February 14, 2023

My Top 10 Self-Improvement Books, Plus a Bonus

School was never my thing. Traditional school, at least. Sitting for hours amongst neurotic teenage girls in high school who thought their entire future depended on some algebra test was..detestable.. I didn’t buy into it. I went to an all girls high school, so the hormones ran high and so did the crazy. Learning, however, was always something I was interested in. Sorry, I like to learn what I want to learn. It was good that I got through high school moderately well, but college was a different story. “Disaster” would be a nice way of describing my 18-21 year old self. When I finally buckled down, picked a major, and graduated, my average GPA was a joke. If you think I was worried about those transcripts, you have another thing coming. I had a winning personality and my wits about me. Could I rattle off the periodic table? No. Could I talk to you about actual business and grit? Yep. I was gritty from early on. Stick with me.

Writing out my goals for the year. Reading is on there!

Moving Right Along to Georgia

At 24 years old, I packed up and moved to Atlanta, GA to be closer to my then-boyfriend. I just knew I had to get out of New Orleans, where I had lived pretty much my whole life. The city was stale, and I was restless. Growth and opportunity felt right, and that was my time to shine. Somehow I landed a job at IBM, and when they did finally get my transcripts (let me tell you how much I delayed getting them to my boss) they told me I was on probation. Did I care? Nope. I knew my thirst for work was exponentially bigger than for sitting my ass in a class. And hey, I ended up getting Rookie of the Year. How do you like them apples? I was on the fast track to my definition of success. My world was being rocked by some super smart people, and I loved every second of it.

My First Experience with a Self-Improvement Book

Mentors were enlisted all throughout my career at IBM, and I had people asking me to move all over the country to work on their team. Las Vegas was where I had my eye on the prize, and I left IBM to move there. I got married to a Brazilian guy and had the worst time of my life navigating marriage with an ill-adaptable, depressed, proud foreigner. We couldn’t speak each other’s language, and decided therapy was the best route. It’s where I read my first “self-improvement” book, called The Dance of Anger. It set me on a path to work on myself, because we all know that depending on someone else to change is nothing but a waste of time. The road was rocky for years, I’m not married to said Brazilian anymore, but I did remarry and have found my groove with life for the most part. It’s a roller coaster, that’s for certain!

The Black Sheep Gets the Character

Through the last decade or so,I have become kind of obsessed with growth. Maybe I like to grow my mind so much because I come from a family that values staying the same way too much for my comfort. I always felt different, like the proverbial black sheep (of which title I carry enthusiastically and proudly). Carrying on shitty traditions is not how I wanted to live my life, and my family seems to excel at that. Reading self-improvement books is something that I have incorporated into my daily routine, as my life has been lived in between various crises. They build character, right?

Emotional Support Pets

The Trifecta of Successful Growth: Books, Podcasts, Therapy

Between book reading and podcasts (and let’s not leave out therapy), I have drastically improved how I move about this world, and how I think. My brain has become my best tool for leveling up in my life. It’s powerful, interesting, and creative. Oh, how I wish I would’ve known this earlier. It may have saved me so many valuable learning experiences. Oh yeah, but no one ever taught me. At least no one I was related to or knew in person that well. Since I am not an excuse-maker, I asked my “book teachers” - AKA authors - to impart all their life wisdom on me. They have done a splendid job, if I do say so myself. As it goes, here are my top 10 book recommendations. And yes, I’ve read them all and incorporate pieces of each into my everyday life. Every.Single.Day.

You’re Already Paying for the Books

The best part about reading is that if you simply join your local library, it’s free. At least in the United States it is. You can literally have literary genius at your fingertips at no charge to you. Except if you pay taxes, which I hope you do, and then you’re paying for it anyway. As in, you’re paying for the library. Use it. Or buy the books. The ones I listed above even have a link to my affiliate account on Amazon, so you can support me if you want to buy one there. Either way, reading books has been one of the most profound tools for change, growth, and mindset. I kind of love myself in ways that I didn’t know I could. And I’m really proud of myself. I want every single person I meet or know to feel the same way. Bad news: it takes work, effort, grit. Good news: it’s worth it.

My Favorite Reading Place

Start Small, End Big

Whatever your level is right now and feelings are towards books, I encourage you to read one more sentence, one more paragraph, or one more chapter each day. You might even find that it’s hard to stop because the book is just that good. And if you don’t want to dive head-first into the self-improvement world, read something fun to start. Something you know you’ll simply enjoy. If you’re anything like me, though, you’ll want to be learning about yourself, and reading improvement books is a great way to get there. So what do you say? Buy yourself a book, or check one out from the library, get your emotional support pets, and curl up with a nice cup of who-the-hell-am-I….I’m-reading-a-book! It’ll be fun!
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