Happy New Year! As January comes around again, many of us are making resolutions to make 2017 better than any year previous. I have some big plans for the coming year, and I figured you probably do too, which is why I’m sharing my favorite self-improvement books. These are books that’ve positively impacted my life and changed the way I live. From whole-heartedly taking the next big step to creatively growing yourself in a simplified life, these books have the potential to help you achieve your goals for the coming year. Check them out!
# Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
This book is my all-time favorite because it changed the way I live my life. A family member gave it to me midway through high school, and as I read through the pages, I recognized that shame was a large factor in my life. It wasn’t shame of doing something wrong, but shame about being different and not being “good enough”. This book changed how I thought about myself and convinced me that vulnerability is an asset in living a whole-hearted life. “Whole-hearted living” may be a new vocabulary term for you, but it’s become a goal for me, and you should definitely check out this book to find a freedom of being yourself.
# The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus
I like this book not only because I read it last summer while relaxing in the sunshine by a pool, but also because it brought back to life the concept of creativity that seems to sometimes die in the adult world. I believe that God is a creative god and He’s instilled that creativity in humans too. Creativity is an expression of our souls, and the book goes further to argue that creativity is a fruit of the spirit. The closer we are to God, the more creative we should be (produced naturally like joy, peace, and other fruits of the spirit). This book taught me how to see creative opportunities all around me and how to act on those opportunities as well. If the world ever starts to feel a little bland and uninspirational, pick up this book and give it a read!
# Good to Great by Jim Collins
I’m pretty sure this is my dad’s favorite book (aka so you should go buy it right now), and I’m currently midway through it and loving every word. If you’re looking at the reviews and thinking “it’s a business book; why should I read it?”, well, you should. Yes, it focuses on corporations and business growth, but the concepts are easily applied into one’s personal life too. Ever heard of the Hedgehog Concept? My dad introduced it to me years ago when he first read the book, and it’s helped me figure out what I want to do with my life. “Getting the right people on the bus” is just another way of saying “surround yourself with people who will help you move in the right direction”. That advice can easily apply to your own life as well as to your corporation! Jim Collins also writes in an engaging, easy-to-read way that makes me not want to put the book down. Yes, a 20-year-old with no work experience and no real plans to climb the corporate ladder to CEO can’t put down a business book. Go read this book.
# The Red Sea Rules by Robert Morgan
This is a small book, but don’t judge a book by it’s size. In fact, this book is the perfect size to throw in your purse for an easy read wherever you are. And you just may need it when you’re least expecting it. This book gives biblical guidelines on how to deal with life when it starts to overwhelm us. As someone who is often confused and non-understanding of God’s plan for me, this book gave me relief and peace and reminded me to trust in God. It’s honestly as good as meditating and yoga in clearing the mind and refocusing on what’s important.
# Simplify by Bill Hybels
Want another way to destress your life? Simplify! To be honest, I only read halfway through the book before someone else in my family picked it up to read (we all tried to read it at the same time because it’s that good), but I was able to put into practice simplifying actions from each chapter. I’m pretty sure that just looking at the chapter titles will make you want to read the book. “From Exhausted to Energized”, “From Restless to Fulfilled”, and “From Drifting to Focused” are just a few. This book shows you how to get rid of all the stuff and live a life that’s more focused, more simple, and more fulfilling and meaningful. I’m guessing that most everyone has too much stuff in their lives, but if you make time in your busy schedule to read this book, you may be able to break free.
# Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves
Everyone’s heard of IQ (aka Intelligence Quotient), but have you ever heard of Emotional Intelligence? It’s defined as “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically”. Wow, that sounds like a good quality to have, doesn’t it? Well it is, and lots of people surprising don’t have it. Or at least don’t have a lot of it. This book introduces the idea of Emotional Intelligence and then delves into how to nurture and grow you own emotional intelligence. It’s important in the business world, and it’s important in the day-to-day world too.
# Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson
I put this book last because it’s currently on my “to-read” list. It was published last year and given to my family this past Christmas. The book focuses on chasing after the big, scary dreams you have for you life and not running away. How is this done? By trusting in God. I can’t wait to read this book because my goal/catchphrase for 2017 is “taking the next big step”. Whether in the context of jobs, school, friends, fitness, or something else, 2017 is the year I’m forging ahead with confidence (and a lot of trust in God) to start living with gusto the life God has planned for me. If that sounds like something you want to do too, join me in reading this book!
Have you already read any of these books? What books do you recommend for me to read in 2017?