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5 Must-Read Books for Self Improvement


Best Self Improvement Books | Personal Development | Books about habit formation, morning routines, and how to be happier and healthier.If you could learn ways to improve your life, why wouldn’t you?

I love digging into a good book that will help me find ways to improve my life. Non-fiction is my thing. I’ve read or listened to many self improvement books and am ready to share my favorites. These books have helped me be more productive and get more out of my life.

I’d love for you to share any of your favorite self improvement books in the comments! I’ll add them to my reading list.

Must-Read Books for Self Improvement

Better Than Before

You might have seen me post about this one on Facebook. It is my new favorite book! I have been reading every book I can find by Gretchen Rubin.

Better Than Before is all about how to create habits that will make you happier and healthier.

What’s really interesting is that she explains why some classic advice doesn’t work for everyone. You know the advice that you need an accountability partner? It doesn’t work for me. Never has. And I’ve always thought it was weird but now I know why!

Gretchen divides people into four groups, which she calls tendencies, based on how they respond to expectations. Some people can keep the goals that they set for themselves pretty easily and some people can’t. Some people can’t stand the idea of goals at all. Based on your “tendency”, certain ways to form habits will be more effective for you.

I find this kind of stuff so interesting and the book had so many practical examples and tons of advice for how to create habits that will make you happier and healthier. I listened to the audiobook and actually have it on hold at the library again so that I can listen to it a second time!

If you’ve read this one, leave me a comment on what tendency you are! You won’t be too surprised that I am an upholder.

The Happiness Project

I told you, I’ve been loving Gretchen’s books! The Happiness Project is another one of hers about her own happiness project.

Basically, she spent a year focusing on different areas of her life that influence a person’s happiness: marriage, friendship, work, money, faith… It’s such a fun book that had some parts that really made me examine my own life.

It can seem selfish to focus on yourself and your own happiness but so many of the areas she focused on were actually about making others happy (which in turn, made her happy).

Plus, studies show that being around a happy person makes you happy, so I want to be happier to make people around me happier.

I took away a lot from this book, like the importance of taking pictures so that I can enjoy happy moments more often, and this little nugget of wisdom: It is easy to be heavy: Hard to be light.

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The Power of Habit

Have you noticed I love learning about habits yet? Haha! It’s because I truly think that our daily habits have the most power to impact our lives!

The Power of Habit gets into the science of habits and how to create a new habit or successfully change a bad habit into a good one.

There are interesting examples about successful businesses, drug addicts who were able to quit, and a man who lost his short term memory but could still function in his day to day life.


Full disclosure: I actually didn’t finish this book even though I thought it was really good and I’ll tell you why.

Essentialism is about understanding that you can’t do it all. And if you try to do it all, you won’t be able to do it all well.

We all have a finite amount of time and energy and without realizing it, every time we say yes to something, we’re saying no to something else. This book is about choosing your #1 priority and focusing on what’s most important.

There are two reasons I didn’t finish this book.

One, I don’t really have this problem. I am careful not to over-schedule myself and I think hard before committing to new activities. The book made some really good points but since it’s not something I struggle with, I didn’t see myself getting as much out of it.

Two, a lot of the examples are focused in the business world. You can easily see how they would translate into your personal life but since I don’t have a corporate job, I just didn’t find the examples as interesting or applicable.

But if your struggle to say no and feel like you have no time for your own priorities, this book is awesome. I still got quite a bit out of it even though I didn’t finish which is why it’s on this list!

Make Over Your Mornings

Alright, this one isn’t a normal book. There’s a book that goes with it but it’s actually a 14-day course. I had to include it because it has been such a help to me!

Mornings can easily feel rushed and stressful. Starting the day off on the wrong foot is hard to recover from. I went through Make Over Your Mornings and started having happier and more productive mornings, which actually led to me having happier and more productive days! 

The course is not a huge time commitment at all. It only takes about 15 minutes per day for 14 days to watch the video, read the workbook, and do the assignment. Everything is super practical, with actionable advice that will make a difference right away.

One of the best things about it is that it’s not “one size fits all” advice. Crystal helps you think through the parts of your day that are causing the most frustration and then figure out solutions to the problems. I keep my morning routine super simple but it allows me to get more done throughout the rest of the day.

Well, I definitely see a trend in my favorite self development books. I’m not surprised, actually. I always favor books that offer practical advice that can actually be used in real life. Plus, I find the formation of habits and daily routines fascinating. This quote sums up why:

What we do every day matters more than what we do once in awhile. ~Gretchen Rubin

Here are a few books that are next on my reading list:

⇒ Please, leave a comment about your favorite self improvement books! We can all add new books to our reading lists!

5 Must-Read Books for Self Improvement

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11 Ways to Invest in Yourself - The (mostly) Simple Life

Monday 24th of July 2017

[…] I’m a bit of a self-improvement book junkie. In fact, I just wrote about my must-read self improvement books here. […]

Trish Bowell

Tuesday 4th of July 2017

I really loved the happiness project also I found How To Win Friends and Influence People really good as well! Currently reading No Excuses which is great for self discipline. Really want to read Power of Habit!


Wednesday 5th of July 2017

Thanks for the recommendations! I'll definitely look those up!