The Magpie Reading List

As someone who identifies as a scanner, I’m drawn to reading lots of books about a fairly wide range of subjects. I’ve put together this page to collect together some of the books I’m currently reading or have read in the last few years that I have liked and have been particularly useful to my thinking on various subjects. The page will be updated regularly. I read a lot and have read quite a few clangers – anything that I don’t like, or don’t find helpful doesn’t make the cut.

Community and personal connections

The Art of Asking: How I learned to stop worrying and let people help. By Amanda Palmer.

Loneliness: Human nature and the need for social connection. By John Cacioppo and William Patrick


Let’s pretend this never happened: (A mostly true memoir). By Jenny Lawson.

Furiously happy. By Jenny Lawson.

Silence and solitude

The Book of Silence. By Sara Maitland.

Lonely: Learning to live with solitude. By Emily White.

Storytelling and creativity

Gossip from the forest. By Sara Maitland.

Flow: The psychology of happiness. By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

On not being able to paint. By Marion Milner.

Verbatim: Contemporary Documentary Theatre: Techniques in Contemporary Documentary Theatre. By David Hare, Robin Soans, and Richard Norton-Taylor.

Ways of being and working

Thrive: The third metric to redefining success and creating a happier life. By Arrianna Huffington.

Refuse to choose!: A revolutionary program for doing everything you love. By Barbara Sher.

What the **** is Normal? By Francesca Martinez

How to be Idle By Tom Hodgkinson

How to be Free By Tome Hodgkinson

Thinking about small business and a creative career

Art, Inc.: The essential guide for building your career as an Artist. By Lisa Congdon

Body of work: Finding the thread that ties your story together. By Pamela Slim.

Refreshingly simple finance for small business: A straight-talking guide to finance and accounting. By Emily Coltman.

I can start your business: Everything you need to know to run your limited company or self employment. By Russell Smith

Business for Bohemians By Tom Hodgkinson

Understanding money and the world of finance

Swimming with sharks: My journey into the world of bankers. By Joris Luyendijk.

If you like what is happening on the blog and want to pick up any of the reading here, I’ve embedded a series of links to the amazon pages for these books. All the links here are Amazon Affiliate links, which means I would receive a tiny amount of money for every book bought through these particular links.