7- habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey Review

Read More

7 habits of HIghly Effective People7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen R. Covey was an incredible book. I can see why was the best-selling phenomenon the last 25 years.

Covey's complete honesty throughout the book makes it very compelling to read. He uses examples from all parts of his life, his work, his family, his friends. It shows you how effective the habits can really be.

It was a refreshing change to have a self-help book written with such notable authority full of examples of so many people throughout history so many other pieces of work. The last self-help book I read was how to be a badass by Jen Sincero. Which was good but it was a little bit airy fairy. She had a nice message, but it was basically, just do it, trust what you're doing and it will work out. It was an interesting book but I’m much more of a logic and reason kind of person.

I love how straightforward and practical the book is. There is nothing that couldn't be done by every single person and it can apply to every situation through your life. It was so clear and concise.

For example, the first habit is to be proactive. He talks about the difference between a proactive and a reactive person. In the book, Covey describes this as such: a reactive person has their moods affected by the weather, so they get sad when it's raining and happy when it’s sunny. A proactive person carries their own weather, they have their own sunshine to make them happy night and day. I really liked this metaphor, that everything including your mood can be under your control.

I personally learned a lot from habit 5, seek first to understand then to be understood. Covey talks about empathetic listening which I realised is something I'm not very good at.  It is a form of listening which makes you have a full understanding of the problem before offering any sort of comment.

You don’t need to give advice unless you are asked for it. I’m terrible for offering solutions, I always jump straight to what will fix the problem without really listening to what the problem was. But now that I know this, it is something I can work on. Covey talked about how important this is in all relationships from family to the corporate world. Two business partners must fully understand each other before a deal can be made.

It was interesting to read about how to apply the different habits in all areas of life, not just the business world. When I first looked at the book I assumed it would be all about entrepreneurs and what they do. The habits of figures like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates how they got to where they are. The book was much more down to earth than that. Its goal is to teach you how to be the best person you can be. It's not just about success and accomplishments. it's about being everything you can be and I love that.

I read the book on my Kindle but I think I'm going to try and get a hard copy of it because it's not a book just to read once. It is definitely a reference book so I want to have a hard coffee maker later to scribble on and dog ear my favourite Pages.

Overall the book was really good, it was a really well-organised, full of great practical example that can apply to everything. A definite staple for anyone wanting to be everything they can. Click here to buy it on AmazonUnseen Academicals!

For the next to Book Club, I'm going to read Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals.  I'm a huge Terry Pratchett fan. I have read a solid half to three-quarters of all his books but I have not read Unseen Academicals. I do love the Unseen University setting, I really enjoy the parody of the traditional English university, especially while I was at university so it should be good. Alternatively, if you have never read a Terry Pratchett Novel before I would recommend starting with either The Color of Magic or Guards, Guards.

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Read More

Gone Girl - Gillian FlynnGone Girl by Gillian Flynn (affiliate link) is the first crime thriller I've ever read and I am very pleased to say I was not disappointed! I'm a little late to the party with this one since it is already come and gone in the cinema. But, It's not a movie I have seen so I was lucky enough to have the whole book as a complete surprise.

And a surprise it was! You cant guess what Flynn's next move is going to be. Every new piece of information throws the plot on it's head. She writes so convincingly, every detail has been so excruciatingly thought out, it's an incredible journey. You can tell she's done her homework because in the acknowledgements she thanks the police for answering the 43000 emails she sent with questions!

My favourite thing about the book is the how well developed the characters are. It's a strange thing because the characters are filled with flaws but you still find yourself empathizing with them. You get frustrated for them when things go awry, when things start going bad. However I suppose this is what makes them human and therefore relatable!

The book is split into alternating chapters between Amy who has disappeared and Nick her husband. At the end of every chapter there is the perfect cliffhanger. A line or two that makes the eyes widen and you rush into the next chapter. But you begin the next chapter and it follows a different character so you get reinvested with them to end with another cliffhanger! You really get pulled all the way through the book.

I would recommend Gone Girl (affiliate link) to anyone looking for some excitement. A good fiction book to make you think. I'm putting the film on my to watch list as well!


