5 Favourite Books in 2018

The end of another year is upon us and I’m amazed at how quickly 2018 has flown by.

Tomorrow is yet another Christmas to celebrate and around the corner is a new year to bring in with loved ones. I suppose we are blessed to be able to make another year whilst so many have been called to rest.

As is tradition now, December calls for one easy blog away from the deep-thinking ones throughout the year. This time, I’d like to share my 5 favourite books I selected to read in 2018.

I wish I could be more random and read any book I like, but it suits me to plan my time wisely by utilising a reading method, which is to select books that will have a well-rounded positive effect on my life from the following 5 different categories:

  • Spirit;
  • Mind;
  • Body;
  • Soul and
  • Classic Literature.

Without further ado, here are my 5 faves of 2018:

  1. There is More by Brian Houston [Spirit]

Houston

I tend to kick off a new year in a calm spiritual state by going to church to give thanks to God, to pray and worship. My current home church at the moment is Hillsong on the Gold Coast and I love the sermons based on the Bible.

So, it was fitting that I picked up a book by Hillsong’s Senior Pastor, Brian Houston, which is full of practical wisdom, limitless thinking and spiritual goodness.

The first chapter of the book got me hooked straight away as Houston shared about the big dreams he had from the age of 17; from the great church he was going to build one day to the wife he was going to marry.

From there, I was swiftly enveloped in the incredible tales of appointments and disappointents that Houston and his wife, Bobbi, experienced trying to build their church in Sydney. True to form, Ps Brian shares his unshakable faith in a God bigger than his small situations and how He can use whatever you have been through to develop you into the person you are meant to be.

For me, the takeaway from this book is that God has a plan for your life and if you let Him, He will bring those dreams in your heart to fruition and reveal to you the purpose of your existence, just like He has done for Pastor Brian Houston.

  1. Born to Rule, The Unauthorised Biography of Malcolm Turnbull by Paddy Manning [Mind]

Turnbull

I love reading about Australian and American political leaders, especially their journey to get them to where they are now. I bought this book around Christmas time in 2015. However, after reading the first chapter, it got relegated to sit on the bookshelf for a while.

After 2 years, and mainly due to the fact that I dislike not finishing books that I’ve started reading, I dusted off the pages and picked up where I left from.

Admittedly, the book didn’t grab me at first because Malcolm Turnbull’s life, as depicted in this unauthorised biography, seems so bland and predictable. Turnbull was dubbed the unpopular loner intolerant of his immature peers when he was boarding at Sydney Grammar, yet he excelled year in and year out in debating competitions, winning many coveted prizes along the way.

He was a naval cadet, a rugby player and dabbled in acting where he played a very convincing Iago in Othello. After graduating from the University of Sydney’s law school, where he met his current wife Lucy, he established his law firm ‘Turnbull McWilliam’ next door to Kerry Packer’s office in Sydney. Turnbull became a popular public figure after winning the Spycatcher case back in 1986. In 1994, he purchased a stake in Ozemail, an internet service provider and sold it for $57 million 5 years later.

The one characteristic that I admire about Turnbull is how he is ruthless and persistent in getting anything he wanted, whether it was winning debates, winning cases, building a multi-million dollar fortune and eventually, becoming Prime Minister of Australia in 2015. Although his life through this book may have been potrayed as straight-laced, I found the title to be completely fitting of Turnbull’s brilliance and that he truly was born to rule.

  1. Thrive by Arianna Huffington [Body]

Huffington

One of the best birthday gifts I received this year on the 31st of July had to be this international bestseller by Arianna Huffington called Thrive. Every story, practical advice and wise solution found in this book has emerged out of Huffington’s challenging times from her high-powered career and struggles in her personal life.

Huffington’s notion of success is not all about money and power, but about the four pillars of well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.

I was gifted this book halfway through the year because I had found myself in a place of high stress, tension, anxiety and sleepless nights. Juggling a business, law studies, community work and a vast family life were beginning to overwhelm me and for months, I’d get only 4-5 hours [restless] sleep and it was beginning to take a toll on my health.

This book liberated me by getting me back to that healthy functioning person again who got swallowed up in too much stress and anxiety. Thrive also comes with a journal [on the right of picture], which takes you through a thinking process of what entails a balanced life for you. I can honestly say that after 6 months, I am right back on track – sleeping 8 hours per night, in bed by 10:00pm and up at 6:00am, I no longer compromise on exercise and have removed stress from my life by prioritising what is more important to me.

A brilliant piece of work that will change your life around for the better through the transformative effects of mindfulness, meditation, sleeping well and unplugging.

  1. Daring & Disruptive, Unleashing the Entrepreneur by Lisa Messenger [Soul]

Messenger

A third of my bookshelf is filled with positive thinking books that I find so good for my soul. So, when I walked into a Newsagency one day to buy a Time magazine, this book by Lisa Messenger was drawing me in to take it home. And I am so glad I did.

Daring & Disruptive is in your face goodness that will stir your inner being to want to get up and unleash your power on the world. A brilliant book that makes you believe that you can achieve the extraordinary if you dare to.

I could not put this book down as it spoke to that business side of me, which consists of a raw hunger for knowledge and empowerment.

One of the inspring statements from this book is when Messenger shared that she is not attached to the specifics of any outcome in her life, and that she is able to morph, pivot, change or adapt to whatever it is that happens to roll her way. For a methodical planner like me, it opened my eyes to the excitement of letting thigs be and to not try and control things that I simply cannot change.

One of my favourite chapters in the book is the one called ‘Invest in You’ as Lisa Messenger shares the areas she checks in with herself continually, which are attitude, health, time, personal brand, personal and professional networks.

  1. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo [Classic Literature]

Hugo

One of my treasured past-times, amongst other hobbies, are watching musicals and reading classic literature. I became acquainted with Les Misérables when growing up in Melbourne in the 1990s, and was enthralled by Victor Hugo’s tale of injustice and heroism of early nineteenth-century French society.

Although I am yet to watch the musical, I did watch the movie starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway. The poetic way that the stories of the poor and oppressed were told brought a tear to my eye and moved me to compassion.

In brief summary, convict Jean Valjean is released from prison after 19 years by the officer in charge, Javert, for stealing bread and numerous attempts to escape from prison. After being released from prison, Valjean couldn’t find a home, as he was an ex-convict, so a kind bishop called Myriel took him in.

Unfortunately, Valjean steals Myriel’s silverware to pay him back. But when Valjean was arrested by the police, Myriel covers for him saying that the silverware was a gift. Valjean promised Myriel that he will become an honest man, so he goes on to own a factory and become the town’s mayor through a new name. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter, Cosette, their lives are set to change forever.

Admittedly, I started this wonderful book a little late in the year and have finished part one, so I’m excited to continue reading Les Misérables in 2019 and hope to see the musical soon thereafter.

“What is love? I have met in the streets a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, the water passed through his shoes and the stars through his soul,” – Victor Marie Hugo, French poet and writer – notably Les Misérables.

As we enter another festive season, I wish you all a Merry Christmas for tomorrow and a successful new year. Once again, thank you all for your visits, comments and support, especially with the release of our exciting podcasting channel. Take care of yourselves and bring on 2019!

Beyond the Pacific

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