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Here is a list of books about health that we have found particularly useful. Think of it as like a book club with Kefir rather than Prosecco…we’ll gradually add more books with a description from a member of the team as we go along. We’d love to hear your recommendations too...

 

The 4 Pillar Plan

The 4-Pillar Plan
by Rangan Chatterjee

Health

Quite simply the book that has changed the way that I practice and think about health more than any other. If I were to recommend healthcare professionals read any ‘text book’ it would be this one. Written by a GP he explains current concepts of how our lifestyle choices influence our health and argues that how we sleep, what we eat, how we relax and how we move have the biggest impact on our health. I bought it for both my parents

Dr Peter Churn 

Bring Mortal

Being Mortal
by Atul Gawande

Older people, Palliative care

If you are helping care for an older person or someone at the end of their life, I couldn’t recommend this book more. Written by an American surgeon it is an intensely personal exploration of how we provide social care and what really matters in the end…I loved it.

Dr Peter Churn

 

Reasons to stay alive

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Depression

A gut-wrenching but ultimately hopeful account of one young man’s experience of depression. I found it profoundly moving and helpful in understanding what it feels like to be depressed – and what might help most.

Dr Peter Churn

Where Memories Go

Where Memories Go
by Sally Magnusson

Dementia

A beautifully written and intimate account of one family’s experiences of caring for a loved one with dementia. It is full of comfort and wisdom about an experience that so many of us share.

Dr Peter Churn

 

Lost Connections

Lost Connections
by Johann Hari

Depression

A book that challenged what I was taught about depression and antidepressants. Johann Hari is a journalist who suffered depression and went on a journey to talk to the world’s experts and try and uncover the true causes of depression in our modern lives.

Dr Peter Churn

The book you wished your parents had read

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read by Philippa Perry

Parenting

I haven’t read many books about parenting…but maybe I should have! This is written by a psychologist but is practical and readable. I wish I had read it earlier and my children would probably agree.

Dr Peter Churn

 

Notes on Grief

Notes on Grief
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

Grief

One woman’s experience of loss….who happens to be one of the world’s finest writers. A small but beautiful book that might bring a small amount of comfort.

Dr Peter Churn

The Outrun

The Outrun
by Amy Liptrot

Alcohol

A beautifully written memoir of a washed up young alcoholic woman…washing up on Orkney. How she survived and what we can all learn from her struggles.

Dr Peter Churn

 

Chasing The Scream

Chasing the Scream
by Johann Hari

Addiction

The story of addiction and why the ‘War on Drugs’ is failing. I learnt so much about the experience of addiction and how best to try and help as a doctor, relative or friend

Dr Peter Churn

Dopamine Nation

Dopamine Nation
by Anna Lembke

Addiction, Health, Pain

Fantastic book written by a psychiatrist Anna Lembke. We live in a dopamine saturated world, and it is making us all sick. I loved her concept of a balance between pleasure and pain and how our body's naturally seek to balance this.

Dr Peter Churn

 

Finding Ultra

Finding Ultra
by Rich Roll

Addiction, Running

My hero – an American, vegan ultra-runner, swimmer, and podcaster – but don’t let that put you off. Tells the tale of his descent into alcoholism as an unfulfilled entertainment lawyer to redemption as one of the world’s fittest men. One of my fantasy dinner party guests – but you’d have to serve vegetables.

Dr Peter Churn

Tiny Habits

Tiny Habits
by BJ Fogg

Health, Behaviour Change

BJ Fogg is a Stanford professor who ran a course in behaviour change attended by the founders of Instagram. If you are struggling to break bad habits or stick to new ones, I think he has understood why that might be better than anyone else….so start ridiculously small, and make it feel good! 

Dr Peter Churn

 

Bravery

Bravery
by Alexi Pappas

Running, Depression

I love Alexi Pappas – poet, film-maker and Olympic athlete. Bravey tells the story of how she coped with her mother’s mental illness before experiencing depression herself – courageous, inspiring and wise beyond her years.

