If you’ve been reading along this year, you know that I blew through an ungodly amount of books. For months there was a new book every Friday as one of my favorite things. I was reading business books, self-help books, fiction books, writing books, you name it, I probably read it.
By far, the genre of book that I read the most of had to do with personal development. I went through a lot in the past year, and where I could have decided to run from the things that made me uncomfortable by diving into fiction books that took me away from what was happening around me, I decided to address the problems head on.
All of these books have helped me in one way or another. Sometimes I immediately resonated with their messages and sometimes the message had a delayed effect. It wouldn’t be until weeks or months later that I would realize something I had read had worked its way into my daily way of life and improved my outlook for the better.
If you or anyone on your holiday list is looking for better understandings and eye-opening perspectives, one (or all) of these books may be for you!
Disclaimer: There are some affiliate links in this post. If a purchase is made through those links, the cost is the same to you, but I will receive a small commission which gets put back into Erin’s Inside Job so I can continue sharing more wonderful things with you!
2015 Book Gift Guide: Personal Development
1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – This was the book I finished most recently. Gilbert talks about the power of living a creative life and how important it is for those who possess creativity to embrace it. She recounts a number of personal anecdotes related to inspiration and her own personal creative process. She speaks of inspiration as a separate entity that is always in search of the perfect person through which it can be expressed. Big Magic is a quick read, but one that leaves you feeling inspired and ready to take on the world.
2. I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene Brown – There are four different Brene Brown books on here. That’s because she is one of the most amazing authors in this genre. I Thought It Was Just Me tells the story resulting from seven years of social work research into shame and vulnerability and seeks to shatter the masks that we develop as a result of societal influences. Brown argues that it is our vulnerabilities rather than the “it’s ok” personna that we exude that really connects us at our core. According to the synopsis, “they are powerful reminders to keep our hearts and minds open to the reality that we’re all in this together.”
3. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown – Brown’s second book, The Gifts of Imperfection, shares her 10 guideposts on the power of what she terms “Wholehearted Living.” She concentrates on learning to let go of those defects that hold us back and how to embrace who we truly are as individuals. It’s a shorter book at 130 pages, but it’s full of so many helpful points.
4. The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine – This book came at such a perfect time in my life. I had so many ideas for what I wanted to do as a career and I was feeling overwhelmed by them all. It’s as if too many ideas had stalled me to the point of inactivity. According to Lobenstine, a Renaissance Soul refers to a personality type that is unfulfilled in one certain field. People who fit this description may skip from career to career, or may completely change direction after excelling in one area for a period of time. There are so many different things I am interested in and this book made me feel better about being able to choose all of them instead of just one.
5. 10% Happier by Dan Harris – Dan Harris is a reputed television journalist who wrote this book after coming back from a nationally broadcasted panic attack. It was in the fallout of the attack that Harris finally came to understand the power of meditation in calming and quieting the anxiety that plagued him on a regular basis. He wasn’t quick in discovering this simple tool, however, and the book follows him through his own journey of seeking help from a variety of sources before finding what works the best for him. It’s a quick and interesting read full of simple tips that we can all follow in our daily lives to bring about a little more peace and happiness.
6. It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell – I absolutely adore this book. I read it in one day in March of this year. Andie chronicles her childhood and family dynamics that eventually led her to develop a binge-eating disorder. It chronicles her loves, her losses, and her triumph over the disorder, resulting in a 135 lb weight loss. This book prompted me to write the post I Want More For Myself and to really put everything I am into everything I do and love.
Before the book, Andie started her popular blog, Can You Stay For Dinner? and shared her love of cooking as well as her thoughtful and well-written take on life. Just this week, she rebranded her blog to AndieMitchell.com and her new cookbook, Eating in the Middle, will be released in March of 2016.
7. Rising Strong by Brene Brown – This is the most recent publication by Brown and it concentrates on how to own our own personal struggles and stories and how we are to push through when times get tough. It’s easy to talk about overcoming adversity or an issue you have been struggling with, but what do you do when you are in the middle of it? How do you keep walking and own not only the good times, but the bad ones too? There is courage to be found in the struggle and this book hits it right on the head.
8. Scary Close by Donald Miller – It was great for me to read Scary Close because it’s a book about intimacy and communication from a male perspective. At least for me, it’s easier to expect and read books like this from female authors, but I enjoyed reading Miller’s account of his own emotional journey of learning and embracing who he truly is as a person. I was able to resonate with his message since he spoke of desiring fame and acclaim from an early age and thought that the only way people would see him was through continued success. It was refreshing to hear him speak about the importance of throwing away the mask and coming into himself regardless of the fear of rejection. I also finished this one on a plane to the East coast and back, so it’s another quick one.
9. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown – Ok, last one by Brene. Her third book, Daring Greatly, was actually the first one I read by her. After I finished this one, I went out and bought her first two immediately. Daring Greatly is a powerful read about vulnerability. Brown states that a person’s willingness to embrace their own vulnerability can transform the way they live, love, parent, and lead. It reaffirmed my decision to live honestly and transparently, even though parts of my past leave me open to criticism and judgement. If we never get vulnerable with others, we will soon lose the ability to connect with them as well. Daring Greatly also helped me at a time when I was struggling with my decision of when to have kids and inspired this post: It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect, one of the top five on this blog.
- Do you have any recommendations that would go on this list?
- What’s the last book you read?
- Do you like books as gifts?