These days, most people look to the internet for all things explanatory, interesting, or otherwise worth knowing. If you want to learn something, there’s usually a resource just a click away.
But when you’re looking to improve as a person, oftentimes the answers provided by a Google search can seem too shallow. You need thorough examination, thoughtful analysis, and a guiding hand that doesn’t skimp on words. You need a real, honest-to-goodness book. Remember those?
Unfortunately, wading through the countless self-help books on the market is a lot harder than scrolling through a list of search results. Here are some of the best titles I’ve read, by some of the most respected names in personal improvement.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Rubin’s self-help book is so much more than any click-bait list you could find online. Of course, she includes the basics like getting enough sleep, exercising and eating well – but she also offers some unique insights, such as seeking out the hobbies you enjoyed as a child.
In the book, Rubin realizes that she once loved children’s literature and Young Adult novels, but gave them up when she became a professional writer. In going back to what she loved in her youth, she reclaims a piece of her happiness she didn’t know was missing.
Rubin’s tips are less woo and more hard work. Waking up earlier to make her daughters a special Valentine’s Day breakfast is hard, but creating memories and traditions is a big part of her happiness. She gives you the tools to follow your own path to happiness, not anyone else’s.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
As a freelance writer, I’m always looking for the latest productivity hack. In The Power of Habit, I found a book that explains how to form the habits that I want and make them a part of my everyday life.
A New York Times reporter, Duhigg delves into how habits are created and how people can change the most dangerous and stubborn habits. He studies addicts who quit after decades of drinking or doing drugs to find the most effective methods and insights.
Duhigg explains that our entire life is based on habits. A series of habits turn into behavior, which becomes the foundation of our personal and professional relationships. Duhigg breaks down habits into their most basic forms and explains how successful people use habits to increase their efficiency and reach their goals.
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
I first heard about Glennon Doyle Melton a year ago, and I was intrigued by her brutal honesty. She doesn’t hesitate to write about her struggles with bulimia, alcohol and drugs. Even as a non-addict, I find myself relating to her desire to slip away from the world and everything that’s hurting her.
Love Warrior is the story of Melton’s life, starting with her struggles with bulimia in middle school and ending with the revelation that her husband had been cheating on her consistently throughout their marriage.
In the book, she describes how she learned to speak her truth and resolve her lingering body issues. Though I have nothing in common with the Florida-based mother of three, I find myself relating to her truth and wanting to live a more open life after finishing the book.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Liz Gilbert is most famous for Eat, Pray, Love, the 2006 smash hit where she chronicled her divorce and subsequent worldwide soul-searching journey.
But Gilbert’s best work might be her latest – Big Magic, a how-to guide for creative people struggling to fulfill their artistic endeavors. If you’re feeling uncertain about your painting or writing, Gilbert’s book can help you push through your mental blocks.
Some of the book is a little out there, but overall her message is solid. She believes in working on your art as a side project, so you aren’t relying on it for money, and finding what you’re passionate about – not necessarily what you’re good at it.
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
I can distinctly remember the first time I read The Total Money Makeover. I was in high school and had already spent years listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio, driving in my mom’s car. I was familiar with Dave and his style, but “The Total Money Makeover” changed something deep inside me.
Dave uses real-life examples of struggling families to show how they can get out of debt, save for retirement, and stop worrying about money. His trademarked “Baby Steps” formula lays out easy steps that everyone can take.
There’s no wondering about which debt you should pay off first or if you should save for retirement before your child’s college education. This book is a foolproof system and anyone who follows it is guaranteed financial success.
Are there any books that have greatly influenced your life? We’d love to hear about them over at #Adulting Facebook community!