The holy grail for most of us is to achieve a better work-life balance. Often, it feels like we are juggling, or spinning plates. As business owners we have no set work hours, so it can be a struggle to strike a happy balance between our day job and personal lives.

Feed your mind and good things will follow

Reading books are great food for thought and can help us, as business owners, better manage our mindsets. Below are the books that caught my eye as I headed north with my kids to go off the grid on vacation, and to enjoy some rest and relaxation.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed all of the books I chose and got plenty of ideas and affirmations to help me in my personal life and the running of my busy real-estate brand marketing agency.


Here the books I picked up and read – I figured you’d get a lot out of them too;

  1. Ant Middleton – Zero Negativity
  2. Kishimi & Koga – The Courage To Be Disliked
  3. Ariana Huffington – Thrive
  4. Dick Smith – My Adventurous life

Three of the authors are world-renowned, not for writing books but for other life achievements. And all the books had great takeaways on how to avoid letting your business, or the people around you, determine your mindset or how you live your life.

melanie hoole book review ant middleton zero negativity

Book Review: Ant Middleton – Zero Negativity

Ant Middleton (a brit, like me) is best known as the star of the international hit TV show SAS: Who Dares Wins. He shares some mind-blowing stories in his recent book Zero Negativity. If you want to learn how to embrace failure and use it to your advantage, then Ant’s book is for you.

Embrace failure and use it to your advantage.

Discussing his time (and more interestingly mindset) whilst serving in the SBS, the naval wing of the Special Forces, and the Marines … to name but a few military roles he’s held, you get behind-the-scenes insights into the dangerous life and pursuits of the British military in Afghanistan.

Maintain an optimistic outlook and build the resilience to combat other people’s negativity or negative situations.

Ant also shares how he had to shed his military mindset and instinctive behaviours once he became a civilian. But his ability to maintain an optimistic outlook and build the resilience to combat other people’s negativity or negative situations is what led him to his new role as a global media and TV celebrity. Going from secretive serviceman to public commodity has been quite the paradigm shift, not only for him but his family.

melanie hoole book review courage to be disliked

Book Review: Kishimi & Koga – The Courage To Be Disliked

Next, Kishimi & Koga’s book ties in nicely with Ant Middleton’s advice. Part psychology, part philosophy, the authors are Japanese, but I found the English adaption brilliantly written.

“How to harness our inner power to become the person we’d like to be.”

It’s simple yet profound advice showing us how to harness our inner power to become the person we’d like to be. The book explains that if we have the courage to change and ignore the limitations frequently imposed on us (by our circumstances or other people) we can break free and find happiness.

“Have the courage to change and ignore the limitations frequently imposed on us.”

melanie hoole book review arianna huffington thrive

Book Review: Ariana Huffington – Thrive

Following suit is Ariana Huffington’s book. As one of the most successful and influential media businesswomen in the world, her book ‘Thrive’ is a passionate call to arms that’s aiming to redefine what it means to be successful. Money and power come at a cost, and Arianna’s wake-up call was collapsing exhausted at her work desk, waking in a pool of blood with a fractured cheek.

Arianna, whose wisdom comes from a life of 70+ years, is imploring all of us to get in touch with who we really are so that we can live life on our own terms.

“Redefine what it means to be successful.
Get in touch with who you are and live life on your own terms.”

melanie hoole book review dick smith

Book Review: Dick Smith – My Adventurous life

With my final book, the attraction was to learn about a business success story and Aussie Icon, the man Dick Smith. Dick Smith is not only an astute businessman but a groundbreaking adventurer having circumnavigated the globe in a helicopter several times.

In his book Dick Smith My Adventurous life, you learn about how he grew a multimillion-dollar business in under a decade starting out installing car radios. And why business was not all the be-all and end-all to him, which is why he sold out and took to the skies in his Richard Branson-style flying escapades. (I also discovered that he happens to live one suburb from me, but his property has a helicopter pad – mine does not!)

Dicks sage advice that is reiterated multiple times throughout the book is that his success comes from never being afraid to ask others (that have achieved what you’d like to achieve) for advice and surrounding yourself with smart and capable people. He also makes it clear that money and business success weren’t his ideals for a happy and fulfilling life.

“Never be afraid to ask others (that have achieved what you’d like to achieve) for advice.”

