I’m an avid reader and always have a few books on my “currently reading” list. Typically, I have at least one fiction and one personal growth book in progress. Personal development has become a lifestyle for me. I think it’s essential to be constantly refilling my cup with inspiration and new ideas in order to become the best version of myself. While I love taking long chunks of time to read, especially on vacation or while traveling, I also carve out about 30 minutes a day to read. Of course there are loads of great articles online, fabulous podcasts, and inspiring quotes galore on social media, but there’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned book.
Here are a five personal growth books that I’ve enjoyed recently and have found myself recommending often:
I’m actually still in progress with reading this one. I picked it up after Brené Brown was announced as our keynote speaker for Stella & Dot Hoopla, our annual conference. Brown shares her research findings on vulnerability – a topic that makes pretty much everyone super uncomfortable, most notably the author herself. I’ve had a lot of “AHA” moments so far, but the connection between vulnerability and living a wholehearted life is the kicker. Brown identifies that those who experience the most joy and connection in life are those who are willing to take on the risk that occurs when they let others in and expose their true selves – which invites potential pain! This is tough, right!? Vulnerability is scary, but Brown has me convinced that finding the courage to be vulnerable is essential to living a full life.
While this isn’t a typical personal development book, I found Jesus Feminist to be incredibly thought-provoking. This book helped me personally find more clarity in how my beliefs about who I am as a Christian (saved by Jesus) and who I am as a woman (equally worthy as men and not socially bound by specific roles) align. Bessey is not afraid to be super critical of the church and call out a few areas we’re just not getting it right as an organization. She breaks down some really interesting scripture that’s often used to justify marginalizing women in the church, putting it in historical context and explaining how the words are manipulated beyond their intention. Bessey argues that Jesus actually was the original Feminist. Mind = blown. I think this is a great read for Christian women and men alike, but also worthwhile to anyone who is willing to have an open mind and look at things from a new point of view.
Find Your Extraordinary
Jessica DiLullo Herrin
I wouldn’t be a good Stella & Dot Stylist if I left this one off the list! 😉 In all reality, I loved reading this book SO much and I really do recommend it all the time. Jessica Herrin is the CEO & Founder of Stella & Dot and she is a genius. Her business knowledge and leadership skills are incredible. The audience for this book is truly not limited to Stella & Dot or even business owners. Herrin focuses on the qualities she has determined are part of the entrepreneurial spirit and shares how to apply them to your life in all areas in order to “achieve success on your own terms.” While this book is one big dose of inspiration and a motivational kick in the ass, the best takeaway I got was a tactical application around time management. Herrin actually refers to it as “time mastery” because we can’t actually manage time – it’s going to pass no matter what and none of us have a monopoly on busy. I became much more aware of how I was allotting my time after reading this, and thus became more productive. Now that’s a win! It was also inspiration for my post, Is Being Busy Holding You Back?
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Daniel H. Pink
As a coach, Drive is totally fascinating. While this is an excellent book for any leader or aspiring leader to read, simply gaining insight into the origins of your own motivation is valuable. Pink reveals that our culture is mistakenly caught up with extrinsic motivation and dives into history to shed light on the roots of that trend. He explains that true motivation comes from within and argues that what people really want is more autonomy over their own lives. There are a few really great examples of businesses and organizations that are thriving by giving their employees more control – even one from my hometown of Charlottesville, VA, which was a fun surprise! This book impacted how I strive to lead, which is by empowering others to achieve their own success and viewing myself as someone who is there to help them along that journey.
If you plan to pick any of these up, I’d love to know which one caught your attention. Have you read any of these already? What did you think?
Please let me know in the comments and share any personal development books you would recommend, too! Thanks for reading! 🙂