Dr Peter Churn

The Midnight Library

Midnight Library
By Matt Haig

Depression, Life

What if you had the chance to make different choices in your life?....a novel about regret, our choices and what makes a good life. Poignant and comforting

Dr Peter Churn

 

Stolen Focus

Stolen Focus
by Johann Hari

Attention, Life

A call to arms about the attention calamity we are all facing – how it is affecting us and what we can do about it. I didn’t particularly like the bit about ADHD but much of the remainder resonated for a 47-year-old struggling to stay off his phone and stay present in his life!

Dr Peter Churn

Can' Hurt Me

Can't Hurt Me
by David Goggins

Running, Behaviour Change

If you feel you are stuck and cannot change your life, perhaps you need Goggins? His story from an impoverished, abusive childhood to a decorated US Navy SEAL and record-setting ultra-runner will both challenge and inspire you. Take an unflinching look in the mirror, accept no excuses and unlock the remaining 60% of your potential. Stay Hard!

Dr Peter Churn

 

The Power of Regret by Daniel H. Pink. How looking backward moves us forward

The Power of Regret
by Daniel H. Pink

Decisions, Life

No regrets?....let's hope not. A highly readable book about what we tend to regret most, how to learn from this and make better decisions in the future. I regret not reading it earlier

Dr Peter Churn

Jimmy Carr - Before and After Laughter. A life-changing book

Before & Laughter
by Jimmy Carr

Stress, Depression

What if a stand-up comedian wrote a self-help book?....he has! A book full of wit, wisdom and current psychological best practice! More Ho-Ho than Woo-Woo. I bought it for my brother.

Dr Peter Churn

 

Happy Mind, Happy Life
Rangan Chatterjee

Life

I have enjoyed all of Rangan's books but his latest might even be my favourite - a  wise guidebook to a contented life in the modern age. Maybe more 'content' than 'happy' - but I think that is really what we should all be aiming for?

Dr Peter Churn

Think Like a Monk
Jay Shetty

Life

Lessons for life in the modern world from a young man who lived as a monk in an ashram for 3 years....so that we don't have to!? It's full of humble advice to help us live contented lives with purpose and meaning. A lovely book.

Dr Peter Churn

 

Greenlights
Matthew McConaughey

Life

Alright, alright, alright....Want to spend a few hours around a campfire with a few beers and one of the world's most charming, handsome and...it turns out...wisest men? You can! I'm afraid you might fall in love - I have.

Dr Peter Churn

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? - Julie Smith

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?
Julie Smith

Psychology, Life

I find books advising you to think differently about things hard to read and even harder to put into practice - but this is probably as good as they get. It's a bit dense with advice and might be best dipped into rather than read cover to cover....or perhaps I'm just a bit dense?

Dr Peter Churn

 

Four Thousand Weeks

Four Thousand Weeks
Oliver Burkeman

Life, Decisions, Inspiration

Just 4000 weeks is all most of us will get in this life!! It seems frighteningly short (and we'll do our best to help you get more!) but this uplifting book describes the joy and relief we can find by embracing this finitude and letting go of our expectations. I loved it.

Dr Peter Churn

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running - Murakami

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Murakami

Life, Running

A book about why the best running shoes to lace up are the ones you already own....a love story to running and to living - wherever they both might take you.

Dr Peter Churn

 

The Gangster's Guide to Sobriety

The Gangster's Guide to Sobriety
Richie Stephens

Alcohol, Addiction

If you think you're situation couldn't get any worse?! I loved this brutally honest and darkly humorous account of what it took for Richie to turn his life around - if he can do it then there is hope for anyone! In his own words "My marriage was in shit and so was my relationship with my girlfriend. I had also failed at all my most recent attempts in criminality. Like any good addict, though, I soldiered on, doing tons of cocaine and drinking copiously.".

Dr Peter Churn

The Obstacle is the Way
Ryan Holiday

Life, Depression, Addiction, Everything?

Ryan Holiday applies the philosophy of stoicism to famous stories of the past and how you might use them to live better now. It's written in short, easily readable chapters and will avoid you having to read the original translation of Marcus Auerilius' journal Meditations. I gave it to my son...who keeps quoting it back to me.