He questions why we are all driven to grow our businesses exponentially. Once Dck had enough money, and his businesses became too big, he’d always opt to sell out and spend time doing things that fueled his soul instead; such as his flying pursuits, championing causes that benefited all Australians and generating profits that went to charities.

Again, great advice!


We’ve all heard it before, “think positive and good things will happen.” But is there any truth to this claim? Surely if it was that simple, everyone would be doing it, and we’d all be living in a utopia where everyone is smiling and happy all the time. Or would we?

Is it really possible to think your way to success? The answer may surprise you. Science has shown that our thoughts can actually influence our actions and outcomes. There’s a reason why self-help books and motivational speeches are always talking about the power of positive thinking – it works! But how, exactly, does it work?

Release good brain chemicals

Basically, when we think positive thoughts, our brain releases chemicals that make us feel good. This feel-good feeling then motivates us to take action and pursue our goals. And taking action is key to achieving success. It’s not enough to just sit around and think positive thoughts; we have to actually do something with that positive energy in order to see results.

The power of positive thinking has been written about in books like “The Secret” and “The Law of Attraction” which claim that if you just think positive thoughts, then good things will come your way. But is this really true?


Be prepared for the worst

Just because you think positive thoughts doesn’t mean that bad things will never happen to you. Negative experiences are a natural part of life, and they can happen to anyone, regardless of how positive their thinking is.

So while the power of positive thinking is definitely worth harnessing, don’t forget to keep your expectations realistic as well!

Being disliked is the new black

It seems like these days, everyone is trying to be liked. We go out of our way to make sure our social media posts are “liked” by our friends, we dress a certain way so we’ll be popular, and we avoid saying anything that might upset someone. In short, we’re all a bunch of people-pleasers.

And you know what? It’s exhausting. So, I’m going to make a case for being disliked. Here’s why it’s actually way cooler (and easier) than trying to be liked by everyone.

You don’t have to fit in to stand out

When you’re trying to be liked by everyone, you end up fitting in with the masses. There’s nothing wrong with being a part of the group, but if you’re just blending in with everyone else, you’re not going to stand out. And let’s face it, standing out is way more fun than blending in.

So instead of following the pack, dare to be different. Be yourself, even if it means you won’t be liked by everyone. Trust me, the people who do like you will appreciate you so much more for it.


It’s okay to disagree

In today’s world, it seems like we’re constantly being divided into two groups: us vs. them, left vs. right, black vs. white. We’re taught to believe that we have to pick one side or the other, and god forbid we should agree to disagree! But here’s a wild idea: what if we all just… got along?

Imagine how much better off we’d be if we could hear each other out and actually try to understand where the other person is coming from instead of just yelling at each other until one side gives up (which is usually the side with less yelling power).

Having civil discourse is so important, and yet it’s something that seems to be lacking these days. So if you want to be disliked, start speaking up and sharing your opinions – even if they differ from the majority. Who knows? You might just change someone’s mind.

You’re disliked? You’re doing something right!

If you’re not making waves, you’re not doing anything worth doing. So if you’re looking for validation from others that what you’re doing is good or important or worthy of attention, you’re never going to find it because YOU have to believe in yourself first.

And that takes guts – the kind of guts that will inevitably lead to some people disliking you because you’re different, or because you rock the boat, or because you challenge the status quo.

But screw them! If they can’t see how awesome you are, that’s their loss. The people who matter will stick by you no matter what, and those are the only opinions that should matter to you anyway.

So there you have it: why being disliked is cooler than trying to please everyone all the time. Will there be times when it sucks? Of course! But ultimately, being yourself is always going to be worth it in the end because that’s when you’ll find your true purpose and real friends (even clients) – the ones who like you for exactly who you are (dislikes and all).

Just keep being you, mentally sound or not!

So this Mental Health Week, take some time out for yourself and pick up a book! You’ll be glad you did! Do you have any suggestions for other books that help with work-life balance? Let me know in the comments below! And be sure to check out our blog for more great mindset posts.

Thanks for reading! Stay healthy. Keep being yourself!


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Written by Melanie Hoole

My team and I specialise in helping real estate and property professionals perfect their personal brand, build a first-class digital profile and implement inbound marketing activities to attract leads. If you are unsure which direction to take with your digital marketing contact me for help.

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