13 Apr Top 10 Books to Living a Happy Life
Have you ever opened a self-help book, read it cover to cover intently, closed it, then either forgot everything you just learned, OR didn’t apply that shit to save your life? NO? Just me?
Whether we admit it or not, it’s safe to say we all need HELP. And we always seem to look outside of ourselves and pick up the closest self-help book placed on the front table at the nearest Barnes and Noble store. And this may be a go-to for most, or perhaps, a last resort when your friends totally suck at giving life advice. So you say ‘screw it.’ It’s time I resort to a book to lay out my life for me.
Self-help books are what we like to think as the perfect guides on how to live a fulfilling life, when in reality, all the same general themes are repeated over. And over. And over again. How to be happier. How to propel your career. How to make more money. How to be better at love-making. How to survive a break-up. How to be married. How to raise a kid. How to play soccer better. How to play hard to get. How to stress less. How to deal with your boyfriend. It’s almost as painful as your best friend in a disastrous hanging-by-a-thread relationship trying to give YOU advice on dating. It’s a mess and where the hell is the credibility here?! Or your dad telling you to become an investment banker because you’ll be rich when you actually suck at math and can’t even handle your own finances. You’d rather be an artist and follow your passions. The same general themes with the same mundane answers. Certainly, advice from others is not all bad, but we have to receive it from the right places. One, being yourself – evaluate your desires, address insecurities, and learn how to cope. And two, from a respected and trusted mentor who can facilitate the process with some extra clarity. And a slap on the wrist or two.
Every time I have read a traditional self-help book I just felt I was not digging to the core of why I had problems. I was always provided with some pretty off-the-map advice that shifted me away from who I really was. The book Why Men Like Bitches, for example, turned me into a cold-hard bitch to every guy I met. Anddddd I wondered why I didn’t get asked out, or a ring put on it…because the ‘Sex Doctor’ who wrote the book told me to…well, be a bitch to guys! I thought this was going to be REVOLUTIONARY for my dating life! But in the end, it simply wasn’t me. I’m open, compassionate, and love getting to know new people. It is very rare I shut someone off. UNLESS they like country music. Just kidding. But really.
Alas, everything just seemed far too sugarcoated in all the books I read over the years, not diving deep enough and allowing for enough self-introspection to occur. The advice was on-the-surface, the easy way out, the “I’m waiting to talk and not really listening” to you kind of advice. It’s PAINFUL. And what I need (as do most people) is to ask more pressing questions with multiple layers. Because internally is where we need to look for answers. And when we do decide to look externally, we need to reevaluate our sources of information.
After being lost upon college graduation and rummaging through mainstream self-help novels, magazines, pop culture websites, and reality television, I found myself becoming EVEN MORE lost. I was researching a lot and my head was in the right place with tremendous curiosity, but I wasn’t researching quality stuff. In terms of my personal fitness, my mindset, my business side, and my spiritual side, I couldn’t seem to find anything CLOSE to how to be a better me without totally losing myself. The advice was repetitive and mundane. I needed something a bit more raw and real. Real people. Real, honest stories. Real research. Heck, I’ve gotten better advice and breakthrough life messages riding home drunk and chatting with a cab driver as a student back at Johns Hopkins University!
Fast forward a couple years after college and I finally found several treasures that I still open up daily to reread and remind myself of how to live a happy, authentic life. These constant reminders bring me out of inevitable times of self-doubt. Because we all get it every now and then. However, if you remind yourself daily by even reading the smallest excerpt from an epic novel, you gain some serious power back. And reconnecting with your inner power is refreshing when you start falling off the rocker again. Admittedly, I don’t recommend many self-help books, but below is my top 10 list of books I absolutely swear by and would laud anyone for picking them up and giving them a try. If you’re trying to improve your attitude, health, personal fitness, and maintain perspective in life, I call these not my self-help books, but my *self discovery* books. Enjoy! 🙂
1.) Female Body Breakthrough – In terms of strength training for women, this is my go-to book. I open it at least three times a week for myself, for my clients, and for my friends and family. Because the information in this book is THAT valuable. And the knowledge has science and real women’s stories to back it up. If any of you are looking to get strong and feel empowered, this book is the real deal. Rachel Cosgrove knows the female body in and out. She knows how to keep the metabolism guessing, she knows how to program safe movements while still gaining maximal strength, and she knows how to balance nutrition without falling into the binge and deprive cycle. This one book is equal to a year-long subscription of Women’s Health magazine, if not more.
