There’s a reason why you are often told from a young age that reading is very important. Because…it’s true! It’s a very powerful tool for self-improvement at any age, as it helps with a multitude of issues such as reducing stress, increasing your vocabulary, boosting your memory, and honing your analytical skills.

Here in the office, we like to sprinkle in self development books in with our usual diet of fiction and autobiographies. After having read a great deal of them, we have found that while some are…well…not good…there are a number of them that are inspiring and make you think – and give you some great tips and insights that you can implement in your business and in your personal life. There is nothing wrong with constantly striving to improve, right? 🙂

If you are searching for something new to read or thinking about what books to take on vacation with you this summer (it is right around the corner, you know…) – allow us to recommend some books we love and we think you will, too. All are well written, fairly easy reads…and offer a lot of great nuggets of wisdom about breaking the habits that hold you back, getting organized, and setting yourself into a mindset that will help you better reach your goals – personal and professional.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

This New York Times best seller is a recent release (2018). It’s a fantastic guide to explaining why and how habits are formed, and provides you excellent strategies for building good habits that help you reach your goals – and breaking bad ones that hold you back. There are a lot of books about habits out there, but in my opinion, this one is the most concise and practical.

Buy a copy here:

Do the Work by Steven Pressfield

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Steven Pressfield and his absolutely must-read “The War of Art”. This book is a follow up to that proverbial kick-in-the-pants book by giving you another kick to help you tackle the concept of resistance, which Pressfield identifies as the one thing which stops us from being productive and creative. Even if you have not read any of this other work, this book is an excellent reminder to not overthink – just do the work as the title says. (It’s a short book so a quick read)

Buy a copy here:

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

The Getting Things Done (GTD) system has been around for a while now and this is the book that started it all. It’s a great, no nonsense volume that helps you develop a system that is practical and down to earth for tackling your daily tasks and well, getting them done. If you are someone who struggles with organization, you will find this helpful.

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The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

Seth Godin has written a number of books about business and marketing that are considered to be modern day classics (such as Purple Cow). This book is written in a slightly different way than long time readers may be used to  – he uses the legend of Icarus as a metaphor to encourage you to open yourself up to flying blind, because in life there are no guarantees. Set your own rules – and create. If you are someone who creates – whether it be art, or products or even content – this book encourages you to overcome your fears and just do your thing.

Buy a copy here:

Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield

I swear that Steven Pressfield is not sponsoring this post, but if he’s reading this…I’m open 🙂

This book is another follow up to the War of Art. The book is short as is par for the course for Mr. Pressfield, and I believe it can be best summarized by these two quotes from it:

“In the face of uncertainty and doubt, the amateur chooses distraction, while the pro chooses to do the work instead.”

“The amateur tweets. The pro works.”

Buy a copy here:

Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life by Gary John Bishop

Easy to read, no nonsense advice, written in straight talk. If you feel stuck or in a rut, it’s a good kick in the seat of the pants. There is nothing in this book that you probably don’t already know, but the way that the author presents it in a clear, concise way makes it engaging and will inspire you to take action

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Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Your ego can hold you back more than you can consciously be aware of, and in this book, the author moves beyond the clinical definition of the word and explains how our worst enemy often lives inside of us, and how we can remove ego and self importance that clouds our judgement – and in turn find real confidence, success and strength through humility.

(If you enjoy this book, I also recommend Holiday’s “The Obstacle is the Way”)

Buy a copy here: