I love books. Better yet, I love books about self-improvement. Hazard of the job I guess.
I frequently have about 3-5 books at going at once. I write in them and bend the corners - marking pages to come back to when I need guidance, inspiration or insight. They're a major source of conversation in my life, as I'm always curious to hear what other people are reading and love recommending books that I've fallen head over heels for.
During a recent coaching session, a client told me I should really write a book roundup since I’m always talking about new books to read. I’d been toying with the idea, but her suggestion convinced me to actually do it.
So here we are. The day has finally come when I put together a list of books that have changed my life in some way and I think will do the same for you.
Each book on this list is a personal favorite of mine. Many of them I’ve read multiple times. Each one contains incredible nuggets of wisdom and can lead to some major mindset shifts. I get something new out of them every time I open their covers.
Additionally, the women who wrote these books inspire me every day. They are amazing, wise and light-spreading women whom I see as my guides, even though I don’t know them personally (save for Jen Sincero whom I’ve briefly met in person - thank you Universe).
My hope is that this list helps to fill your nightstand with empowering stories and conversations as you head into 2018.
This is going to be your year! I can feel it!
8 BOOKS TO HELP YOU CRUSH IT IN 2018
I first read this book when I was 24 and it changed my life.
At the time, I was heartbroken, confused, living in a city that made me unhappy and spinning my wheels - this book prompted me to take action in my life and focus on ME for the first time in a long time.
Through research and her own experience with clients, Dr. Meg Jay disputes our cultural myth that our 20s are a time to play and that everything in our lives will magically come together when we turn 30.
Instead, she argues that the decisions we make in our 20s affect the rest our lives so we should be proactive about our lives during this important decade, rather than waiting around for things to magically get better.
Read this if you need a kick in the butt to start taking action in your life. Right. Now.
It inspired me to do so at 24. I had no idea the path this book would set me on when I read it, but here I am, helping other women navigate their 20s too because it's that damn important. And Meg Jay’s voice in the back of my head over the past 5 years has had a lot to do with that.
"What would Brené Brown say?" is a question I frequently ask myself, especially after reading this book.
A leading researcher and writer on vulnerability, shame, resilience and true belonging, Brené Brown’s latest book feels like it should be required reading for everyone.
In an ever messy and divisive world, she provides a framework for finding connection and humanity in others.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought back to this book when engaged in tough conversations around the news of the day. It’s thought-provoking, actionable and opens your mind.
If you’ve been struggling with feeling connected recently or want some help tackling tough conversations, this book is for you.
As the title suggests, this book feels like a fresh dose of truth.
Danielle Laporte (a personal fave of mine) writes about her own spiritual journey and the importance of finding your own spiritual path. It reads like your bestie recounting her spiritual adventures, while also dropping some amazing insights (or #truthbombs as Danielle calls them) at the same time. Prepare to laugh and feel all of the feels.
This is great for anyone who is curious about spirituality or could use some guidance while finding a spiritual practice that feels authentic to them.
Also, if you’re an audiobook gal, definitely listen to this one. Danielle’s voice is smooth and pure light. I could listen to her speak for days.
Have you ever heard yourself saying out loud “OMG this is so true!” while reading a book? That was me while reading almost every page of Feminist Fight Club. As a woman in the workplace, I totally identified with everything Jessica Bennett wrote.
From combating sexist behavior at work to salary negotiation to the power of women coming together, this is an incredible manual for women in the modern workplace.
Hilarious and full of “too true” scenarios, Jessica Bennett lays out actionable approaches to handling sexism at work.
Given the daily revelations in the news regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, this book continues to become more and more relevant. If you work in an office environment, you should read this book. Seriously, every woman should have a copy of this at her desk and have an office book club to compare notes.
Smashing the patriarchy takes work - this book will help you get started.
Over the past few years, I’ve developed a sort of ritual for myself: At the beginning of every January, I reread this book. It’s the exact jumpstart that I need to each new year.
Elizabeth Gilbert suggests that while everyone is a creative being, many of us ignore our creativity out of fear of the vulnerability that comes with putting ourselves and our work out into the world. She argues that we should actually be embracing our creativity, not stuffing it down, if we’re to live fulfilling lives.
Every time I read this book, I get something new out of it. My copy is totally earmarked, full of underlines and notes to myself, and still smells slightly of sunscreen from the first time I read it (which was on a beach). I want to believe that Elizabeth Gilbert would be proud of how beat up my copy is.
I've lost track of the number of people I’ve recommended this book to and I regularly refer back to it in conversations with friends who've also read it.
Read this if you’d like to reconnect with your creativity in 2018. It's the perfect book for kicking off the new year. I'm reading it this month too. Maybe we can have a little book club about it?
Bonus: After writing this book, Elizabeth Gilbert didn’t feel she was done with the subject, so she created a podcast called Magic Lessons. It’s a great way to keep exploring the topics brought up in the book. Plus she has some pretty awesome people on the show like Brené Brown, whose book is also on this list.
A dear health coach friend of mine sent me this book earlier this year with a note saying that this was her new favorite book and that I would love it too.
And boy oh boy was she right! This book spoke to my heart!
Steph Jagger writes of the feeling she got in her late 20s that she was meant for something more, for some adventure that she couldn’t quite put her finger on (a feeling I completely identified with).
One day, while skiing with a bunch of friends, she decided to quit her job, refinance her mortgage and ski around the world for a year. A journey of self-discovery ensues.
A bit Eat Pray Love meets Wild (but with a sentiment that many 20-somethings will be able to identify with), Steph Jagger’s story is adventurous and insightful.
She talks to you as if you’re old pals - telling it to you straight, with a few good sex scenes thrown in for good measure (because who doesn’t like a good sex scene now and then). At the same time, she also passes on hard-earned wisdom that’s inspiring.
If you’re looking for a book that reads more like a novel, but is full of beautiful insights, this book is for you!
Hilarious and super accessible, this book is a must for boosting your self-esteem!
I was hooked by page one and felt like Jen Sincero was my BFF. She has a fantastic way of lifting you up AND calling you on your shit! Isn’t that what best friends are for?
Like Big Magic, I’ve completely lost count of how many people I've recommended this book to. Let’s just say, this one should definitely be a staple on your bookshelf!
The chapters themselves are pretty short and quick to read, so this is a great bedtime read if you want the ability to pick up/put down with ease.
Even after reading it through once, I love picking it back up and randomly choosing a page, which inevitably ends up containing a lesson I needed to hear that day.
Still can't get over the power of Oprah's speech at the Gold Globes? Then you'll definitely want to grab a copy of this book!
The Wisdom of Sundays is a compilation of insights from the conversations Oprah has had with many of the world's most innovative and thought provoking people during her Super Soul Sunday series.
These conversations range from people like Brené Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert (who are both on this list) to Deepak Chopra, Ariana Huffington and many, many others. It's a star-studded book that teaches important lessons.
In a way, this book is the best of both worlds: it serves as a beautiful coffee table book (filled with gorgeous pictures), while also serving as an incredible learning experience and conversation starter.
As a fan of Super Soul Sunday and Oprah's Super Soul Conversations podcast, I was so excited when a friend sent me this as a surprise gift in the mail! Let me tell you, it did not disappoint!