The Book That Changed My Life is…


The Collective Hub team bares its bookshelf.

Books. Remember those? Hopefully, you’ve not allowed the 24/7 news cycle and a bedtime Instagram habit to overtake your love of the written word. If you’re lacking something to read right about now, consider one of the following books, which have provided inspiration, solace or insight to the Collective Hub team over the years.

Man’s Search for Meaning by Vickor. E. Frankl

Lisa Messenger, CEO and editor-in-chief

“This one’s a profound and humble look at life. It came to me at a time in my life when I truly needed it.”

Dare to Live by Miriam Subirana

Amy Molloy, editor

“Years ago, during one of the toughest transitions of my life, my mum gave me the book Dare to Live by Miriam Subirana. Today, my copy is covered in doodles and highlighter, as are my copies of Miriam’s other books which I keep next to my bed: Who Rules in Your Life and Creativity to Reinvent Your Life. Her books are emotional self-care guides to living without fear, knowing how to choose optimistic thoughts, and lay the foundation for positive change. I constantly dip back into them, especially when I feel like I’m at a crossroads.”

Quiet by Susan Cain

April Smallwood, digital editor

“I have always quietly felt that the world valued extroverts over introverts. This book basically confirms that’s true. Over the last century, Western society at least has come to favour ‘personality’ over ‘character.’ I suppose the book made me feel less alone in wanting to be by myself a lot, and that this need to recharge in solitude is common in folks around the world. Susan Cain’s research also uncovered that, despite what some may believe, introverts often make more effective leaders than loud and outspoken ones, simply because they’re better listeners. It gave me confidence to know that being quiet is my virtue, not my downfall.”

Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr Spencer Johnson

Jasmin Dayes, financial controller

“My friend gave me a copy of this book when I was considering a significant job change, which would see me move from a safe, corporate role that I wasn’t really happy in, to a smaller, start-up company that was a bit of an unknown and potentially risky, but offered unlimited potential for growth and career fulfilment. The book made me ask myself the question, ‘What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?’ The answer: take the risk and take the role, and I haven’t looked back!”

Window by Jeannie Baker

Whitney Angell, campaign manager

“My life-changing book is Window by Jeannie Baker. It’s a completely wordless picture book that has stuck with me since I first saw it in primary school. It says so much about change that few could articulate with words. This sentence describes its intent much better: ‘I know it’s a children’s book, but it was truly impactful for me, and every time I read it, I have different ideas about the narrative, themes, consumerism etc.'”

Thrive:The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life by Arianna Huffington

Ashleigh Hipwood, digital marketing and content manager

I came across Arianna Huffington’s – the brains behind The Huffington Post and an all-round superwoman – at a time when the pressures of trying to keep a level work-life balance were weighing down on me more than usual. By nature, I’m a hard worker. And there came a time in my career where I would find myself constantly staying back late, losing sleep and checking my phone the moment my alarm sounded in the morning. It was a viscous cycle, and that sharp pain and tightening of my chest became an all too familiar feeling, as anxiety decided to take a permanent residence in my life.

I picked up Thrive at an airport bookshop on my way to visit family back home in Queensland and barely put it down for two days. Avoiding burnout as a career woman was something that resonated very strongly with me. I was moved by how clearly I saw similarities in these pages with my own life.

Arianna likens our drive for money and power to two legs of a three-legged stool. It may hold us up temporarily, but sooner or later we’re going to topple over. We need a third leg – a Third Metric for defining success – in order to live a healthy, productive and meaningful life.

A Piece of Cake: A Memoir by Cupcake Brown

Lisa Dietze, partnerships account executive

My girlfriend handed me the book on a rainy Sunday afternoon when I was in desperate need to escape cabin-fever boredom. I read the book within a day and was gripped by the story of a little girl who, against all odds, overcame the most horrendous, soul-destroying experiences. Luckily, her experiences are far removed from my personal upbringing, yet she is strangely relatable and enormously inspiring.

The reason I loved this book so much is that no matter your circumstances, no matter how hard life can be or how low you have fallen, we all have the power to determine the direction our life can take and how to make our dreams come true.

Not Just Lucky by Jamila Rizvi

Breanna Sommerton, assistant

I was recommended the book by a close friend after a difficult experience in my first corporate role. This book was relatable and real as it brought to light many difficult and questioned women’s tendency to dismiss their achievements as ‘luck’ in response to fear of becoming less likeable the more successful they become. This book outlines the harsh reality of the challenges women continue to face in the workplace.

This book was the ‘feminist career-manifesto’ that I am so grateful to have read in the very early stages of my career and has had a huge impact on the way I approach professional life.

April Smallwood

Digital editor Collective Hub

April is the digital editor of Collective Hub.



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