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While it is arguably impossible for a person to make major life changes without first making a mental change independently, I do believe that the decision to pick ourselves up by the mental bootstraps can be largely influenced by outside factors. Over the past couple years there have been many people, situations, and books that have aided me along the way. While rehashing the circumstantial and relational ‘influencers’ in my life would take a small novel and an incredibly patient reader, I can boil some of the most significant books I’ve read into a concise list.
So in no particular order, here are 7 books that have given me a metaphorical kick in the pants and spurred me to better my life:
The Defining Decade by Dr. Meg Jay
I read halfway through this book and almost didn’t finish it because it motivated me to start making some decisions about my career, relationships, and circumstances immediately; I felt like suddenly I shouldn’t be wasting time reading anymore. Backed with relatable case studies of 20-somethings, Dr. Jay uses her work as a clinical psychologist to back up her viewpoints and light a fire of motivation under her readers. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for some direction and training on how to hone decision-making skills for big life decisions.
Love Does by Bob Goff
Love Does gives the reader exactly what the title promises: it shows how love does stuff. Filled with anecdotes and quirky stories of Bob’s life experiences, this book gives the reader a chance to see the world through the eyes of one guy who finds a silver lining in every situation and believes in the incredible power of love.
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Dave Ramsay has been considered the ultimate financial guru for over a decade and for good reason. Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover is a great introduction to simplifying your finances, getting out of debt, and feeling financial freedom for good.
Act Accordingly by Colin Wright
Act Accordingly is an excellent ‘why to’ book that encourages the reader to pursue a life of value in their own unique way. Wright’s uncommon minimalist lifestyle (living in a different country every four months) gives him a unique perspective from which to approach relationships, creativity and finding your own minimalist path.
Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon
Steal Like An Artist may seem like an unlikely candidate for this book list, but the ability to hone in on creativity and look at the world in new and innovative ways is a skill that can aid any situation. Kleon’s short, graphic book about creativity is the perfect antidote to breaking out of life’s monotony and finding innovation in unexpected ways.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
This book may seem like a cliche addition, but there is a reason why The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was a New York Times bestseller for months. Kondo gives many approachable, simple ways to declutter your things; which ultimately lead to decluttering every area of your life. Kondo’s tiny decluttering book was my first introduction to a life with less stuff and led me to a home filled with meaning and a life full of intention. To anyone looking to wade into a value-driven life, I would highly recommend finding a copy The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Thrive: An Environmentally Conscious Guide to Health and True Wealth by K. Chayne
Thrive was a book that took me entirely by surprise. I originally purchased Thrive hoping it would have tips on how to live more sustainably, i.e. ways to make the home more environmentally conscious. I was completely wrong. Packed with insights about relationships, sustainable fashion, tips for eating better and even instruction on how to implement meditation and sleeping techniques; Thrive became the book I never knew I wanted. Thrive is a great resource for living the best life for both you and the planet.