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KATE JAMES Change Your Thinking to Change Your Life gets 8/10

Change Your Thinking to Change Your Life: A practical guide to finding your purpose

by Kate James
Pan Macmillan


Kate James is an Australian life coach, mindfulness teacher and prolific writer and speaker who founded Total Balance in 2002, which is based in Melbourne. Throughout her career, James has written numerous books directed at providing individuals with practical information and advice about personal development.

Her newest offering, Change Your Thinking to Change Your Life: A practical guide to finding your purpose, set to be released in February 2021, is described as a practical guide that will help you transform your life and find your purpose. This is said to be achievable by understanding how and why you think the way you do and by rectifying any thoughts that may hinder your path to a meaningful and happy life.

This is a beautifully written book full of insightful and poignant stories gathered and meditated on, from James’ personal experiences and those of her clients. Each chapter begins with a pertinent epigraph that sets the tone and theme for the subsequent section and is a testament to the depth of research she has done for this book. The anecdotes are relevant to the chapters that they are explaining, and the second-person point of view makes the writing feel very personal and intimate like you are having a heart-to-heart chat with your older and wiser aunty over a cup of coffee.

Each chapter is well-researched as James draws on many different resources throughout the book to not only back up her insights and advice but to also provide readers with several avenues for further research. These range from mindfulness to various psychology disciplines, and they offer a brief introduction to the multiple concepts mentioned. It means your to-be-read pile will be quite substantial by the end if you want to dive deeper into these texts for more.

The studious personality will especially enjoy the workbook nature of the book as there is an exercise to complete at the end of each chapter and often there are tasks that will require readers to ruminate on them for a few days. Putting the information into practice is an effective way to understand what you have just read and to learn from it.

Sometimes one might find themselves on autopilot when reading and the words don’t quite sink in, however, putting the advice into practice helps to take stock of each chapter, revise what was just read and gain specific insights. While these exercises are a great addition to the book, some don’t seem as well-thought-out as others, like an afterthought hastily tacked on the end because there needed to be one. Ironically, some felt like they didn’t add any purpose to the chapter at all.

A refreshingly positive and purposeful read, this is a book you need after such an anxiety-inducing year. James offers practical solutions and considered advice to mitigate negative thinking while also laying the foundations for continued individual practice of mindfulness to find fulfilment and purpose during a time when we all may feel a little disconnected.


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