What I’m Reading: 5 Personal Growth Books You Need Right Now

June 1, 2021

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me like people are talking about self-improvement now more than ever before. Maybe it’s because it’s 2021, and after the trauma of last year, many of us are looking to heal and process the new changes to our day-to-day lives. For me, I feel like I’m always looking to “improve” myself however I can- whether that looks like making time for my workouts, eating a good meal that boosts my mood, or even going to therapy. It’s the little acts of self-care that allow me to show up as my best self and be present for my work, my friends, and my family.

But before we get into another way I’ve been “improving” myself (spoiler alert: it’s from books!) I want to reassure you that the word “improvement” is really just a word I’m using to describe the overall category of self-care and personal growth. In no way do you need to change who you are, nor do you need to focus on making yourself reach an unrealistic goal. You are perfect exactly as you are, and I hope that through my blog, you can learn that you are perfectly imperfect and there is nothing you need to change. I cannot stress this enough; self-improvement is NOT synonymous with not being enough. YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The books, tools, and techniques that I’m going to be recommending in this post are purely based on my experience and what has worked for me. BUT, what works for me may not work for you, and that is totally okay.

So with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s dive into 5 personal growth books that you need to read right now.

No. 1 – The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

I wanted to put this book at the top of my “must read” list, because it is a book that will completely change your life, kind of like Glennon Doyle’s Untamed did for me, but in a different way. In the Midnight Diary, Matt Haig takes us through the story of a character of Nora, who gets a chance to experience where different choices in life would have led her. We all look at our own lives and often wonder, what if we made a different choice? How would our lives have turned out differently? I finished this book in 3 days and I cannot wait to read it again. You’ll smile, you’ll cry, and you will most definitely see yourself in Nora. Get this book immediately.

No. 2 – 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think by Brianna West

I stumbled upon this book by accident. My friend Ali Bonar had shared this book on her IG stories a few weeks ago and I ordered it immediately. These are short essays, perfect for you short-attention-span friends, that want some bold truths in a concise format. A few titles to get you interested in this book, are “If We Saw Souls Instead of Bodies,” “How You Fall Out Of Love With The Idea of Someone,” and “Signs Your Mental Breakdown Is Actually An Emotional Breakthrough.” And SO. MUCH. MORE. AMAZING. WISDOM. 

No. 3 – The Upside of Being Down by Jen Gotch

If you’re looking for a really open, honest, raw, and inspirational take on mental health, then this is the book for you. You may know Jen Gotch as the founder of Ban.do, and from her incredibly vulnerable Instagram posts on mental health. Her witty humor coupled with the serious nature of this book makes it a fascinating, yet incredibly relatable read. Especially in a time where so many of us are have faced struggles with mental health, it’s really refreshing to see someone take such an honest approach with a delicate subject.

But it’s so much more than just a honest and uplifting take on mental health. Jen’s story shows us that no matter what we may be battling, we can still make the choice to chase our dreams and find our success. While our mental health can sometimes seem like a roadblock to reaching our dreams, Jen shows that while our struggles can slow us down, they can’t stop us. 

No. 4 – Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein

Gabrielle Bernstein is a big inspiration of mine. Reading her books feels like having an intimate conversation with your spiritual BFF – one that makes you question your life, your faith, and your experiences in the best way possible. I recently re-read one of her earlier books, Spirit Junkie, and really loved it. Gabby’s journey from partying in the New York City nightlife scene to finding herself at the brink of a spiritual awakening and major life shift is one that I think we can all relate to at some point in our lives. At some point we’ve all had that realization of having to “grow up” and “find” ourselves, and Gabby’s book is like an invitation to go back and give that version of yourself a hug, and a reminder that everything will be okay.

No. 5 – You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

If you’ve been feeling a lack of inspiration lately, or kicking yourself for not “doing enough”, then you need to pick up this book ASAP. Jen’s humor infused with her brutal honest makes this book the perfect pick-me-up for whenever you’re feeling down. After quite a year, I’ve found myself returning back to this book (I read it for the first time a few years ago) and its been exactly what my soul needed. Her follow up book, You Are a badass at Making Money, is just as good, and I highly recommend that one as well.

What have you been reading lately?  Let me know what other books I should check out next!

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  1. Love that Midnight Library is no. 1!! 💯 All hail Matt Haig fans…. If I may add one to your list… “My Inner Sky” by Mari Andrew. Also essays. Incredible and beautiful and poignant.

    • Yes! Midnight Library is so good! Also, thank you for the recommendation, I’ll have to check it out!

  2. LOVED Midnight library–just finished it last week. So fascinating. My sister picked it up, gave it to our Mom with some other books she thought we’d like and we all thought it was fantastic. Such an interesting meditation on what we think we need, what we should’ve done and how that doesn’t mean it would have actually happened. I’m reading How to Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty which I’m really enjoying.

    • YES to all of that! It’s a book I can’t wait to pick up and read AGAIN! And I will have to check out the Jay Shetty book! I love him!

  3. I LOVED the Midnight Library and I too could read it over and over. Atomic Habits has been one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is simply written; it becomes deep
    When you take the time to sit in it and do the work. It’s a roadmap to completely revamp your thinking. Instead of concentrating on goals it asks you to figure out who you are and then create habits that align with YOU… 5 + 🌟🌟🌟🌟. I wanted to love Untamed and I tried reading it a few times but it never hit me where it hit others. I have a holistic coach and we talked about this. He simply said you may have already crossed this part of your journey before you started to read this book…

    • OHHH thank you for the recommendation for Atomic Habits – I am going to order this one now! And that’s a great insight re Untamed…you might not be in that point in your life, so it doesn’t hit!