Have you ever added “read more books” to a New Years Resolution or wish list…. and ended up with lackluster results?
I have repeated this mistake many times over the years and after awhile, I truly questioned if I had the fortitude to complete a challenging hobby.
After enduring multiple episodes of pure discontent, (which is a gift as it can shift you to take action), I realized I was managing this hobby incorrectly due to 4 main reasons:
I read the wrong books. My initial idea of reading more consisted of salvaging old books around my house or randomly picking up books during trips. While that may work for others who are intrinsically voracious readers from a young age, I am not one of them. I stopped reading random books that I wasn’t truly interested in.
I failed to do research beforehand.
Due to my analytical nature, I am much more engaged in a pastime where I spend some quality time reviewing details beforehand. It’s my way of “buying into” what I’ll be spending time on.
Once I dug in online, I started to read books that were repeatedly listed on popular “Best Books of All Time” lists; that small change increased my follow-through.
I no longer had to push myself into reading, I was pulled by own own interest. Now-a-days, I LOVE reading book reviews and hearing evocative stories of how it impacted people.
I wasn’t present enough to allow books to change my perspective.
When reading, it is important to be fully present and soak in what you’re reading…to the point of being able to repeat the main points of the chapter.
I had a tendency to breeze through books and focus on finishing it in record time versus applying the book to my own life.
You can read a book to let time pass by; however, when you’re truly in the moment and allow yourself to connect the content to your life, you’ll get more out of it.
I failed to adopt strong reading habits in general.
While reading Atomic Habits (yes I read the whole thing!), I realized there was a 4th underrated reason I failed to follow-through on my reading commitment.
I placed books in hidden areas that were not visible on a daily basis. If you check out this amazing read, you’ll learn hundreds of techniques when it comes to crafting better habits. One of them is that you have to make healthy habits visible and easy for yourself.
After countless hours of analyzing lists, such as Goodreads – Best Books of All Time, I have shared 24 books that have completely shifted my perspective in life. I hope you consider them in order to change yours as well:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- The 10 Book: What’s on Your Top 10 List? (Dan Zadra)
- Can’t Hurt Me (David Goggins)
- The Alchemist (Paul Cuehlo)
- Man’s Search for Meaning (Viktor Frankl)
- The No Asshole Rule (Robert Sutton)
- Untethered Soul (Michael Singer)
- 5 Love Languages (Gary Chapman)
- The Happiness Project (Gretchen Rubin)
- The Outward Mindset (The Arbinger Institute)
- Flow (Miha Csikszentmihalyi)
- The Forks Over Knives Plan (Alone Pulde & Mathew Lederman)
- A Man Called Ove (Fredrik Backman)
- The Little Book of Hygge (Meik Wiking)
- A Book that Takes It’s Time (Irene Smit & Astrid van der Hulst)
- Blink (Malcolm Gladwell)
- Educated: A Memoir (Tara Westover)
- Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
- Miracle Morning (Hal Elrod)
- The War of Art (Steven Pressfield)
- Atomic Habits (James Clear)
- Crucial Conversations
- The Happiness of Pursuit (Chris Guillebeau)
- Where the Crawdad’s Sing (Delia Owens)
The 10 Book: What’s on Your Top 10 List? (Dan Zadra)
As an avid list-maker, this book holds a special in my heart. Why? First of all, this was the first book that encouraged me to notate my dream life, on paper.
Secondly, it consists of 20+ lists thought-provoking lists that inspire you to take action immediately. This book shares simple, straight-forward advice related to inspiration.
What’s On Your Top 10 List proves that lists transform hope into dreams and ideas into change. I enjoyed the hundreds of true stories and quotes from transcendent leaders in each chapter. This book simplifies life-altering strategies by sharing inspirational edification.
And, check out the amazing hook –> “Out of all of the lists you make, why don’t you have any on the most important topic of all….your life?” For me, this book highlighted what I spent time on, and what I ACTUALLY wanted to spend time on. You will be surprised how powerful this small yet mighty book is.
Can’t Hurt Me (David Goggins)
David’s story is surreal. From running a marathon with a broken foot, to sharing how he overcame a relentless childhood, he will inspire you. He will inspire you to ask yourself this powerful question, “Do I know the limits to my physical strength…. or can I give more in this moment?”
The Alchemist (Paul Cuehlo)
I know I know, this one is a classic. Yet, it’s for good reason. This book brings the infamous quote to life, “Everything happens for a reason” weaved into a charismatic tale.
The Alchemist is an extremely short read with an uplifting message that provides you with hope; it’s one of those twisted stories that has a surprising ending.
The message in this book aligns well with Tony Robbins’ mantra, “Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.”
Man’s Search for Meaning (Viktor Frankl)
This one gives me all the feels just typing the title. What a moving memoir. Stating Viktor has a beautiful soul is an understatement. Viktor provides his view of different kinds of people by sharing excruciating details from his experience in a Jewish concentration camp.
