4 reasons to show the self-improvement shelf some TLC


As I’ve gotten older, busier, and found myself with less time for reading for pleasure, my taste in books has evolved into quick reads that both teach and enlighten. In other words: I’ve been hitting the self-improvement aisle a lot more.

And I feel pretty good about it, too. This genre of books has given me a greater sense of perspective and empowerment as I navigate my twenties. And who couldn’t use a little more of that? From work to relationships to happiness, these are my four top picks as you jump into books that seek to improve and enlighten.

  1. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg – A must for every career woman, Lean In has caused its fair share of controversy since its release this past spring. Ms. Sandberg addresses, from a modern day feminist perspective, the fact that over 50% of college graduates are women, yet women still struggle to reach the highest points in their careers. She calls on women to quit sitting back from the table and instead, lean in, and make their voices heard. While I sometimes felt as if Ms. Sandberg completely discounted the value of the choice some women make to stay at home with their families, Lean In is a great read for any woman, at any point in here career, who wants to feel like she can keep up with the boys.
  2. The Defining Decade by Meg Jay – I was apprehensive at first to pick up this book as a woman in my late 20′s. With the subtitle “Why Your Twenties Matter – And How to Make the Most of Them Now”, I thought I might end up reading about all the things that I should have done already in my 20′s and now only have a few years left to accomplish. Instead, I found The Defining Decade empowering. It should absolutely be on every twenty something’s to read list and should be a go to graduation gift for anyone you know that’s graduating college or grad school.
  3. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin – “The days are long, but the years are short” says Ms. Rubin in her yearlong memoir about her journey to happiness. The Happiness Project chronicles her mission to create happiness in every facet of her life. Each month focuses on a new area, which breaks a complete life overhaul into easily digestible chunks. Reflections on marriage, work, money, friendship, and more give the reader perspective on creating a well-balanced, organized, and happy life. While attention is closely paid to each area during its designated month, Ms. Rubin emphasizes the importance of balance in happiness. One cannot be perfect in all areas at all times, but one can be happy and productive. For anyone feeling stuck in a rut or searching for a deeper fulfillment, this is a captivating and relate-able read.
  4. May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein – Ms. Bernstein is a new age self-help guru whose books lean towards the spiritual and meditative. This approach may not be for everyone, but if it is, May Cause Miracles is a great place to start. In a series of forty short, easily digestible chapters, Ms. Bernstein covers the areas of Self-Perception, Body Image, Relationships, and Work. She emphasizes leaving your ego, baggage, and pre-conceived notions behind in order to create a happy, active, and fulfilling life.

Whether you’re looking for guidance in your work life, relationships, or just need to figure out what’s making you feel stuck, these are four books that you won’t be able to put down – and you’ll learn a lot in the process.

Have you read any of these books? What are your favorites that we left off? Tell us or in our comments section.


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