These aren’t your mother’s self-help books. Grab one of these inspiring self-improvement books to infuse your life with passion, wisdom, and productivity. Why not take your life to the next level?
I admit it. I’m usually a fiction girl. One glance at my reading journal would tell you that much. But over the past several months I’ve been challenging myself to read outside my comfort zone, and it’s been an amazing journey.
So, I put together a list to share with you. Some of these I’ve read and loved, others are on my reading list. No matter what your goals are, one of these books is sure to please!
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Everyone with creative ambitions should read this book at some point. It speaks most directly to writers, but you can adapt the advice to any artistic undertaking. As a writer who struggles with crippling self-doubt and fear of failure, this one was right up my alley.
I read it in a day. It was the best thing I’ve read by Elizabeth Gilbert. She cuts right to the heart of what holds many creatives back: Fear.
Also check out the companion podcast series, Magic Lessons.
The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna
If visual art is your thing, this is book is a MUST! Heck, even if it’s not your thing. Luna’s book speaks to everyone searching for their calling.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Nobody’s heard of this book, right? In only sold 27 billion copies (give or take 1). There’s so much good, practical advice in this tiny book. Ok, I can’t bring myself to anthropomorphize my possessions as much and Kondo does, but don’t let those parts of the book turn you off. The basic wisdom holds true.
Everything That Remains by The Minimalists
The concept of minimalism fits right alongside Marie Kondo’s techniques. Organizing your life is infinitely easier when you only have what you truly need. I discovered Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus (a.k.a. The Minimalists) through their podcast. They make minimalism approachable; it doesn’t have the cold starkness I always imagined. With as much as my family relocates, having less “stuff” adds enormous value to our lives!
If you’re new to the concept of minimalism, I would also recommend Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (yes, I totally get the irony of me recommending multiple books on minimalism. I still find value in them, and I mostly read on my Kindle to avoid the extra clutter).
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling may not seem like an obvious choice to have on this list–she doesn’t write about productivity, or intentional living, or even happiness. In fact, this book has nothing to do with improving your life. Don’t worry, I’m going somewhere with this…
I’ve included it here because Kaling has one vital skill we all need to thrive in this crazy game called life: girl can laugh at herself! As much as I value mindfulness and intentional living, I sometimes wonder if we’re taking ourselves too seriously (Short answer: Yes). Throw in a comedian every now and then to keep things light.
Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
What the heck is hygge, anyway? It has much in common with mindfulness, but also emphasizes comfort and companionship.
I love, love , LOVE this concept. Judging from the reaction I got to my Hygge journal pages on Instagram, I’m not the only one. I’ve had a few Danes ask me, “What’s the big deal? Why are Americans so fascinated with hygge?” We have nothing comparable in our culture. I want to eat it up with a spoon!
It was a tough choice between The Little Book of Hygge and The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg. I read them both and have waffled back and forth on which one I liked better. They’re different perspectives. I enjoyed the presentation in The Little Book of Hygge a bit more. Bottom line: The information is similar, so you’ll learn plenty about Hygge from either one.
Getting Things Done by David Allen
Here’s what I like about this book: It discusses real productivity methods, and it withstands the test of time. Allen has usable techniques for organizing thoughts and projects to make your whole lifestyle more productive.
*Get the real paper copy. I made the mistake of trying to listen to the audio book in the car. It was…hypnotic. I returned it and got the real book. Seriously, the book is good; it’s just not great in audio format. It is very skimmable, so paper makes much more sense.
Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
If there’s anything the planner and Bullet Journal communities understands, it’s how important habits are in our lives. I’m absolutely terrible at habit trackers, but they really are one of the best ways to establish patterns of success. This book is more of a “Why to” than a “How to.”
10 % Happier by Dan Harris
Meditation skeptics, this one’s for you! I would have considered myself a meditation skeptic, but I realize now that meditation takes many forms. You don’t have to meditate in a bamboo hut with energy crystals and a tribal tattoo. You can sit at your desk and take 5 minutes to meditate. I’m a convert, for sure.
I also appreciate that the book makes realistic promises. No, you probably won’t reach a transcendent state, but you can be 10% happier.
Rising Strong by Brene Brown
This is the latest book from Daring Greatly author, Brene Brown. In it, she tackles the topic of courage. How do we take chances, and what happens when we fall? Brown explores how we use failures to learn about ourselves and ultimately bounce back.
Over to you! Have you read any of these books, and what did you think? What other books have made you see life through a different lens? Comment below.
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