As the period of self-isolation and social distance stretches on, you might reach the point where the novelty of games, Netflix, video calls with friends and family can start to wear off.

The good news is, you could use this opportunity to crack open a great book. Nobody would choose these circumstances to tackle their to-be-read pile, but books have a distinct role to play in times of chaos. There’s always that one book (or two or three) whose continuing virgin state becomes a source of irritation.

Sometimes those books are daunting because of their size; in other cases, it just never feels like the right time. But right now whilst we are all still in self-isolation you can finally read the books that you intended to read over the years without actually reading.

In the next couple of weeks, you can read a few of your favourite books to improve your skills or personal efficiency. Here are 10 recommendations that can help you work better, take care of yourself, manage your health and take care of your family.

1. How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times by James Wesley Rawles

The definitive guide on how to prepare for any crisis — from global financial collapse to a pandemic. “Civilization is still standing now, but that does not mean it always will… We’d better know what to do in the event of a deadly viral pandemic, major asteroid strike, unprecedented hyperinflationary (or deflationary) economic depression, third World War, or any other global disaster, Rawles argues.” — The Futurist

2. Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

“An honest and human guide to coping with the modern world . . . Notes on a Nervous Planet is generous, sensible and timely. Reading it will probably be good for your mental health. Especially if you leave your smartphone in another room . . . Thought-provoking” — The Guardian

3. Work Together Anywhere: A Handbook on Working Remotely — Successfully — for Individuals, Teams, and Managers by Lisette Sutherland and Kirsten Janene-Nelson

“Having thoroughly researched digital work-life and virtual teamwork — and then practicing and perfecting what she’s learned — Lisette can teach you everything you need to know to be a success in the remote-work arena.” — From the foreword by Jurgen Appelo

4. Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More by Morten Hansen

“In this groundbreaking book, Morten Hansen delivers on the genius of “and:” rigorous and relevant, research-driven and well-written, empirical and empowering, timeless and practical, full of big concepts and useful tips. Hansen’s work is truly distinctive in the genre of professional effectiveness, and a tremendous contribution. This is a book I will read more than once, and reference forever.” — Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, co-author of Built to Last and Great by Choice

5. Self-Care for the Real World: Practical self-care advice for everyday life by Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips

‘Unusually practical, non-patronising and authentic. Think Marie Kondo for the mind’ — Sunday Times

The book, which is clean and minimalist in its design, is broken down into easily absorbed, instructive heads . . . [it’s] unpatronising, friendly yet not overfamiliar . . . a thoughtful street map to self-care that will also look beautiful on your shelf., — Independent, Best self-care books

6. Hardwiring Happiness: The Practical Science of Reshaping Your Brain — and Your Life by Rick Hanson

“Rick Hanson is a master of his craft, showing us a wise path for daily living in this book. Based on the latest findings of neuroscience, this book reveals that if we understand the brain a little, we can take care of our lives a lot, and make a real difference to our well-being. Here is a book to savor, to practice, and to take to heart.” — Mark Williams, Ph.D., Professor, University of Oxford, author of Mindfulness

7. Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation by Bob Roth

“Transcendental Meditation is the single most important reason for any success I have had in my life. Bob Roth’s Strength in Stillness masterfully distills the essence of this technique so that anyone can understand how it works — and why they should learn it.” — Ray Dalio

8. Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life by Judith Orloff

“A road map for people who are stressed out, discouraged or overwhelmed, or for those who simply want to get to a better place. Orloff, a psychiatrist, offers a step-by-step way to change outlooks, alter behaviour and cope with life’s challenges.” — Chicago Sun-Times

9. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

“James Clear has spent years honing the art and studying the science of habits. This engaging, hands-on book is the guide you need to break bad routines and make good ones.” — Adam Grant, New York Times best-selling author of OriginalsGive and Take, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg

10. The Worry Trick: How Your Brain Tricks You into Expecting the Worst and What You Can Do About It by David A. Carbonell PhD

“Finally, someone has written a book about worry that I can give to my clients that I’m certain will be helpful to them as they struggle to better understand and deal with their constant worrying. So very many of my clients worry constantly and have searched in vain for tools and techniques to help them, but now Dave Carbonell has given them what they were looking for — a treasure chest of tips and ideas for handling worry. This is an eminently readable book that I’m sure I will recommend to many of my clients for years to come.” — Robert W. McLellarn, PhD, founder and director of the Anxiety and Panic Treatment Center, LLC, in Portland, OR.

11. The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

Laing creates a ‘map of loneliness, ‘ tracking its often-paradoxical contours in her own life as a transplant to New York City and traces how loneliness can inspire creativity…She invents new ways to consider how isolation plays into art or even the Internet (which turns her into an obsessed teenager, albeit one who calls the screen her ‘cathected silver lover’). For once, loneliness becomes a place worth lingering. — “Publishers Weekly”

Originally published on Medium.

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