As an entrepreneur and freelancer, I’ve learned how important it is to always be learning and expanding my thinking. Every day I spend at least twenty minutes reading a book that I can learn from. I think this is a habit that can benefit anyone. In this post, I recommend twelve books to help you live your best year. They’re books that have helped me immensely in my personal and professional life, and I believe they’ll positively impact you, as well.
One key thing I look for in self-development and productivity books is self-reflection. I want to take what I already possess and transform it into something powerful and positive.
I also like books that are written clearly and are easy to read—I don’t want to struggle to understand key points. Also, a wide breadth of books will really help you live intentionally, whether your goals are to achieve balance, grow your business, or find purpose.
1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert is an honest and inspirational writer. You’ve probably heard of her novel Eat, Pray, Love, which inspired many people to travel and seek new experiences. In Big Magic she writes about finding our creative selves through curiosity and overcoming our fears. I love Gilbert’s writing style. She’s open, empathetic, and sincere. This book will inspire you to find that inner magic we all have to fulfill our dreams.
2. Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy
How many of us feel like there are too many things to do in a day? And how do we choose how best to spend our time? Part of the secret to success is focusing on essential tasks. Eat That Frog is a worldwide hit that has helped millions of people learn how to be productive. It shows you how to focus on tasks that will have the greatest impact on your life.
3. Start With Why by Simon Sinek
I can’t recommend this book enough. Simon Sinek is a genius when it comes to getting to the heart of why you should do something, not how. Understanding the why behind your goals will help shape your game plan, pivot your efforts in the right direction, and most importantly, will keep you inspired. Start With Why has inspired millions of businesses and entrepreneurs to change their way of thinking. Also check out Sinek’s popular TED Talk based on this book—it’s the third most popular TED video ever.
4. The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
Francine Jay is considered one of the pioneers of simple living, and in her breakthrough book, The Joy of Less, she shares her tips on how to live mindfully and with fewer things. Minimalist living isn’t for everyone, but even just learning how to pare down your life so it’s physically less cluttered will lead to less stress and clarity. Making choices about what’s necessary and what isn’t is a skill that’s applicable in other areas of life.
5. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
You know what’s a great way to start a new year? With lots of laughs and looking at yourself like I’m wonderful just as I am! New York Times bestselling author Jenny Lawson is known for her hilarious sense of humour, and in Furiously Happy, she writes about mental health and accepting yourself, flaws and all. The honesty and acceptance of self you learn in this book will help you understand what it means to be true to yourself. I love this book. It’s funny and will really help you appreciate your quirks and all.
6. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
What holds you back from working towards your dreams? Do you lack faith in your potential to succeed? The War of Art was written by novelist Steven Pressfield, who has struggled with these issues, as well. He refers to whatever holds you back as the enemy, and goes into how to conquer your fears and doubts and to move forward. An artist friend recommended this to me, and since then I read this whenever I’m feeling fearful or experiencing a lot of doubt. It reminds me that those feelings can and will be banished.
7. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma
Another book I read every year for inspiration is The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma. Sharma teaches leadership and personal mastery, and has worked with the top business people in the world. This book started humbly when he was a lawyer who realized there’s more to life than chasing a dollar. It’s an inspiring fable that tells the story of a lawyer who gave up everything in order to have a life of passion and purpose. It’ll show you how to build courage, create balance and abundance, and how to find peace and joy in your life. It truly is an unforgettable book.
8. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Have you ever wondered why you do certain things and how can you change them? Whether you struggle with negative thoughts, losing weight, or damaging behaviours, The Power of Habit is a really engrossing book that’ll pull you in with its insight on overcoming bad habits. Through understanding why a habit exists, you’ll learn how you have the ability to change it. The book flows really well, and I like how there are stories about people and businesses who transformed themselves and achieved success.
9. Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
I love to read about people’s routines and work habits. If you’re like me and are always looking for ways to manage work-life balance or are just curious about how successful people do things, you’ll love Tools of Titans. Author Tim Ferris, who also wrote The 4-Hour Workweek, interviewed more than 200 entrepreneurs, athletes, celebrities, and high performers to see what tools, advice, tactics, and life lessons they use. You’re guaranteed to find something you can implement in your life.
10. The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner
Women get so busy taking care of others and managing mulitiple priorities that often we forget to take care of ourselves. By the end of the day we’re left wondering where all the time went and feeling drained. In The Fringe Hours, you’ll discover ways to take back time in your life to spend on self-care and finding joy. Investing in yourself and your own happiness will become a priority.
11. Achieve Anything In Just One Year by Jason Harvey
When I first started reading Achieve Anything In Just One Year, I couldn’t wait to sit down with it every day. If you need guidance or are just wondering What am I gonna do? this book can point you in the right direction. Written with humour, it contains practical advice, daily tasks, and challenges for you to do. It’s a great productivity and motivational book that you can go back to over and over.
12. Hands Free Life by Rachel Macy Stafford
Hands Free Life was written by blogger and New York Times bestselling author Rachel Macy Stafford, who shares nine habits to help you live a life with meaning as a parent. Written for moms who juggle so much and struggle with many distractions, Stafford strives to help us pay attention to what really matters: family and relationships. A great read with tips to help parents connect with their children.
What books have you read that have improved your life or motivated you? Share in the comments below!
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