I know this is a completely cliche way to start a blog post— but I can't believe we're more than halfway through 2017. Back in January, I set a lot of resolutions for myself, mostly focused on building an atmosphere of growth. (more on that here.) One of the biggest resolutions on my list was to read more.
I've always loved reading - even in middle school when it was cool to pretend you didn't. I'm the type of person that picks up a good book and CANNOT put it down until it's finished. I'll stay up late, skip plans with people... it's bad. And, sometimes that bad habit will make me skip reading altogether, but that's not the answer either.
To get in a healthier reading routine, I now read 15-30 minutes every weekday morning and sometimes on the weekends. It's a great way to wake up, and it helps get my creativity flowing before I let my inbox dictate my to-do list for the day. Sticking to this has helped me read a steady book per month, and I've come across a lot of great suggestions along the way.
I love reading fiction and memoir, but lately I've been on a huge business/self-improvement book kick. Especially because I'm reading in the morning before work, it's been a super inspiring way to start the day. I always put the books down feeling motivated and ready to dig into my to-do list.
Here are the five self-improvement books I would recommend everyone read:
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
Who It's Best For: I would buy a copy for everyone I know, BUT it's especially great for people who find themselves caring too much about every. single. little. thing.
My Take: GAME. CHANGER. I can't say this enough. As someone with a history of giving entirely too many fucks about entirely too many things, this book was the slap in the face I needed. And judging by the 4.5 star-rating from 1,843 Amazon users, I'm clearly not alone. The premise of the book is that instead of trying to be positive all the time, we should focus on getting better at facing adversity AND developing a life that's suffering for the right things.
Favorite Quote: “Don’t hope for a life without problems. There’s no such thing. Instead, hope for a life full of good problems... True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy solving.”
You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
Who It's Best For: Anyone needing a swift kick of motivation and a reminder that you're awesome.
My Take: This is the kind of book that you never stop reading because you can crack it back open anytime you need a pick-me-up. The author is hilarious, no-nonsense and gives the kind of advice you wish you could give your friends when they're in a rut. Read more about it here.
Favorite Quote: “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
Who It's Best For: Anyone looking to build or eliminate habits in their life - good or bad.
My Take: I know she can be polarizing, but I love Gretchen Rubin. I've talked about her other book The Happiness Project on here before, and I listen to her podcast every now and then. If you're Type A, you'll probably relate to her methodical approach to habits. I know I did. It's definitely rooted in her own experiences, but it's full of practical tips that anyone can use to adopt or break a habit in their lives. See a full summary and reviews here.
Favorite Quote: “The most important step is the first step. All those old sayings are really true. Well begun is half done. Don’t get it perfect, get it going. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Nothing is more exhausting than the task that’s never started, and strangely, starting is often far harder than continuing.”
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg
Who It's Best For: Anyone experiencing unexpected loss, adversity or hardship. Anyone particularly close to someone experiencing unexpected loss, adversity or hardship.
My Take: After losing my dad to cancer in early 2016, this book couldn't have come at a better time for me. Born out of the horrible tragedy of losing her husband, Sheryl Sandberg's words on loss, love and moving forward are poignant, comforting and brutally honest. It helps you feel like you're not the only one riding out a shit storm. (Totally for another day, but I also really loved Lean In. Everyone should also read that!)
Favorite Quote: “One of the most important things I’ve learned is how deeply you can keep loving someone after they die. You may not be able to hold them or talk to them... but you can still love them every bit as much. Playwright Robert Woodruff Anderson captured it perfectly: 'Death ends a life, but it does not end a relationship.”'
Stop Saying You're Fine by Mel Robbins
Who It's Best For: People in need of some serious tough love to pull them out of neutral.
My Take: Mel Robbins is a hardass, and she doesn't sugarcoat anything. I read it on my Kindle— to be honest, this isn't the type of book cover you want to lug around in public, but it should be. The problem of feeling "stuck" affects everyone, and the sooner we acknowledge that, the better off we'll all be.
Favorite Quote: “You need to hear this loud and clear: No one is coming to help. It is up to you.”
BONUS: for those in their 20s
The Defining Decade by Meg Jay
Who It's Best For: Anyone in their 20s. And their parents.
My Take: Although I've read each of the other books in the last year, I read this one my last semester of college after seeing her TedTalk about how your 20s aren't a time to be dicking around. My advice? Watch this video, and if it resonates with (or terrifies!) you, definitely pick up a copy.
Favorite Quote: “Being confused about choices is nothing more than hoping that maybe there is a way to get through life without taking charge... Forget about having an identity crisis and get some identity capital. … Do something that adds value to who you are. Do something that's an investment in who you might want to be next.”
What books have you read that changed your life? Share them with me in the comments!
Because I throw away book covers, borrow from friends and sometimes use my Kindle, all photos are courtesy of Amazon.