Books I RATE

Newton. On the shoulders of giants

This holding page will be updated to include all three sections below after I launch my new website in April 2024.

I’m often asked which books I’d recommend (other than my own!) for Insights on the big questions about Life and Money.

So, over the coming weeks, I’ll list some of my favourite books here under these three categories:

  1. Books for understanding other people – and ourselves.
  2. Books to help you earn more money – at work or in your business.
  3. Books for understanding economics and investment risk.

Isaac Newton, one of the greatest-ever scientific minds, once said,

If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

And that’s surely the best way for us all to develop new ideas.

But is it how most people operate today?

About 65 years ago, teams of mathematicians, Scientists, and Engineers stood on Newton’s shoulders (using his Laws of Motion and his formula for gravitational force) to design rocket ships.

In 1969, a Saturn V rocket ship, with its lunar module, landed people on the Moon and safely returned them to Earth.

Since the ”sixties’, however, despite explosive developments in technology (that now enable us to find answers to any question we can imagine, and many we can’t!), some people still struggle to grasp basic facts about our world.

Millions still believe the earth is less than ten thousand years old.

And, as Richard Dawkins, a famous scientist, said, that’s like saying the United States is just 10 metres wide from East to West Coasts!

FYI: The USA is nearly 5 million metres across at it’s widest part.

Indeed, some people still believe the earth is flat.

And that’s despite two thousand years of scientific experiments (and pictures from spaceships) that prove it’s shaped like a slightly squashed ball.

Sadly, our information technology can be used for bad as well as good. And the right to free speech means we allow dumb ‘echo chambers’ on Social Media platforms to grow and keep these crazy ideas alive.

Moreover, the new AI-powered text generators, like ChatGPT, now mean there’s more rubbish content on the internet than ever before – and it’s growing at an exponential rate.

A.I. fail. Paul Claireaux

You must decide where to source your information and guidance.

I only urge you to take particular care when learning about vital, human-performance-related issues, such as how our bodies, minds, and emotions work, what motivates us, and what makes us happy and unhappy.

Of course, we’ve had nonsense ideas in ‘self-help’ books for decades. The problem is just much bigger and growing much faster now.

Too many (one is too many!) ‘self-help’ gurus are only out to help one person: themselves, and are happy to take money from vulnerable people through lies and deceit.

So, if you’re like me, and you care deeply about the well-being of others, you’ll want to protect people from the self-help, snake oil salespeople with their long-discredited (Lizard and Split Brain) theories about managing your mind and emotions.

You’ll take Newton’s advice and stand on the shoulders of giants to get a clear view of the evidence—as far as we have any today. Psychology and Neuroscience are very much a work in progress.

So, who are the giants?

Of course, that depends on the topic, but here are some of my favourite books in this area. I’ll offer my thoughts on these books and those other sections, over the coming weeks and months.

24 books on matters of the mind. Paul ClaireauxNote that these books are written by qualified academics (often professors) in their fields.

The one exception in this list is Johann Hari, a journalist who takes care to interview and quote the academics.

I hope you find this growing list of evidence-based books helpful.

Happy reading,

Paul Claireaux April 2024

1. Books for understanding other people - and ourselves.

There are now thousands of 'self-help' gurus offering Webinars or appearing on Industry Conference stages to give us all the benefit of their wisdom.

Too many (one is too many) of these non-experts are happy to make up (or share discredited) theories on questions of: Happiness, Personality, Relationships, Attitudes, Emotional Styles, Emotional Agility, Motivation, Attention, Habits and Behaviour change.

All I can suggest is that you ask these presenters for the evidence behind their ideas - because a great many Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Neuroscientists and others - have done (and continue doing) the research into those questions.

And I'll share some of my favourite books on these topics here.

Path through the jungle. Paul Claireaux

A Path Through the Jungle

Professor Steve Peters

This is my current ‘go-to’ book for understanding (in broad terms) how to manage our minds and emotions.

I doubt many people (including me) need to learn which areas of the brain contribute to our Chimp, Human or Computer-like behaviours. But being aware of what’s going on in broad terms is helpful. Particularly that that our rational (human) mind is shut down once the Chimp is agitated and the importance of maintaining our computer to clear out flawed beliefs.

But don’t take my recommendation alone.

Steven Bartlett, Diary of a CEO host and a Dragon from ‘Dragons Den’ says,
“I read it in 2 days, and it’s now in my top 3 most valued books ever.”

Professor Michael Coleman, Professor of Neuroscience at Cambridge University, says, “If you’ve ever wanted to succeed but not sacrifice your health, relationships and values to get there, this is possibly the most important book you’ll read!

And Ben Foster, ex England Goalkeeper says, “I was lucky enough to spend time with Prof Peters with England. If you’ve not read ‘A Path through the Jungle’ I’d highly recommend it!”

Professor Steve Peters, a Consultant Psychiatrist also wrote ‘The Chimp Paradox’ and has years of experience as a clinician and educator.

He was also the mind coach to the multi-gold-medal-winning British Olympic Cycling team – and is credited by Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton for playing a large part in their success.

Buy this book on Amazon
Rethinking Positive Thinking. Paul Claireaux

Rethinking Positive Thinking

Gabrielle Oettingen

Rethinking Positive Thinking is another of my all-time favourite books.

It outlines the research by Psychologist Gabrielle Oettingen into what motivates us and helps us achieve more of our goals.

Gabrielle and her term proved that the ‘manifesting’ ideas (where we’re told to ‘trust in the universe’ or the ‘Secret law of attraction’) are unhelpful and often counterproductive.

So her book turns ‘positive thinking’ upside down to show that by focusing on (rather than avoiding) the obstacles to our goals, we gain the energy to overcome them.

Buy this book on Amazon
Who are you really 3D. Paul Claireaux

Who are you - really?

Dr Brian Little

In this wonderful book, Dr Brian Little takes us on a journey to understand ourselves. He starts with the ‘nature’ view that describes us in terms of relatively fixed personality traits – with the big five, the OCEAN model. And he explores how ‘nurture’ (life circumstances, how we’re treated, the opportunities we’re given, and what others expect of us) affect us too:

However, the revelation for me is that the pursuit of our dreams and personal passions really shapes who we are. We do well to be prepared to act out of character (use our free traits) to advance our core personal projects, whether at work or in loving relationships.

For example, introverts (like Brian Little) can temporarily act as extroverts if their passion is teaching, as his is.

Susan Cain, bestselling author of ‘Quiet’ says, ‘Brian Little is one of the wisest, funniest, kindest, and most erudite people I have ever met’

Professor Adam Grant, bestselling author of ‘Give and Take’ and ‘Hidden Potential’ says, ‘With wit and wisdom, Brian Little offers startling insights.’


Buy this book on Amazon

Books to help you earn more money - at work or in your business.

From age 25 to 35 I enjoyed a successful career in (business to business) sales. Then, in the years before my escape from the corporate world (aged 50) I enjoyed a second, successful, career in marketing and product development.

I've always been keen to find and share the very best ideas - to help us *achieve more* in our work lives, whether we're employed or we run (or plan to start) our own business.

* That's why those words are in my logo.

This is just a place marker for this section, for now.

I'll add books with what I believe to be valuable insights for success in your marketing, sales and proposition development - just as soon as I can find time.

That said, a two way conversation is often more productive for exploring these topics.

And, if that interests you, just drop me a line with a note of the topics you'd like to discuss to

I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Books for understanding economics and investment markets

This is just a place marker for now.

I'll add more to this section as time allows.