As of late I have very much been enjoying quiet morning tram rides to work accompanied by a travel cup full of delicious bulletproof coffee and a good book. And not just any book – I’ve been particularly loving those popular personal development books which seem to be piling up in every bookshop these days. There are so many of them though, aren’t there? Which ones to pick?
I’ve never been too keen on these self-help books – I always assumed they were written by nitwits and aimed at people who lacked common sense. Man was I wrong! In the past decade or so this particular shelf in bookstores has seen some transformation! These books are no longer full of questionable life advice, instead they contain overwhelming amount of bloody useful information supported by research, academical arguments and criticism and even lab studies. Say what?!
I’ve managed to read quite a pile of these books already, some in a traditional book format, some online, some through the app Blinkist (an app that offers 15 minute summaries of personal development books, IT’S SO GOOD, one of the top app discoveries of 2019 for me so far!). Some of the books have been a bit wank, some have been literally life changing. Today I shall introduce you to the latter – exactly 10 of the best ones I’ve read so far!
10 personal development books to read in 2019
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
One of the best, most eye-opening books I’ve read. I’m well aware that I spend an indecent amount of time on my phone and laptop, but bloody hell, I didn’t know it was THAT bad. Cal Newport not only makes you realise that you’re online just way too much but also WHY it’s not such a good idea (how it’s affecting your brain, people in your life etc). He references Thoreau’s Walden a lot, which is now on my to read list and I cannot wait to get my hands on it!
The Organized Mind by Daniel Levitin
If you ever feel overwhelmed and just not with it then this book’s for you – it’s one of those motivation boosters but not in an aggressive way. More like in a “your brains not wired to multi task so no wonder you’re failing to do all your 54309242342 tasks for the day at once” kind of way.
The Art of Garthering by Priya Parker
Why do we meet people? Why do we work better in a team? Why do we set up work meetings? Why do we have dinner dates? AND HOW DO WE DO ALL THESE THINGS PROPERLY?! I endearingly call this book the Bible for the anti-socials but it’s definitely a book for everyone to read. We tend to forget why socialising (even when queuing up an ice cream) is actually a good thing. Especially when you (read: I) inherently don’t like people.
How to Give Up Plastic by Will McCallum
Did you know that a third of all plastic in the ocean comes from our laundry? And that 90% of all sea birds are likely to have some sort of plastic in their gut? Like, what the flick?! Even if you’re zero waste and you’re doing your best to live plastic free, this book will blow your mind like nothing else.
A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind by Shoukei Matsumoto
I have admission to make – I’m not a huge fan of Maria Kondo. Yeaaah, sorry not sorry. She just seems so passive aggressive to me and her decluttering approach where you thank each piece of clutter you’re throwing away just doesn’t feel very me. I’m here for Shoukei Matsumoto though. His way of cleaning the house is so refreshing and every single bit of advice I’ve incorporated in my life actually made me FEEL JOY. For real.
Women who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
I’m not very knowledgable on the subject of feminism but have decided to learn a little more about it. This book is a great entry point – it’s empowering without making you feel like you’re studying something and it certainly doesn’t talk “feminism” as a science or a political notion – which are two approaches that make me shy away from learning more on the topic the most.
Deep Work by Cal Newport
Another brilliant book by Cal Newport – this one looks yet a step further into the ability of our brains to work efficiently in solitude without interference of other minds (be it online or in real life). If you find yourself distracted a lot, not just at work but in any ways of life, the this book’s perfect for you.
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson
I really did not think I was going to enjoy this book as much as I did. The idea here is to see your possessions in a way people are going to see after you’ve passed. It’s a little morbid but VERY practical once you bear thinking about it a little more.
The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight
This one’s a little more lighthearted and just much easier to read than some of the one’s I’ve mentioned so far. It’s literally what it is – Sarah gives you a bunch of first hand stories of how she decided not to give a fuck. Life’s not long enough to feel guilty and pretend just out of politeness. Couldn’t agree more.
Pure, White and Deadly: How Sugar Is Killing Us and What We Can Do to Stop It by Robert Lustig
This book’s very, VERY academic – it comes with stats, graphs and all sorts of scientific references that will probably frighten you a little (they did freak me out a good deal), but the overall message is important enough for you to grin and bear and read it from cover to cover. Everyone knew that Freon was harmful some time in the first half of the 20th century. But of course no one said a word. Everyone also seems to have known that sugar is pretty questionable already back in the 70’s. So, is it?
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