Alfii’s book recommendations: short reads to start (and finish) over the weekend

Ghina Fahs
December 16, 2022
Alfii’s book recommendations: short reads to start (and finish) over the weekend
Fun stuff

It's been said that while most businesses were suffering losses during the global pandemic, book publishers thrived. Publisher’s Weekly reports that print book sales rose more than 8.9% since the start of the pandemic in 2020. 825.7 million print books were sold in the US in 2021, up from 757.9 million in 2020. With fewer external distractions and errands and more time to spend at home, people resorted to books.

Now that things have picked up again, we’re mindful that keeping the momentum going may require more conscious effort for some—thanks to the revival of the bustling life. One way we’d like to contribute is by creating conversations around books and sharing book recommendations. 

Care to join us in keeping the conversation alive with these easy on-the-go reads? Here are 6 short books that you can go through in just a few days:

  • For financial well-being: Happy Money by Ken Honda
  • For self-development: Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • For creative inspiration: Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon
  • For general emotional intelligence: The Power Of Nunchi by Euny Hong
  • For the love of poetry: Notes On Shapeshifting by Gabi Abrao
  • For escaping through a novel: Season Of Migration To The North by Tayeb Saleh

1. For financial well-being: Happy Money by Ken Honda

“Probably the best book you will ever read about money”

– Amazon Reviewer

“Ken’s book will transform your life around money.”

– Jack Canfield, #1 New York Times Bestselling co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series

How’s your relationship with money? Whether you’ve explored this question or not, this 215-pager will definitely leave an impression. This book will help you discover the tools that you already possess to reframe your thoughts around money and heal your relationship with it.

Ken Honda is a best-selling author of self-development books from Japan. His writing bridges the topics of finance and self-help, focusing on creating and generating personal wealth and happiness through deeper self-honesty. In Happy Money, Honda explains in simple and practical language how to “unpack the myth of scarcity” and achieve peace of mind when it comes to money.

2. For self-development: Atomic Habits by James Clear

“Atomic Habits by James Clear is one of those rare books that I immediately read twice in a row. It is filled with dozens of science-backed and actionable nuggets of wisdom.”

– Amazon Reviewer

"A supremely practical and useful book. James Clear distills the most fundamental information about habit formation, so you can accomplish more by focusing on less."

– Mark Manson, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Have you been trying to create healthier habits but you find that you’re not quite getting it right? Or perhaps you’re struggling to shake off the less favorable ones? Clear has spent years studying the science of habits and in Atomic Habits, he does such a fantastic job at packaging his findings in a brilliant 320-page guide, cheat sheets included.

This pick gained a lot of popularity in the last couple of years, and for good reason. It’s quickly becoming an iconic treasure of life hacks that will stick with you long after you’ve closed the book. 

3. For creative inspiration: Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

“Left me speechless and inspired!”

– Amazon Reviewer

"Steal Like An Artist is an actually readable manifesto on how to properly squeeze your brain juices and unlock your potential."


Are you lacking inspiration lately? Questioning your place in the creative world? Maybe imposter syndrome creeps up on you every time you try to take a step forward. If so, Steal Like An Artist is perfect for you. This light and easy read will delight you with its quirkiness—and whether you’re in the creative field or not, it can definitely bring value to your pursuits.

Austin Kleon is a writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, and creativity is for everyone. “A manifesto for the digital age,” this 160-page book is more on the visual side, with graphics and illustrations, exercises, and examples that will guide readers through a journey. 

4. For emotional intelligence: The Power Of Nunchi by Euny Hong

“Fantastic book; it’s the kind of book you can re-read at any time.”

– Amazon Reviewer

“A life-changer for someone like me who struggles with emotional intelligence and personal relationships. Beautifully written and filled with actionable advice, it has changed the way I deal with social situations. It really feels like having a superpower!”

– Héctor García, co-author of IKIGAI

Literally meaning “eye measure” nunchi has been the “guiding principle of Korean life” for over 5,000 years. Known as the subtle art of gauging other people’s thoughts and feelings in order to build trust, nunchi is your ally to seeing things you would’ve otherwise overlooked, and writer Euny Hong does a wonderful job at sharing her insights on how to apply nunchi in different areas of our lives.

In this 240-page read, Hong’s The Power Of Nunchi can empower you to read a room, deeply understand others, improve your relationships, get ahead at work, and positively influence people in any context and place.

5. For the love of poetry: Notes On Shapeshifting by Gabi Abrao

“For the many years I have followed Gabi, her art and writing have had a profound impact on my growth and embrace of the endless cycles we live through. She speaks in the universal language of gratitude and transformation that will change the way you see your purpose in this life.”

– GoodReads Reviewer

A more recent release by a rising young poet and artist, Notes On Shapeshifting is 80 pages of profound art through words, where the author, Gabi Abrao, expresses intimately and vulnerably; from pure infatuation to heartbreak, confidence to defeat, from a skepticism for living to a full-on trust in it. This is Abrao’s first book and it’s a total hit.

This book was crafted with such potent intent that you can feel it through every word. It's a collection of poetry, prose, and symbol-based guides, and it might particularly leave a mark on you if you like to journal or write poetry yourself—or if you’re someone who enjoys diving into topics on all things invisible to the eye.

6. For escaping through a novel: Season Of Migration To The North by Tayeb Saleh

“A book I’ll never stop recommending. Utterly unique, deep, and special.”

– Amazon Reviewer

“Without a doubt, it is one of the finest Arabic novels of the 20th century, and Denys Johnson-Davies' translation…does the original justice.”

– Hisham Matar

This pick is for the ones that like to travel through novels—in this case, literally. Season Of Migration To The North is a classic that has been described by Edward Saïd as being among the six finest novels of modern Arabic literature. In 2001 it was declared the most important Arabic novel of the 20th century by the Arab Literary Academy in Damascus. It’s a quick and captivating read, with only 169 pages—and total depth on each one.

The novel illustrates an unnamed narrator’s experience of returning to his village in Sudan, after studying British poetry in London for 7 years. Highlighting the aches of living between two worlds and the struggle of finding a sense of home; this book will resonate heavily with many who have had to move away from their homes in third-world countries.

There you have it

These are our 6 recommendations for quick reads that are light on the pages but heavy on the impact. We highly recommend you place your phone and laptop somewhere out of reach before diving in. Enjoy, and we’ll be back with more soon!

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