The books that have inspired us this International Book Day


January 23rd marks Reading Day 2021; a time when we can celebrate the books that inspire us, make us laugh, make us cry and ultimately, change the way we think. It’s easy for me to compile a list of such books, mainly because I’m the real-life Matilda, a child that grew up with their head buried in a book and a fringe covering almost all of my eyes as I read. But as it wouldn’t be fair to just put my top 10 favourite Roald Dahl classics, I wanted to know what the StatusCake team’s favourite books were and most importantly, why. Sometimes it takes a different perspective to get inspired so I hope you find your inspiration here. 

Help Me by Marianne Power 

My recommendation

I’m one of those people that is constantly looking for guidance from self-help books. There’s something comforting about someone telling me everything is going to be okay if I just do what they tell me to (even though I rarely do anything that they tell me to). This is why Help Me is such a great read – Marianne Power, like me, invests lots of her time reading self help books and waiting for them to change her life without actioning any of their suggestions. But Help Me follows her journey where she does EVERYTHING the self help books ask of her with sometimes hilarious, sometimes heart-breaking and mostly life-changing results. I loved it.

Give it a read: Help Me

The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley 

Recommendation by Hemm, Head of Tech

I think the book does a good job of reminding us that we are a lot better off than we were in past times, in terms of wealth, diet/nutrition, life expectancy, medicine, intelligence/education.

It gave me the mindset that things will still continue to get better despite the difficulties we face as individuals, families, communities, countries, and as a world. I must stress though, that these points are only really valid to me (and maybe people in the same position as I am).

Give it a read: The Rational Optimist

The Lucifer Effect – Phillip ZImbardo

Recommendation by Dan, Head of Customer Success

This is a fascinating book and the main life lesson that I took away from reading would be that conformity is not always the best choice, something that I feel applies in both society and business. Thinking outside of the box, even if it challenges a higher authority, is something we should always value and promote to some extent.

Give it a read: The Lucifer Effect

The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono

Recommendation by Mario, Head of Partnerships

It inspired me because it’s a message of hope and how a person can do their bit to change the world for the better which is something I think we can all relate to. More than anything, it’s a very relevant book for today’s climate change crisis especially, and it makes me hopeful that we can help even in small ways to prevent this crisis from becoming even worse.

Give it a read: The Man Who Planted Trees

Recommendations by James, CEO

The COVID pandemic has sent shockwaves through all levels of society.  It is not just the loss of loved ones, friends, and colleagues.  COVID impacts our mental and physical well-being, it impacts our financial security, but it has also exposed and accerbated some of the big societal issues that we were already struggling with – whether poverty, gender and race equality, biodiversity and climate change.

In all of this bleakness I think we need some hope, and reasons to be optimistic.  My books for 2021, and I’ve chosen two as the themes they discuss dovetail neatly into one another, do just that.

Human Kind by Rutger Bregman

In the first, Human Kind, Rutger Bregman makes the argument that although much of modern thought teaches that we as humans are selfish and driven by self-interest this isn’t the case.  That when we look more closely at human development our instinct is actually to cooperate.  To trust rather than distrust.  

Bregman argues that we need to reshape how we think.  And that by thinking the worst of others, impacts how we think of our fellow humans, and it also shapes our political and economic discourse for the worse. 

Instead if we believe in human kindness and altruism – quite simply, if we believe that overwhelmingly people are good, that belief can act as a foundation for true change in society.

This belief in good humans, that we as a society are programmed to cooperate, is captured in Utopia for Realists, also by Bregman.  

Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman

Utopia for Realists puts forward the case that it is possible to construct a society for good which is truly visionary and is bold, but is also ultimately deliverable.  That milestones in our society, such as the end of slavery, were once seen as as utopian fantasy.  

As such Bregman suggests, without getting into hackneyed left-wing or right-wing arguments, that those ideas that appear utopian now, such as a guaranteed basic income, can become a reality in our lifetime.  And with the impact of COVID being felt most, by those who have least, perhaps that is a cause for a glimmer of optimism.  

In a world that is increasingly polarised and partisan on all manner of issues, with each side being increasingly angry and frightened of the other (all of which is often played out and amplified on social media) cynicism is often the theory of everything.  Changing your mindset can not only help shape your view of the wider world, but help you in your everyday life – in your relationships at home, and at work.  It can hopefully lead to a brighter path in 2021, your green light at the end of the dock. 

Give them a read: Human Kind and Utopia for Realists

Share this

More from StatusCake

remote meetings
How To

How to make remote meetings work during lockdown

4 min read Remote meetings can be so difficult, especially with the many screams of “you’re on mute” and lateness from people getting out of their pyjamas. That’s why we thought we’d help you out with some top tips on how to make remote meetings work for you during the lockdown in 2021. From good mental health to time management at home, there’s a formula to effective remote meetings and it’s all inside this blog!


The hidden powers of content revealed

4 min read It’s easy to forget that content is a revenue driver, especially since you can’t specifically track its ROI. But I want to show you content from another perspective – show you the power that content has on your business and customers. Read on to find out exactly what revelations are inside.


Why you should join a SaaS tech affiliate program this year

6 min read If you’re looking to earn extra income from a high quality, high commission affiliate program then this is the blog for you. All of the top partner programs you should be using and how you can start affiliate marketing all feature. What are you waiting for?

How To

The fault line: How to communicate in a crisis

5 min read Things will inevitably always go wrong at work, even though we try our best to ensure things never do. How we communicate during these troublesome times can have a direct impact on our business from brand loyalty to customer satisfaction. Here’s the top tips for how to manage your communications in a crisis with step by step guidance to maximise your chances of keeping customers happy.

hands together making a difference

The story of the 999 Club charity that inspired us to give

4 min read We are truly inspired by the work that the 999 Club does and we believe that you will be too. We interviewed Head of Partnerships, Gulen Petty, to better understand the story of this outstanding charity and what made her give up her successful career in chemistry for the 999 Club.

Join our newsletter & we'll donate $0.50* to the 999 Club charity

Get weekly inspiration & hacks from our expert blogs plus exclusive access to podcasts and discounts.

*Up to $250 per month