10 Books to Read for a Better You & a Better Planet
For a fantastic lifetime gift, you can’t go wrong with a good book. Books stretch the imagination, inspire new ideas, encourage creativity and educate. They make great heirloom gifts – they never go out of style and can be read again and again. This year, give someone you love the gift of inspiration and wisdom from one of our favourite BuyMeOnce authors.
Words: Christy Ku
We couldn't very well not include A Life Less Throwaway in this roundup, the book that encapsulates the philosophy of BuyMeOnce! Throughout this book Tara Button, our CEO & Founder, carefully explains the thinking behind 'mindful curation.’ This is a way of living in which we carefully choose each object in our lives instead of surrounding ourselves with rubbish and appliances with built-in obsolescence, selecting only the best, most classic, most pleasing and longest lasting things we can.
Tara advocates a life that celebrates what lasts, what is classic and what really suits you. If you want to feel empowered to transform your life and your home, give A Life Less Throwaway a read.
BONFIRE OF THE BRANDS: HOW I LEARN TO LIVE WITHOUT LABELS
On average, we are exposed to 3000 adverts each day, meaning that by the time we are 65 years old, we have been exposed to 2 million adverts. Neil Boorman assesses the impact of advertising on the individual and society and examines its potential consequences.
Boorman is a journalist, brand consultant and a self-confessed “recovering brand addict.” He found he based his sense of self-worth on the brands he owned and judged people according to what labels they wore. The solution? Take all branded goods to a square in London and burn it. Then try to live brand-free for six months. Boorman transforms his blog entries, stories from his life, sessions with his therapist and the history of brands into a diary-like book.
Bonfire of the Brands follows his experiences, trials and observations. It’s witty and funny – a good read if you’re starting to question the consumer-driven world we live in.
THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP: THE JAPANESE ART OF DECLUTTERING AND ORGANISING
Author Marie Kondo has been a tidying fanatic since she was a child. After some time spent working in a Shinto shrine, she established her popular organising and tidying consultancy business in Tokyo. Yes, that’s a real job!
Her debut book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has sold 2 million copies worldwide, spent over 86 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list and has developed a cult-like following – her fans call themselves Konverts.
Kondo’s book promises that if you follow the step-by-step KonMari method, you’ll only need to tidy once and never again. You’ll be free from clutter, appreciate the things you own and, according to Konverts, your life will change for the better.
Written in an encouraging and non-patronising tone, this book might be the solution to your untidy home. Give it a go and let us know how it transforms your life.
THE BOOK OF HYGGE: THE DANISH WAY TO LIVE WELL
Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word with many translations. It can mean taking pleasure in everyday things, the art of creating intimacy or a hug for your soul.
Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, an independent think tank that explores why some countries, cities, organisations and people are happier than others. They use this information to improve quality of life for all. In this beautifully designed book, Wiking shares his knowledge and helps you achieve more hygge – from planning dinner parties to learning how to dress.
We predict the hygge philosophy will be the next big thing in changing how we live. Found a hygge moment? Share it with us!
STUFFOCATION: LIVING MORE WITH LESSJAMES WALLMAN
Stuffocation – is there a more perfect word to describe that feeling of being trapped by clutter? Many of us are surrounded by stuff we don’t need, wear or use. It’s claustrophobic, stressful and bad for the planet.
James Wallman presents a well-researched investigation into today’s society and economy by listening to people’s stories. He believes we should place a stronger emphasis on gaining experiences rather than things. Readers have said the book has inspired them to live simpler lives – maybe you’ll be inspired too?
JUNKYARD PLANET: TRAVELS IN THE BILLION-DOLLAR TRASH TRADE
When you put your trash in the recycling bin, what happens to it? Where does it go? Adam Minter, journalist and son of an American junkyard owner, travels through this multibillion-dollar industry and examines how your Coke bottle can turn from something you don’t want into a product you want to buy.
Minter follows the export of America’s recyclables to China. He discovers a cast of characters along the way: “Leonard Fritz, a young boy “grubbing” in Detroit’s city dumps in the 1930s; Johnson Zeng, a former plastics engineer roaming America in search of scrap; and Homer Lai, an unassuming barber turned scrap titan in Qingyuan, China.”
It’s engaging, sometimes troubling and utterly eye-opening. Join the journey.
ZERO WASTE HOME: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SIMPLIFYING YOUR LIFE
Tired of taking out bags of trash every day? Bea Johnson transformed her family’s life for the better by reducing their waste to just half a litre per year!
After moving from a big house in California to an apartment, Johnson realised that she and her family didn’t need so many possessions and that life was better without clutter. She changed her family’s finances, relationship and lifestyles by adopting zero-waste living. You too can change your life with Johnson’s Five R’s Method: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot the rest.
Read this book and follow her lead to improve your life and our planet.
THE ZERO-WASTE LIFESTYLE: LIVE WELL BY THROWING AWAY LESSAMY KORST
The average American tosses out nearly 2,000 pounds of trash every year. This rubbish piles up in landfills and threatens our air and water quality. What can we do to reduce the amount of waste we produce?
Amy Korst is the blogger behind The Green Garbage Project, a year-long experiment in living without creating any waste. In her book, she shares the lessons she’s learned and hundreds of easy ideas to help you consume and throw away less. Ever thought about making your own eco-friendly cleaning solutions? What about growing your own loofah sponges? Korst’s strategies can help you save time and money, support your community, become more self-sufficient and ultimately lower your impact on the planet.
FIXING FASHION: RETHINKING THE WAY WE MAKE, MARKET AND BUY OUR CLOTHES
The fashion industry is one of the major sectors of our global economy with sales of over 500 billion US dollars every year. Yet this industry has a terrible track record. In 2013, the Rana Plaza collapsed in Bangladesh. The eight-story commercial building contained clothing factories and the collapse killed 1,129 people.
Michael Lavergne is an ethical supply chain professional, and he explores the progression of the global apparel trade from its birth through to today. He also examines the hidden cost of our clothes and the true price of disposable fashion.
This book offers fantastic insights into how we can support sustainable fashion and uphold labor, environmental and human rights in the developing world. If you’re interested in becoming an informed consumer, this is the book for you. Perhaps if we stand together an incident like Rana Plaza will never happen again.
THE WASTE NOT, WANT NOT COOKBOOK: SAVE FOOD, SAVE MONEY AND SAVE THE PLANET
We produce enough food for everyone on the planet, but it’s not being distributed properly. In the UK, we throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year, and 50 percent of this could be eaten. Food waste is a huge global issue that causes us to waste precious resources and damage our planet and the economy.
The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook will show you how to shop, cook and eat with zero waste. Cinda Chavich offers general strategies for you to learn and live by. You will learn how to store and preserve food to make it last, shop smart and use leftovers to make delicious meals. Cook up a storm in the kitchen and save the planet at the same time.
START WITH YOUR SOCK DRAWER: THE SIMPLE GUIDE TO LIVING A LESS CLUTTERED LIFE
Minimalism is in and hoarding is out. But how can you tackle the clutter in your home when it seems like there’s so much to do and so little time? Professional organiser Vicky Silverthorn has the simple answer for you: start with your sock drawer.
Start with Your Sock Drawer is practical and to the point, giving you tried-and-tested methods to fight the clutter. Is your home the cosy abode of your dreams, or is it a nightmare full of stuff you just can’t let go? Silverthorn will guide you through bite-sized tasks to help you get organised and clear some breathing space in your own home.