The Book Shelf

Philosophy and Psychology

Meditations – Marcus Aurelius – If this blog is my financial compass, then this book is my moral one. Wonderful for resetting your mind, it’s the daily personal reflections from a contemplative man who remained humble even whilst ruling the known world.

Enchiridion by Epictetus – Epictetus was a Greek, born a slave, raised and educated up the social ranks by Roman masters, his works written down by his pupils. Enchiridion (or Handbook) is a sort of popular digest of his philosophical musings. A hard stoic, he lived his philosophy through a simple existence with few possessions, needs or wants. Less moderate than Marcus Aurelius, and less bombastic than Seneca, good for a read to challenge your own life’s philosophy.

Letters from a Stoic: Epistulae Morales Ad Lucilium – Seneca – Another stoic, this is a collection of letters of advice from Seneca to a close friend. Crows a bit more than Marcus Aurelius, but Seneca was a renowned orator known for his pithy phrases. The original soundbite artist.

Religio Medici and Urne-Buriall by Sir Thomas Browne – The theological and psychological theories of a C17th doctor. First published in 1643, you really have to get your head in the right place to follow the prose at times but it’s worth persevering. Some fantastic philosophical points, with moments of period debate thrown in; e.g. is glass the most divine substance as all can be rendered into it through fire?

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanathi – Hauntingly written, the memoirs of a neurosurgeon who sought to find meaning, fulfillment and an understanding of purpose in his work and through a masters in literature, before finding it as he approached his own death from cancer in his 40s.

The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves by Stephen Grosz – No great dramas or life lessons, but a window into daily life working with psychology.


Smarter Investing 3rd edn – Tim Hale – Essential reading and a starter for ten for anyone just beginning their financial journey.

Assorted Non-Fiction

Starting with Chickens – Kate Thear – A short beginners book, largely based on a smallholders opinion; some useful information, lots of pretty pictures of fluffy chooks.

The Right Way to Keep Chickens – Virginia Shirt – Another guide to our new pets. Better written and more detailed.

SowHow: A Modern Guide to Grow-Your-Own-Veg – Paul Matson & Lucy Anna Scott –  Simple, neat and effective in both design and instruction. Not thorough enough to be your only gardening book.

Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution – Terence McKenna An ethnobotanist explores humanity’s’ fascination with hallucinogenics, and the role of altered states of consciousness on the development of human society.