Movies, social media, binge watching Casa de Papel; they are all fantastic activities to keep you occupied during your stay home and yet they all entail a whole lot of screen time! Entertainment in the form of books is a good way to take your sight from the computer screen every once in a while, and immerse yourself in the beautiful world of literature, strengthen your understanding of your professional field or gain some insight into a new one! Potentially even explore London a little further without ever having to leave your house! Although when thinking of homebound reads during a pandemic, it’s highly unlikely that Camus’ “The Plague” won’t come to mind, we’re going to keep this reading list less dystopian and more oriented towards self-improvement! Regardless if you’re a Kindle, Audible or traditional hardback kind of reader, the following are the kind of thing you’ll find published in multiple formats and provided by an abundance of vendors, making them easily accessible anytime…
1. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
A masterful work of literature, Dickens’ novel is set between London and Paris at a time when the French Revolution was boiling through. The lives of its characters are intertwined in impressive and complicated ways that keep readers gripping through the pages, while the setting and feel of the era is depicted with thorough detail in ways that allow you to paint a picture of way back when while following a plot that unfolds with mastery in this renowned work of literature. Often referred to as the best-selling novels of all time, it’s a read that challenges due to Dickens’ adoration for extended vocabulary, yet the references to our nearby Soho and a historic London are a touching detail for London based readers. What is more, the book’s first sentence is one that inspires hope and positivity despite it referring to a time of instability and imminent change; “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
2. Hooked, Nir Eyal
There are few professional fields that can’t benefit from Nir Eyal’s years of research and consulting experience that has led him to develop the Hook Model. The book centres around habit-forming products and the companies that create them, yet taps into something that engages with more than the consumer facing professions; how products influence our own behaviour. Hooked is a stellar read for consumers equally as much as it is for product developers or marketers, and it’s a read that is pleasurably easy to follow through with information laid out to the point. If you’re studying marketing, design or business this book will offer a lot of food for thought directly related to your curriculum… If your degree is related to any other field, then it’s just an added plus to have some insight on how product development leverages consumer behaviour! In either case, it’s a wonderful read to skim through while you’re staying home…
3. Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf
Curious as to how London used to be way back when? If you want a read that paints the picture of our beautiful city during the First World War, then Mrs Dalloway is the kind of classic novel you should opt for. The storyline revolves around a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional character that embodies the high society of the era, as she prepares for her dinner party. As the day and its events unfolds, the narrative flows back and forth through time to enrich the readers’ perspective of the social structure at the time, as well as the protagonist’s life. Virginia Woolf’s contribution to literature is significant, and its seamless depiction of historic London is absolutely worth your dedication!
4. Sapiens: A brief history of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harrari
A refreshing take on human evolution, this work of non-fiction examines the human potential in correlation to biology and culture, through Yuval Noah Harari’s series of lectures. Harari’s argumentation in this work has been read at length, translated in 45 languages and made it to The New York Times best-seller list. The work itself is the kind of thought provoking read that can inspire you at a time when inspiration may not be at its highest, and despite if you find that you’re on the same page with the writer regarding the views and theories presented, it’s sure that you will find your world view challenged!
5. Start With Why, Simon Sinek
Entrepreneurship is discussed lengthily through the modes of leadership as they are presented in this brilliant business focused read. Simon Sinek discusses the ways in which people opt to influence behaviour, drawing a comparison illustrated through an abundance of examples, between manipulation and inspiration as tools for influence. The “why” of it all comes into play when examining the productivity of both modes of play, as the author prioritises inspiration and the “Why” of it all above the how or the what. An approach to behaviour that has multifaceted applications, and one that will benefit you in understanding leadership, how it unravels and how to understand leadership in correlation with your own attributes. So stay home and dive into some food for thought that will definitely come in handy following your studies!