The Ultimate Book List 2023.

DO Lectures
17 min readSep 21, 2023

The books we re-read are few. And the books we gift are even fewer. Therefore, a list of gifted books is the purest signal of something remarkable.

So, with that said, we asked our community a simple question: ‘Which book have you given as a gift in 2023?’ This list was built from all of their replies.

We hope this proves useful.

DO Wales Event 2023


Pebbles of Perception

By Laurence Endersen

An exploration of life’s fundamental truths and the importance of long-term thinking, encouraging readers to cultivate wisdom through reflection and curiosity.


Being Mortal

By Atul Gawande

The modern experience of mortality — what it’s like to get old and die, how medicine has changed this and how it hasn’t, where our ideas about death have gone wrong.


The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life

By Boyd Varty

Navigate life’s journey with the ancient wisdom of the African wilderness, emphasising awareness, intuition, and connection to the environment and oneself.


Solve for Happy

By Mo Gawdat

Using his engineering background, Gawdat argues that happiness results from understanding and addressing the discrepancies between our perceptions and reality.



By James Nestor

Drawing on thousands of years of wisdom and cutting-edge studies, Breath is full of revelations, flipping the perception about our most basic biological function on its head.


Why We Sleep

By Matthew Walker

Walker illuminates the role of sleep in human health and well-being, detailing its impact on memory, emotional regulation, lifespan, and disease prevention.


Full of Shit

By Ellen Rozman

Vauhini Vara’s lyrical and thought-provoking debut novel begins in India in the 1950s, following a young man born into a Dalit family of coconut farmers in a remote village in Andhra Pradesh.



By David Bradford

Learn how to foster deeper, more meaningful relationships in both personal and professional spheres through understanding, empathy, and effective communication.


I May Be Wrong

By Björn Natthiko Lindeblad

We think we can determine the path our life takes, but events rarely unfold the way we plan for or expect. A humbling journey towards navigating uncertainty.


Wherever You Go, There You Are

By Jon Kabat-Zinn

Kabat-Zinn shows how mindfulness meditation as a practice can bring peace and presence into everyday life, regardless of one’s surroundings or circumstances.


The Untethered Soul

By Michael Singer

How the development of consciousness can enable us all to dwell in the present moment and let go of painful thoughts that keep us from achieving happiness.


The Power of Now

By Eckhart Tolle

Find spiritual enlightenment and mental freedom by living fully in the present moment, transcending ego-driven thought patterns.


The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

By Philippa Perry

Build stronger parent-child relationships through understanding, empathy, and effective communication.


My Voice Will Go with You

By Sidney Rosen

A collection of therapeutic narratives and anecdotes that illustrate the pioneering hypnotherapist’s techniques and their transformative power in therapy.


Animals of the Four Windows

By Eligio Stephen Gallegos

Delving into the diverse modes of human perception and cognition, offering insights into harmonising these aspects for enhanced personal understanding and growth.


Man’s Search for Meaning

By Viktor E Frankl

Frankl’s story of his struggle for survival in Auschwitz. Today, this tribute to hope offers us an avenue to finding greater meaning and purpose in our own lives.


The Four Agreements

By Don Miguel Ruiz Jr

How to create love and happiness, personal freedom and a fulfilling life by adhering to these transformative agreements with oneself.


brother. do. you. love. me.

By Manni Coe

A response to a desperate text from his brother Reuben, a man with Down’s syndrome and a gift for art and poetry, leading them on a transformative journey of healing and rediscovery.


Sad Book

By Michael Rosen

An exploration of grief, following the loss of his son, illustrated with evocative images that convey the depth of sorrow and human emotions.


The Parents Tao Te Ching

By William Martin

Martin adapts Taoist wisdom for modern parenting, promoting mindfulness and harmony in raising children.



By Hermann Hesse

A chronicle of the spiritual journey of a man named Siddhartha as he searches for enlightenment in ancient India.


Isaac And The Egg

By Bobby Palmer

Heartbreaking and heart-stealing, this modern-day fable is a novel about sorrow, joy, friendship and love. As is the title, it all starts when Isaac meets the egg.


Blue Mind

By Wallace J Nichols

Nichols reveals the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on, under, or simply near water.



A Technique for Producing Ideas

By James Young

A step-by-step technique for sparking breakthrough creativity in advertising — or any field. Generate exciting ideas on demand, at any time.


Big Magic

By Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear.


Smoke Hole

By Martin Shaw

Smoke Hole is a passionate call to arms and an invitation to use stories to face the complexities of contemporary life.


Feck Perfuction

By James Victore

James will guide you through all the twists, trials, and triumphs of starting your creative career and give you a kick in the pants.


The Meaning in the Making

By Sean Tucker

Find your voice, discover your message, maintain inspiration, and stay mentally healthy and motivated creators as we strive to find “the meaning in the making.”


