Our Top 5 Books On Sleep

Do you feel like you had enough sleep in the last week?

If you’re anything like the rest of us, the answer is probably no. Indeed, according to the UK Sleep Council, we are getting one to two hours less sleep today versus the 1950s. How has it got this bad? And why do we seem to live in a culture that sees sleep as the enemy?

Whether we like it or not, sleep is non-negotiable and the consequences of not getting enough sleep can be serious. The good news is that attitudes appear to be changing in favour of making it a priority rather than a luxury.

Below are five great books to get you started on the fascinating world of slumber.

1. The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington

This book is written from the heart. The author became inspired to write it after a 2007 burnout as she was building her online news empire The Huffington Post. After many months with next to no sleep, things eventually caught up with her. She suffered a serious fall breaking her cheek bone. It was the wake up call that spurred her mission to encourage us all to urgently reconnect with sleep.

The book is packed full of quotes, science and helpful summaries of other’s work. It’s written mostly from an American perspective but there are references to the state of sleep around the world. Encouragingly, she makes the case that we have a better understanding of sleep than ever before and that’s allowing us to properly challenge the foolish ‘sleep is for wimps’ work ethic.

2. Sleep: Change the way you sleep with this 90 minute read by Richard Littlehales

Littlehales is a former sales and marketing director for Slumberland, the largest sleeping comfort group. A chance encounter took his career in a different direction and he ended up becoming a sleep coach for some of the world’s most elite athletes. The author’s CV makes for impressive reading as he counts Olympians, the football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and the Tour De France winning Sky cycling team amongst his former clients.

The book is organised around his ‘R90 Sleep Recovery Program’ based on the fact that our sleep cycles naturally occur in 90 minute periods. At times, it feels like a bit of a sales pitch for his products. Nonetheless, it is likely to be of particular value to those practising sport at a high level. It might, though, fall short for those that don’t.

3. The Sleep Book: How to Sleep Well Every Night by Dr. Guy Meadows

The focus of this book is the serious sleep disorder that affects many people around the world: insomnia. Dr. Meadows runs a 5-week programme at the aptly named ‘Sleep School’ to help his clients with this particularly pernicious condition. He explains that mindfulness and awareness are an important part of the solution and that many of the strategies we practice to combat sleeplessness can end up generating their own anxieties.

It’s a touch light on the science of sleep and perhaps isn’t so beneficial for a more general audience. It is, however, likely to be a helpful and practical guide for those who are suffering from this unfortunate sleep disorder.

4. Night School: The Life-Changing Science of Sleep by Richard Wiseman

Wiseman is a great storyteller and this book is packed full of interesting science that busts some of the common myths about sleep. Like the other authors, he makes it clear that despite the advances in science in the last couple of decades, there are still many things we don’t understand about sleep.

Importantly, the author shares studies that show how even a small lack of sleep can have a detrimental effect on both your health and happiness. There are also questionnaires throughout the book making it both a practical and informative guide.

5. Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

Walker is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. His scientific know-how comes through clearly in this international bestseller. It’s not hard to see why as it shares many fascinating insights as to what happens when we don’t get enough shut-eye.

For example, did you know that not getting enough sleep increases sweet and salty cravings by 30-40%? Or that an afternoon nap increases our learning capacity by 15-20%? Overall, this is a very valuable book. If you only have time to read one of the five then pick this one.

I love sleep; it’s my favorite.

— Kanye West

Are there any other books on Sleep that you’ve enjoyed reading? Please share them below. 

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Our Top 5 Books On Artificial Intelligence

How concerned should we be about Artificial Intelligence?

Regardless of whether you believe in a doomsday scenario or a more positive vision of putting your feet up whilst obedient robots attend to your every wish, the fact is AI is here to stay.

And the pace of it’s development is accelerating, rapidly.

Whilst there is no current consensus amongst the world’s experts as to how far away we are from AI surpassing human intelligence, it is clear that almost every industry is going to be affected in the near term by increasing reliance on AI technologies.

If you’re interested in knowing how the different scenarios might pan out and what you can do to prepare yourself then these five books are a great place to start:

1. Our Final Invention by James Barrat

It’s pretty clear to whom the prize for the most alarmist title for a book about AI should go to. Barrat’s agenda is clear from the start: we should all be very concerned about the speed of development of AI and its potential impact on humanity. The author admits that he started off with a more accepting view of the potential benefits but as he probed deeper soon realised the importance of having a healthy skepticism about the future. This is a shared concern for many of the world’s top AI scientists as well as Elon Musk who named Our Final Invention as one of 5 books everyone should read about the future. As a counter balance to the techno-utopian view of ‘friendly’ AI, this book is worth your time. Even if it is a little frightening.

2. Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

The focus of this illuminating read is whether or not we can solve the ‘superintelligence control problem’ before it’s too late. I.e. can we design AI in such a way that when it does overtake us it’ll do so in a manner that’s benign? As the author puts it, ‘…as the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species would depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence.’ As a New York Times bestseller, this book was key in fuelling the public debate about AI.

3. Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark

Tegmark is a professor of physics at MIT and a key AI influencer. His book examines both the near-future impacts of AI on topics as diverse as jobs, law and weaponry as well as looking at how things might look once machines overtake human intelligence. Whilst some of these scenarios like ‘1984’ and ‘Zookeeper’ don’t sound particularly appetising, Tegmark argues that without our involvement early on we will have little power to shape things in a more positive direction. Given he’s a brainy physicist, it is a bit heavy going in places but the final two chapters about goal setting and consciousness make for a riveting read.

4. Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins by Garry Kasparov

What makes this book so different from the rest is the level of insight Garry draws upon having participated first-hand in the evolution of computer intelligence. At the start of his career, no computer programme could touch him. In his twilight years, the roles were reversed and his defeat by IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997 is considered a watershed moment in the development of AI. It’s full of touching anecdotes and, as a reader, you’re left feeling that Kasparov remains in the optimistic camp despite the humbling personal defeat.

5. Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach by Peter Norvig

Peter Norvig’s bestseller is used in more than 1,000 universities around the world to teach undergraduate and graduate students about AI. Fortunately, it’s also an accessible book for the layman and offers a comprehensive account of AI theory and practice. It is probably the best book for those interested in starting at the very beginning and coming away with a strong grounding in this fast changing and century defining subject.

Humans will become as irrelevant as cockroaches.

— Marshall Brain, Author and Entrepreneur

Are there any other books on AI that you’ve enjoyed reading? Please share them below. 

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Our Top 5 Books On Problem Solving

Problems. Let’s face it, we all have them.

And we’d all like less of them.

Yet, we are never taught how to solve them effectively at school.


As a result, problem solving is a skill that is in high demand. Whether it’s in your current job or at home, your life is guaranteed to become a lot easier if you can get better at it.

The good news is it isn’t a talent limited to the lucky few.

It’s actually a skill and habit you can learn and here are five books to set you off on your merry way:

1. Problem Solving 101 by Ken Watanabe

Originally written to help Japanese school children learn how to be better problem solvers, this book ended up as the county’s best selling business book of 2007.

Watanabe uses three fun and simple-to-follow case studies to illustrate various practical tools and methods you can start using straight away. As its name implies, Problem Solving 101 is a short, easy read that offers a good introduction to the craft.

2. Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger by Peter Bevelin

Peter Bevelin has done us a great favour by gathering together the practical wisdom of some of the world’s greatest minds and putting it all in one book. It covers everything from the way our minds evolved to the psychology of misjudgement and how we can become better thinkers.

As well as trawling the history books for timeless insights from distinguished thinkers like Confucius, Richard Feynman and Michel de Montaigne, Bevelin has also consulted the minds of top level thinkers like the billionaire investor Warren Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger.

It’s the type of book that you should probably return to every once in a while to keep your problem solving skills razor sharp.

3. The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

One of the greatest challenges we face when solving problems is our own mind. We are prone to many cognitive biases; more than 180 of them to be precise. These ‘impediments’ of thought lead us to think irrationally or illogically, which makes us less effective.

Dobelli’s book references a number of fascinating real world examples of how the most common biases we suffer from impact our thinking. Just being aware of them will make you a better problem solver by helping you to recognise and avoid your own blind spots.  

4. One Step Ahead: Notes from the Problem Solving Unit by Stevyn Colgan

Stevyn Colgan spent thirty years in the Metropolitan Police. Twelve of those were spent as part of Scotland Yard’s award-winning Problem Solving Unit, a specialist team with an extraordinary brief: to solve problems of crime and disorder that were unresponsive to traditional policing methods. His book shares some amazing true stories of problem solving in action and is a joy to read.

It’s one of the most interesting books we’ve read in recent memory and will equip you with endless fodder for dinner party conversations.

5. Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova

Konnikova has written a brilliant and very thorough book that examines the mind and ways of thinking of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle’s most famous character. It’s a little dense at times but it’s worth persevering with for all the brilliant nuggets contained within.

Holmes is one of the world’s most proficient problem solvers and Konnikova highlights the key characteristics that make him so effective. Highly recommeded. 

Can’t wait for the books to arrive? Then check out our ‘Think Like Sherlock’ online master class taught by a former Scotland Yard detective. You won’t regret it. 

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The Ultimate Reading List

“The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.”

– Rene Descartes  

Are there any shortcuts to wisdom?

Certainly, books are a good place to start.

The right books of course.

However, you can only read so many of them in a lifetime and it’s often hard to choose which ones to go for.

So how do you select the ones that are worth your time?

One approach is to look at the books that smart and accomplished people have judged to be worthwhile.

Fortunately, many of these are available online and here are five lists to get you started:  

1. Patrick Collison – Co-Founder, Stripe

2. Nassim Taleb – Essayist, Scholar and Author

3. Keith Rabois – Entrepreneur, Investor

4. Patrick O’Shaughnessy – Investor

5. James Clear – Author, Speaker

Any other great reading lists out there? Please do share in the comments section below.

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