Community//

6 Brilliant Books I Read in 2019 on Personal Growth, Empathy, and Living a Happier Life

Let these books help you change your life.

People who follow me on Instagram know that I’ve made it a point to read at least one book a month in 2019. So after devouring a total of 13 books* this year and documenting them on my Instagram Stories, I’m so happy to finally unveil all the best personal development books, business books, and leadership books I read in 2019.

These books were inspiring, thought-provoking, and game-changing. So by sharing them with you today, I hope they’ll motivate you to make the 2020s the best decade of your life so far.

*2 out of the 13 books were fiction – for obvious reasons, I’ll only be talking about 6 non-fiction books in this list. If you were curious about the full list of books I read in 2019, you can read all about them in this post.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT BOOKS

I’ve grouped the books into three sections. First up, we’ve got personal development books. Here are all the ones I read in 2019 and how I plan to use them moving forward.

THE FIRST 20 HOURS 

The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything Fast is a book all about, well, how to learn anything fast. And when I say anything, I mean anything. The author provides 6 examples of wildly different skills that he sought to learning as fast as possible. 

For him, you can get pretty good enough at a skill within the first 20 hours of deliberate practice. Not that you’ll be an expert the likes of Roger Federer is to tennis, but you’ll at least be good enough that practicing the skill doesn’t frustrate you, like, 90% of the time.

HOW I PLAN ON USING THE FIRST 20 HOURSMOVING FORWARD

I’m nothing if not an eager beaver, so I want to use all the principles I learned in this book to pick up some new skills I’ve always wanted to learn. I already put together a Might Learn Someday list to get me started, and I’m currently designing ways to make sure I’ll get my deliberate practice in (e.g. by joining workshops, scheduling time, setting metrics to track, etc.)

QUIET

You don’t have to be an introvert to love and appreciate Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. As the title suggests, it’s all about the power of the quiet, thoughtful, prefers-being-behind-the-scenes-instead-of-center-stage individuals.

Maybe I’m a little biased for loving this book because I’m an introvert myself, but I stand by my opinion that everybody ought to pick up this book, introvert and extrovert alike. I think we’d just be so much happier if we could see the world from each other’s lenses.

HOW I PLAN ON USING QUIET MOVING FORWARD

Knowing what I know now about introversion and our unique strengths, I intend to be more sensitive to these strengths, both in myself and others. 

Especially in my industry, where creators like me are bombarded by messages of “Get yourself out there more! You have to be everywhere and do everything!,” I’m going to be comfortable with the fact that introversion is not my weakness – it is my strength.

BETTER THAN BEFORE 

Spend a few minutes perusing some of my other blog posts , and you’ll notice I bring up Gretchen Rubin more than a few times – like here, or here. (She’s one of my personal heroes, if I’m being honest.) 

In fact, her 2015 book Better Than Before was the first book I cracked open in 2019 – it felt like the perfect companion to accompany a new year full of new plans and habits. The book has 21 strategies all about habit change, so it’s easy to find one you can use for just about any situation.

HOW I PLAN ON USING BETTER THAN BEFORE MOVING FORWARD

I’ll definitely revisit a few chapters on strategies I might not have implemented the past year. I’m learning to adapt to new habits using different strategies to see which one might be the best for me.

THE FOUR TENDENCIES

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking: another Gretchen Rubin book? Answer: Yup. I wanted to pick up The Four Tendencies to learn more about each, especially having heard about it multiple times on Gretchen Rubin’s podcast.

The Tendencies show us how well you respond to both inner and outer “rules” (think things like personal resolutions or favors from a friend), and people all over the world are using this new knowledge to create happier, healthier lives.

HOW I PLAN ON USING THE FOUR TENDENCIES MOVING FORWARD

I love knowing what other peoples’ Tendencies are – it’s been so easy to give personalized advice and mentorship when I know what strategies work best for somebody’s Tendency.

I plan on using this framework for people in my one-on-one coaching program so that I can give them the best possible strategies to getting stuff done for their lives and business.

MAKE TIME

Enter the book I wish I wrote myself: Make Time. The book is all about tactics for, well, making time for what matters to you. You can adapt the tactics to practically anything you want, from work to passion projects to side hustles.

When it comes to time, you really can’t get enough of it, so I appreciate how actionable and simple the strategies in this book are – plus they’re well-rounded too, with strategies for the mind and body which I absolutely adore.

HOW I PLAN ON USING MAKE TIME MOVING FORWARD

Hey, even someone like me who is all about productivity and getting stuff done in most efficient way sometimes gets into productivity slumps. (It’s biology and human nature, yo.) It’s fun to revisit the many tactics that this book has to offer, and to experiment with new ones that I might otherwise have never tried.

GRIT

What’s passion with perseverance? According to Angela Duckworth, that’s called grit. So this aptly named book is all about what grit really is and why this is the true determinant for success instead of natural talent alone.

The book has case studies, interview findings, and survey results that show us the habits, mindsets, and important action steps that pro-athletes, top academics, and successful entrepreneurs have.

HOW I PLAN ON USING GRIT MOVING FORWARD

After reading this book, I’ve been changing my relationship with the word “failure” and using every touch point in my life and business as “good feedback” or “needs improvement feedback.”

I acknowledge failure and falling down are part of the never-ending process that is determining what success means to us, so I plan on doing what the famous Japanese proverb reminds us: “Fall down seven, get up eight.”

PUT THESE BOOKS ON YOUR WISHLIST

So those are all the books I read in 2019 that are gearing me up for the next decade. Let me know in the comments below if you’re a fan of personal development books, business books, or finance books. 

And while it’s great to get a reading habit on, it’s equally a good habit to make sure you implement what you learn from books as much as you can. Ready to change your life in the decade and beyond? Get reading!

Want to see my list complete with leadership and business books I also read in 2019? Click here to read.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Climb high to reach your personal development goals
Community//

Why Have Personal Development Goals…

by Ashley Allen
Community//

5 Books That Will Motivate You When You Need a Boost

by Ayodeji Awosika
Hany Rizk / EyeEm/Getty Images
Wisdom//

You Can Literally Change Your Life by Reading These Books

by Mareo McCracken

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.