The Creative Act

By Rick Rubin

The Creative Act is a beautiful and generous course of study that illuminates the path of the artist as a road we all can follow.


The Book of DO

By Miranda West

Featuring wisdom and advice from leading experts on how to live a more creative and sustainable life, work smarter, or even change direction.



By Rory Sutherland

Discover the alchemy behind original thinking and why abandoning logic and casting aside rationality is the best way to solve any problem.


Letters to a Young Poet

By Rainer Maria Rilke

Rilke explores the necessity of solitude, the relationships between creativity, nature and sexuality, and the importance of living a full life.


Steal like an artist

By Austin Kleon

This beautifully illustrated book teaches readers how to use their surroundings and their own creativity to discover their own artistic paths.


The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse

By Charlie Mackesy

Enter the world of Charlie’s four unlikely friends, discover their story and their most important life lessons.


The Treehouse Book

By Peter and Judy Nelson

Master treehouse builders embark on a treehouse-discovery expedition across America, adding the investigation of backyard playhouses to their agenda.



The Lost Rainforests of Britain

By Guy Shrubsole

Guy Shrubsole travels through Britain to map these spectacular lost worlds for the first time.


The Man who planted trees

By Jean Giono

Year after year the narrator returns to see a miracle being created: a verdant, green landscape that is testament to one man’s creative instinct.


The Climate Book

By Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg has gathered the wisdom of over one hundred experts to equip us all with the knowledge we need to combat climate disaster.


DO Earth

By Tamsin Omond

How to heal our relationships with nature, each other and ourselves; and feel inspired about what the next phase of human evolution might be.


Silent Spring

By Rachel Carson

Silent Spring alerted people to the environmental and human dangers of pesticides, spurring revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water.


Braiding Sweetgrass

By Robin Wall Kimmerer

Kimmerer shows how other living beings offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices.



By Hans Rosling

Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world, and make you realise things are better than you thought.


Ultra-Processed People

By Chris van Tulleken

This is a book about our rights. The right to know what we eat and what it does to our bodies and the right to good, affordable food.


To Dye For

By Alden Wicker

To Dye For uncovers the harmful environmental and health impacts of the fashion industry, advocating for more sustainable and less toxic production practices.



The Promises of Giants

By John Amaechi

The product of a lifetime spent observing effective leadership. This book is a challenge to anyone who aspires to make a difference in their environment.


The Tao of Leadership

By John Heider

An invaluable tool for anyone in a position of leadership. It provides the clearest advice on how to trust the process, pay attention, and inspire others.



By Liz Wiseman

Liz explores why some leaders drain capability and intelligence from their teams while others amplify it to produce better results.


The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership

By Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, Kaley Klemp

This book contains a comprehensive road map to guide you to shift from fear-based to trust-based leadership.


Dare to Lead

By Brené Brown

Daring leadership in a culture that’s defined by scarcity, fear and uncertainty requires building courage skills, which are uniquely human.


Liminal Thinking

By Dave Gray

Liminal thinking is the art of creating change by understanding, shaping and reframing beliefs.


Say Yes

By Scott Erickson

Our darkest moments are sometimes doorways to a more joy-filled journey of recovering who we are, why we’re here, and why the future bursts with possibilities.


The Earned Life

By Marshall Goldsmith

Goldsmith reveals that the key to living the earned life requires connecting the habit of earning rewards to something greater than our personal successes.


Atomic Habits

By James Clear

A foray into the power of small, consistent behaviour changes to achieve remarkable results, highlighting the compound growth effect of habits over time.


The Serendipity Mindset

By Dr Christian Busch

Exploring the art of cultivating good luck in life and work. Serendipity can be nurtured by recognising and acting on unexpected opportunities.


Give and Take

By Adam Grant

Everybody knows that hard work, luck and talent each play a role in our working lives. There is another way to get to the top.


Decoding Greatness

By Ron Friedman

Friedman reveals how top performers achieve success by studying and reverse-engineering others’ work.


Be a Better Boss

By Henry Engelhardt

This book will help any manager in any organisation think creatively, make smarter decisions, and manage people better.


Who Moved My Cheese?

By Dr Spencer Johnson

Johnson uses the allegory of mice and cheese in a maze to highlight the importance of adaptability, proactivity, and a positive mindset.


Peaks and Valleys

By Spencer Johnson

A parable about navigating life’s ups and downs, stressing that both periods are essential for personal growth.


The Back of the Napkin

By Roam Dan

Any problem can be made clearer with a picture, and any picture can be made using the same simple set of tools and rules.


Find Your Own Path

By Fiona Buckland

You are not in the waiting room of life. You sense you have more potential but the way forward isn’t clear. This is a practical guide to fulfilling your potential.


The Big Leap

By Gay Hendricks PhD

A step-by-step program for identifying and breaking through our personal upper limits to achieve ultimate success.


