The idea of New Year’s resolutions might be going stale but there’s no denying the motivation it inspires — to be better; to improve; to grow. And self-help books are a great way to go about it.
After all, exploring the ideas, thoughts, and journeys of others around us is a proven method of learning. And hey, why make your own mistakes when you can learn from others’?
Here’s a list of 13 books (admittedly, career-leaning) that are on my reading list this year. They span finance, confidence, behavior, anxiety, and generally, kicking ass. Whether you’re looking for a fresh read, a new way of tackling work, or simply a fresh perspective on things, there’s something here for you:
1. How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith
It’s old news that women face specifically different challenges in the workplace as they move up the career ladder. For this book, women’s leadership expert Sally Helgesen teamed up with business coach Marshal Goldsmith to pen a handbook labelling the 12 common traits women struggle with.
Surprisingly, these habits — disease to please. perfectionism, minimizing, overvaluing expertise, etc. — are the same ones that lend success for many early-on before becoming roadblocks to further success.
Get it here for $14.59.
2. Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits, F*ckups, and Failures by Jennifer Romolini
For those just realizing the harsh realities of different work environments, Jennifer Romolini’s career self-help book is a guiding hand. Learn from Romilini’s own fuck-ups, missteps, and successes as she takes you through her own journey from waitress to lost to powerhouse and uses her examples as a map to navigating your own career path.
Networking, navigating office politics, leaving a crappy job, and learning the right way to lead, Weird in a World That’s Not lays it out succinctly and should honestly come with a highlighter.
Get it here for $9.99.
3. Refinery29 Money Diaries: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Your Finances… And Everyone Else’s by Lindsey Stanberry
Money is a taboo topic as it is but when you introduce women’s finances, there’s a whole other level of stigma attached. This book was inspired by the wildly popular Money Diaries section published in Refinery29 where women anonymously share the bare bones of their finances with a worldwide audience.
Aside from featuring a compilation of entries, Lindsey Stanberry (Work and Money Editor at Refinery29) lays out valuable exercises and information to understand and divide your finances by taking a closer look at your accounts.
Get it here for $9.48.
4. The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything by Neil Pasricha
The Happiness Equation is a good starting point for those new to self-help books in general. In it, the author behind the Book of Awesome series bursts some quick bubbles by laying out why multitasking is a myth, why success doesn’t lead to happiness, and how whittling down options actually leads to more choices. Those who have read a fair amount of self-help novels might want to skip this one as it’s been noted as being a “beginner’s guide”.
Get it here for $10.49.
5. The Byline Bible: Get Published in Five Weeks by Susan Shapiro
In this day and age, writing is one of the easiest side hustles to break into because of the widespread desire for first-person feature journalism. Everyone has a story and writing professor Susan Shapiro has penned a book to help you publish yours.
From crafting cover letters to pitching and publishing on national and international platforms, The Byline Bible give you the line-by-line on breaking into the field of writers.
Get it here for $12.39.
6. 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs
Fear is as big a roadblock as they come in life’s journey with many unable to take the risk to see what’s on the other side. Annie F. Downs compiled a collection of 100 “devotions”, peppered with humor, to help you tackle your fears by referencing her journey. If anything, this book leaves the reader with plenty to ponder over.
Get it here for $8.99.
Brené Brown, for me, is one of those writers and speakers who easily captures your attention with her wit and warmth. In her over two decades of work researching courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, she’s penned a few titles along the way.
Daring Greatly, however, is one of her most popular. Perhaps because it dances with a characteristic we all struggle with on the regular; vulnerability. This book challenges the equation of vulnerability with weakness and, in fact, proves that our pursuit of this often avoided state is what will lead to a richer life.
Get it here for $9.39.
8. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
As far as self-help books go, this one treads a different path as Mark Manson encourages a different way of living, one with limited fucks and a not-so-positive approach to life.
“Shit is fucked and we have to live with it,” wrote the blogger-turned-author. For those looking for a rawer telling of how it is, Manson’s approach of stomaching the lemons rather than making lemonade is a wake-up slap in the face… mixed with poop jokes.
Get it here for $14.35.
9. The Suitcase Entrepreneur: Create Freedom in Business and Adventure in Life by Natalie Sisson
In today’s world, who among us doesn’t dream of packing up and jetting off to Anywhere? After all, a laptop and strong WiFi signal are pretty much what anyone needs these days to work.
Natalie Sisson’s book is a guide on how to achieve just that and fulfill your dream of living as a digital nomad. Free time, money, and independence are what’s on the table Sisson’s working at and she’s sharing her three stage process.
Get it here for $12.90.
10. Anxiety for Beginners: A Personal Investigation by Eleanor Morgan
According to the World Health Organization, around 300 million people suffer from an anxiety disorder. Chances are many reading this post are one of the 300 million. And if you’re not, you likely know someone who’s suffering from it.
This deep foray into anxiety stems from a first-person piece Eleanor Morgan published in The VICE Guide to Mental Health which reached five million people in four days. Ultimately, this is a self-help book about acceptance; embracing anxiety in yourself and in others.
Get it here for $12.10.
11. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō
By this point, we’ve all acclimated clutter in our lives. Be it in the form of clothes, craft essentials, ticket stubs, or random knick knacks. Supposedly, there’s a certain clarity that comes with decluttering.
Enter Marie Kondo who has built a career on helping people organize. A Netflix show, consulting, and a few books to her name, this work of Kondo provides detailed guidance on shifting through your belongings — keeping the ones that “spark joy” and ridding yourself (after thanks!) of the ones you’ve outgrown.
Get it here for $9.69.
12. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
If you enjoy the cut of how Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal are written, then it’s guaranteed you’ll enjoy peeking behind the curtain of its showrunner, Shonda Rhimes.
Rhimes stumbles upon the fact that she’d been using her busy work schedule as an excuse to bow out of pretty much every social engagement and new experience opportunity. To challenge her stagnancy, she embarked on a Year of Yes, setting a rule that unless completely out-of-the-question, she would always say yes to every invitation. Her tale is poignant and intimate and sparks a desire to set off on a similar journey.
Get it here for $9.69.
13. The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers by Alex Banayan
What makes some people more successful than others? The kind of success that Bill Gates, Maya Angelou, and Lady Gaga hold. That’s the question Alex Banayan had in mind when he set off at the age of 18 to find out. After a series of one-on-one interviews with the people on question, Banayan has his answer: The Third Door.
Apparently, the path to success is similar to the path into a nightclub. The first one is the one where the crowd is, where 99% are waiting to be let in. The second is the VIP entrance where money and reputation get you through the door. The third one is where you ditch the line, run down the alley, and essentially finagle (break in/barge in/sneak in) your way in.
Get it here for $13.36.
And there you have it; 13 must-reads this year. After all, when it comes to growth, one can never have too many resources at hand. Happy reading!