Now for the next book I'm taking a bit of a change of pace and reading The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen R.Covey (affiliate link). I've heard about this book but not in great detail. The title is enough to draw me in though! This book was first published in 1989 and after reading the intro I can tell it is written by a scholar. It is written in very formal language compared to other self help related books I've read so it should be good!

If you've read either of these books please let me know what you think in the comments below!

Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert Review

Read More

Big Magic - Eilizabeth GilbertThis is a must read for everyone.

Big Magic is the perfect book for anyone struggling with their own creative outlet. It is even more prefect for anyone missing one from their lives altogether! This book tells of trusting in creativity and pursuing it for you. I've already talked about doing things for you so I was hooked. She tells of all the great pleasure that comes from a creative outlet regardless of your ability or whether or not you'll make a living from it. The simple joy of creating is all you need.

It is never to late to start doing more of what you love because it makes you happy. It may not gain you riches but if you love doing it, do it! You don't need others validation of what you're doing you should just pick up a pencil and draw or join a class and start dancing. Just do it! It will bring so much satisfaction into your life.

I got recommended this book by my wife after she devoured it in two days. I'll be honest and say my wife has recommended most of the books I've read. However, given she studied English she is my live in authority on all things books!

Similar to Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which was the last book club, Elizabeth Gilbert talks entirely from experience. I love this. Honesty is always the best policy in my books and I love reading it. Her honesty is best when she is talking about her writing on the bad days. She admits that living a creative life isn't easy, it takes a lot of hard work but that makes it even more rewarding.

Elizabeth Gilbert has great story telling ability in her writing. She recounts sever different stories of people she knows and has met over the years but the one that stood out for me the most was about a 90 year old woman. Elizabeth met her and got to ask what she had learned in her life that had the greatest effect on her. She replied that when she was 80 years old she started reading about ancient Mesopotamia and it really changed her life. It fascinated her so she devoured all information available on it. She travelled at great lengths to find out all she could. At 80 years old! And to boot she is now a leading expert in the field so people seek her out! I think that's just incredible.

I haven't read Eat Pray Love but it gets several mentions and it is definitely going on my to read list. If anyone has read Eat Pray Love please let me know how it is!

So please read Big Magic, it will teach you why you should pursue a creative outlet and why that is such a great thing to do.

The titles are affiliate links to Amazon UK and here is a link to the US Amazon if anyone needs it!




For the next book club I'm going to take a turn back to the world of fiction and read Gone Girl by Gillian Gone Girl - Gillian FlynnFlynn. Again I have not seen the movie which I always prefer when reading a new book. This isn't the normal thing I would read either, I don't know if I've ever read a thriller novel so I'm excited. And I would love for you to join me!





Wild – Cheryl Strayed

Read More

 Wild is one of the most exciting and humbling books I have ever read.Wild- Cheryl Strayed

Wild is an autobiographical book detailing the journey of Cheryl Strayed as she walks the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) covering more than 1000 miles along the west coast of America. She details with full honesty the many hardships she faced in her life, her mothers unfortunate passing, her journey in to the world of heroin and more. She faces the PCT as her act of redemption leaving her old life behind and starting a fresh somewhere new.

I really connected with Cheryl  as she details her journey as she spares no expense in giving you every thought and emotion she felt on her trip. Her fear as she crossed the paths of bears and rattle snakes, and the supreme joy of bumping into another soul along the trail.

Her style of writing is really friendly as well, you feel as if she's talking to you. Wild is also filled with fantastic quotes I just loved:

I'm a free spirit who never had the balls to be free.

Cheryl Strayed's attention to detail is another feature that really makes this book stand out for me. For instance, she recalls exactly what she did at the motel before setting off on the trail; A full list of what she packed into her rucksack, what the receptionist said to her and how she felt first trying to lift her bag which earns the nickname monster. She must have kept a very detailed journal with her on her travels and I love that.

Her complete honesty is captivating as she spares no detail of her life no matter how tragic things got. I cant help but feel for how difficult it must have been to retrospectively live through those parts of her life again and to write it all down to give to the public.

