My Favorite Books on Health and Happiness

Dear committed WHealth Seeker,

Welcome to the first in our monthly series of book reviews. Each month, I will review one (or more) books that are directly relevant to your health, happiness or prosperity. This month, you get a bumper version – I highlight my favorites – a small selection of the many books that underscore the BodyWHealth value proposition and capture the science of WHealth.

BodyWHealth: Journey to Abundance, by Roddy Carter, M.D.

You shouldn’t be surprised that my own book is at the top of my all-time favorite list! It captures, in warm bedside language the very best advice that this caring physician can offer you on your journey to health, happiness and prosperity. It is a simple guide that is built from the very best scientific research to illuminate your path, as it continues to illuminate my own path every day of my life. This science has helped me to unlock health and happiness, and has restored my youth. I know that if you read it, and follow its simple recommendations, you will be rewarded with WHealth too!

The Promise of Sleep, by William C. Dement and Christopher Vaughan

The first two keys that unlock physical health relate to exercise and energy balance. I draw from my own research, and a vast body of knowledge on these topics to support my recommendations to take 10,000 steps on 5 days of every week for the rest of your life, and to count calories. The third key might come as a surprise to some – it relates to healthy sleep. Without doubt, this is the next most powerful step you can take to securing physical health. Bill Dement is a legendary professor of sleep science from Stanford University. Each year, undergraduate students line up to enroll in his ever-popular class on the topic. This book is not a light read; its tiny print and weighty content are for the serious student. For those who choose to explore this subject in more depth, you will find a deep repository of the very best science in this book. If you’re less determined, then read my lighter version in BodyWHealth: Journey to Abundance.

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg

No Excuses” is BodyWHealth’s key #4, and describes an essential mindset for success. After the initial phase, where willpower rules the day, the science of habit takes over. This book reviews the science of habit. Using real life examples, the author describes the three phases in the formation of a habit (good or bad) for individuals, organizations and society, and gives simple ways to break or establish habits. Duhigg is a Stanford academic, and a leading researcher in the field of habit. This is also a book for the serious reader.

The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne

Here is a much lighter read – although the topic is weighty. It’s also available as a video. The author has captured a broad kaleidoscope of anecdotal data that fuels our belief in the power of our human brains. Although lacking in explanatory science (you need to read BodyWHealth for this), it provides a compelling collection of real world examples of the Power of Belief in action. Remember that “Believe” is Key #4 in the BodyWHealth guidebook to health, happiness and prosperity.

Feeling Good, by David Burns

If The Secret provides the historic evidence, then Feeling Good outlines the underlying scientific framework for the application of Belief in our lives. The author, also a top professor at Stanford (although a great deal of the early research comes from Burns and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania), covers the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in depression. I’m afraid this is also a difficult read, although the book really works – it works at least as well as modern antidepressants in the treatment of clinical depression! The chapter on Belief in BodyWHealth: Journey to Abundance provides a good synopsis for a quick read, while adding evolutionary context to the basic science. Belief is the single most powerful element of the BodyWHealth method.

Triumphs of Experience, by George E. Vaillant

This book describes the profound conclusions drawn from what is popularly known as the Harvard Happiness Study. It provides the basis for the two final keys to WHealth – #6, to “Invest Socially”, and #7 to “Live with Purpose”. The book is written by Harvard’s Professor of Psychiatry currently charged with leading the Grant Study, the “longest longitudinal study of human development ever undertaken”. It’s academic bent also makes it a tough read. The findings have been confirmed in many other shorter studies, across a broad range of people – social engagement and purpose drive happiness. These are the fundamental tenets for emotional WHealth.

I promise that I will review easier reads in future. Four out of these six books are heavy in content and language. They underscore the fact that the BodyWHealth guidance for health, happiness and prosperity is deeply supported by the world’s best science performed by the world’s best scientists. It is true, and it works!

Have fun,

Roddy

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