Best new books to read on personal finance, the mind and how we live

600 books were published in early September as part of a “Super Thursday” like none other. Super Thursday is the biggest publishing day of the year and has been since around 2008 — though it’s usually in October — and thanks to the pandemic there were more books than ever hitting the 2020 shelves in one go.

On the list were dozens of familiar names from Martin Amis and Caitlin Moran all the way through to Nayida Hussein, Laura Bates and Zoe Sommerville. Also among them are dozens of books about money, the mind, and the world we live in — many of which look like excellent additions to our reading list.

Here, I’ve pulled out a few that I’m super excited to start reading (or have already read in some cases). This includes books exploring our relationships with our money and strategies to look after our finances, but also volumes that can help us reflect on ourselves too — our mental wellbeing, our habits, and ways to take care of our brains. I’ve also included a few reads that continue the conversation around equality and diversity — because

Books about your money

There are numerous new books out looking to help with your money. They cover personal finances, saving habits, starting a business, and of course investing — there are two however that very much stand out to me as being practical, interesting and timely.

Lynn Beattie started the Mrs Mummypenny blog in 2013, choosing to share her money saving tips and accountancy know-how through the platform. Since then she’s grown a huge platform and now her first book, The Money Guide to Transform Your Life: Imagining Financial Freedom, is out and available in paperback. Offering fresh insight on the truth about the emotional nature of our relationship with cash, Beattie’s Money Guide talks about budgeting and saving on household bills, food, family time, as well as the more socially taboo subjects of debt repayment and making money. I’m particularly interested in it for the personal stories too and learning how Beattie was able to transform her finances and her life.

Another book I’m particularly intrigued by is The Money Is Coming: Your Guide To Manifesting Money by Sarah Akwisombe. Akwisombe is another relatively well-known name as the founder of the No Bull Business School, but it’s absolutely a book focused on this idea of money positivity. As we all know, having a positive money mindset is less about how much money you have, and more about how you think — and here Akwisombe approaches our finances using the law of attraction as a foundation for her ten step system. For fans of The Secret, this one is probably for you.

One that’s coming out a little later in the year but feels like a relevant read for right now is by Brian Perry, Ignore the Hype: Financial Strategies Beyond the Media-Driven Mayhem. With so much happening in the news, online and on screens Perry’s book aims to show us how we can better filter through the media deluge and make informed choices when it comes to our investments.

Books about your mind

Our financial lives are intricately intertwined with our personal and emotional lives — so another selection of books that you may find interesting are those that deal with our mindsets and how to look after them.

One of the first that I feel I have to mention is Sabotage: How to Silence Your Inner Critic and Get Out of Your Own Way by Emma Gannon. Originally published by The Pound Project last year, Gannon’s Sabotage explores how we all have a tendency to put barriers in the way of our own progress and happiness. We’ll procrastinate, feel jealousy, hold onto toxic relationships, and listen to our inner critic instead of hyping ourselves. But we can change those behaviours. And in this updated edition of the original handbook, everyone can learn to recognise and address their own acts of self-sabotage.

Following on from the conversations we’ve been having on the ikigai blog around men, money and mental health, I also thought this next book could be a timely and important read for many of us. Man Down: Why Men Are Unhappy and What We Can Do About It by Matt Rudd has been described as the most honest, revealing and funniest exploration of male mental health. Because one of the key conversations we need to be having is why men are struggling right now, why the modern man is a myth, and why the patriarchy — the system set up by men for men — actually doesn’t work for men either.

Dr Emma Hepburn’s A Toolkit for Modern Life: 53 Ways to Look After Your Mind is another one that I’m very much looking forward to cracking open. Better known perhaps as The Psychology Mum, her trademark illustrations are combined with proven and practical tools to help us all look after our mental health. Dealing with topics like imposter syndrome, inner critics, catastrophising and how to align your decisions and actions with your core values — it sounds to me like an excellent guide for better ways to understand yourself (which in turn you can apply to your money). Hopefully, it’s one all of us can find something in to relate to and which can improve our wellbeing.

Books to make you think

Through the pandemic, many of us have taken the chance to tackle some of the bigger questions, to learn new skills and deep dive into interesting topics. If that was you, then here are a couple more books that might tickle the grey matter of your brain.

From the winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics, there’s a new book called Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to our Biggest Problems. Abhijit V Banerjee and Esther Duflo have taken it upon themselves in this provocative and urgent book to demonstrate how economics, when done right, can help us solve issues like immigration and inequality, climate change and the widening wealth gap. What really strikes me is also the apparent focus on compassion — with online culture and politics becoming increasingly divisive in recent years, this appears to be a new, respectful and kinder approach to solving the biggest problems facing the world today.

Another one that’s a little bit different but has already captured my imagination is The Book of Trespass: Crossing the Lines that Divide Us by Nick Hayes. Have you ever stopped to consider how much land we’re not able to see or know because it’s private property? Well, this book is all about how the law of trespass means that we are excluded from 92% of the land and 97% of the waterways in the UK. It’s about what’s behind the walls and boundaries — stories of Lords and media magnates, ramblers, migrants, protestors and power.

These are only a handful and a half of the books being published at the moment and hopefully, there’s one that’ll appeal to you.

Reading something great? Why not let us know what’s on your shelf or to-be-read list? We’d love to hear what’s on your shelf too.

Authors: Harriet Allner and ikigai

Harriet Allner is a writer, blogger and fintech specialist. She cares about stories that matter and is passionate about promoting conversation around money positivity and financial feminism.

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