I’ve always been a bookworm. As a little kid I’d go to the library and check out stacks of books at a time and devour them in just a few days just to go right back for more. My library card was my first passport and those books took me all over the world. I’d dream about all the beautiful places I’d go and all the amazing people I’d meet.
As I got older and life got in the way I started to read less and my “journeys” became fewer and farther between. In the past year I’ve been on a different journey of launching a new business (dedicated to inspiring black women to run for elected office) that has helped me fall in love with reading all over again. My idea of a lit Friday night is one where I’m under my electric blanket with a good book, a cup of tea, and cuddling with my puppies Donny and Doyle.
I’ve averaged reading nearly a book a week this year so between Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, my bookshelves are bursting at the seams. As we wrap up the last few weeks of 2016 I know many of you are giving some serious thought to how you can reimagine your life in the New Year. I wanted to share 12 of the most powerful books I’ve read this year that have helped me transform my life and shift my mindset that I hope can be transformational for you too:
1) The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living A Good Life (Mark Manson): Not only is this book hilarious but it’s gut wrenchingly true: we give waaaaayy too many fucks about what other people think (myself included). It reminded me that real happiness – and freedom- comes from knowing what to care about and what NOT to care about. It also reinforces that pain is a necessary part of life and rather than trying to avoid it all together we need to learn to push through it.
2) The 4 Hour Workweek: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Tim Ferriss): I’ve always dreamed of traveling the world and working remotely but I had no idea how the hell to actually do it. Tim Ferriss is one of the godfathers of living a location independent lifestyle and if you have big dreams of traveling the world and living the life of your dreams this should be at the top of your list. This is the book that really set my transformation in motion.
3) Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create and Lead (Tara Mohr): Two words that epitomize 2016 for me are fear and risk. For years I’ve been playing small and shrinking myself out of fear of making people around me comfortable. This book really challenged me to lean into my fears and work through them. I refer to this book just about everyday and recommend it for every woman I know.
4) The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level (Gay Hendricks): Received as a gift from my mentor Rosetta Thurman, this book has really helped me push through what Hendricks calls our “upper limit problem” (i.e. whenever we get too close to happiness or things are going great in our lives we somehow still find a way to self sabotage it). Also, you might be seeing a pattern here since most of the books that have helped transform me this year have first transformed my mindset.
5) You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life (Jen Sincero): As someone who has struggled with imposter syndrome (i.e. you know, everyone will find out that I’m not as smart/brave/fill in the blank as they think I am) this has become one of my new favorite books. Reading “You Are a Badass” made me feel like I was getting a pep talk from one of my girlfriends.
6) Miracle Morning: The Not So Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Hal Elrod): For the majority of my life I would have said “I’m NOT a morning person” but this book has helped me reframe the way I think about getting up in the morning. It’s also helped me put into practice a morning routine filled with meditation, reading, journaling and more. It’s become such a habit that now without it I can absolutely feel the difference (and my day usually stinks).
7) The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho): For YEARS I’d hear people refer to this as their favorite book but I had no clue what it was about. “The Alchemist” reminded me that we’re all on a personal mission to find our own treasures and how when we’re on that pursuit the universe will rise up to meet us.
8) Think & Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill): Even if you aren’t on an entrepreneurial journey, “Think and Grow Rich” is still a must read. Another book that helped me transform my mindset, it takes insights from some of the most successful people in the world and makes them plain. It was written in 1937 and remains at the top of bestseller lists for a reason.
9) Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well Lived, Joyful Life (Bill Burnett & Dave Evans): As someone who has become obsessed with the idea of lifestyle design (aka you can do whatever you want and no one can stop you but you) I’ve been on a mission to read books that help me get clear about the life I really want. “Designing Your Life” is a great read with practical tools that will help you get clear about what you want and how to create more of it in your life.
10) Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person (Shonda Rhimes): As an introvert, if I had a dollar for every time I said “no” to an invitation, opportunity or something that could have helped me stop hiding from the world, I’d be a millionaire. While reading this on vacation in Mexico this summer I was reminded that even the smallest “yes” can open up bigger opportunities (because of “Year of Yes” I’ve even challenged myself to say “yes” to as much as I can before the New Year).
11) The Secret (Rhonda Byrne): Recently I’ve become fascinated by the power of the law of attraction. Even though I saw the movie and read the book back in the day, re-reading it has reminded me that everything I want is already mine and simply just waiting for me. It’s also helped me reframe my thoughts, words and actions by speaking things as if they already happened (aka speaking things into existence).
12) Abundance Now: Amplify Your Life & Achieve Prosperity Today (Lisa Nichols): One of the biggest mindset shifts I’ve experienced this year is adopting an abundance versus a scarcity mindset. As one of my new favorite life coaches, Nichols breaks down how to truly live an abundant life everyday.
These are just a few of the great books that have helped transform my life in 2016 but this list isn’t complete. I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment below with the best personal development book you’ve read this year.