MELANIE THOMAS

HOST: HAMMERSMITH, WEST LONDON

What’s your favourite self-help book and why? The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin stands out as having the most transformative impact on my life. The Four Tendencies are a personality framework that categorises you as an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger or Rebel based on whether you respond better to external or internal expectations. I took the quiz on Gretchen’s website (available here: https://gretchenrubin.com/2015/01/ta-da-the-launch-of-my-quiz-on-the-four-tendencies-learn-about-yourself/) and (unsurprisingly) came out as a Questioner personality. I did not believe it was correct until I read: “If you are questioning the validity of this framework then you are absolutely a Questioner”! Understanding how you and those around you respond to expectation can help you work better, delegate more effectively, get on better with your colleagues, your family and friends. It teaches you how to motivate yourself and motivate others. Gretchen should cut me a cheque for the number of people I have convinced to read this book!

Why did you get involved in Shelf Help? This is a conveniently smooth transition… Gretchen Rubin again! At the start of the year, having read her books the Happiness Project and the Four Tendencies, I started listening to her podcast ‘Happier by Gretchen Rubin’ during which she discussed an alternative to traditional new year’s resolutions, which tend to be based on restriction and self-punishment, usually falling through by the second week of January. She suggested writing an “18 for 2018” list: 18 things to do that will bring joy and happiness to your life in the year.  On my list, I wrote “find a book a club”, and I also set my word of the year: “Growth”. Searching online, I found a book club that was discussing Gretchen Rubin’s ‘Better than Before’ – it was a sign! Not only that, but the meetup was running a one-off yoga class beforehand, and was focused on personal growth. It felt like the stars aligned.

What can people expect at your meetups? At my meetups, you can expect to discover new ideas, connect to others through shared experiences and hopefully, leave with a little more self-knowledge, and a little more to think about, than when you arrived.