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  • Writer's pictureDr. Sarah Moore

Book Review: The Resilience Project by Hugh Van Cuylenburg

1. What the book is about

This book is a beautiful collection of stories from the author’s life. Hugh Van Cuylenburg shares his narrative to demonstrate how pertinent life experiences revealed to him the value of gratitude, empathy and mindfulness. He begins by reflecting on his childhood, explaining how his sister’s eating disorder profoundly impacted on his family and directed him on a journey of seeking happiness. He then describes how he chose to study teaching, with the goal of supporting children with their wellbeing and preventing the suffering that his sister endured. Hugh tells how he travels to India with his girlfriend, where he learns some of the most important lessons of his life that become the basis of his life’s work: The Resilience Project. This book is a not a “how to” instruction manual, but rather a powerful tale that will leave you feeling inspired to make a habit of the simple but transformational practices of gratitude, empathy and mindfulness.

2. What I liked about this book

I liked the storytelling approach that Hugh Van Cuylenburg uses to teach us how gratitude, empathy and mindfulness are valuable tools for finding happiness in our lives. Hugh is so honest and vulnerable, sharing intimate details of the suffering he and his family have endured, but always with a sense of humour and hope. I liked how he details the long and courageous journey of starting a project, persisting with it despite multiple dead ends and rejections, then finally getting the lucky break that set him on a road to success. I particularly liked listening to this book as an audiobook; I really felt a connection to Hugh, who reads his own story with such authenticity and compassion. I also liked how Hugh provides real examples of the people who have been influenced so significantly by his work in order to demonstrate the reach of The Resilience Project.

3. Who should read this book

This is an important resource for parents, teachers and health practitioners who care not only for children but also adults who have a history of trauma. This book is also relevant to teens and young adults who are interested in learning how to find purpose in their life. This book really is for anyone who is seeking happiness.

4. Where you can access this book

I listened to this as an audiobook via but also ordered a hard copy online from the online shop at You can also purchase 21-day and 6-month wellbeing journals to help implement the tools of gratitude, empathy and mindfulness into your daily life. There is also an App that you can purchase for this purpose for Apple and Android devices.

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