14 Books to Feed your Mind

Are you a reader? I love reading and geek out a bit when I meet another personal development junkie like myself.  In fact, it’s possible that I have a bit of a book reading appetite that is larger than the time I have allotted to read books.

The idea of continuous self improvement is motivating to me. I have the ability and control (within reason) to change my future by educating myself further and putting someone else’s proven ideas and strategies into practice.

As a child, I recall adults in my life attempting to spare me some pain and sharing stories to help me skip some of the hard parts of life.  Not all of that advice was taken into consideration as an angsty teen – but as an adult I’m much more willing to learn from someone else’s mistakes.

When it comes to areas of growth or desire for improvement I tend to bucket it into a few core categories.  Also, the same way that I make goals.  If you’re getting ready to implement end of year goals or start considering your new year goals check out this free goal planner tool with, you guessed it – these categories.

Goal Planner- yellow download

Personal Development 

Oh, the ways that we can give ourselves some tough love, education and more information for self improvement.  First step, acknowledging that you don’t actually know all.the.things.

Finish by Jon Acuff

Give yourself the gift of done is the tagline on this book.  I enjoy Jon’s writing style, sense of humor and real life relatability as he breaks down chasing after goals…and actually achieving them.  So often we get hung up on our way to accomplishment and get in our own way.  If you’ve ever been challenged to get a goal off the list, this is a great read.

Wide Eyed Wisdom by Keith Miller and Teresa Miller-Weston

I recommend this book to my 20-something clients as a terrific adulting handbook. Everything from jobs and finances to parenting and life plans – this book is an all inclusive insight into taking control of your life from the start.  Keith shares stories from his experience and lens with the heartfelt encouragement of a father figure to all of his readers.  

Atomic Habits by James Clear

This book combines the science and behavior of habits with the carrot of change and accomplishment we’re all after.  With tangible strategies to implement as you retrain yourself to become the person you want to be, with slow and steady incremental change.  Remember – it’s the tortoise not the hare that wins the race.  This one will be on my reading list at least every other year.

Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

Recommended by another coaching colleague, this book spoke to my soul on so many levels.  If you believe that Jesus was at minimum a good teacher – this book will help highlight his teaching around contentment, simplicity and rest.  As someone that talks about finances as well as time management and using our resources well it challenged me to make sure that I was leaving margin in a variety of areas of life as is encouraged – not mandated by J.C. himself.

Relationships 

We spend a significant amount of time with our family. I don’t know about you, but I want those hours, days, weeks, months…you get the idea – to be good ones.  Not unrealistic fairytale like, but real, raw, and meaningful in ways that will only be moderately scarring and memory making.  Character building experiences, ups and downs are gonna happen – and I wan to try to make the most of them.

Untangled by Lisa Damour

So far I’ve read this book twice, and I’m certain that I’ll read it another half a dozen times before my girls are grown.  This recommendation came from some casual banter and chit chat prior to recording a podcast, it was divinely sent and so timely!  All about the transitions girls go through on the way to womanhood this is a parent’s guide to better understanding the normalcy that is the craziness of this 10 year period beginning when your daughter is not 13 or 14 as I had expected, but 10 and 11.  I had ah-ha moments about my own teen years as I read this book.  I’ve since adopted listening to the author’s podcast in my weekly routine as well, ‘Ask Lisa’ The Psychology of Parenting with Dr. Lisa Damour

Love & Respect by Emmerson Eggerichs

Mawage.  Mawage is what brings us together today.  My sister kills this line from the Princess Bride everytime, cracks me up. The ceremony and wedding day is the easy part, the years afterward – not always a walk in the park. This book provided great insight into the husband/wife relationship and how we both need a little something different to make the whole thing go round.  Learning how best to cohabitate and thrive with your partner for the rest of your life should be top of the list! 

Finances

What kind of financial and business coach would I be without talking about money?  I’ve read several on the topic, but these two would be my favorites.  If there is a petition to sign to have these taught in high schools and colleges as a pre-requisite for graduation, I’d sign it.

Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Dave’s Total Money Makeover is a terrific way to get up to speed on the baby step methodology of managing money and the straight forward insights around debt elimination and strategies to make big moves quickly on your way out of debt.  Ramsey’s baby steps and zero based budgeting helped my husband and I on our debt journey, and I use these same principles as a trained Ramsey Preferred Coach when coaching financial clients.  While Ramsey’s steps are foundational, I do believe that personal finance is – personal and your own values, ideas, and preferences should be taken into consideration when you navigate your money journey.  Looking for a financial book to get started?  Pick this one up.

