• May 21, 2018
    Last updated 1 minute ago


5 books to turn around your life

From self-defence to the Bitcoin buzz, here is a selection of good reads that will help you change things up in 2018

By Sangeetha Sagar, Staff Writer
15:19 January 27, 2018

Someone once said that everything you need to know, you can find in a book. And as we enter 2018, leaving behind a year that gave us everything from The Weinstein Effect to a president who thinks man-made global warming is a myth, we outline five knacks that are necessary to live out this year successfully — and a book that could teach you it. Because YouTube tutorials are so 2017.

Look at it as a manuscript for, well, life.


The case for it: Are you in the you-have-a-problem camp when it comes to your love affair with your devices? Describe a phone ding as the ultimate dopamine rush? Bought your phone a waterproof cover so you can take it into the shower with you? Have heart palpitations when you leave your device at home? Can frequently feel phantom vibrations?

Welcome to Camp Addiction. It’s a tough way out.

The book you need: If your smartphone has become your BFF, you need to read Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi. This book presents a list of challenges to reassess your relationship with your smartphone, and it helps you abide by a theory buoyed by neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists — doing nothing, aka boredom, can lead to your most brilliant ideas. So in essence, spacing out = creativity.

The best part about the book, though, is that it doesn’t ask you to chuck your smartphone out the nearest window and live hermit-like (as if you could). Technology isn’t going anywhere, so Bored and Brilliant tells you how to adopt it into the other facets of your life. It’s all about a balance, isn’t it.


The case for it: Bitcoin rocketed by more than 1,800 per cent last year. Let that sink in. (If you need more convincing that this is now massive, you should know that the world’s first cryptocurrency pop group just popped up in Japan. Oh, and a few days back, KFC started selling chicken for Bitcoin).

The gains of this hot new investment product are quite dumbfounding (someone predicted a Bitcoin could reach over Dh360,000 by next year from about Dh44,000 now, which seems a bit far-fetched at the moment, but this currency has had more ups and downs than a Snakes and Ladders game, so who knows. Those once sceptical are now getting on board.

The book you need: Fuzzy on what’s what when it comes to cryptocurrencies? Feel like you’re swimming in a gigantic ocean of unknown? Did you know that you could buy a quarter or a fraction per cent of a Bitcoin?

You need to buy the Cryptocurrency Beginners Bible to help you cut through all the jargon. From how to earn and invest, to information on whether the Bitcoin ship has sailed, this book separates the hype from the real numbers. It will give you enough information to make your own decision after, weighing up the risks. You’ll be able to tell if it’s a bubble or a breakthrough.


The case for it: The argument for clean eating is thousand-fold, and shocking revelations every other day only add to the horror — hormones in your meat, injections and implants on cows, bleached garlic from China, fraudulent seafood, honey that’s not honey. A plant-based, whole foods diet is not just a preference anymore, it’s almost a necessity.

The book you need: Dining in: Highly Cookable Recipes is by the former editor of Bon Appetit and BuzzFeed, Alison Roman, who’s known as much for her wry humour as her incredible Insta-food. From a comfort meal to impress-the-in-laws dinner, this book has it all, and Roman’s acerbic voice will entertain you as much as teach you.

Uniting home cooking and simple dishes with quickie techniques, the vegetable-forward meals with standout flavours like garlicky walnuts and lemon labneh marry the traditional and thrilling. Roman has no appetite for posh fussy cooking. She gives us busy ones trending ingredients and plenty of make-ahead options. Wholewheat pasta with mushrooms and buckwheat, chickpeas-chorizo baked eggs, brown butter cake with cocoa... it’s a cornucopia of tastes.

This is one food writer who can actually write.


The case for it: It doesn’t need to be said that these are volatile times for women, with us being witness in 2017 to a torrent of tales of sexual harassment and assault. And while the #MeToo campaign saw demand accelerate for self-defence classes, many, many more women need to jump on the bandwagon.

The book you need: The New Super Power for Women by a self-defence expert and longtime veteran of law enforcement teaches you to ‘Trust Your Intuition, Predict Dangerous Situations, and Defend Yourself from the Unthinkable’. Steve Kardian and A. Clara Pistek tell us, in this empowering guide, how to stay safe in today’s world. Kardian tells us how to predict predatory behaviour before something happens, how to inculcate safety habits, and how to avoid being targeted, combining real-life stories with defence techniques. Women, we need this book in our lives to stay safe and keep our families safe. Men, buy this for the women in your life.


The case for it: Trump’s call for some of that “good old global warming” because it’s cold outside reflects the views (or as some might prefer to call it — idiocy) of many a climate-change denialist. But the truth could hit us sooner than we thought, unless we act now.

The book you need: New York Times Critics Top book of 2017, The Water will Come by journalist Jeff Goodell, is not here to make you feel good or optimistic about the future of our planet — and rightly so. Climate change is raising sea levels, and it’s happening from Miami to Venice, Nigeria, Bangladesh and the Marshall Islands. Goodell talks of the urgent need to stop burning fossil fuels.

Sceptics are sure to re-evaluate their views with this book that combines staggering expert statements with captivating anecdotes. We have to work right now, right this moment, and we have to work harder and faster, or the water will indeed come for us.