Here is a list of 9 of my favorite books from the past year. Looking back, there's some definite themes weaved through these books - happiness, emotional intelligence, habit formation, parenting, stress, and money management. Clearly, I am a big fan of personal growth and development type books. Would love to hear if you've read any of these and what recommendations you have for the year ahead!
This is my favorite Brene Brown book! It's basically an encyclopedia of words to describe human emotions and experiences. And I'm talking beyond the basic happy, mad, sad. She covers terms I'd never heard before like hubris and freudenfreude. Plus others I was familiar with...but really benefited from learning more about; words like curiosity, boundaries and belonging.
Being able to more accurately describe how we are feeling is so empowering and reassuring. For example, "foreboding joy" is a term she uses to describe the feeling when joy is quickly followed by worry and dread. Ya know, those "what if something bad happens" thoughts that can interrupt feelings of joy and happiness. Before reading this book, I never could fully describe or understand that feeling. But now that I can articulate and use more accurate vocabulary to label the feeling of foreboding joy, I feel more connected and less alone in that experience.
I highly recommend this parenting book! I love Dr. Becky's whole philosophy that everyone - kids and adults alike - are innately good inside. So whatever bad or undesirable behavior your kids might be displaying, she reassures you that your child is still good. And rather than teaching punishment methods or rewards systems, she encourages connection, setting boundaries, and being fully present with your child. She has so many great practical strategies for building resiliency and self-regulation in children and supporting adults in the complex journey that is parenting.
Just like the title implies - this is a guidebook with practical strategies on becoming happier. Dr. Amen's advice is rooted in neuroscience and brain health. He's a big believer that you can 100% change the chemistry of your brain with mood improving habits. I love how so many of his recommendations are simple and achievable. One suggestion he has is to end your day asking yourself, "What went well today?" He reassures that this easy daily reflection can have profound and positive lifelong effects.
While much of his advice is applicable towards everyone, he does give more individualized recommendations based on your brain type. For example, I learned that I have a Persistent - Cautious brain type. Which means I am goal oriented and self-directed, but also prone to worry and anxiety. He had a whole chapter of advice more geared towards my brain type. You can learn more about your brain type and personality at brainhealthassessment.com.
OK, so technically I haven't finished it, but I'm far enough in that I knew I had to include it on my list of recommendations! I have some big financial goals for 2023 and, so far, this book is setting me up for success. If you are wanting to feel better about money, improve your financial literacy, develop a conscious spending plan, enjoy guilt-free spending, and gain confidence in your investment strategies -- this is for you!!
And don't worry if you feel totally lost, drowning in debt or completely overwhelmed when it comes to money. Ramit breaks down everything you need to know for building good money habits and setting yourself up for a rich life, no matter where you are right now.
This was a quick, fun, elighteninging, and easily digestible book on creativity. Growing up, I never used to think of myself as being creative. I thought being creative meant you had to be "artsy". Either through painting or sculpting or drawing or singing or writing or performing. I was always into math and science -- neither or which I thought of as creative areas.
Over time, I've really changed my outlook on creativity. I view creativity as so much more than art or poetry or music. Now, I know to be creative is to think outside the box, to problem solve, to be open minded. Creativity is just as much a mindset as it is something you can see, hear or feel.
I've gone from thinking of myself as far from creative, to considering myself extremely creative (hello, DIY projects!).... and this book was a lovely source of encouragement to continue to fuel creative living.
Ever heard the term “Does it spark joy”?…. If you’re familiar with Marie Kondo, either from her book or Netflix show, then you definitely know what I’m talking about! Marie Kondo is an expert on decluttering and organizing. Her greatest piece of advice is to only keep items items in your life that “spark joy". She encourages people to literally hold each possession they own and look inwards to see if it sparks joy when deciding whether to toss or keep. Part of the reason why I love the idea of “does it spark joy?”, is because it can apply to almost everything in life - not just material processions.
So if you are in the mood to tidy and organize, or craving that feeling of relief that comes with decluttering - read this book! And enjoy the spaciousness that comes with a tidier and decluttered home.
I read this book when when I was feeling a little down and needed a jump start back into a healthier routine and a more positive mindset. It’s full of practical and helpful tips! I think a lot of this type of advice are things we intuitively already know. We just need a little extra inspiration and gentle reminders to lean into those happier habits.
Do you tear up easily with commercials? Or find yourself getting "chills" for the smallest reason? If so, you may tend to be more bittersweet in nature. Susan Cain defines bittersweetness as a tendency to states of longing, poignancy, and sorrow; an acute awareness of passing time; and a curiously piercing joy at the beauty of the world. It’s also about the recognition that light and dark, birth and death—bitter and sweet—are forever paired.
I enjoyed this book on the value of bittersweetness! Interested in learning more about yourself? Determine your level of bittersweetness here.
Autobiographies aren't typically at the top of my reading list, but this book was assigned by the book club I'm in, and I'm so glad it was! It was a heartfelt and enlightening read on Trevor Noah's childhood growing up in South Africa before and after the end of apartheid. I highly recommend this book and now I am forever a Trevor Noah fan!