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Say YES! to reading more

In the spirit of #Yesvember again this year, we’re sharing some new titles that we’ve enjoyed and which have helped us grow. Books that have given us a new perspective, or created different or more positive habits, or ones that simply made us disconnect from our digital lives for a while.

We’ve listed a few of our suggestions, with more to share later in the month!

Here you’ll find some classic oldies, and some you maybe haven’t heard of …


Ten Times Happier: A guide on how to let go of what’s holding you back by Owen O’Kane

As a committed over-thinker I found the advice in this book super useful!

  • Ruminating on the past? Tick.
  • Worrying about everything? Yep, that’s me.
  • Comparing myself to others? All the time.
  • Being a bit of a drama queen?
  • Occasionally…
  • Dwelling on unresolved regrets? Quite often!
  • And that’s just the half of it!

This is a really easy read, a practical guide packed with actionable advice that actually makes a difference. Each section has a simple but compelling explanation followed by a case study and a commitment. There’s even a handy little summary recapping the key points. I feel a lot happier having read it!



The Art of Resilience: Strategies for an Unbreakable Mind and Body by Ross Edgley

I remember hearing about Ross Edgley’s crazy challenge to swim the coastline of Great Britain when preparing for the far lesser feat of the BHF Pier to Pier Challenge in 2019.  The book can be roughly described as part diary, part introduction to stoic philosophy and part sport science manual. Worth reading if any of those areas are of interest or just to discover how much pain and suffering a person is prepared to put themselves through – the tongue bit especially. The parts describing what he would need to eat on a daily basis are also eye-watering. 



First Man In: Leading from the Front by Ant Middleton

More stories from the SAS Who Dares Wins man about the power and importance of positive thinking. A very open and honest book that explores examples of maintaining a positive mindset. An insightful change from some of his other books in that each chapter also has a contribution from his wife about her outlook and opinion on some of the situations he’s faced. Proof if it was needed that having a positive mindset doesn’t always occur automatically and you have to try and train yourself to keep it alive.



Time to think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind by Nancy Kline

The ethos of the book is to ‘create a particular environment and people will think for themselves. It is that simple.’

This really helped me in understanding the importance of attentively listening to others in a way that means you can unlock insight and ideas. We all listen but we don’t always hear what the other person is saying.



Zero Negativity by Ant Middleton 

This book gave me insight into thinking about things in a different way and ways to train my mind to think positively.

I felt more in control from it.



The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk

An incredible insight into how trauma affects the body/mind and how you can try to recover from it.



Battle Scars by Jason Fox

This book centres around Jason’s military career and subsequent trauma and PTSD and the difficult road to recovery he had to take.

A great book to help understand psychological trauma which helps lead to acceptance.



Don’t sweat the small stuff by Richard Carlson

A practical advice book that helps when feeling stressed and offers step by step tips to feel good about yourself when you feel a lack of purpose in life.



Yearbook 5 by Hiut Denim

It’s a good book for a number of reasons. 

‘I think I’m a bit obsessed by what they do’.  The book is great, their weekly email is full of good stuff. The Do lectures are run by co founder David Hieatt.



The Happy Newspaper by Emily Coxhead

A great alternative to the negative news that surrounds us all the time.



Soundtracks by Jon Acuff

A guide to help address overthinking, that provides a simple and easily relatable way of stopping your negative thoughts dead in their tracks.

Replacing them with new, kinder ‘soundtracks’ – self-help for the Spotify generation!



Art Matters by Neil Gaiman

“You have the ability to make art. It gets you through the good times and it gets you through the other ones.”

It’s a very quick read of illustrated quotes, but with nice points on the importance of imagination, ideas and creativity.



She is Fierce by Ana Sampson.

While not every poem has a positive spin, they were written by bold and brave women and each one is significant, sincere and insightful in its own way.

I love the way that poetry can be subjective, and you can draw different things from it depending on what kind of day you’re having.



Have you read a book, listened to an audio track or found a podcast series that’s made you think differently or grow? Maybe you’ve found a new author that’s uplifted you? Let us know. We’d love to share your recommendations as part of #YESvember.

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Emily Stoten — Head of Marketing, Selecta

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Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

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Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

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Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

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DR ELENI ATHANASAKOS, Lead Paediatric Clinical Scientist — NHS Barts Health

“‘The short animation developed in co-production with clinicians and young people is outstanding! Informative, developmentally appropriate, vitally fun and engaging. We are really grateful for the expertise of the Alive with Ideas team for their innovative approach in building children’s health literacy.'”

Kath Evans — Director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health

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Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead

“Alive wowed us during the pitch process and they didn’t stop wowing us throughout the whole project. Every person we worked with at Alive were so friendly, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about what they do. They have worked with us to really understand what we do and have created a new brand and website that really stands out from our competitors. Thank you!”

Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

“I think the team have done such a brilliant job, particularly with responding to our requests. It's one of the best mental health videos I've ever seen. Very proud to be associated with your exemplary work. Thank you so much.”

Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

“We have worked with Alan, Caroline and the wider Alive With Ideas team for many years. In that time, they have provided a dedicated service that is second to none. We appreciate their attention to detail and creative approach to bringing our brand, communications and stories to life. And would recommend them to anyone looking for creative communications support.”

Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

“Each time I work with the team, I am always stunned at the effort and creativity that goes into each detail and am always eager for the end result. The team is extremely accommodating and always provide a fresh approach to our projects that elevates our communications materials!”

Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“What I really appreciate about Alive is that they work with us as partners, and care as much about getting it right for our patients as we do.”

Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

“Alive are unique in how much they deeply listen and invest in you and your ideas. I have not come across a company that listens as much as they do to ensure your needs are understood and met (actually - they always exceed my needs and expectations). Everyone I recommend Alive to has an equally brilliant experience. When you work with Alive, you are not only getting some genius creativity brought into your life, you are also hanging out with some of the best examples of human beings I’ve ever known.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist —

“Alive helped us create a video of our response to the floods of winter 2019. Our Chief Officer received messages from all round the country praising us for it and was really pleased with both the video and the response to it.”

Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“Alive were professional, friendly and great to work with. Most importantly they were creative, helping us to bring an extremely important safety campaign to life.”

Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“This looks amazing - brought a smile to my face scrolling through it :-)”

Jack Ford, Head of Marketing — streamGO

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking.”

Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q
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