of great interest is the notion of deliberately manipulating sleep to solve problems and the utilisation of dreams as our "internal therapist." A must read for anybody interested in this overlooked subject matter.

Films

Bryne R. "The Secret" Simon and Schuster (2006). This is really a collection of talking heads expounding (very motivationally) the thinking behind and the power of The Law of Attraction. The contributors are amazing characters. Our favourite at Inspiramos is the physicist, writer and lecturer Dr. Fred Alan Wolf who only features for a few moments but is brilliant.

Websites

http://www.ted.com/ Fantastic website on which many of the world's finest thinkers talk about a bewildering array of subjects.

http://www.wellards.co.uk/ A great training and development website dedicated to learning about the nature and structure of NHS as well as other healthcare matters. Often used as a developmental tool for suppliers to the NHS it would also be a great asset to staff within the NHS.

 

If you do what you have always done you'll probably get what you always got