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

Mike did for small businesses what Dave did to personal finances.  Easy, simplistic ways of making money work for your business and prioritizing profit, savings, and decreasing or eliminating unnecessary expenses in order to remain profitable are the basics of this book.  I hear so many business owners chuckle at their write offs…and not truly understanding the potential harm they’re doing to their own pocket books each time they charge their business card.  Business owners, this is is a must read.

Health

To be honest, I really haven’t read much in the health space.  In this arena I need action, and more often than not just need to let experiences lead me as I learn.  This quote really resonated with me that I saw posted by a local personal trainer that I get to train with.

“If you are lost the answer is education. If you are educated, the answer is action. If you are in action, the answer is consistency.”

Dan Koe

Strong is the New Pretty by Kate Parker

This picture book was a must purchase for me as a Mom of two daughters.  With media influencing continued unrealistic expectations and body image issues running rampant the focus on strength and health is so important to me.  Seeing girls in a variety of sports, looking fierce, real and raw brought great conversations and perspective to our home. Thanks for the recommendation KD!

75 Hard by Andy Frisella

When I heard about the #75hard challenge a couple years ago I was a quick, hard pass….but I ultimately succumbed to the difficult task of managing my mind over 75 days.  It was hard, and I don’t think I’ll ever do it again.  But at the time – I needed a reset and this challenge provided just that.  You can do the challenge without the book, and you can read the book and get some background into the challenge creator/author without doing the challenge.  I enjoyed the background and getting more insight into each of those daily requirements.  I’m a, but why kinda gal.

Career

Self improvement or personal development book reading likely all started right here in the career category. As a once ‘young’ leader soaking up ideas and leadership philosophies at the same time as colleagues twice my age felt like I could be on somewhat of an even playing field for once.  Whether you hold a formal leadership title or not – we all have leadership roles; at home, work, on the field, in the carpool car, and amongst your family.  There is something to learn here!

The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, Jim Huling

Wildly important goals, lead measures versus lag measures and visibilty trackers have become staples in my coaching practice because of this book.  And before my coaching practice – in my leadership career.  The authors break down the art and science of actually doing what we say we want to do with our goals and metrics.  I loathe the top level goals that are to improve X% of Y metric of the three letter acronomym that nobody on the team understands.  English people.  English for the people that will be actually making the improvement.  Have some goals for work or business?  In charge of making them move?  Read this. 

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

What list would be complete without a Brene book?  The leading lady on shame and vulnerability took her work to leadership and taught us how to lead with our hearts in an often ‘head only’ environment.  This book is great for group discussion and has applications across life, not just in the workplace. 

Other

Yes, I do read completely un-educational smut sometimes too.  The 50 Shades series was on my nightstand.  I’ve been known to quickly power out a Grisham or Baldacci novel as well.  I have a vacation coming up, and I’d love your must-read for pleasure recommendations.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

A book for pleasure!  When on vacation, or just when in need of a break I love to just read with no learning on the horizon.  Reese was right, this book was excellent.  I haven’t seen the movie yet, and I’m not certain that I want to – I don’t want it to ruin the book for me.  If you haven’t read it yet, pick this up – you might not be able to put it down.

Lucky #14

What does my gal pal Ashley read?  From another lover of personal development with a business mind – here is one of her favorite recommendations. You can connect with Ashley Whaley at www.roi-mkt.com 

“First of all, I am a HUGE personal development fan, and I love reading. I actually didn’t find a true passion for reading, until I started reading personal development books. So, there’s a hint for people who say they don’t enjoy reading…maybe they’re just reading the wrong books! 

With that being said, I’m going to have to give a shout out to the book that kickstarted me on my personal growth journey, and that book is …drum roll please… Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I read it poolside right after I moved to Las Vegas when I was 24 years old. I had a refreshing drink in my hand, the sun was shining, and my mind was blown away by this book. I couldn’t put it down! It’s a simple book and the overall premise is that you should take advise from people who live the way you want to live. It was also a testament that the old, go to school, get good grades, and you will have the life of your dreams story that we we’re told growing up, just simply isn’t true for most people. 

Bottom line, if you want to live an epic life, surround yourself with good people, work hard, and grow your mind daily! I read every single day. It’s what helps me to keep a positive attitude and connect with people.” 

Your Turn

What books are you reading right now?  What’s stretching your mind and giving you insight to be the best version of yourself?  Drop me a line, I’d love to hear.  [email protected] 

Thank you for joining me on my my journey to influence.

Sarah is a Ramsey Preferred Coach
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