Best books to read for personal development

12 Must-Read Books To Help You Become Your Best Self

One of my favorite hobbies is reading and listening to personal growth books. I love learning about myself and how to be the best version of me. While I think doing the work is the most important part of growth, books provide valuable wisdom and provide you with inspiration for living more authentically.

This post contains some affiliate links, which means we’ll get a small percentage if you decide to purchase through our link. All opinions are my own. 

If you’d like to listen to any of these books (with the author’s voice) like I did, you can get an Audible Free Trial where you can receive two free book credits for anything listed here or whatever books you’ve been wanting to read. I love listening to books while I drive as I have a fairly lengthy commute to work. Most of these books are narrated by the author and it is such an amazing listening experience to hear the person who wrote the book read it to you in their own voice. I listened to 11 of the 12 books recommended here on Audible last year, if that tells you anything about my love for listening to audiobooks. And because of it, I’ve read more last year than I have in the past several years.

These books have helped me grow and I’ve gotten true nuggets of wisdom that have stayed with me from these books in particular. If you’re into personal growth, get ready to add to your reading list.

Loving What Is by Byron Katie

Byron Katie transformed my 2016. If you only were to read one book ever (especially on Audible), this one is the one I’d most recommend. Katie’s work is about questioning your thoughts and ending internal suffering. With her guidelines and 4 question system, the healing you can do and the healing you’ll hear about in the interviews throughout the recording is transformative. I hate to be that person who hypes something up too much, but I’ve never listened to something as powerful as this. It’s one of those “recommend to everyone you know” type of audiobooks.

Playing Big by Tara Mohr

For some reason, the first thing I recall about this book is how lovely Tara Mohr is to listen to. She just feels like a lovely person. The book content is equally amazing. It’s centered around women (you’ll see there’s a bit of a trend here) and owning your power. She talks about how we’ve been playing small in our lives and it’s time to stop holding back.

Presence by Amy Cuddy

Have you all seen the Ted Talk with Amy Cuddy on body language? Well, it was awesome and she went and wrote a book on the same subject: owning your presence. I grew up very shy and still struggle with shyness today, so I really enjoy having different tools to feel more confident. One of Amy’s big topics around feeling confident is to take up more space physically and use power poses. There’s so much more to this book than just body language, so if you enjoyed her talk, give it a read.

Love Warrior: A Memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton

I read Love Warrior right when it came out. If I’m honest, it’s because it said “Oprah’s Book Club” and it sounded right on point with everything I’m loving to listen to lately. It’s a memoir from Glennon Doyle Melton about marriage, tragedy, and finding your way back to yourself. This book sort of put me in a weird place, because it was super honest and raw about stuff that’s hard. But that’s what made it great, relatable, and powerful.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In is about how more women need to be in leadership positions. I enjoyed the way Sandberg talked about women and leadership. She backs it up with research, but also gives personal stories. She’s successful, as Facebook’s COO, and it’s nice to hear a perspective of a woman leader sharing her experience. These are things as women, we need to consider. How can we make ourselves bigger? How can we make our voices heard? I think this book challenges us to think and act.

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things is intensely wonderful. It makes you ache, cry, love, and feel. It’s a book packed with Cheryl Strayed’s advice that she used to give on a column called Dear Sugar. This woman is beyond wise and there were so many incredible stories and messages throughout. It’s not a light listen, but it’s definitely one that makes you think about your own stories and how to better approach those tough situations. Just thinking about how touching it was makes me want to listen again.

Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins

Tony Robbins is one of my favorite guys in the personal growth world. He knows his stuff and he has a great way of talking about life and love and money. He’s a bit aggressive, but I love it. If you need a push in the right direction, he’s your man. Awaken the Giant Within is about what is sounds like; it’s about becoming the person you’re meant to be. We’ll have some more posts coming soon about Tony Robbins, because he is a phenomenal voice in personal development. Also, have you watched his documentary on Netflix yet? Because, whoa!

The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

The Universe Has Your Back is a recent read of mine and I truly didn’t realize how much I was going to appreciate this book until I read it. As you’d imagine, it’s about how the universe conspires with you and for you. I love the concept of this and it’s an idea that’s been really resonating with me a lot lately. Gabrielle Bernstein is an inspiration in my life and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of her books soon.

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock

Redefining Realness is a memoir from a transgender woman about her experience and life growing up. It’s deeply powerful and way different than the rest of the books on the list. I love reading books (and hope to even more this year) from perspectives and lives that I can’t truly know from experience. I will never know what it is like growing up feeling like I belong to the opposite gender and I really enjoyed hearing Janet’s story. She is an amazing storyteller and I feel like everyone would find connections in their own story. This is an underrated book for sure (one I hadn’t heard of before browsing for books) and I think you would all really enjoy it.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Okay so, I know you’ve all read it already and that’s why I almost didn’t include it. But I had to, in case any of you haven’t read it or it’s been awhile since you have, I encourage you to listen to her perform it on Audible. This magical woman is one of my favorite people to listen to. I listen to her podcasts and interviews and I could listen to her talk about absolutely nothing. Her work, and her, are so beautiful. Sidenote: If you don’t follow her on Facebook, you’re missing out. She posts some really insightful stuff over there.

Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown (Audio only)

Listening to this audio-recording was hands down one of the best ways to start off 2017 in the book department. Brené Brown is hilariously authentic and has such incredible insight based on her research on what it takes to be wholehearted. She breaks down what it takes and what she’s learned. If you’re a fan of Brené Brown, but haven’t listened to this, I think you’ll love it. If you’re new to her, I’ve heard that she shares a lot of the same stories that she does in her other books, so this is a great one to start out with.

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

This book is a gem for getting you pumped up about life and your potential to rule your world. I feel like what makes this book wonderful is Jen Sincero and how relatable she is. I thought to myself while I read it, “this is the kind of book I want to write.” It’s empowering, motivational, and fun. It’s light in the way that it gives you just what you need to hear. I’ve told you guys that my word of the year is abundance and that word captures the idea of “You are a Badass.”

Get your Audible trial today and listen to two of these books free.

What are your favorite personal growth books you’ve read lately? Comment below, because we’re obsessed with reading over here. 

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