He shares powerful ways people still found beauty and meaning while simultaneously living in a sadistic, cruel environment.
As your worries slip away, you will become everlastingly humble and forever grateful after reading this book.
The No Asshole Rule (Robert Sutton)
This book was a required read within my first year of graduate school. As you may have noticed, not many book titles include the word ASSHOLE!
This book empowers you to stand up to bullies inside and outside of the workplace. It shares information on how to identify toxic people and actionable advice on how to deal with them.
What a great reminder that negativity is contagious and as a result, must be obliterated by people who have enough courage to take a stand. I truly enjoyed the numerous real-life stories and practical advice peppered throughout.
Although I’ll admit, I’m still working on standing up to bullies, I have gotten more and more comfortable with setting personal boundaries as a result of this book.
Untethered Soul (Michael Singer)
I’ll pretty much do anything Tony Robbins says, he is my hero! I listen to his podcast religiously and one of them featured this book. Tony and his wife shared that they gave gifted this book to people they cherish as a Christmas one year.
I wanted to know what the self-improvement gurus read themselves; so, I pretended I was in their inner circle (a girl’s gotta dream!).
Purchasing this book was one of the best gifts I have given to myself. Without setting daily intentions, I tend to live a life in a very impulsive, reactive, and hurried way.
This book shares a groundbreaking technique to cultivate inner peace, live in the moment, as well as how to acknowledge and ultimately rise above harmful emotions.
5 Love Languages (Gary Chapman)
I read this book after a break-up which was perfect timing; however, this book is eye-opening for any type of relationship. Gary Chapman provides an in-depth view of how people show love in different ways.
Most importantly, he provides insights as how people have major miscommunications as a result of showing love differently as well as techniques in order to become more versatile to ultimately improve relationships.
The Happiness Project (Gretchen Rubin)
In a vulnerable manner, Gretchen shares her journey on how she became happier by adopting healthier habits. This book is sprinkled with practical tips and inspires you to review your own quirks.
The book is categorized into 12 months which accumulated to a yearlong-journey, including topics such as career, marriage, children, etc. She provided relatable and destructive habits and shared a path of how she replaced them with more productive ones.
As you can imagine, this book will make you want to start your own happiness project.
The Outward Mindset (The Arbinger Institute)
This book encouraged me to enhance my emotional-intelligence. In simple terms, The Outward Mindset encourages us to build habits that allow us to instinctively focus on others during conflicts instead of ourselves.
While it sounds easy in theory, it is beyond difficult to implement in real life when ego and wounded expectations trigger your soul.
By providing true stories and evocative research, The Outward Mindset can improve your success to thrive in interpersonal relationships. The real question is, do you have an inner or outward mindset?
Flow (Miha Csikszentmihalyi)
When is the last time you engaged in activity that made you feel like a little kid again? No schedules, no phone calls, just you in the moment.
This book sparks your inner creativity and throws you into a warpath full of self-discovery.
Flow will inspire you to enhance your everyday life by engaging in activities that make you lose track of time.
The Forks Over Knives Plan (Alone Pulde & Mathew Lederman)
I’ve known for years that a plant-based lifestyle is fantastic for your health; however, I’ve never invested time in learning the reason behind it. The Forks Over Knives Plan consists of research, recipes, and inspiration to living a healthier, well-rounded life.
Although I am still trying to cut out cheese (why is Gouda so delicious?) this book inspired me enough to sustainably become a vegetarian. Next stop, vegan!
A Man Called Ove (Fredrik Backman)
This is another one that will inspire you to enhance your emotional intelligence. Have you ever come across people that are consistently grumpy or irritable, and you find yourself getting on their level and reacting to them, versus seeking to understand them? This book will make you want to hug the next person you come across that has a nasty attitude.
In all seriousness, A Man Called One will make you want to seek to understand naysayers, versus calling them out.
Within this beautiful love story, you will learn that only hurt people…. hurt people.
People treat others how they view themselves. Instead of judgment, they need compassion instead.The Art of Racing in The Rain (Garth Stein)
If you want to cherish your furry friend on a deeper level, this one is for you. This book is similar to Marley & Me; however, is from the perspective of the dog which is truly heart-wrenching and eye-opening. You will become more compassionate towards animals. And yes, this has “ugly cry” written all over it.
The Little Book of Hygge (Meik Wiking)
There are tons of research studies showing that Danes are the happiest people in the world year over year.
The question is…. why? This book, from an employee of the Happiness Institute, shares the reasons why Danes are happy, despite tough climate conditions.
The good news is, all of the daily habits can be replicated anywhere in the world through diligence!
After reading this book, I had a newfound appreciation for making meals with loved ones, sparkling lighting, and traditions.
A Book that Takes It’s Time (Irene Smit & Astrid van der Hulst)
This is a vibrant, flowery, craft-focused book that encourages readers to practice mindfulness, writing, scrapbooking, journaling, and indulge in simple pleasures.
