Uncommon Book Club – June 2020

Uncommon Book Club – June 2020

Welcome back to the Uncommon Book Club.

In June, we are focussing solely on health and wellbeing, picking titles around five key categories: the built environment, air, nutrition, mindset and nature.

Find our selections below and enjoy!

Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life, Colin Ellard

Our surroundings can powerfully affect our thoughts, emotions, and physical responses, whether we’re awed by the Grand Canyon or Hagia Sophia, panicked in a crowded room, soothed by a walk in the park, or tempted in casinos and shopping malls.

In Places of the Heart, Colin Ellard explores how our homes, workplaces, cities, and nature—places we escape to and can’t escape from—have influenced us throughout history, and how our brains and bodies respond to different types of real and virtual space. As he describes the insight he and other scientists have gained from new technologies, he assesses the influence these technologies will have on our evolving environment and asks what kind of world we are, and should be, creating.

Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity, Joseph G. Allen & John D. Macomber

A forensic investigator of “sick buildings” and Director of Harvard’s Healthy Buildings Program teams up with a CEO-turned-Harvard Business School professor to reveal the secrets of a healthy building-and to unlock one of the greatest business opportunities of our time. By the time you reach eighty, you will have spent seventy-two years of your life indoors. Like it or not, humans have become an indoor species. This means that the people who design, build, and maintain our buildings can have a major impact on our health. Ever feel tired during a meeting? That’s because most offices and conference rooms are not bringing in enough fresh air. When that door opens, it literally breathes life back into the room. But there is a lot more acting on your body that you can’t feel or see. From our offices and homes to our schools and hospitals, the indoor spaces where we work, learn, play, eat, and heal have an outsized influence on our performance and wellbeing. They affect our creativity, focus, and problem-solving ability and can make us sick-dragging down profits in the process.

Charismatic pioneers of the healthy building movement who have paired up to combine the cutting-edge science of Harvard’s School of Public Health with the financial know-how of the Harvard Business School, Joseph Allen and John Macomber lay out the science of healthy buildings and make the business case for owners, developers, and CEOs. They reveal the 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building, and show how tracking health performance indicators with smart technology can boost performance and create economic value. While the “green” building movement tackled energy, waste, and water, the new healthy building movement focuses on the most important (and expensive) asset of any business: its people.

The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat, Prof. Tim Spector

Why do most diets fail? Why does one person eat a certain meal and gain weight, while another eating the same meal loses pounds? Why, despite all the advice about what to eat, are we all still getting fatter?

The answers are much more surprising – and fascinating – than we’ve been led to believe. The key to health and weight loss lies not in the latest fad diet, nor even in the simple mantra of ‘eat less, exercise more’, but in the microbes already inside us.

Drawing on the latest science and his own pioneering research, Professor Tim Spector demystifies the common misconceptions about fat, calories, vitamins and nutrients. Only by understanding what makes our own personal microbes tick can we overcome the confusion of modern nutrition, and achieve a healthy gut and a healthy body.

Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Do you regularly find yourself too tired after a long day at the office to do anything other than binge TV, or scroll mindlessly through social media? Do you go on holiday and still compulsively check your email? Do you work through your lunch-break, often not even leaving the office and getting some fresh air?

For most of us, overwork is the new norm, and we never truly take the time to rest and recharge. But as Silicon Valley consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang explains in this ground breaking book, rest needs to be taken seriously and to be done properly, because when you rest better you work better.

Biophilia, Edward O. Wilson

Biophilia is Edward O. Wilson’s most personal book – an evocation of his own response to nature and an eloquent statement of the conservation ethic. Wilson argues that our natural affinity for life-biophilia-is the very essence of our humanity and binds us to all other living species.

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