I was always on the lookout for new books to read when I was younger. At one point in my early twenties, I was averaging a book a week. But the habit waned as I neared my thirties and got swept up with work and other responsibilities.
Then I went on a week-long vacation to the Caribbean this past winter and rediscovered my love of reading. I read three novels during my stay! After my vacation was over, I vowed that I would reestablish a reading habit. I committed to reading at least two new books a month. So far, I’ve been able to stick to this goal through the magic of Amazon’s audible, and multitasking. (Like reading my Kindle when I’m on the stationary bike.)
As someone who has become intensely interested in personal development and entrepreneurial life, most of the books I’ve read this year have been of the non-fiction variety.
And some of them were so mind-blowing that I just had to write a post about them! I’m excited to share five that are must-reads.
Without further ado, here are the five most transformative books to read this summer:
(Disclaimer: Links to the books are Amazon affiliate links which means I may make a small commission if you buy one of these books through this post. My blog posts contain affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission on purchases you make after clicking on those links. (At no extra cost to you!) Full disclosure here. **
Girl, Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis
I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t even know who Rachel Hollis was when I started reading this book. I stumbled across it in one of my Facebook groups for women entrepreneurs and was intrigued by all the buzz surrounding it. I had been looking for new books to read anyway, so I bought it without knowing much else.
And I’m glad I did!
The title of each chapter is a lie that Hollis used to believe about herself. They also happen to be lies that many of us have believed about ourselves at some point in our lives (or perhaps even still do!) The chapters range from what she once believed about her relationships to lies she believed about her skills and career choices.
What really struck me about this book was how completely transparent she is in the retelling of her experiences. Some of her stories are far from glamorous, yet each of them helped her to grow and become a better person. At the end of each chapter, she includes a list of actions that helped her overcome each lie, that in turn might help you dispel a lie you believe about your own life.
Although helpful, it’s also truly entertaining. Her casual, conversational style makes you feel like you’re reading an email from your bestie instead of a famous blogger whom you’ve never met!
You Are a Badass at Making Money – Jen Sincero
Normally, I’m a bit critical of books with these type of attention-grabbing titles as they strike me as being kind of gimmicky. But I kept hearing so many good things about it that I couldn’t resist picking it up.
Fortunately, Sincero delivers in this second book of her “You Are a Badass” series. (I haven’t read the first one, but it’s next on my list of books to read!)
Many of us grow up to develop a funny relationship with money, often without even realizing it. It’s as though we acknowledge that money is something we need, but at the same time we feel it’s not something we should want.
With no shortage of tough love and wit, Sincero challenges you to deconstruct the fallacies many of us have about money and wealth. At the same time, she helps you realize that you are a lot more in control of your finances and income than you think. The result is a healthier mindset towards money, and the confidence to trust in your earning potential.
Further to that, Sincero demands that you take action to improve your finances. Each chapter contains a handful of (sometimes terrifying) instructions that helps you push past your comfort zone and get closer to your financial goals. I felt pumped up and ready to take on the world by the time I finished reading this!
Off the Clock – Laura Vanderkam
How many of us feel like time is constantly slipping through our fingers, or that we never have enough of it? For many of us – myself included – time feels like this fleeting, scarce resource. It relentlessly marches on as we struggle to keep up with everything that’s going on around us.
Vanderkam, an established time-management expert, effectively smashes that perspective with Off the Clock. What I love about this book is that it’s more than just a resource on how to manage your time and be productive. It also helps you learn how to expand time by lingering in the moment, and investing in your happiness. She also touches on how vital people and relationships are to aligning your perspective on time.
Time tracking is a big part of the strategy for shifting your perspective and making the most of your time. At the end, she includes a workbook for tracking your time in half-hour increments. After tracking your time for a week, she asks you a series of questions that helps you implement the strategies she talks about throughout the book. I’m going to be trying this out myself and will let you know how it goes!
My Morning Routine – Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander
As someone who recently realized she had become a morning person, I was instantly fascinated by the premise of this book. The authors, who run a popular website of the same name, consolidated the morning routines of dozens of highly successful people into an anthology that demonstrates the unique power of a morning routine.
Everyone’s routine is different, and the book is broken into segments relating to specific morning goals. The chapters cover everything from dealing with the morning alarm to fitting in time for exercise and meditation.
The idea is to find a routine (or an aspect of a routine) that inspires you. The end of each chapter shares tips for incorporating various habits into your own morning routine.
They are quick to point out that what makes for an effective morning routine will differ from person to person. Each segment also contains a “reversal” about how doing the opposite might benefit you more. For example, for the most part, successful people avoid hitting the snooze button. But an opposite example was provided of someone who advocates hitting the snooze button. (They felt they were more creative in that half-awake state between hitting the snooze button and the alarm going off again.)
This book is right up my alley! I love that Haden’s strategies work with any big goals you have in life. The same rules apply whether you’re looking to get fit, advance your career, or launch a business. It’s one of those books where every few pages I found myself nodding my head and thinking, “aha!”
I took pages of notes!
Motivation seems like this elusive and mysterious element to success that some people just “have”. Haden reveals that we’ve been putting the proverbial cart before the horse all along. Which is to say, motivation comes after success. Action must always come first. Further to that, focusing on your ultimate goal will not set you up for success. The trick is to forget about your goal and focus only on your daily process. There’s obviously a lot more to it than that, but it’s intriguing stuff!
The book is chock-full of insightful strategies on how to plan for success and includes some great examples through storytelling. (Including a particularly hilarious story about the day he decided to compliment every stranger he made eye contact with!)
Of all the books to read I’ve mentioned, this one is a must!
(Also, at the risk of sound like a big nerd, I totally want to have a vision board party after reading this book.)
Common themes and more books to read
Although all self-development books, they each have a unique focus. Yet, there are few themes that keep reappearing throughout these five books. The main takeaway for me is that there is power in effective time-management, productivity, confidence, exercise, and waking early. I’m taking that as a sign to focus on those five areas of my life and career.
The summer holidays are the perfect time to find some great books to read. So snag one of the above books for some insightful summer reading, whether you’re at the cottage, the deck, or the beach.
I’m always looking for great book recommendations. If you know of any new books to read that I should check out, leave the title in the comments!