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  • Writer's pictureJulia Gillis

2024 Top Reads Book List

Updated: Jan 16

What books am I planning to read for this coming year?

Well - first, let's start with what is on my bedside table.

Trauma by Paul Conti, MD - I heard the podcast interview with him on the Tim Ferriss show & his work really impressed me. I'm finding the layout of his writing not my flavor (a lot of story telling mixed in) but he became a psychiatrist later in his life, after being a physician first. He connected the physiology, mental health, social health & physical health realms almost immediately. This is what piqued my interest in his work.

Limitless by Jim Kwik - I love books on learning how to think better, faster, etc. Jim Kwik is often seen on social media adds along side Tony Robbins, whose early work I really enjoy. There aren't really any 'new' tools for effectiveness or changing habits - but people are finding new ways to implement them or present them. I'm always up for looking at new ways to do things that might work better for me or to find new ways to present these tools to my unique clients.

Biomimicry by Janine Benyus - I am a huge science nerd. While getting my Bachelor's in Interior Architecture I became fascinated with design that mimics nature. We do this in company organizations, products, our living spaces, farming production & more. It usually turns out better when we do. (I was gifted this book by my fellow nerd friend Patrick Burassa - a founder of Canada's most influential Whiskey Club.)

The Myth of Normal by Gabor Mate - I can't WAIT to get started on this book. I've read all of Dr. Mate's other books. I'm worried it will be a bit of a repeat & collection of all of his previous work. But reading it will help me to continue developing my coaching language & reinforce my understandings of developmental trauma, its outcomes, how to prevent it & how to help my clients develop introspection & understanding for their healing.

Then we need to talk about the books I picked up from the library right before the New Year - because I'm hilarious like that. But also there is a book in this collection that Blew My Mind...and another one that really surprised me.

Damage by Robert Maunder & Jonathan Hunter - I'm having a very difficult time with this book. It's slow moving to get anything I find valuable from it. It reads like a story which I find boring (I haven't read fictions in over 5 years.) It's a mix of discussions between 2 physiatrists & one of the psychiatrist's long term (decades) relationship with a client who, the doctor admits, didn't really 'get better.'

Nurturing Resilience by Kathy Kain & Stephen Terrell - This book BLEW MY MIND! I LOVE this book. It literally connects early development, attachment styles, brain development, trauma outcomes, somatic & physiological impacts - all of it. I started putting tabs in the library version & then just had to buy my own & switch over the tabs & start highlighting. It puts together a lot of the research I've put together in my head & use in my coaching from over two dozen books I've read on each of the separate research avenues. It was published quite recently in 2018.

Building Resilience in Students Impacted by ACEs by multi author - This one surprised me. I picked it based on title but when I opened it, I realized it was a university course text book - for grade school teachers. It's also a very recent publication & addresses the fact that teachers need to be aware & have tools for the amount of trauma entering their classrooms. They are no longer just teaching academics, they need to be armed with Trauma Informed Practice in order to support the children showing up to school, with extremely complex, adverse experience backgrounds.

This is Your Brain on Food by Uma Naidoo, MD - I'm really excited to burn through this. Its chapters are laid out by mental health issue & goes over the nourishment that contributes to & defends those issues. Everything from depression to dementia, insomnia, libido & more. This is my jam & I use this info with ALL of my clients, no matter what services they've reached in for.

Now we can finally talk about the books I will be completing before July/August of 2024.

The Value of Nothing by Raj Patel - I picked this up years ago as was getting rid of most of my material possessions. I read "A Year of Less" & thought this book was going to be in the same vane. Turns out this book will actually be a nice follow up to Freakanomics which I burned through just before the holiday season. It seems to an activist's look at how our broken democracy creates our economic issues. It looks to have a Naomi Klein No Logo flavor to it.

Quest for the Thunderbird Nest by Tim Yearington - this book was gifted to me by my friend, the author, who is currently the Indigenous Spiritual Leader for the Kingston Canadian Forces Base. I contacted him, seeking deeper teaching on the Indigenous ways of connecting mental & physical health in healing. The book has beautiful illustrations & pictures & takes you on a spiritual journey of teachings that seem to have historical connection to the lands in this area.

The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt - I am fascinated by social psychology & Haidt has published many things with incredible commentary on our society. I'm on the side of the argument that our North American society has become a little too 'soft.' I would love to see what explanations are presented in this book.

Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell & John Ratey - I've read half this book already but put it aside last summer after something else caught my drive. I prefer Gabor Mate's Scattered Minds, but Driven to Distraction offers a really positive overview of ADD & ADHD qualities in its various forms & talks about medication as only one of many answers, which I appreciate.

You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero - I love Sincero's writing style. Her first book was actually one of the books that launched my recovery. My life massively changed 30 days after listening to her audio book twice in a row. I've read this Making Money book all the way through already but didn't do any of the writing exercises. That makes me feel lazy. So I plan to read it a second time & actually 'do the work.'

Internal Systems Family Therapy by Richard Schwartz & Martha Sweezy - This is a pretty clinical book (meant for clinicians) but has great application for developing introspection. I've read about 1/5 of it about a year ago. It was a recommendation from my dad. I'm interested in the application for coaching to help clients understand our internal, battling systems and when 'parts of us' are using toxic tools to keep us safe.

Lifespan: Why We Age & Why We Don't Have To by David Sinclair - again, I've read about 1/5 of this book already, about a year ago. I LOVE biohacking & the idea of optimizing my health & understanding how to achieve maximum longevity. (I want to live, functionally, for as long as possible.) This book has thick science language a lot of the time. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that doesn't already have a background in biology, genetics or related subjects. But this topic, in general, should be on everyone's study list.

Zig Ziglar's Secrets of Closing the Sale - I've personally always found that just being authentic, genuine, doing really good work AND getting in front of people - is the best way to sell. I don't like the 'tricks.' But I LOVE using social suave to get the things I want in life - like the best price on a car or an 'off menu' dish prepared for me at a restaurant. I pride myself on being persuasive while creating win-win situations. I also really enjoy proving people wrong when they tell me something isn't possible or isn't available to me. Anything I can study to continue building this skill is welcome. It massively helps in coaching people through trauma healing to help them pivot their perspective & design new behaviors.

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler - long overdue piece of feminist literature that I should have read long ago. Writing this section, I picked it up & cracked its spine for the first time. I almost got lost & forgot I needed to finish this blog. It's now going to the top of the pile.

The Whole Brain Child by Daniel Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson - I've already read this book all the way through before my daughter was born. I feel I need a refresher at this time in my life now that my daughter is 8, which is a whole new developmental section from 0-6 years. I have read a number of Siegel's books on child brain development & they are 'tool focused' - so not just 'how the brain works' but how to respond as a parent. It even has scripted examples which I have found essential to facilitating my child's healthy development & understanding her limits & behavior at different stages.

The 80/20 Principal by Richard Koch - I learned about this theory from the 4 Hour Body almost 15 years ago, I've listened to a interview with the author & I've used the method in many places. I still struggle to use it regularly & wind up remembering it when I look at a mountain of work or struggle going on & think "there has to be a better way to do this..." There always is. I have the 20th Anniversary expanded edition with new chapters added.

An Accidental Awakening by Stephanie Hrehirchuk - My dad (oddly) recommended this one to me as well. A over-achieving personal trainer in her early 30s (sound like anyone you know?) suffers some sort of inexplicable back injury & finds recovery through yoga that unlocks her chakras (or something.) I read about half of it then put it away as I was going through my own growth process at the time. People were telling me to 'be more gentle' with myself. Only for me to find that my jam is getting more aggressive. I have a bad habit of placing illogical value on stories that I'm not appreciating, while waiting (with futility) for it to pleasantly surprise me. This book remains at the bottom of the pile as I fight an old pattern. Maybe this story has something to offer me? Maybe it will just find its way to the second-hand store.

There you have it. A detailed look at my personal book list for the beginning of 2024.

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Happy reading!


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If you would like to start building your Core Resiliency Skills contact Coach Julia today. You will learn how to Thrive beyond your damage, become a Transitional Character, break abuse cycles in your family cycle & build the core resiliency skills most often missed when being raised in a low nurture environment.

Julia is a Holistic Health Consultant, holding a Double Diploma in Community Support & Addictions Work, is a Certified Transformation Specialist, Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach & a Lvl 2 Reiki Practitioner. She specializes in Trauma Informed Practice & Resiliency Coaching and Holistic Pregnancy & Postpartum Health Coaching. 

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