Books Corner | Something that matters

Summers are often a time for reflection, and as an amazing summer in Copenhagen comes to a close, many of us will have spent at least part of it thinking about our lives, how we are spending it, where we are headed, and perhaps even how we could change it. In doing so we are often inspired by people who have taken leaps of faith and shown courage and conscience many of us can only dream of. Regardless of whether we make a change, dream of change or just talk about change, here are a few books to inspire and entertain.

“My goal is to inspire others to go out and make a positive impact, to start something that matters to them,” says Blake Mycoskie, author of Start something that matters. A book about a pair of shoes (or two) – one you’re guaranteed to have seen all over this summer and one donated through your purchase to someone less advantaged. The shoes are, naturally, Toms. In his book, Mycoskie profiles other social entrepreneurs and offers readers a new way of thinking about success, defined by work that fulfills hunger for material accomplishment, philanthropic impact and personal meaning.

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh is also about selling shoes (and more), but the story of the online company Zappos is one of pursuing one’s dream, not only of creating a great commercial business, but more importantly of doing so in a positive corporate environment. It demonstrated how by concentrating on the happiness of those around you, you can dramatically increase your own.

Paul Farmer, a medical anthropologist who is the founder of Partners in Health, is known worldwide for helping to bring quality healthcare to some of the most impoverished areas of the globe, and his book To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation collects a series of commencement addresses that Farmer has delivered to graduating college students wherein Farmer urges them to confront global problems through a tireless commitment to social justice and solidarity with the world’s poor.

With Happier at Home, the latest installment in her Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin dedicates a school year (September is the new January) to concentrating on the factors that matter most for home, such as possessions, marriage, time, parenthood, body and neighborhood.

Finally, in How will you measure your life by Clayton Christensen, James Allworth and Karen Dillon, based partly on Christensen’s speech at Harvard and a famous article in the Harvard Business Review, the authors ask a number of fundamental questions such as “How can I be sure that I’ll find satisfaction in my career?” or “How can I be sure that my personal relationships become enduring sources of happiness?” and try to answer them using lessons from some of the world’s greatest businesses. They apply Christensen’s theories of disruptive innovation, thus presenting a way for each of us to think about our lives and find the satisfaction, happiness and direction necessary for a successful and happy future.


Isabella Mousavizadeh Smith is the owner of Books & Company, an English language book shop in Hellerup that prides itself on providing an interesting and diverse range of books, an excellent cup of coffee, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. For more about Books & Company, please visit, or the shop at Sofievej 1.

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