Dr Peter Churn

 

The Power of Now

The Power of Now
by Eckhart Tolle

Life, Pain

This was a book I had been meaning to read for a long time and I will be forever grateful to Stephen for giving me a nudge…

It reads as a radical manifesto about how to live and see your life differently - rooted in the fundamental truth that we only ever have the present moment we are in, but how our chuntering minds and egos get in the way and do so much harm. Some of it felt a bit woo-woo to me but I now know that is just my judgey egoic mind! If you are really struggling with physical or emotional pain, it might just be the book that changes your life. It will blow your mind (which is no bad thing….)

Dr Peter Churn & Stephen McPhail 

Book Cover: A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney

A Heart That Works
by Rob Delaney

Parenting

Who really needs to read a book about the death of a child? Well, maybe any parent....daring to contemplate the experience of losing a child certainly inspired me to continue to try and be the type of parent I aspire to be. A beautiful, funny but unbearably painful read...I read it so slowly as I didn't want it to end. I think my kids will be grateful I did...

Dr Peter Churn

 

Recovery: The Lost Art of Condolence

Recovery - Dr Gavin Francis

Rehabilitation

A hopeful, small book about what it takes and means to convalesce written by a local GP and acclaimed author. There is no single route to take but many ways to help ensure you travel in the right direction. Full of wisdom and experience - I am grateful to Helen for the recommendation...

Helen Forster & Dr Peter Churn

Image of a book cover that reads: The Creative Act: A Way of Being

The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin

Life, Creativity

What can you learn from an iconic music producer?....well, perhaps just about everything. A beautiful, poetic book about the process of creativity and how important it is in our lives. We are all artists. It will stay with me forever...I may need to grow a big beard.

Dr Peter Churn

 

The Emotional Lives of Teenagers - Dr Lisa Damour

The Emotional Lives of Teenagers - Dr Lisa Damour

Parenting, Mental Health

Teenagers!…I’ve got a few of them at home and they challenge me more than anything else in my life. I often feel a better doctor than parent (be kind!). I found this book intensely comforting and helpful - repeatedly nodding to myself and wanting to share the wisdom with EVERYONE I know….’Oh THAT makes sense!!’. The writing is accessible and wise with the goal to help teenagers have ‘the right feelings, at the right time and be able to manage those feelings effectively’. I loved it…

Dr Peter Churn

Tim Spector - Food For Life: The New Science of Eating Well Book Cover

Food for Life - Tim Spector

Nutrition

Simply the best book about nutrition that I have ever come across – it’s pretty big but then it’s a big topic and has a huge impact on our health. You can dip into chapters about different foods and discover that there is more fibre in a cup of coffee than a glass of orange juice. Breakfast will never be the same again…or even exist at all? Full of useful information that will transform your diet and health….

Dr Peter Churn

 

The Good Life  Robert Waldinger & Marc Schulz

The Good Life - Robert Waldinger & Marc Schulz

Life, Depression

This incredible book summarises the results of the largest (…and still ongoing) study of what actually makes for a long and happy life. HINT – it’s not money, fame, beauty or status despite what Facebook or Instagram tells you. It reads as an urgent manifesto for the critical importance of looking after our relationships with friends, family and work colleagues – however difficult these can be.

Dr Peter Churn 

Just One Thing - Dr Michael Mosley

Just One Thing - Dr Michael Mosley

Health, Behaviour Change

With so much health information these days it can be hard to know where to start...perhaps this book could be it? A collection of small, sustainable changes that could have a big impact on your health. I am eating more oily fish....and beetroot. I really enjoyed it (the book....not the beetroot)

Dr Peter Churn 

 

Build the Life You Want - Arthur C. Brooks & Oprah Winfrey

Build the Life You Want - Arthur C. Brooks & Oprah Winfrey

Life

A book distilling the wisdom of a Harvard Professor and American icon about what it means to be 'happy'. Heavily based on research evidence about what actually makes us happy with practical tips tailored to your unique circumstances and personality type. Mainly written by Arthur with just a bit of Oprah stardust - there is no longer any excuse if you didn't get into Harvard...

Dr Peter Churn 

mans search for meaning

Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl

Life, Depression

It's taken me a while to read this classic book. It's not as grim as you might imagine. There can be no greater integrity than lessons learnt from a psychiatrist who survived confinement at Auschwitz concentration camp. It's a book that will stay with you and may provide some hope in the direst of circumstances.

Dr Peter Churn