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9 Books to Shake Up Your Work, Life, and Self

TheBookWheel By TheBookWheel Published on November 27, 2016
This article was updated on December 16, 2016

The New Year is coming, which means it’s time to start thinking about our New Year’s Resolutions. For many years, I would give myself tasks I wanted to complete - join a gym, travel to some exotic place, make more money - and fail. This is partly because I tend to create goals that are out of reach, but also because they are one-time items. Even when I join the gym, I don’t go, which leaves me feeling guilty even though I technically met my resolutions.

Now, I focus less on a to-do list and more on creating better habits - being kinder, getting healthier, pursuing opportunities - and have much more success both in meeting my goals and in my overall mindset. That said, there’s no reason we should wait until the New Year to start living our best lives and the following 9 books will help you shake things up at work, in your life, and for yourself. Each one will help you realize something new about yourself (the good and the bad) and help you to be a better you.


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Curious by Ian Leslie

Why are some people more curious than others? And what does that mean for your future? 

It turns out, curiosity is extremely important and is something we learn from our parents at a very early age. The thing is, the more curious we are, the more likely we are to admit we don’t know something, therefore we are more likely to figure that something out, and so on. Curiosity can foster knowledge, empathy, and innovation, all things that make us more well-rounded people. 

So whether you’re a curious person or not, pick up this book and start thinking about all the things you don’t know… but will.

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The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight 

If you, like me, spend hours agonizing over the things you might have said at a party or how people perceive you, then read this book. If you feel guilt about not being a good enough friend/coworker/child/parent, read this book. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t give a f*ck, it’s just that your f*cks are limited and you need to ration them accordingly. The concepts in this book are not revolutionary, but the author’s concise, frank way of speaking is a reminder that we’d all do well to stop caring what other people think - a concept that can completely change your life. 

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10% Happier by Dan Harris

I was never one for meditation but Harris has convinced me that it’s a fantastic idea. An overworked, overanxious reporter, Harris knew he needed to get it together after an unfortunate interview with Paris Hilton. He tried all sorts of tricks but ultimately decided on meditation, even though he was skeptical and didn’t think it would be beneficial. Of course, the opposite happened and he fell in love with the practice and anyone who picks this book up will find themselves wanting to meditate (but don’t feel too guilty if you don’t stick with it!).


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Nice Girls Still Don’t Get Corner Office by Dr. Lois Frankel

Ladies, stop sabotaging your own careers by doing the things in this book. This book, in which each chapter is a thing women do to sabotage themselves, offers reasons for why this is and solutions for overcoming them. As a woman who thought I knew everything I needed to know about getting ahead at work, I was shocked by how many ways I’ve been doing the exact opposite. It’s a major wake-up call for women in the workplace and is a must-read if you’re looking to get ahead.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey

This is a book you have to be ready for - the first time I picked it up, I put it right back down again. But a few years later, I picked it up at the right moment and it blew me away. 

There’s a reason this one is considered a life-changer because it will force you to engage in some serious introspection about what kind of person you are and you might not like the results. 

Luckily, Covey offers ways to overcome your own self-imposed limitations and you will put this one down seeing the world, and yourself, differently.

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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is another one for introspection, but of a different kind. Gilbert, of Eat, Pray, Love fame, penned this book about figuring out what we fear, what we love, and what we want. She shares her advice for tackling these things and why doing so will lead to better, happier lives. 

If you’re still trying to find your way in life, this may help you find your way.


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You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero 

Why do we spend our time doing things we don't enjoy? So that we might be able to do those things someday? 

Sincero thinks this is ridiculous and reminds us that we are all, in our own ways, a badass who deserves to be happy right now. In this book, she shares her personal struggles with debt and working a job she hated, plus offers practical, straightforward advice on how you, too, can achieve your dreams. 

The best part is that she's not hokey about it and walks the walk. Thanks to this book, I, myself, have taken some risks that have paid off big time and I'm much happier as a result (not to mention more confident). 

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The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living by Anna Newell 

If you need a monetary makeover, then start after you spend the money on this book. Trust me. Newell’s guide is all about how even the biggest spenders can pull back and start saving to pay off debt. As someone with a substantial amount of student loans and is already thrifty as a result, I didn’t think I would learn too much in this book - I assumed it would be mostly a reminder - but I was wrong. Her approach to saving, which is to go on a spending fast, is incredibly useful and will generate quick results. She also offers advice on how to handle tricky social situations in ways that allow you to have a life without breaking the bank. 

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Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo 

Everyone is raving about this book and for good reason. Now, I have to say right up front that I don’t subscribe to all of her theories, such as the one about throwing out books, but the overall premise is a solid one - toss anything that doesn’t bring you joy. 

Thankfully, what brings us joy is entirely subjective so even if you don’t completely purge your home of all of the things you don’t need, this one will get you started on a path to a more organized, pleasant home. 

And it’s true - the less you have to worry about, physically, the better you’ll feel, mentally. 

The 9 books above are all fantastic reads for shaking things up at work, in your life, and for yourself. Not every book will resonate with every person, but I’m confident that there’s at least a book or two on here for everyone who is looking to make a positive change in their life. As we begin to ponder what we will accomplish in 2017, let’s all keep in mind that habits are forever and it may be time to shake things up.

Allison Hiltz runs the award-winning book review website, The Book Wheel, and founded the international blog roundup event, #30Authors. The Book Wheel has been featured in advertisements in the ... Show More