It is a highly inspiring book reading how Cheryl Strayed manages to keep going and pushing on through the Pacific Crest Trail despite her lack of experience and knowledge. It is one of those books that inspires you to do anything, go out and try. It made me want to explore my own backyard and hike up into the mountains of Scotland. I've been staring at them all my life but never have I taken the plunge and gone to explore the beauty that must be hidden within.

I implore you to read Wild by Cheryl Strayed It is inspiring, humbling and will call you to action to go out and do.

If you did read it let me know what you thought in the comments below! And as usual the links are affiliate links so if you do click them and buy anything I'll get a commission which would really help me out with site costs! Here's a UK affiliate link

THE NEXT INSTALMENT! Big Magic - Eilizabeth Gilbert

For the next section of the book club we are going to be reading BIG MAGIC by ELIZABETH GILBERTAgain here is a UK affiliate link

This is the author of eat pray love and it is a book about connecting with your creative side. My wife just finished reading it and told me about some of the advice she gives and it sounds fantastic! Really excited to get stuck into this one, especially as I have started this blog!

So I hope that you come and join me and let me know what you think!


White Fang- Jack London

Read More

White Fang- Jack LondonWhite Fang was a fantastic book, detailing the life of a wolf throughout his life from the wild into the care of man.

I had read Jack London's Stories of Hawaii a while back and loved it so knew I would not be disappointed. White fang was first published in 1906 and was set in the Yukon during the gold rush at the end of the 19th century. Jack London worked in the Yukon during this time and the harsh conditions he must have faced really get reflected in his novel. You feel the freezing cold and the life threatening hunger faced during the famine of winter.

Jack London has done a fantastic job of seeing the world through the eyes of an animal as it grows and learns. The book is split into 5 parts, each detailing a different stage of life. You find yourself completely invested in the main character and his journey into domestication. I have never owned a dog so it was interesting for me reading about how the process worked, especially from the animals point of view. Jack London does a great job of conveying the emotion of his characters through small movements or fleeting thoughts alone.

I normally prefer reading non-fiction novels and the fiction I do enjoy tends to be part of a series or a trilogy so I want to expand my reading by reading more stand alone fiction pieces. I would highly recommend this book to everyone who loves animals and anyone looking for a shorter adventure through very different eyes.

Those of you who have read it I would love to hear what you thought in the comments below!

If you want to check out this book I have an affiliate link you can use here (The same one as the start of the review) and this book is free on kindle so even better!

Wild- Cheryl Strayed



For the next Flat Calm Living book Club I am going to be reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed (Here is a UK link).This book details one woman's journey up the pacific coast trail in America. I have not seen the film but I have read the prologue and I am hooked!

Please join me in reading our next book and let me know what you thought of White Fang in the comments below!



Flat Calm Living Book Club

Read More

I love to read, and a lot of the time, I go around talking to all my friends desperate to find someone who has read the book or is willing too. Often this comes to no avail and I'm stuck having read an amazing book with no one to share it with!

So... why wouldn't I share that experience with other people?

Welcome to the Flat Calm Living Book Club!

Our goal is to create a space in the big, bad internet to talk about books and read new things as part of a community.White Fang- Jack London

As if we need an excuse to read...

I think reading is really important to mental well being and that everyone should read. Reading promotes learning, opens up new areas you may not have known about and lets you experience so many different worlds and opinions. Fiction provides new worlds to explore and get invested in while non fiction can open up new ideas and perspectives on a myriad of topics. There is no downside! 

I'm going to post a discussion on every second Monday of the month to give myself, and anyone who wants to join in, plenty of time to read the book.

Our first Book Club pick is going to be White Fang By Jack London (Here's a UK link) and I'll be posting what I think about it on the 11th January 2016.

So join me to talk about one of my favourite things! Leave us a comment if there are any books you think I'd enjoy or that you want us to talk about.

These are affiliate links to Amazon so if you go through them and buy the book we get a commission which would be awesome 🙂 And this book is free on kindle so every one wins!

Happy reading!