Lucy Foulkes, author of What Mental Illness Really Is… (and what it isn’t) recommends some excellent books! Before jumping into the interview, please check out Lucy's book:
Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?
Deep Work by Cal Newport really changed how I think about work and how I structure and make decisions about my working day. His premise is that work can be dividing into shallow work (eg emails) and deep work (the stuff that requires effort, like writing and programming), and that your professional and financial worth is all about how much room you can make for deep work. It’s changed my relationship with email (don’t have it open, only do emails at the end of the day) and made me structure my days around maximising time for deep work.
Q. What's the most recent smart thinking book you've read (and how would you rate it)?
The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris is excellent as an alternative approach to understanding mental health problems. It’s based on acceptance and commitment therapy, which focuses on changing your relationship with anxiety/low mood etc, rather than trying to fight them/solve them. It’s a great antidote to the current message that all negative feelings need to be confronted and destroyed as soon as they appear.
Q. Do you have a favourite childhood book?
I didn’t read much as a child or teenager, but when I was 17 I read Norwegian Wood by Murakami, and I’m yet to find a book with quite the same emotional impact. It’s a love story, but it’s also about friendship and depression and growing up, and is just so beautifully written.
Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?
Real books, always. I like to see stuff on a page, I visualise and remember it that way.
Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?
There’s a bookshop called Liberia near Spitalfields market which is cool. Yellow bookshelves, lots of seats and interesting books. Oh and you can take your dog, and they fell in love with my mini dachshund when I took him there — which may be biasing my answer here…
Many thanks to Lucy for recommending some excellent books! Please don't forget to check out Lucy's book What Mental Illness Really Is… (and what it isn’t).
Image Copyrights: Vintage Publishing (What Mental Illness Really Is, Norwegian Wood), Little, Brown Book Group (Deep Work, The Happiness Trap)