Here at the HBC we love books and we wanted to give our blogging community more recommendations for fantastic reads to inspire you. So we’ve teamed up with Shelf Help, a book club and community dedicated to self-help and self-development and creating space for real conversations.

Each month founder Toni Jones, a wellbeing journalist and self-help geek, highlights a book that has changed her life for the better, sharing content and wisdom from the titles on the Shelf Help Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as holding IRL meetups and author events.

June’s Book of the Month:

The Urban Monk: Eastern Wisdom and Modern Hacks to Stop Time and Find Success, Happiness, and Peace by Pedram Shojai

Get your copy here.



Our world is an overwhelming place. Each day’s commitments to career and family take everything we’ve got, and we struggle to focus on our health, relationships, and purpose in life. Technology brings endless information to our fingertips, but the one thing we really want – a sense of satisfaction and contentment – remains out of reach. This book is here to change all of that. With practice, you can stop time, refuel, and focus on the things that really matter, even among the chaos, and this no-nonsense life mastery programme brings together clear tools to elevate your existence so that you can step up and live your life to the fullest.


Warning: this is not a fluffy self-help book. Author Shojai hates TV, caffeine, commuting and expensive handbags and expects you to do the same by the time you finish this book. The thing is, you just might (!) thanks to Shojai’s persuasive arguments for keeping life simple and getting back to nature to improve happiness.

I love the format, which includes a case study, an analysis of a problem and a combination of solutions for most modern issues, including not enough time, energy, sleep or money, low self-esteem, high stress levels and being stuck in a rut. The book includes LOADS of brilliant, usable tips that are based in the East but translated for those of us just trying to do our best and sometimes watch less Kardashians in the West.


This book is for those of us wanting to find a better balance, reduce stress, and generally cope with the demands of modern life and who may be interested in a fresh look at inner peace and happiness.


Author Pedram doesn’t pull any punches and loves a call to action (and a swear word or two) but ultimately his advice is very simple. These are some of my favourite quotes:

  • “Grow or die.”
  • “We used to eat plants. Now we eat crap that’s made in plants.”
  • “The Urban Monk doesn’t buy bullshit he doesn’t need.”
  • “Your ‘later’ will always look the same if your ‘now’ is chaotic.”
  • “Do not stay up late on a Sunday night. This is suicide.”
  • “An Urban Monk doesn’t worry about status; therefore, she is free.”
  • “Eat like a sick person once a week.”
  • “You have permission to chill”
  • “Garbage in = Garbage out.”
  • “Killing time is killing life.”


You can find out more about Pedram Shojai and The Urban Monk on his website.

Tune in to his podcast here. 

Social: @pedframshojai