It is a true self-care escape that includes hundreds of whimsical paper print-outs including a beautiful moments jar, mini journaling printouts, and post-cards. This work of art exudes variety as it lists mindfulness-themed soliloquies and exercises from artists across the globe.
This book allowed me to explore, relax, and let go while I got into a flow within the 217-page masterpiece. It reminded me how important it is to simply slow down. I carried this book around on multiple vacations and always had people ask, “What is that?!”
Blink (Malcolm Gladwell)
I have been infatuated with Malcolm Gladwell since my teen years as The Tipping Point was the first self-improvement book I read. Blink is the one that makes this list though. Through research and relatable stories, Blink explores gut instincts to their core are and explains why it is foolish for us to ignore them.
What challenge did you have bad feelings about; however, waited to take action because it was comfortable or your hope got in the way? Whether it was a bad relationship, a horrible job, or a location that no longer served you, Blink encourages you to make better decisions, faster.
When it comes to challenging situations, there were likely red flags that you ignored; and you could have saved yourself time by following your gut instinct initially.
I recently listened to Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday” Podcast and she has an episode that compares life whispers to huge traumatic events. If people stated that events happened all of the sudden out of nowhere, she challenged their view and informed them that there were likely life whispers that they simply ignored.
Educated: A Memoir (Tara Westover)
It is no accident that this book is highly rated on Goodreads and Amazon. This memoir is infuriating, eye-opening, and inspirational…. usually all on the same page. Tara Westover is a true example of a human who has overcome setbacks.
She shares intricate details of how her family deprived her of common privileges we take for granted, such as school and safety, and plows through goals that you would think are unattainable with a childhood like hers.
She also explores one of the toughest feelings to overcome…forgiveness for those that have hurt others physically and mentally.
Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
This autobiography is a treasure that you will hold near and dear to your heart. It provides a glimpse into a real, special bond between a mentor and a mentee; a touching tribute that will nurture your soul.
This book proves that second chances & meaningful moments exist…if you initiate them.
Miracle Morning (Hal Elrod)
This guide focuses on simple strategies to reach peak performance, specifically focused on the ultimate morning routine as a major game-changer. Even if you’re not a “morning person,” I guarantee you will want to try these techniques as early as tomorrow.
Miracle Morning is filled with hisotiral best practices from all of the classic self-improvement gurus, such as meditation, journaling, and visualization. If you’re looking for a major life reset swoop, this is it.
I read this book while newly single, not to mention lonenly, and it made me feel like I had something to look forward to the next day. I needed that type of support system.
The book is sprinkled with inspirational quotes, relatable stories, and inspirational practices. Furthermore, it doesn’t hurt that Hal’s enthusiasm and zest for life is truly contagious.
The War of Art (Steven Pressfield)
If you’re in a rut and are interested in starting a passion project on the side of your day job, check out this masterpiece.
This book solidified my desire to publish a book and helped me overcome my inner demons. In fact, this book is the reason why you’re reading this blog article right now!
Atomic Habits (James Clear)
Who DOESN’T want to replace bad habits, with good ones?! This desire is so relatable; yet, many self-improvement books provide individuals with only inspiration versus toolkits. Atomic Habits paves the path and knocks this challenge out of the park by providing simple strategies for adopting better habits, for life.
This book proves that if you suffer from repeating bad habits over and over….it may not be you, it may be the system you’re using.
James Clear provides research-based techniques across biology, psychology, and neuroscience that are actually easy to remember; this is a common challenge within self-improvement books. If you want to be more productive, give this book a try.
Have you ever gotten into a conflict with a loved one and the conversation morphs into a raw and hurtful dialogue that is hard to repair? This book helps you communicate better with people that matter to you.
Crucial Conversations is two-fold: it helps you become less defensive AND helps you frame statements where it minimizes defensiveness in others. Crucial Conversations outlines a simple yet thorough framework for repairing relationships, just like the infamous ho’oponopono prayer.
If you haven’t heard of it, here it is…. “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” https://upliftconnect.com/hawaiian-practice-of-forgiveness/
The Happiness of Pursuit (Chris Guillebeau)
This book is life-changing because of one word, and that is quest. It may seem simple; yet, Chris will inspire you to bring that word to life in a meaningful way.
The Happiness of Pursuit highlights true stories of people who have initiated crazy adventurous quests ranging from, visiting 200 countries in a lifetime to cooking 365 meals from different countries from the comfort of your own home.
What is your ultimate quest?
Where the Crawdad’s Sing (Delia Owens)
Last but not least, I have to share this idealistic piece of art. In 2020, this book has been #1 on the Amazon Charts for over a year and counting with 5-star reviews!
As I’m sure you can tell, I favor non-fiction versus fiction; however, this is the best fictional book I’ve ever read. Why? Delia Owens’ writing style is poetic and makes you believe you are on an adventure through every page.
Not to mention, it may or may not have a real plot twist…