"Self-help books" is not exactly what one would describe as the most thrilling section of Barnes & Noble (yes, we still go there, you should too!). That is, until you realize there are a handful of incredible, non-cheesy books stocked there that will simply make you feel good—like you're receiving advice from a trusted girlfriend or an inspiring mentor. No matter what you're going through in life—a breakup, a career change, an identity crisis, or maybe you're just feeling blue—we can all use a little pick-me-up every now and then. Make these empowering books, below, required reading in 2019.
I still remember exactly how I felt when I read the last page of Shonda Rhimes' Year of Yes: fearless. As she details her own inspiring journey of learning how to say yes (not in the overwork yourself way, more in the get out of your comfort zone way), the Grey's Anatomy and Scandal creator encourages you to let your own guard down and give yourself the opportunity to experience the life moments—big and small—you never imagined you would.
Success coach Jen Sincero's You Are a Badass is as hilarious as it is helpful: a refreshing, 27-chapter, no-bullshit guide to creating a life you truly love. It's also a perfect gift for that close friend who struggles to see her own self-worth sometimes.
Aliza Licht's Leave Your Mark was that book nobody in the fashion and media industries could stop talking about in 2015. It's still relevant as ever, filled with practical and non-generic advice from Licht, including tips on how to work your way up in your career and get that raise you deserve. She incorporates her own experiences as the former @DKNYPRGirl, a Twitter account handled by Licht when she was Donna Karan International’s SVP of global communications, keeping her identity a secret for six years. (No, this is not an episode of Gossip Girl.)
How does it feel to be Forbes' third most powerful women in the world? More importantly, how do you use that power? This April, Melinda Gates shares her life's work in The Moment of Lift, which teaches us why it's so important to invest in other women and lift each other up. A nice reminder as we continue to pave the way for even more women to run for office (and win) in 2020. Pre-order your copy here.
Read Marie Kondo's best-selling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up before queuing up her new Netflix series, Tidying up with Marie Kondo, released January 1. Anybody who considers their home a sacred space will learn how freeing and uplifting decluttering can be from Kondo's genius tips using her KonMari method.
Big Magic is a must-read for anybody struggling to fuel the artist inside them while dabbling with society's expectations to work in the Big, Bad Corporate World. In the book, Elizabeth Gilbert—the best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love—shows it's always possible to live a creative life when you decide to put some faith in yourself...and the universe.
Tess Koman's The Best Damn Answers to Life's Hardest Questions is the flowchart of every Type-A's dream—and will make adults feel instantly better about themselves. How could it not when the book answers your most pressing inquiries like, "Will I survive this hangover?" and "Is a bra really necessary?" A crucial aspect of self-care: laughter.
Repeat after me three times: We would not learn without our mistakes. We would not learn without our mistakes. We would not learn without our mistakes. In The Up Side of Down, Megan McArdle, a popular business blogger, illustrates the success in failures and the importance of holding on to your confidence even in the most challenging times.
Accidentally liking your ex's new girlfriend's picture on Instagram? Been there. Watching a stranger trip in front of a bunch of people? Done that. In Melissa Dahl's Cringeworthy, she explores a "lifetime of cringing" and what the most awkward moments can teach us about ourselves.
You probably know Cheryl Strayed as the best-selling author of Wild, but before Reese Witherspoon made her a household name, she was a secret columnist who used the pen name "Sugar" at The Rumpus, an online literary magazine that launched in 2009. After Strayed revealed her identity, she released Tiny Beautiful Things, a compilation of the advice given and received on love and loss and everything in between. In the words of one Marie Claire editor: "This book changed my life."
My very wise college professor handed me a copy of The Four Agreements a few years ago, and I've considered it a personal bible (or, in my case, torah) ever since. In the best-selling book, Don Miguel Ruiz uses ancient Toltec wisdom to teach us how to transform our lives using the four agreements: Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Always do your best.
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