The best books to help you make an abundant living doing work you love

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by human potential for as long as I can remember. As a youth, my passion manifested in physical skills, pursuing a career in professional tennis, then in martial arts, for example. In my twenties, my interest included the mental and ‘spiritual’ side of life, too. Later, a young family needing to be fed forced me to consider yet another area of life to ‘master’: work and business. With so much of our lives spent in the workplace (a third), it seemed the perfect environment to test all that I had learnt about pushing the boundaries of human potential; mind, body, emotions, and spirit.

I wrote...

How to be a Buddhist Millionaire: 9 practical steps to being happy in a materialist world

By Matt Jardine,

Book cover of How to be a Buddhist Millionaire: 9 practical steps to being happy in a materialist world

What is my book about?

Matt Jardine, award-winning author, podcaster, martial arts teacher, and entrepreneur, has spent 20 years seeking the answer to one of life’s conundrums: how to lead an authentic, spiritual and creative life in a relentlessly money-centric world. 

In this insightful book, he brings together Buddhist teachings, spiritual lessons, and the advice and experience of a variety of experts and professionals. With a light touch, he dispels the deep-rooted fears and limiting beliefs that hold us back, and forces us to question the very foundations of our lives and what really matters. How to be a Buddhist Millionaire teaches us that money doesn’t have to be a dirty word, and that if you search for happiness rather than the pot of gold, success is more likely to follow.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Matt Jardine Why did I love this book?

I’ll start with the way my own journey began: with practical, nuts and bolts ‘physical’ style actions.

For this I recommend Cal Newport’s first book, one of my top three non-fiction titles of all time. 

I got so much from Cal’s book that it’s difficult to sum up in a short review, but his advice helped me establish work behaviours and routines that led to the completion of two fiction titles (my debut novels) and another non-fiction title (my third) during the worst of the COVID pandemic.

I recommend you look at all of Cal’s work but begin with Deep Work. You won’t be sorry. 

By Cal Newport,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Deep Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many modern knowledge workers now spend most of their brain power battling distraction and interruption, whether because of the incessant pinging of devices, noisy open-plan offices or the difficulty of deciding what deserves your attention the most. When Cal Newport coined the term 'deep work' on his popular blog, Study Hacks, in 2012, he found the concept quickly hit a nerve. Most of us, after all, are excruciatingly familiar with shallow work instead - distractedly skimming the surface of our workload and never getting to the important part. Newport began exploring the methods and mindset that foster a practice of…

Book cover of Mastery

Matt Jardine Why did I love this book?

Although I write within the genre of ‘Self-help’ and ‘Personal Growth’, as a reader, I am put off by titles that are too wishy-washy, saccharine, or worse, untested. 

Remember the saying, ‘Don’t walk in the footsteps of the masters, seek what they sought’? This is an important reminder for us to find and test our own truths rather than blindly follow others.  

For this reason, I recommend any work by Robert Greene, but particularly Mastery

Greene is a master at cutting through the hyperbole and getting to the core of what drives human behaviour and improved productivity without the weird bells and whistles.

His well thought-out ideas are based on evidence, road tested, backed-up by interesting case studies and applicable to our lives. 

By Robert Greene,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mastery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power and The Laws of Human Nature, a vital work revealing that the secret to mastery is already within you.

Each one of us has within us the potential to be a Master. Learn the secrets of the field you have chosen, submit to a rigorous apprenticeship, absorb the hidden knowledge possessed by those with years of experience, surge past competitors to surpass them in brilliance, and explode established patterns from within. Study the behaviors of Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci and the nine contemporary Masters interviewed for this…

Book cover of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Matt Jardine Why did I love this book?

As my journey in personal growth continued, there came a time when I realised that the hard physical, practical approach was just one area I had to master if I was to steer my life to the heights I dreamed for myself.

This is when I thought about meaning and the more intangible areas of success, such as motivation, desire, deeply held beliefs, and limiting thoughts.

It is easy to stumble into the strange and esoteric within this area of literature, therefore I cannot recommend Simon Sinek’s book highly enough. 