2.) New Rules of Lifting for Women – Going along with the book listed above, this book lists even more challenging workout progressions for women, especially if you find yourself reaching a plateau in your exercise programming. A little more sprinkles to add to the cake after you read The Female Body Breakthrough 😉
3.) Lean In – Female empowerment. Female empowerment. Did I mention…female empowerment? I think you guys are catching onto a theme in my posts. 🙂 Whether you’re a woman running a business, in business, trying to move up, trying to take risks, exploring new ventures, this book guides you with strategies to play to your strengths and take charge as a woman.
4.) The Power of Now – We always here it ‘Live in the moment and enjoy the present,’ but do we apply this mantra and truly understand what it means to be fully present? The Power of Now seriously changed my mindset forever. Instead of looking too far into the future, I do the best I can with the tasks literally RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Light some candles or sit outside on a sunny day and enjoy the journey of becoming more mindful. Namaste. 🙂
5.) The Slight Edge – If you’re looking to accomplish a long-term goal and need a reminder that small wins and habits along the way pay off, The Slight Edge will be of tremendous help. And it reminds us that the littlest things we do on a daily basis are like pennies in a piggy bank just compounding to the bigger bank we want to achieve in life.
6.) Conversations with God – I was given this book as a gift from a friend and mentor when I was at the most precarious time in my life. I was asking a lot of questions about why things are the way they are – family life, relationships, business, finances, love. This book found me at the right time and I reread it daily to gain back some perspective. And sometimes I will chuckle to myself and say ‘life ain’t that serious.’ This book is THAT powerful.
7.) One Person Multiple Careers – The cover of this book describes exactly who I am and how I wish to live my life – dynamic, constantly moving, evolving, and getting my feet wet in new projects. Because with variety, we can have a sense of balance. We don’t feel stuck. We don’t feel micromanaged. We have room for creativity. We can be ourselves. This book talks about the police officer who is also a personal trainer. The accountant who runs an art business. The teacher who is also a musician and entrepreneur. Excitingly enough, our world is gradually moving toward people who want to pursue multiple streams of passion and income. And that is totally cool stuff, you guys! I recommend this book to EVERYONE. 🙂
8.) The Gifts of Imperfection – This is truly a diamond in the rough. Brenee Brown flawlessly describes the feelings of shame and self-doubt we feel on daily basis, how to overcome these barriers, and accept your imperfections as authentic gifts.
9.) Strong Curves – Bret Contreras is a total badass. And I hope one day I can tell him how much of a crush I have on him. But really. The man is smart (currently pursuing his phD), a great strength coach, a fabulous writer, exercise programmer, and biomechanics researcher. Strong Curves is for women who want to know the *real* way to get curves based on science and research. If you’re expecting to open this book and see exercises similar to Brazilian Butt Lift, then you’re in the wrong spot. Bret shows that compound exercises, bodyweight and resistance band glute activation are your best bet. This guy knows how to “back it up” with the research. No pun intended.
10.) The Celestine Prophecy – Explore and let things happen. Because really guys, that’s what life is about. As long as you go on adventures, stay connected to others, open yourself up, and not live in fear, the right people will come your way. And The Celestine Prophecy taught me just that. I’m not a fiction reading gal, but this novel is so fascinating I finished it in TWO DAYS! The main character embarks on a journey to Peru to search for ancient manuscripts which reveal twelve insights on how to live life. As he goes deeper into his journey, he runs into far too many coincidences, which leaves you thinking over *every* single person you encountered in your life and how everything was just *meant to be*. This book will teach you to flow with life.
So go to the bookstore. Start learning. Star inquiring. Have conversations with others about what you read. Dive deep. Reach out to me. Ask even more questions. I would love to hear from you 🙂