Ten must-reads to cultivate personal growth

A couple weeks ago I shared five reading suggestions for changing careers and making the most of the one you have. I'm back with more, this time in regards to personal growth. It's a broad topic, I know, it can mean self-help, fulfillment, even diet and exercise, so these will give you just a taste of each. What else would you include on this list?

Recommended Reading for Personal Growth

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking - I have girl crushes on Ann Patchett and Susan Cain. If you're not familiar with Susan, start with her now-famous TED Talk. As a fellow introvert, her words were a relief. Her book is a step further, explaining how extroverts and introverts are wired differently, and how to use that information to navigate office settings and be a more sensitive parent.

Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart - by Tara Bennett Goleman. The intersection of breathing, meditation, and therapy. Easy to ready, with actions you can take right away to shift relationships and your perception of the past. Admittedly I'm only halfway through, and already it has been worthwhile.

When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - by Geneen Roth. The title hooked me, and the ideas kept me reading. Three times in a row. What starts with shifting your relationship with food, translates into enjoying life more fully. I raved about another book by Roth over on my Writing blog.   

Brain Pickings - If you haven't been to this website yet, you are missing out. It's like walking through a museum with the most fascinating tour guide. There's a soothing quality to it lulling me into reading more. Sign up for their weekly newsletters here, or do what I do and get lost jumping from post to post.

The Geography of Bliss - If you love The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, you may also like this book. It's a smart, sometimes snarky, take on what creates happiness. NPR correspondent and self-described curmudgeon, Eric Weiner looks at the political, social, and culture environments that promote happiness through his travels around the world. I refer often to his chapter on Iceland.

Facing Love Addiction - Ever feel as if certain people always want something from you, or as if others pull away just when you need them the most? Or both? This book by Pia Mellody will transform how you interact with everyone in your life, including your immediate family. Disclaimer: the title is painful. I ordered it on Amazon so I wouldn't have to walk out of the bookstore with it. Potential embarrassment aside, if you read none of the others I'm recommending, Choose This One.

Fitness - When I want inspiration for working out at home, I turn to YogaDownload. I even paid the $10/month subscription to try out their Barre, pilates, and Iyengar yoga teachers. I also return often to XHIT on YouTube, especially the ab workouts from Rebecca-Louise Smith. Her accent and sass make crunches way more fun. Want inspiration? Heather Frey, SmashFit on Twitter, is my go-to resource for her no-nonsense advice and positivity. She also responds to tweets!

zen habits - I've been a little Zen-bananas lately. Right now books by the Dalai Lama AND Thich Nhat Hanh are on my nightstand. zen habits simplifies life, makes you breathe deeper, and relates well to real life, work and relationships. Every time I return to Leo Babauta's website I'm reminded why I'm there -- today for instance he talks about procrastinating. It's perfect.

What Do You Do With an Idea? - This book by Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom caught my eye while walking through a store recently, and I stood there until I finished the whole thing. The illustrations invite you to climb into its world, and the story speaks to the child in all of us. I could imagine buying this for all of my clients this Christmas (sshh don't tell them).

Notes from the Universe - Bill Nye and Amy Schumer got me when they recently poked fun about how we (okay, I) give The Universe credit for things. That said, Mike Dooley's sweet weekday emails bring pep to my mornings. I've been a subscriber for a few years, often forwarding my favorites along. They just make me happy.


Please add to this list!

What have you read that changed the way you see the world, and feel about yourself? 


There is inspiration everywhere. If something has made a difference in your life, comment below or link to where you've written your own recommendations. I'd love to include them -- and read them!