The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

By Eric Jorgenson

Getting rich is not just about luck; happiness is not just a trait we are born with. These may seem out of reach, but being happy is a skill we can learn.


Start with Why

By Simon Sinek

Those who have had the greatest influence in the world all think, act and communicate in the same way.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

By Stephen Covey

Covey promotes principle-centred habits for personal and interpersonal effectiveness, proactivity, understanding, synergy, and self-renewal.



By Jamie Smart

Renowned speaker, writer, and coach Jamie Smart delivers a practical roadmap to turning that infinitely long to-do list into manageable and focused tasks.


Time to Think

By Nancy Kline

Effective listening is recognised as the foundation for more productive meetings, solving business problems and building stronger relationships.



Around the World in 80 minutes

By Robert Kitson

Observant, amusing and thought-provoking, the journey takes in some of the game’s more prominent names, to reflect on rugby’s intangible shared joy.


Flares Up

By Niamh McAnally

Flares Up is a true story of adventure, tenacity and the capacity of the human spirit to triumph over adversity.


Independent People

By Halldor Laxness

This is a magnificent portrait of the eerie Icelandic landscape and one man’s dogged struggle for independence.


Blood Knots

By Luke Jennings

Blood Knots is about angling, about great fish caught and lost, but it is also about friendship, honour and coming of age.


In Waves

By AJ Dungo

In this graphic novel, surfer and illustrator AJ Dungo remembers his late partner and the shared love of surfing that endured throughout their difficult times.




By Andy Whyte

A framework for complex sales, focusing on metrics, decision criteria, and understanding the buyer’s needs.


It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be

By Paul Arden

This uplifting little book provides a unique insight into the world of advertising and is a quirky compilation of quotes, facts, pictures, wit and wisdom.


DO Open

By David Hieatt

Build community. Build your brand. Build long-term growth. Discover why the humble newsletter is pure and utter gold.


Zero to One

By Blake Masters and Peter Thiel

Masters and Thiel advocate that true innovation comes from creating something entirely new, rather than iterating on existing products.


Company Of One

By Paul Jarvis

A refreshing approach to entrepreneurship centred on staying small and avoiding growth — maximising happiness, sustainability and profitability.


The Intelligent Investor

By Benjamin Graham

Promotes the virtues of value investing and the significance of understanding a company’s intrinsic value over market trends.


Mastering Uncertainty

By Matt Watkinson

The unforeseen always occurs. Mastering Uncertainty shows you how to prepare for it and succeed in our ever-changing world.


The Craft of Research

By Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, et al.

The Craft of Research has helped generations of researchers at every level learn how to conduct effective and meaningful research.




By Jon Alexander and Ariane Conrad

Citizens opens up a new way of understanding ourselves and shows us what we must do to survive and thrive as individuals, organisations, and nations.


Worldly Philosophers

By Robert L Heilbroner

Heilbroner links the world’s greatest economic thinkers and explores the philosophies that motivate them.


Economical Writing

By Deirdre McCloskey

Economical Writing is itself economical: a collection of thirty-five pithy rules for making your writing clear, concise, and effective.


Critical Mass

By Philip Ball

This investigation into human nature ranges from Hobbes and Adam Smith to modern work on traffic flow and market trading, across economics, sociology and psychology.


The Club on the Edge of Town

By Alan Lane

A deeply moving memoir of how a group of artists fed their local community during the Covid pandemic.




By Scott Harrison

Thirst is a riveting account of how to build a better charity, a better business, a better life — and a gritty tale that proves it’s never too late to make a change.



By John Higgs

Wildly unauthorised and unlike any other music biography, THE KLF is a trawl through chaos on the trail of a beautiful, accidental mythology.



By Glennon Doyle

Untamed explores the joy we discover when we stop striving to meet the expectations of the world and dare to listen to and trust the voice deep inside us.


Atlas Of The Heart

By Brené Brown

Brené lays out an actionable framework for meaningful connection and gives us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances.


A Confederacy Of Dunces

By John Kennedy Toole

A pithy, laugh-out-loud story following John Kennedy Toole’s larger-than-life Ignatius J. Reilly, floundering his way through 1960s New Orleans.


Doctor Zhivago

By Boris Pasternak

Banned in the Soviet Union until 1988, Doctor Zhivago is the epic story of the life and love of a poet-physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution.


Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

By Adam Grant

Adam Grant delves into how unconventional thinkers challenge the status quo and champion new ideas to drive innovation and change in society.


Be More Pirate

By Sam Conniff Allende

Challenge the status quo, adopt the rebellious spirit of pirates, and rewrite the rules for greater innovation and societal impact.


You Made It!

Thank you for making it all the way to the bottom of the list. It is a behemoth with lots of gold. Our aim is to share insightful and inspiring books that will help you on your journey to get you from where you are to from here, to where you want to be.

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