6 Books Serving Positive Vibes to Kick-Start the New Year

2021 was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, to paraphrase the kids’ book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good, Very Bad Day.

But hey, 2022 is a whole brand-new year with a shiny chance to be less terrible, horrible etc…

So to put you on the path to career happiness, meaningful connections, financial security and plain old joyful living, here are 6 books that will make 2022 your best year yet!

If you’re keen to prioritize self care in 2022 check out these Wellness products at Chapters Indigo, perfectly paired with an inspirational read.

Read one of these wellness books to kickstart your year in a positive way!
Read one of these wellness books to kickstart your year in a positive way!

Money Like You Mean It: Personal Finance Tactics for the Real World

Erica Alini, former Global News money reporter and incoming personal finance reporter at the Globe and Mail, knows a thing or two about Millennials and managing money.

Chances are you’re gigging – no job security, benefits or bonuses. You may be still paying off your student loans. Even if you’re one of the lucky full timers with a pension and all, you can’t seem to get your financial ducks lined up securely enough to live like a grown up. Buy a house? Have a kid? Take a vacay? Put a little something into an RRSP? As if.

Get a job, work hard, spend less than you make and retire at 65 – that world, as you well know, has pretty much disappeared. You need a whole new financial tool kit, and Alini serves up the hands-on money basics you need to navigate day-to-day living and the forces shaping your financial reality.

And get the life you want.

Money Like You Mean It is crammed with concrete how-to’s from the basics on debt, investing – crypto worth the risk? what the heck are NFTs anyway? – and the big fat retirement myth, to the pros and cons of buying versus renting and how to figure out if that side hustle payoff is worth the trade-off. And Alini shares personal stories that put her theories into practice – and offers a road map for reaching your financial goals. 

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How to Figure Out What to Do with Your Life (next)

Jennifer Turliuk did the expected . . . Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University, great marketing job at Proctor & Gamble . . . and then realized how much this sort of work was just not doing it for her.

Problem was she didn’t have a clue what would.  

Today, Turliuk is CEO of MakerKids, an education and technology company offering award-winning virtual programs, camps and parties on Coding, Robotics and Minecraft for kids ages six to 13. She’s been featured by Forbes, NBC, Huffington Post, Fast Company and Wired. She’s a TED-X and keynote speaker. Oh. And a former DJ.

I could go on ‘cause there is more but she’s . . .  you know . . . super successful. And more importantly, she’s super happy. Because she finally figured out what to do with her life.

So if you’re one of the 75% of Canadians who pretty much don’t like their jobs, she has the cred to help you do something about that – which is the point  of How to Figure Out What to Do with Your Life (next).

On the way to career nirvana, Turliuk developed a process for doping out what kind of work will:

  1. Make you happy
  2. Make you money
  3. Use the stuff you’re good at
  4. Give back to the world somehow

What she discovered was not only a way to figure out what she really wanted to do with her life, but also a career-design process that would help others – read you – do the same.

How to Figure Out is not a one-size-fits-all Rx for career or life success. The blueprint in life, Turliuk says, is there is no blue print. What this nifty, conversational and non-preachy book does do is give you the tools to find a passion-driven career that is right for you. Great, right?

Hard to be Human: Overcoming Our 5 Cognitive Design Flaws

Ted Cadsby is a way smart guy. His under grad was in philosophy at Queen’s; then he completed his MBA at Ivey Business School. He put this powerful left brain/right brain combo to work as a corporate director in the for-profit world, including stints as president and CEO of CIBC Securities, chairman of CIBC Securities Inc. and chairman of CIBC Private Investment Council Inc.

And what did he discover along the way?

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a Lebanese-American essayist, mathematical statistician, former option trader and risk analyst believes that, “Our minds are like inmates, captive to our biology, unless we manage a cunning escape” Cadsby says, simply, “Our minds have minds of their own.”

How so? 

  1. We oversimplify everything, because it’s easier than trying to explore complexities. 
  2. We’re addicted to the feeling of certainty, never mind that life is darned uncertain most of the time, right? So we’re overconfident. Uh oh.
  3. We engage in too much emotional hostage-taking – our thinking is on a continuous loop, and that is pretty much unproductive.
  4. We adapt to different people and different situations – good – but our competing drives make for inner conflict. Not good.
  5. We struggle to make sense of things but we ask the wrong questions.  

In short: we may be the most evolved animal on earth but that big ole brain of ours has design features that worked in our favour when we were hunter-gathers but have morphed over the multi-millennia into design flaws in the context of 21-century life that need fixing if we’re going to lead happy and productive lives in an increasingly complicated world.


