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Had you told me 2 years ago that I’d be running - and loving - a monthly book club I would have laughed in your face! Not because I did not think it was a great idea, simply because I did not think I had the time.

When Lockdowns started in 2020, I was forced to slow down my life. And boy did I need it! Like many around the world, I had more time at home, no more commute or hanging out, things slowed down and I had the opportunity to have more time to do what I loved. Almost like the universe telling us all to slow down and refocus on what you love!

So I got to reading, and sharing, and reading more from my long list of books I had been trying to get to. The desire to stay connected whilst in lockdown was also strong so joining the two seemed the obvious route. “Let me chat to people about the books I read to find out what they thought”
Our little book club brought together people from around the world and different walks of life to meet and discuss their thoughts on books. And then what felt like impossible happened. One of my favourite authors, a man I admire not only for his way of thinking to help shape a better world but also for his choice to use his intelligence to spread the gospel of happiness, Mo Gawdat joined our conversation not once, but twice! *faint emoji!*
Mo Gawdat, the Author of Solve for Happy & Scary Smart joined our Online Book Club

Thank you to all who participated and brought your unique point of view. Thank you for connecting and sharing your love for books!

Yoga with Anysa Book Club Year in Review

Here is the Yoga with Anysa Book Club Year in Review, it is a list of books we read and shared our thoughts on with a short description of what we found most interesting about them. Enjoy!

“Breaking the habit of being yourself” by Dr. Joe Dispenza
“Between the world and me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
“Solve for Happy” by Mo Gawdat
“The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor
“The Choice: Even in Hell Hope Can Flower” by Edit Eger
“Trevor Noah: Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah
“The School of Life” by Allain De Botton
"The Monk of Mokha" by Dave Eggers
“The Body Keeps the Score” by Bassel Van der Kolk
“Minor Feelings: a reckoning on race and the asian condition” by Cathy Park Hong
“Mastering your Hidden Self: a Guide to the Huna Way” by Serge Khalil King
“Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing” by Pete Davis
"The Warmth of Other Suns. The Epic Story of America's Great Migration" by Isabel Wilkerson
"Scary Smart" by Mo Gawdat

“Breaking the habit of being yourself”

by Dr. Joe Dispenza

I became obsessed with Dr. Joe Dispenza’s books during the first lockdown, sharing with friends in Australia, Italy and the US our experience from his teachings. Dr. Joe Dispenza combines the fields of quantum physics, neuroscience, brain chemistry, biology and genetics to show you what is truly possible. He teaches the step-by-step tools to apply what you learn in order to make measurable changes in any area of your life. Bakari was the person who introduced me to Dr. Joe Dispenzas work so here is his take: “You don't realise how repetitive your thoughts and actions can be in life. But, we all want to grow and become healthier, wealthier and happier; doing the same things, eventually hoping for different results is what many of us do. Becoming conscious of all the unconscious thoughts was my first step towards change and that's what Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself did for me.” Bakari Blouin

“Between the world and me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

"Vibrant and engaging storytelling. A terrific insight into the complex reality of navigating life as a black man in America. Absolutely brilliant!" Rahsaan

“Solve for Happy” by Mo Gawdat

I had read this book at the end of 2019 and was so moved by it, feeling happier and grateful, that I kept recommending it to friends and family. Solve for Happy is about creating and maintaining happiness, using a simple mathematical equation. He explains how happiness is a choice and gives the reader responsibility to how he feels (something many people don’t like to hear!).

“The Happiness Advantage”
by Shawn Achor

“The Happiness Advantage” was recommended by my sister. She loved it! The book states that ‘when people are happy, they perform to the best of their abilities and therefore, are more successful.’ The author, Shawn Achor, shares seven principles of Positive Psychology that fuel success and performance. If you are looking for practical principles, this is a great read for you!

“The Choice: Even in Hell Hope Can Flower” by Edit Eger

As an internationally-acclaimed psychologist, Edith Eger's holocaust memoir is unlike any other, delving into the power of choice and its healing power. An incredibly powerful book on addressing suppressed events and trauma recovery. Infused with horror and hope, Edith's journey is both harrowing and truly inspirational." Lora

“Trevor Noah: Born a Crime”

by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah uses his unique storytelling skills and humor to tell his story of being born to a black mother and a white father and raised in a county where such a union was illegal. He developed amazing survival skills at flying under the radar, dealing with poverty in a country of huge wealth disparity, and navigating the abusive and violent effects of apartheid, using his humor, his intellect, and his mischievous nature. His deep bond with his fearless and deeply religious mother and his grandmother were foundational in his upbringing. His mother tried to “keep him from internalising his oppression” during apartheid and helped him navigate the freedom in the post-apartheid era. It’s a book that made me laugh and cringe but overall was inspirational.

'The School of Life' by Allain De Botton
This book teaches us about emotional intelligence and combines psychology and philosophy to this end. It contains sage advice about reducing the stresses and anxieties of the modern world. The author argues for reducing the influence of romanticism with its emphasis on the primacy of emotions, and increasing the influence of classicalism with its emphasis on careful contemplation.” M. Simon
"The Monk of Mokha" by Dave Eggers

“Monk of mocha An extraordinary true story of a young Yemeni American man whose dream of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee takes him on a unique journey, including a stint trapped in Yemen by civil war, that ultimately leads to success as a result of his perseverance. However, this is not just a "chase your dreams story". This is a multifaceted story; the story of a Yemeni immigrant to America, the gentrification of San Francisco, the cultivation of coffee (from farm to consumption), and of various players (good and bad) throughout the coffee bean supply chain around the world. Dave Eggers has a knack for telling a large story through a personal lens, and the Monk of Mocha does just that.” Lora

“The Body Keeps the Score”
by Bassel Van der Kolk

If you are interested in how the mind and body connect, and how trauma informs many peoples actions, this is a must read. ‘The Body Keeps the Score’ explains how the body holds onto trauma and its manifestation through addictions or other forms of self-harm.
Renowned trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk spent over three decades working with survivors and this book is the recap of his findings. He explains how traumatic stress rearranges the brains wiring and shows how people can be supported through innovative treatments (including Yoga!). If you are close to anyone dealing with trauma, reading this book may allow you to better understand their behaviours and what they are going through. You may not be able to help them, but will understand what they are working through and be able to point them in the right direction.

