I’m going to start out by saying that I am completely aware that 2020 is now halfway over and I bet you’re wondering why I’m just now getting my 2019 Reading List out, am I right? First of all, I started this blog in June 2020 sooo I kind of feel like that’s almost “’nuff said” as is but secondly, a friend recently asked for some book recommendations so I figured if one person was wondering, there’s got to be more!
The reasoning behind my goal to read all of these books last year stems back to December 26, 2018 (the day after my 25th birthday). I woke up and experienced a “quarter-life-crisis” realizing that my life needed a big change. My therapist had been recommending a few books for me to read for years and I decided that now was time for me to finally listen to her! I’m sure she rejoiced as soon as I said “can you please give me that list of books again? I’m actually going to read them this time”.
I downloaded the Good Reads app, created an account and added all of the books that she recommended to my “Want to Read” list. I got a library card and got to reading! What’s also great about the Good Reads app is that they have a section called Reading Challenge where each year you can set your own goal for how many books you want to try and read over the year. Being the goal-setter that I am, I found this section to be wonderful and decided that I wanted to set a goal to read 12 books over the course of 2019. One book per month sounds attainable, right?
If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember seeing this post where I talked about being an overachiever and finishing 13 books during the year. 😉 ALL of these books (excluding #6) are categorized in the Self-Help genre. So while reading 13 books in a year is great, I think it’s important to focus on the content and how it can enhance your life verses just trying to check something off a list. You feel me?
Now, let’s move on to my list! 🙂
- Girl, Wash You Face by Rachel Hollis – Okay, this is a touchy topic in current times and I’m not looking to debate the Hollis marriage/divorce scandal… Furthermore, this book what was I needed when I read it. Rachel calls herself a “tough-lover” and she’s very encouraging as well as motivational in the way that she writes. Just like Rachel, I had a people-pleasing problem for awhile and reading this book helped me understand that taking time to care for myself is not selfish – it’s necessary in order to sustain a joyful life. Get it here.
- The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron – My therapist had been recommending that I read this book for years and I can say that I totally understand why! This book not only teaches you the Enneagram (a personality scale) but also opens your mind to understanding why other people do what they do. This book helped me gain a deeper understanding of myself while allowing compassion towards others to fill my heart. Get it here.
- The Principles of Success by Jack Canefield – THIS is the 558 page book I mentioned above and, while it did take a good while to finally finish, it was very inspiring in more ways than one. Jack teaches you many valuable skills that you can start implementing immediately in your own life in order to transform yourself into the best version possible. He also recounts numerous success stories of ordinary people persevering to “beat the odds”. I found this book to be both motivational and inspiring. Get it here.
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown – This was the first of the four Brene Brown books I read in 2019 and I have become an enormous fan of this woman’s philosophies! I’m very glad that I read this one first (as recommended by my therapist to help my mental state at that time) for it taught me the realities and dangers of perfectionism. From her teachings in this book, I learned that making mistakes is part of life and that it’s okay to make messes – just be sure to clean them up later. Most importantly, I learned to love and accept myself as the strong, beautiful, hot-mess that I am! Get it here.
- Are We Happy Yet? by Lisa Cypers Kamen – Again, this was a book that was exactly what I needed when I found it as I was very depressed at the time. Lisa does a wonderful job of explaining the keys to finding your own personal happiness, which was a huge stepping stone in my journey of self-discovery. She backs her finding with beautifully told stories of people who have found what truly brings them joy. This book also helped me to learn the importance of gratitude as well as doing whatever makes me feel most alive (as long as it’s not harming others). Get it here.
- Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari – While this was not a self-help book, it actually really helped me understand dating in the modern world – more specifically the online dating scene. Aziz is funny as sh*t and backs his findings with extensive research. This is a must-read for all the single ladies and gentlemen out there, especially those of the millennial generation and younger. Get it here.
- Life Code by Dr. Phil McGraw – Not going to lie, I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. While there was some good advice here, most of it felt like Dr. Phil was yelling at me through the page as if I was sitting next to him on his reality show. I finished it mainly for this challenge but found most of his teachings to be impractical. If you’d rather give him a chance and read it for yourself, get it here.
- Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown – Y’all, I have nothing but great things to say about this author! This book taught me the importance of living life courageously and “whole-heartedly”. Brene stresses that a life worth living is one that requires us to get out of our comfort-zones and have those tough conversations. While it sounds absolutely terrifying at times, in the end I have found that it is always worth it. 10/10 recommend that you read this book – especially in this day and age. Get it here.
- This Year I Will… by M. J. Ryan – Alright, I admit that I totally should’ve read this at the beginning of the year instead of the middle of it (picked it up in June 2019). The author does a fabulous job of teaching you how to change a habit for good while using inspirational stories . She uses fun, written exercises amid the pages in order to help you understand yourself on a deeper level in order to bring about the change that you desire. Get it here.
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown – Brene’s words in this book helped me understand the power behind being vulnerable in everyday situations. She teaches us to choose vulnerability over comfort in order to deepen connections with the people in the world around you. Reading this book inspired me to decide to use my voice as a powerful source in order to help raise awareness about mental health via my podcast, Distressed to Joyful; Bailey’s Way. Get her book here.
- Dare to Lead by Brene Brown – While this title is very similar to the last book that I read by Brene, it is focused more on professional relationships. She teaches the importance of creating boundaries as well as leading from a place of care and courage in order to create healthy connections in the workplace. I highly recommend you add this to your list whether or not you are currently a leader in your place of employment. It will add tremendous value to both the current and future state of your career. Buy it here.
- Atomic Habits by James Clear – I waited 5 months for this book to come off hold and into my possession at my local library – totally worth it! The author teaches you how making small changes in your daily habits can have a tremendous impact in the long run. Reading this book helped me change my spending habits in order to grow a savings account while paying off my debts. Highly recommend for people of all walks of life. Find it here.
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson – If you’re looking for a book to read in a public atmosphere that will spark conversations with strangers, look no further! The title is what attracted me the most and it is as real as real can get when it comes to our meticulous present-day society. Lots of curse words sprinkled among lots of wisdom. Add it to your list by buying it here.
I highly encourage you to borrow these books from your local library! It will save you loads of money. 😉 But if you’d prefer to buy your own copy though are looking to save money, check out your local Half Priced Books store OR this wonderful online resource for new and used books. I’m all about recycle/reduce/reuse and would love it if you’d purchase second-hand if you’re in need of a personal copy. All of the links above are from Amazon in order to give you a great picture representation as well as more in-depth descriptions.
I hope you’ll read a few (or all!) of these great books. Which ones are you excited to add to your “must read” list? Leave a comment and let me know!