List Envy
List Envy
Mar 15, 2021
40: Top 5 subtly life-changing non-fiction books
Play • 9 min


Eliza Lita

Europe Editor for The Meridian magazine. Top writer in Books and Reading on Medium.

Journalist Eliza Lita is a self-confessed bookworm, but her early reading focused more on non-fiction work. As a result, she’s picked up a wide variety of useful knowledge, and kept her curiosity alive. She and Mark share an appreciation for good crime fiction, and Eliza has some tips to help Mark finish the books he keeps starting.

Eliza’s picks

In order of discussion:

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

Eliza’s first pick is life-changing for her, in a less-than-subtle way. This book can help you connect with your reason-for-being, and could even help you live to 100.

The Face: A Time Code

How many times do you really look in the mirror? In this book, author Ruth Ozeki does just that… but for a really long time.

Sleep Well: Everything You Need to Know for a Good Night’s Rest

This book helped Eliza navigate through her sleep procrastination. It has a lot of useful, practical advice for improving your sleep hygiene, including a powerful visualisation technique.

Beyond Mars and Venus: Relationship Skills for Today’s Complex World

This book unpacks the differences between the way men and women think, and a more constructive manner than the “men are from Mars” style books of the previous generation.

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown

Eliza’s fascination with the British royal family is piqued with this memoir by peeress Anne Glenconner. If you’re ready to take another look at the stereotypes and the lives behind The Crown, this book comes highly recommended by Eliza.

Mark’s picks

In order of discussion:

The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness

This self-help book is Mark’s top pick as it had a dramatic effect on the way he approached the part of the brain that keeps us safe, but also keeps us mired in shame and self-doubt.

Self Compassion

This book challenges the hitherto lauded notions of “self-belief”, instead demonstrating that we’re all worthy of love and compassion – even when we make mistakes – because we’re human.

The Infinite Game

This Simon Sinek book helped Mark concentrate less on his small business competitors, and focus more on his ultimate aim.

Three Men in a Boat

Although this might not be everyone’s first thought when it comes to non-fiction, Jerome K Jerome’s travelogue has some hilarious moments that opened Mark’s eyes to a style of humour he’d previously been unaware of.

Alexander Hamilton

The book that inspired the smash hit musical is Mark’s final pick, as the work it inspired changed his life in a less than subtle way.

Honourable mentions

More of Eliza

You can read Eliza’s writings on Medium, and follow @lita_eliza on Twitter. Eliza is also Europe Editor for The Meridian magazine, and you can read some of her contributions there.


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