“Minor Feelings: a reckoning on race and the asian condition” by Cathy Park Hong

Let’s start with the fact that Cathy Park Hong is a poet and her style of writing is ‘unique’. At times jerky, at times smooth or uncomfortable. The feelings she is trying to convey transpire from her writing where you feel shame, discomfort or disbelief as the pages keep flowing. I remember not wanting to put this book down, wanting to know more, hoping there was a resolution, that she would tell me she was ok. In “Minor Feelings’ Cathy Park Hong shares what it’s like to be raised in America as a daughter of Korean immigrants. She teaches the various layers of racism in America between different minorities and how she, growing up, was trying to find her own identity in a world where ‘all asians are the same.’ She is direct in her language, without beating around the bush, and shares many of her experiences. A book everyone should read.

“Mastering your Hidden Self: a Guide to the Huna Way” by Serge Khalil King

I read Mastering your Hidden Self 6 years ago and wanted to jump on a plane to Hawaii to find the shamans and learn directly from them (it never happened if you are wondering!) In reading it a second time around I was a little less excited due to the content of the teachings that I had already learned about from other spiritual philosophies. Huna philosophy is about learning to become a conscious co-creator with the Universe. Hawaiian shaman use Kahuna healing methods to help us access the hidden energy of life, develop powers of concentration, and make friends with the deepest aspect of our being. King teaches how to become aware of your subconscious, learn your higher self, get in touch with your hidden energy and develop higher power of concentration in meditation. A book I would recommend if you are curious about different spiritual practices and wonder how similar many of these are.

“Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing” by Pete Davis

In Dedicated, Pete Davis argues that “purposeful commitment and civil engagement can be a powerful force in today’s age of restlessness and indecision.” In an era where browsing social media or other distractions becomes a mindless task, we are stuck in “Infinite Browsing Mode—swiping through endless dating profiles without committing to a single partner, jumping from place to place searching for the next big thing, and refusing to make any decision that might close us off from an even better choice we imagine is just around the corner. This culture of restlessness and indecision, Davis argues, is causing tension in the lives of young people today: We want to keep our options open, and yet we yearn for the purpose, community, and depth that can only come from making deep commitments.” He shares the importance of courageously committing to one choice providing previous examples.
Reading list from Yoga with Anysa Book Club

"The Warmth of Other Suns. The Epic Story of America's Great Migration" by Isabel Wilkerson

This is an epic, exquisitely written masterwork by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson which chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. This Great Migration began during World War I and lasted until the 1970s. Isabel Wilkerson extensively researched this vast and leaderless movement, it's impact on the dynamics of the North and South in the US, and it's similarities to the majority of immigrants who have fled persecution and oppression in their countries of origin. Rich in historical detail and meticulously researched, the story is told through the lives of three very different individuals' journeys. Captivating and enlightening.

"Scary Smart" by Mo Gawdat

I would have never picked up a book on Artificial Intelligence (AI), however Mo Gawdat is an author, entrepreneur and speaker on a mission to make One Billion Happy whom I highly admire for his work. I did not know what to expect when picking up this book but I was immediately captivated when I started reading. It is not a ‘science heavy’ book on AI, but on the contrary it explores the consciousness of the machine and how, whether we like it or not, they are going to be part of our world therefore its best we ‘teach them’ how to be good conscious people versus allow them to be trained to do evil and be driven by greed. ‘Scary Smart explains how to fix the current trajectory now, to make sure that the AI of the future can preserve our species’. Mo Gawdat has faith in humanity taking the right steps to correct the current trajectory.
Had you invited me to read a book on AI, I would have likely turned it down. Luckily, Mo Gawdat wrote it, so I read it. I cannot stress enough how important it is for all of us to understand what is going on with AI. The book is accessible to everyone and you don’t need to be into tech or coding. If you are living in this world, Interested in making the world a better place, then this book is for you!

“Breath: The new science of a lost art” by James Nestor Sunday 16th of January
Breath by James Nestor Online Book Club

Upcoming books:
“The Source” by Dr. Tara Swart Sunday 13th of February*
“How to Build a Healthy Brain” by Kimberley Wilson Sunday 13th of March*
“The untethered soul” di M. Singer 10th of April*

* Time: 6.30 pm BST/ 1.30 pm EST/12.30 pm CST/ 10.30 am PST


“A good neighbourhood” by Therese Anne Fowler
“The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite", by Daniel Markovits
“How to Build a Healthy Brain” by Kimberley Wilson
“Book for life” Jo
“The Mastery of Self” by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr.
“Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee
“Women Who Run With The Wolves” Clarissa Pinkola Estes
"Golem girl a memoir" by riva Lehrer
“Healing Fiction” by James Hillman
“Bradine Sweetgrass”by Robin Wall Kimmer
“The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah?
“The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett
“Tracks in the Wilderness of Dreaming” by Robert Bosnak
“Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own” by Eddie Glaude
“Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey” by Alice Robb
“Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown
“Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid

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