But don’t panic. Pulling insights from psychology, neuroscience, physics and – yup – philosophy, Cadsby offers strategies and concrete solutions from taking deep breaths to rethinking the way we make difficult decisions that will take us from where we are to where we want – maybe need – to be.

And does so in an immensely understandable way in Hard To Be Human. Kinda like having a conversation over cocktails with a fave here’s-what-you-need-to-know prof.

Good Burdens: How to Live Joyfully in the Digital Age

You want a simpler life, am I right? But you want all the comforts that working 24/7 on and offline get you. You’d like a little quiet time but hell, FOMO. You want to spend “quality” time with your friends and family but . . . you know . . .you have to grow your Instagram following, binge watch that trendy Netflix series, text everyone who texts you as soon as you hear the ping . . . 

No wonder you’re stressed, tired, unengaged and if you actually paused to think about it, not very happy.

Good Burdens, Christina Crooks follow up to The Joy of Missing Out, pinpoints why we distract ourselves with (mostly) meaningless online activity, how we can slow down and savour each moment – and discover real joy in the process.

Those good burdens, says Crooks, are the commitments we make that engage us fully in the world. Making dinner for family. Writing a letter instead of sending a text. Lobbying city hall for more bike lanes.

“Here is what I’m getting at Joy Seeker,” she says. “The tech that shapes our lives is at odds with the way humans actually work.” Meaning at our core we’re all after one thing: love. And the way we experience love is through what Crooks calls “the inconvenient joys of relationships – and relationships aren’t easy, they require effort.”

Good Burdens is full of insightful stories, musings from mindful tech leaders and reams of research. Then, Crooks offers stand-up advice on how to redirect our energies, online and off, to grow meaningful relations, contribute to our communities, engage in creative pursuits and discover lasting joy.

Bottom line: “Take up the good burden of being fully human.”

Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience

Brene Brown is a research prof at the University of Houston, where she holds the Huffington Endowed Chair. She’s also a visiting prof in management at the University of Texas, Austin McCombs School of Business. She’s a five-time #1 New York Times best seller, and has spent the last 20 years studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy.

So listen up.

In Atlas of the Heart, Brown sets out to give us the tools to rediscover our authentic selves, and one another, by exploring 87 of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human and then offers a new framework for cultivating meaningful connection.

For five years, Brown and her research team interviewed 7000 people about hoe the understood human emotions. They discovered the average person can name three – happiness, sadness and anger – mostly when they’re feeling them.

Hmmmm, thought Brown, not nearly enough if we’re going to live a life of meaningful connection.

Why, she asks, are we quick to admit we’re jealous of the friend who just bought a condo thanks to BOMD but not-so-speedy to admit we’re envious. How do we understand the difference? What about guilt versus shame?  

“If we want to find our way back to ourselves and one another,” Brown tells us, “we need the language and grounded confidence to tell our stories and be the stewards of the stories we hear.”

BTW, story stewardship is a smarty pants way of explaining that when someone tells us their problem, we don’t shut them down or try to solve it for them We just let it be.

Brown is a great storyteller herself, and the book is not only easy to read, it’s often entertaining  – HBO Max has ordered an unscripted eight-part series based on the book – that shows us how naming an experience accurately gives us the power that comes with understanding, meaning and choice.

Find Your Unicorn Space: Reclaim Your Creative Life in a Too-Busy World

I expect you’ve read about the physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of engaging in creative self-expression. You know, the kind of activity you lose yourself in, that brings you so much joy you want to share it with everyone you care about, whether they want to hear about it or not.

Not an add-on to your life, but an essential part of what makes you whole.

You’re rolling your eyes, right? And where, you’re asking me, am I going to find the time to write poetry, or play guitar or study philosophy?

No worries. Find Your Unicorn Space shows you how.

Eve Rodsky, author of New York Times best-selling Fair Play, a Reese’s (Witherspoon) Book Club Pick, defines Unicorn Space as “the active and open pursuit of creative self-expressions in any form that makes you uniquely you.”

Claiming that space means committing to making you and your personal time a priority. There are only 24 hours in day, regardless of the fact that we might want more. Your time is finite, so it’s valuable. You need to preserve some of that valuable time for yourself by making intentional choices to step away from some of the things that are demanding it from you.

It’s about tossing your “shoulds” and ditching the guilt about “selfishly” carving out you-first time.

With her trademark research-based how-to advice, you-can-do-it inspirational messaging and tons of real-people anecdotes, Rodsky puts you on the path to reclaiming permission to have fun, however you define it, and find your Unicorn Space in your already too-busy world.

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