I’m always asked what books I suggest to help with this and that, that I thought I’d offer a definitive list! All of these books changed my life in some way, whether it be directly with some self-help tip, or indirectly by a beautiful storyline. Each hold a special place in my heart and are absolutely worth a mention. If you want to improve and deepen your life then this list is for you!
My experience with life-changing books
Before we get into the list (which you’re welcome to skip to), I want to mention what these books do in order to change my thinking. I read consistently, both on paper and on audio, so I’m always open to absorbing something new. Typically though, when a book changes my life, it’s because it is challenging something I’m already being triggered by. For example, How To Be Your Own Best Friend inspired me greatly because, at the time, I was struggling with managing my own (imaginary) expectations. Some of these books may hit home with you, and others you may swipe away, but what I’ve learnt is a book will always show up when a lesson is needing to be listened to. Allow yourself to be drawn to a book, and if it doesn’t feel like it’s aligned with you right now, put it down and pick it up another time.
Straight up self-improvement books
I really dislike that phrase but it gets to the point doesn’t it! These guys have made this list because they’ve changed my life in some way. Some in small ways, some in huge ways. But all worth a read for sure.
About 2/3s of this book totally changed the way I view my thoughts. Before I would think of myself through labels, or I viewed my worth and value on situational things. After reading I was able to identify with myself on a much deeper level. It helped me become aware of my thoughts and experiences and I started seeing myself as someone simply experiencing life, and not being challenged by it. Quick mention though I tuned out towards the end…
This is the book that started it all for me. Gabbie Bernstein has a meditation album you can download with this which I totally recommend – it’s an amazing read and listen for a beginner. It totally opened my eyes to a deeper way of living that allowed me to accept the emotions and thoughts I had. Before reading, I allowed myself to be totally overtaken by thoughts and emotions, but upon reading I was able to challenge those thoughts and accept them. Whilst it isn’t the best for providing strategies, it’s an incredible book for self-exploration.
A super quick read because it is straight to the point. No faff or repetition in this one! It’s almost a narrative between a patient and therapist, noting all the ways we challenge life. It allowed me to soften a little around the edges, to open up and feel less serious about life. And it absolutely allowed me to manage my expectations of myself and what my life is ‘supposed’ to look and feel like.
Novels and biographies
An incredibly beautiful book that allowed me to feel content with the ever-changing stages of our life. It follows a musician as he changes bands throughout his life, and ultimately learns something new about himself. It’s a great way to remind ourselves nothing is ever permanent, and that’s ok.
Perhaps obvious, but nevertheless worthy! This book helped me to step back a bit from my life and reflect on what’s important. She writes so effectively that it allows you to see what is worth stressing over, and what isn’t and her lessons have stayed with me long past putting the book down.
I stumbled across this one by accident! This book is full of little ways to accept yourself. Her weirdness and quirkiness and her candid nature allowed me to feel at peace with my out-the-box personality.
Other than being really interesting in terms of perceiving other peoples body language, it’s an incredibly powerful tool for your own body language. It helped me to navigate situations and how I hold myself. Now when I enter a situation that feels threatening or stressful, I’ll hold myself in a certain way that helps me to feel confident. Likewise if I want someone to feel comfortable around me, I’ll adjust my body to allow for that!
A self-improvement book disguised as a novel! This book helped me to become aware of my actions within my relationships, and showed me the importance of communication. I use it as a reminder to talk and listen, which is often forgotten…
This is a bestseller for a reason! Once I’d understood how important communication is (I think we all know this, but inherently understanding it is a different matter…), I wanted to know how to best communicate and this book does exactly that. The quiz on the love language site allowed me to see how me and my partner show and receive love, which encouraged us to actually communicate effectively.
I really could go on for days about all the different books I’ve read and have loved, but this is a great starting point of some of the best if you’re wanting to improve and deepen your life! I do also want to mention a couple of other resources that have changed my life and are totally worth exploring.
It made me laugh and cry and reminded me to enjoy every little thing about every day. Simple as.
I think this was originally from a booked called Resisting Happiness, but this small section changed my life. It encouraged me to face what was actually important, and continues to inspire me to focus on the things that matter, not the things we’re lead to believe matter. It’s a 3 minute read that could totally change your life.
Books that totally didn’t make the list…
You may or may not notice there aren’t certain books on here and there are reasons for that. Most of the books I mentioned are universally easy to read, are not patronizing and typically get straight to the point. There are a few I have read that have rubbed me up the wrong way and I wanted to mention them. The Power of Now is a renowned book, however, I felt shouted at (same goes with the Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****). The Untethered Soul is a much more accepting version with a similar standpoint. Another book I didn’t love but wanted to was The Universe Has Your Back – another renowned book! This felt really repetitive and a little vague, and didn’t offer anything tangible other than ‘just trust’. And hey, I’m all about hope and faith and trust! But I need a lesson to learn, or a strategy to try, and this book fell short of that.
The next ones on the list
Coming up I have Judgement Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein and have The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary by Catherine Gray. I’m super excited to read these as I think they’ll, again, challenge my way of thinking!
What do you have on your list, and what books have changed your life? I’d love to know!
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