You Are What You Read… Watch, listen to, talk about…

Rainbow, Asturias, Spain

We are not only what we eat, but also what we read, watch, listen to, the kinds of conversations we have, the websites we visit… I eventually discovered that I feel a lot healthier and happier if I take in inspiring or classic books and media rather than trashy, violent novels and TV series (which I really overdosed on in the past.)

Below are a few of the books, audios, podcasts and films that have really helped and inspired me on the path to a calmer, happier life over recent years. This list is meant as a Thank You to them (rather than a suggestion that you should rush out and buy/consume them all at once – Don’t, you’ll go mad!) and will get bigger as I discover new wonderful things. Pick a title you like the sound of.

Happiness and Mindfulness Non-fiction

Peace is Every Step – Thich Nhat Hanh – This is the classic book that introduced me to this whole field, and to which I am eternally grateful. A great place to start.

When Things Fall Apart – Pema Chödrön – Very helpful if things really are falling apart.

Manhood – Steve Biddulph (For men) – Men’s place in the world can be confusing today, and this book helps.

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism – Chögyam Trungpa  – You’ll know if you need to read this from the title… I only read the first few chapters – enough!

(Auto)Biography, Wandering, Creating…

Walden – Henry David Thoreau – So good, extolling the virtues of a simple life better than anyone has since. If you have never read it, don’t hesitate, at least read the first third or so.

Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer – Makes you feel alive, and understand why people have to escape society to really feel alive themselves. An incredible story.

Moonlight Chronicles and Radical Simplicity – Dan Price (only second hand) – Dan draws and journals about his simple life, in a simple and inspiring manner.


The Color Purple – Alice Walker – A spiritual classic.

A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles – The novel I most enjoyed in 2018. It simply makes you feel better about the word.

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee – A classic, Atticus Finch is an incredible role model, especially for parents, one of the most moving books I have read.

Happiness Audiobooks

The Art of Mindful Living – Thich Nhat Hanh – Simple, calming, practical and uplifting.

Being Peace – Thich Nhat Hanh – Again, simple, and very powerful ideas about how to live a happier life.

Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life – Byron Katie – Katie’s system for untangling our mental anguish is very interesting, as are the many real examples of one to one sessions included in this audio.

Happiness Podcasts

Thich Nhat Hanh Dharma Talks Podcast – Endless wisdom, many talks from Thich Nhat Hahn.

Jack Kornfield Dharma Talks/Podcast – Wise and Entertaining talks on a calmer, happier life.


La Sal de la Tierra/The Salt of the Earth – Directed by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado. One of the most profound films I have seen, an incisive look into the human condition, and our ability to construct beauty and hope from the most devastating of conditions.

It’s a wonderful life – Directed by Frank Capra – It was years before I saw this Christmas classic, now I watch it, and weep with joy, every December.



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