It is a no-nonsense sensible work that will help you find your ‘meaning’ (your why?) in life. Once you have found this, it’s much easier to find the ‘how’ that will lead to your success.

By Simon Sinek,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Start With Why as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



'It's amazing how a book can change the course of your life, and this book did that' Reader Review

'Imagine the Ted Talk expanded to 2 hours long, with more depth, intrigue and examples' Reader Review

'What he does brilliantly is demonstrate his own why - to inspire others - throughout' Reader Review

'Wow. Wow. Wow. I cannot rate this book highly enough to take a different, positive approach to life and work' Reader Review

Discover your purpose with one simple…

Book cover of Mindset: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential

Matt Jardine Why did I love this book?

When pursuing any goal, an inspiring work life, loving relationships, radiant health, abundant free-flowing wealth, whatever it may be, at some stage you may face a hard truth: that much (if not all) of your success and failure is determined by what goes on between your ears.

Honestly, I wish I had picked up Dr. Dweck’s book twenty years earlier. I’m convinced, had I done so, I would have given Roger Federer a run for his money on centre court at Wimbledon some time.

Mindset is a book that my wife (a school headteacher) and I both agree should be mandatory reading for every parent, teenager, or person wanting to release themselves from the tyranny of self-doubt. 

And, of course, well written, researched and tried and tested.

By Carol S. Dweck,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Mindset as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in decades of research on achievement and success, has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea-the power of our mindset.

Dweck explains why it's not just our abilities and talent that bring us success-but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn't foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals-personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers,…

Book cover of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

Matt Jardine Why did I love this book?

This is a book I read almost thirty years ago after struggling with confidence following a street attack in my teens. I still dip in and out of it today, albeit for very different guidance.

It may seem strange to some that I have picked books that put so much emphasis on ‘mind-work’ to help one achieve the goal of not only enjoying work so much they leap out of bed in the morning to it, but that also provides an abundant living. Yet, my years of successes and failures have taught me that the mind is the missing link in doing so.

I love the work I do and the life that it affords, and I would love for that to be your experience, too.

Enjoy my picks.

By Susan Jeffers,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Internationally renowned author, Susan Jeffers, has helped millions of people around the globe to overcome their fears and heal the pain in their lives. Such fears may include:

Public speaking; Asserting yourself; Making decisions; Intimacy; Changing jobs; Being alone; Ageing; Driving; Losing a loved one; Ending a relationship.

But whatever your anxieties, Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway will give you the insight and tools to vastly improve your ability to handle any given situation. You will learn to live your life the way you want - so you can move from a place of pain, paralysis and depression…

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The Woodland Stranger: A Fairy Tale with Benefits

By Jane Buehler,

Book cover of The Woodland Stranger: A Fairy Tale with Benefits

Jane Buehler Author Of The Ocean Girl

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Storyteller Introvert Romantic Norm avoider Backyard birdwatcher

Jane's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Burne’s been hiding out in the forest since deserting the King’s Guard. Each time he tries to return to the village, he begins to panic. And then one day, he encounters a handsome stranger picking flowers and hides behind a tree instead of talking.

He wants to be braver—and he’s about to get another chance. Because the stranger is Gray, a fairy and master of illusions who’s now following Burne home. And Gray’s got more on his mind than talking. Would a fairy that beautiful ever want someone like him? Stranger things have happened.

The Woodland Stranger: A Fairy Tale with Benefits

By Jane Buehler,

What is this book about?

Whoever said, Don't talk to strangers?

Burne hid behind a tree. He wanted to talk to the handsome man picking flowers at the edge of the forest, but he'd only flub it if he tried-he'd stumble over his words and blush bright red. And now the man is gone.

He tries to continue on to the village, but the same thing happens as always: his hands start shaking and panic wells up inside him. What if he runs into the bullies who tormented him in the King's Guard last spring? Ever since he deserted, he has hidden out in the…

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Interested in mindset, anxiety, and self-actualization?

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