A comprehensive list of awesome books that will change your life
I love educational and self help books. I think they can be used as an incredible tool to develop yourself, learn new habits, change your perspective, reflect on your behaviour and grow. I know many people think they boring or full of positive affirmations about hugging trees, but I reckon those people simply haven’t found the right book yet.
Without all the books I’ve read, I wouldn’t be who I am today; super wise, can handle anxiety, excellent communicator, fabulous dancer, kind of strong, travelled a bit, unable to boil eggs.
So, this blog is full of my favourite books that have helped me get here. They’ll help you with your mental health, relationships, thinking patterns, goals, habits, general health and more.
Below is a quick list of the books, but read on to understand what they’re actually about. I’ve even included a quote for each of them, in the hopes one will stand out for you. See, super wise.
1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck – Mark Manson
I love Mark and everything he writes. His style of writing is logical, funny and realistic. He writes for people like you and me, probably why he is so popular. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck will change the way your perspective about what is important in life and will help you think differently about who you want to be.
Quote: “We feel bad about feeling bad. We feel guilty for feeling guilty. We get angry about getting angry. We get anxious about feeling anxious. What’s wrong with me? This is why not giving a fuck is so key. This is why it’s going to save the world.”
2. Attached – Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
Written by a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, this book explains why some people navigate relationships effortlessly and why others don’t. It helped me understand why a toxic relationship didn’t work and how I can prevent entering another. If you’ve struggled in love and relationships, I highly recommend it!
Quote: “Instead of thinking how you can change yourself in order to please your partner, as so many relationship books advise, think: Can this person provide what I need in order to be happy?”
3. Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – Johann Hari
Written by a New York Times Best Seller author and journalist, this book explores how anxiety and depression are treated all over the world, with many useful arguments. It’s written in a beautiful, relatable and compassionate way and I found it to be incredibly helpful!
Quote: “Loneliness isn’t the physical absence of other people, he said—it’s the sense that you’re not sharing anything that matters with anyone else.”
4. Not A Diet Book – James Smith
As the title suggests, this is Not A Diet Book. James Smith is a famous personal trainer, that cuts out the bullshit in the fitness industry and has helped thousands of people, all over the world. This book quickly became a Sunday Times Bestseller and is well worth a read, for more reasons than just fat loss.
Quote: “This book will put you back in control. It is not a fad diet or a short-term training plan. It will empower you to adopt better habits that will allow you to take charge of your life.”
5. The Obstacle Is The Way – Ryan Holiday
This book is a huge part of why I left Australia, travelled solo and moved to Ireland. It’s an easy read and it makes you see that all your fears and insecurities are the things holding you back. It helps you understand how to work on them to get the things you want out of life.
Quote: “You know what’s better than building things up in your imagination? Building things up in real life.”
6. Atomic Habits – James Clear
Habits are the keystone to changing things in your life and this book will show you how to build new ones and break bad ones. You’ll learn how to easily and effectively live a better life. It’s written in simplistic terms so you can form better habits at work, with your health or and anything else.
Quote: “Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.”
7. The Untethered Soul – Michael Harrington
I’m someone that is constantly in my head, thinking too much about anything and everything. I used to struggle to concentrate and would lie awake at night with my mind buzzing. This book helped me tenfold. It explains your conscious and subconscious mind, Buddhism and the imaginary blocks we all put in our lives which hinder growth.
Quote: “Eventually you will see that the real cause of problem is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes the problems.”
8. The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind and Body, in the Healing of Trauma – Dr Bessel van der Kolk
This book is a New York Times Best Seller, written by a psychiatrist who wanted to help people who have been through trauma. It is quite a large book but if you have been through any trauma, it will help you understand the impacts on your mind and body, and how you can manage your life moving forward.
Quote: “As long as you keep secrets and suppress information, you are fundamentally at war with yourself…The critical issue is allowing yourself to know what you know. That takes an enormous amount of courage.”
