Over the last few months, I’ve been working through the suggestions in Become an Idea Machine by Claudia Azula Altucher. The key concept of this book is you can deepen your creativity by writing 10 ideas around a certain topic each day. One of the prompts was “Tell me your favourite 10 books and one thing you learned from each.” Having read a lot of personal growth books, I found it interesting to think through this question in relation to those. I highly recommend the books in question, so I thought I’d share my list with you today. Each of these personal growth books is very different, but they’ve all influenced my thinking and my life in profound ways.
1. On Becoming a Person by Carl Rogers
The lesson: We are constantly evolving and changing as people; that’s a natural part of being human. If we don’t like where we are now, we will change (although that starts with accepting where we are right now), and we will feel the most whole and fulfilled when we open ourselves up to our true experience of life.
2. The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden
The lesson: Self-Esteem is affected by the choices we make, our sense of responsibility and our morality. I love the questions Branden asks and the practices he suggests.
3. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
The lesson: Personal growth is a life-long journey!
4. The Pursuit of Perfect by Tal Ben-Shahar
The lesson: Perfectionism damages not only our happiness but also (and somewhat ironically) our ambitions and achievements in life.
5. Games People Play by Eric Berne
The lesson: Whenever we relate to or interact with someone else, we are doing so from one of the following positions: Adult-Adult, Child-Adult, Adult-Child, Child-Child. Depending on the situation, the imbalance of Child-Adult and Adult-Child can be problematic and lead to “games” in relationships.
6. Gifts Differing by Isabel Briggs Myers
The lesson: We all have natural preferences for how we relate to the world, which can largely be summed up with four categories: Introverted/Extroverted, Intuitive/Sensing, Thinking/Feeling, Judging/Perceptive. We are all somewhere on the spectrum for each of these things, and our preferences in each of these categories influence how we see and interact with the world.
7. Internal Family Systems by Richard C. Schwartz
The lesson: We tend to think of our personality as existing in the singular, but actually we are made up of multiple “parts” or voices. Each has their own distinct personality, motivations and needs (for example, the inner critic).
8. When I Loved Myself Enough by Kim McMillen
The lesson: There is no one way to behave lovingly towards ourselves; it is present in every situation, in every decision, in how we invite other people to treat us, and more. This is a beautiful book.
9. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
The lesson: Vulnerability, done right, is an act of courage and one that enables us to feel our feelings, live boldly and authentically, and allow ourselves to be seen, whether in life, love, work, or parenting.
10. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
The lesson: Resistance is an eternal part of the creation process. Our main job, whatever we are creating or doing, is to overcome the resistance, sit down and do the work. After that, the rest is comparatively easy.
What personal growth books have had the biggest impact on your life? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!
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