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Books have been invaluable as part of my own personal growth. I find it interesting to hear about what other people are reading, what they’ve enjoyed recently and what they’d recommend to others, so I thought I’d use this post to share my favourite personal development books from 2012.
Note: When I get into a topic, I tend to spend time reading around it, and prioritise my current topic of interest over new releases. Therefore, only one of these books (The $100 Start-Up) was actually published in 2012 – the rest are from anything up to 20 years before that.
Well-Being Journal – Lucia Capacchione
The Well-Being Journal is one of the best books on journaling I’ve read. Lucia Capacchione starts by describing her own journey with journaling, citing her practice as a key tool in helping her recover from a life-threatening disease. The exercises in this book cover written journaling, art and overall expression, with a focus on the relationship between the emotions, mind and physical body.
The Flinch – Julien Smith
We’ve all experienced ‘The Flinch’ – Julien Smith’s term for what is described in popular psychology as ‘fight or flight’. Julien proposes that we can only develop by facing The Flinch, and staring it right in the eye. Just reading this book left me feeling uncomfortable, but it’s given me a new perspective on the concept of discomfort, and made me realise that sometimes the only way to get to where you want to be is to feel The Flinch, sit with it, and stay there.
Connect: @julien, inoveryourhead.net
Overcoming Underearning – Barbara Stanny
Written primarily for women but equally applicable to men, Overcoming Underearning covers the practical and emotional financial education that most of us have never had. According to Barbara Stanny, underearning doesn’t just involve low salaries, but is based more on earning what you deserve. Even if you feel totally comfortable about your relationship with money, the journaling prompts and questions in this book alone are worth the cost of the book.
The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown
Even if you haven’t heard of Brene Brown, you’ve probably heard about her notorious TED talk on vulnerability (you know, the feeling we love to hate). In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene gently guides us through some of her academic research around vulnerability, explaining the effects its had on her personal life, and the effects it can have on ours. The section on guilt and shame is particularly worth catching.
The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau
Ostensibly a book on entrepreneurship, The $100 Startup is that, and much, much more. The book is based on the premise that, yes, you can have the lifestyle you want and work for yourself too. Chris has a lot of credibility in this area – he’s been an entrepreneur for all of his adult life and is currently nearing the end of a quest to visit every country in the world by the time he hits his mid-thirties. The book contains snippets from his interviews with 1,500 entrepreneurs who started their business for less than $100 and now earn $50,000 or more per year. The lessons from these business owners are valuable for both budding and established entrepreneurs.
The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem – Nathaniel Branden
A lot of books on self-esteem are either useless or packed with cringe-inducing affirmations, so even though I’ve read and loved some of Nathaniel Branden’s other books, I approached this one with trepidation. Despite my fears, it turned out to be an insightful, rational and principled perspective on self-esteem, with tangible advice about what we can do to develop our sense of self-worth.
Boundaries Where You End And I Begin – Anne Katherine
In a world where we are raised to be ‘polite’ and conform to social niceties, this book is a must-read. Anne Katherine’s book explains that, perhaps counter-intuitively, boundaries are necessary to have a good relationship with ourselves and a good relationship with other people. She provides practical examples and tips for how to identify and handle lax or violated boundaries. Reading this book provided a series of mini-epiphanies for me regarding boundaries in my own life, and I’m looking forward to digging into the companion workbook at some point in the next year.
When I Loved Myself Enough – Kim McMillan
A short book, When I Loved Myself Enough is filled with mature wisdom and ideal for either reading all the way through, or dipping in and out as you please. The content of this moving and inspiring book is made even more poignant by the fact that Kim died suddenly a few months after it was written. When we start exploring our personal development, we can focus so much on the ‘development’ and changing that we lose sight of what it’s really about: self-acceptance and compassion. This book is a lovely reminder of what we all crave, and what it looks like.
What were your favourite books from 2012? I’m looking for 2013 reading suggestions, so leave a comment and let me know!