9. Change Your Thinking – Sarah Edelman PHD
This book is all about learning new ways to think using cognitive behavioural therapy written by an incredible psychiatrist. It helped me recognize my unhelpful (shit) thinking patterns that were contributing to anxiety, ruminating thoughts, poor communication and more. It’s truly a great read and wil help you change your behaviour.
Quote: “While sometimes it may seem easier to lash out and say what’s on your mind, ultimately this doesn’t help you to get what you want. Conciliatory (purposeful) communication enables you to avoid stress and to get your needs met more often.”
10. Exhausted to Energised – Dr Libby Weaver
Do you wake up tired? Do you always feel lethargic? Do you have any idea why? This book explains the human body in lamen’s terms and gives advice on how to have more energy.
Quote: “Sitting for more than an hour produces biochemical reactions in the body that make you feel more lethargic. Also, having open loops churning over in your mind impacts your body in a similar way to having too many apps open on your phone, flattening its battery and draining you of energy.” (Interesting quote given the pandemic huh).
11. First, we make the beast beautiful – Sarah Wilson
I fell in love with this book in the first chapter. This book is about changing the narrative of anxiety and turning it into something we can learn to live with and maybe even appreciate, instead of constantly trying to fix it. The way the author writes, thinks and the way she lives her life felt so relatable to me and if you have anxiety, I’d highly recommend this book.
Quote: “To be anxious wasn’t shameful, it was a high calling. It was to be more receptive to the true nature of things than everyone else. It was to be the person who saw with sharper eyes and felt with more active skin.”
12. Daring Greatly – Brene Brown
I love Brene so much and if you haven’t heard of her please listen to this Ted Talk she did on vulnerability. With over 48 million views, you know it’s good. Daring Greatly is my favourite book by Brene, following similar concepts of the Ted Talk.
Quote: “True belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
13. The 4-hour Work Week – Tim Ferris
Imagine if we could only work four hours a week, wouldn’t that be a dream?! This book isn’t so much about saying you can, it’s more about changing your perspective on working a 40 hour week at a desk job you hate, working for the man who makes all the money and having no control over your working life. I loved it and it made me want to live like a nomad even before the pandemic hit!
Quote: “The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?”. Bonus quote: “The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is boredom.”
14. Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman
If you want to be a better partner, friend or family member, this book will help. Five love languages is about understanding the five different ways people give love and receive love as we all do it differently. Seems like some pretty important information to have for better relationships all around, huh? If you want to get a head start and find out your own love language, you can do a quiz here.
Quote: “We need not agree on everything, but we must find a way to handle our differences so that they do not become divisive.”
15. Untamed – Glennon Doyle
This book is part memoir, part self help and it captured me so much that I read it in two days. The author is writing about her life and how discontent she was living the way society told her to and how she changed everything to live her truth. It’s truly a beautiful and empowering read, especially for women and mothers!
Quote: “When a woman finally learns that pleasing the world is impossible, she becomes free to learn how to please herself.”
16. Any Ordinary Day – Leigh Sales
This book is a collection of stories from people who have experienced acute, traumatic experiences on any ordinary day. The author is an Australian journalist who explores how they coped and where they are a few years after the horrible thing happened to them. For me, it was more a book of hope and inspiration than a self help book. After reading it, I felt that if other people can survive and thrive after such terrible incidents, surely I can too.
Quote: “A lot of the time, life is just hard, and even for people who have a relatively benign life, for a lot of the time, stuff’s just hard. And it’s okay to say stuff’s hard, it doesn’t do anyone dishonour. It’s alright. It’s just giving people space to be human.”
17. MindFull by Dermot Whelan
Dermot is an Irish comedian who had a panic attack and thought he was dying from a heart attack. This is his story about how meditation saved him and it’s written in a funny and light-hearted way. He explains easy tactics to incorporate meditation into your life and since reading this book I’ve meditated almost every day for four months! I cannot recommend it enough.
Quote: “Even just a few seconds of a simple technique can have a far-reaching impact for your feelings of calm.”
I hope these books help you. If there are any other books you’d recommend for this list, drop me a comment for a DM and I’ll add them!
Yours in reading and learning,