With 2018 being the year I tap back into joy, in January I wrote down a list of things I'd neglected to do anymore, each of which I knew for a fact I loved to do. I let go of any expectation for what I thought I was "supposed" to like to do, what was deemed “cool” or “productive” to do, or what I did already. The brainstorm simply happened, and ideas ranged from eating a massive bowl of frozen yogurt to watching ballet.
One of the best recognitions I made in my free-for-all, life-dump was the fact that I love to read. And trust me, I know. I know what you’re thinking.
Reading? Of all the things you could spend your free time doing, reading (for some) might seem boring, nap-inducing, or altogether pointless - especially as a busy student. Why spend your precious free time exerting energy on reading more things when you could simply… not?
First of all, I don’t disagree with you. When another day is over, I don’t necessarily always feel up for reading about what else I need to do in my life. But at the core of it, reading books that I choose for myself to read, in times of the day when I could otherwise be mindlessly scrolling, always gives me a little boost of motivation to cherish the growth to come in life. Reading self-empowerment books like the ones in this list has opened my mind – even if it was only within the one week following my finishing the book – to new perspectives on how to think about time, productivity, confidence, and experience.
I’ve learned about bias, clutter, and art. I’ve questioned the Law of Attraction, asked myself the importance of hustle on success, and heard the life and learnings of an influencer I truly admire. There are so many interesting stories to digest in this life, and an infinite combination of narratives to piece together into your own, but should you wish to re-introduce reading for the sake of reading into your own life, this here is a small sample of suggestions I’d encourage you to try.
P.S. Give yourself the grace to take it slow, maybe just one chapter a month if that’s what might fit into your schedule. That’s where the growth happens! It’s in the waiting, dear friend. And all a book really is, is the waiting period from page 1 to the end.
P.P.S. If you’ve never considered listening to audiobooks on Audible as you walk to class or drive to work, consider it. I was such a doubter, but listening to Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – by Elizabeth Gilbert herself – is a specific soul-searching experience I will always appreciate.
In no particular order, here are my absolute favorite self-empowerment books (so far).
You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life | By Jen Sincero
This is the self-improvement book for people who hate self-improvement books. Jen is, first of all, HYSTERICAL. She sends you virtual slaps to the face while you laugh at your own insecurities. Then, she gives you practical advice to turn around and run in the direction of your biggest dreams. Try to sit still after this one.
Check it out: www.amazon.com/You-Are-Badass-Doubting-Greatness/dp/0762447699
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead | By Sheryl Sandberg
I read my mom’s copy of this book my senior year of high school. Sheryl’s empowerment toward what it means to live like a woman with the strength of… well… a woman, directly influenced my college and major decision, eliminated my fear of public speaking, and inspired me to start my first blog site (tbt !!). Her stories and experience as a leader at Google and Facebook, walking in heels alongside men in suits, can’t not empower your inner girl boss. And guys? She has a chapter for you too. Hehe.
Check it out: www.amazon.com/Lean-Women-Work-Will-Lead/dp/0385349947
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing | By Marie Kondo
Okay, bear with me here. I’d seen the cover of this book pop up on my recommended reads for ages, but never thought I needed to know how to organize nor did I have the time to care about it. Nevertheless, I started listening to this audiobook on my car-ride home one weekend, and by the time I parked my car in my driveway, I felt on fire to question everything I owned. Marie gives you one question to ask yourself as you hold any item in your hands. After learning her techniques, I couldn’t believe I owned as much as I did. This book influenced my organization and shopping habits tremendously – and as a college student with limited space and limited budget, it’s been an absolute BLESSING.
Check it out: www.amazon.com/Life-Changing-Magic-Tidying-Decluttering-Organizing/dp/1607747308
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear | By Elizabeth Gilbert
Another audiobook gem that truly rocked my world. In an environment tempted by technology and hustle, this book re-introduced me to the literal power of expressing yourself creatively. Elizabeth knows exactly how to explain living in any industry without fear of expression – regardless of whether you believe in your own creativity already.
Check it out: www.amazon.com/Big-Magic-Creative-Living-Beyond/dp/1594634726
Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living | By Shauna Niequist
IF YOU READ ANY BOOK, READ THIS ONE. I sped through this like there was no tomorrow, starting and finishing it within one weekend trip to the mountains. If you’ve ever felt like your “ideal day” is a day of rest, like an empty calendar is an impossible blessing, or that chasing something is the only way to succeed – stop drop and roll (lol) into this hardcover version of a spiritual therapist. Shauna changed my life.
Check it out: www.amazon.com/Present-Over-Perfect-Leaving-Frantic/dp/1531832059
Have you read any of these? Is there one I might have missed off your own list? Comment below or send me a DM on Instagram - I'd love to hear what you think!
Hi! I'm Chloe, a twenty-something writer and communications strategist figuring it out as I go along. I love airplanes, oat lattes, and deep chats over cheap wine.
I hope you leave here inspired to explore the world and love its people, or, keep reading all the things. It's good for you!
Follow along: @chloe.belangia