Reading has always been a source of joy for me. My parents brought us to the library weekly to check out stacks of books. One of my favorite things to do was read in bed late into the night, or wake up and spend hours reading in bed during the day. Reflecting on it now, it was a place of abundance for me. It was a place of opportunity. A chance to engage my imagination and expand my world.
Books have been that for me as an adult as well. I still go to the library and check out books, especially after decluttering my bookshelves. I love to read the books, but rarely want to own it. I only check out 1-2 at a time nowadays since I rarely have hours that I can dedicate to reading.
The books that I read in 2017 had a lot to do with self development. As a writer, budding entrepreneur, and one who is realizing that continuing education is life giving, many of these books focused on reconnecting with myself and working on my mindset.
They’re potentially life changing books. I say potentially because if we don’t apply the things learned into our lives, then they’re just words on the page.
17 Life Changing Books in 2017
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
I loved this book so much. I listened to it as an audiobook from my library and I was so encouraged to pursue creative living. Gilbert writes that “creative living is about living a life more strongly driven by curiosity rather than fear.”
I particularly loved how she gently and compassionately talks to fear personified and lets them know that they can come along for the journey – but they won’t be allowed in the drivers seat.
On Writing by Stephen King
I think my first exposure to Stephen King was the movie Carrie…or Cujo. I enjoyed getting to know about the writer behind all of the movies and books. He has fundamental and sound advice on writing woven throughout his memoir. One of the things I loved learning was that he kept all of his rejection letters!
Start Late, Finish Rich by David Bach
Smart Couples, Finish Rich, by David Bach
At the start of 2017 I was really gung ho about finances and learning all I could to get our budget back in shape and my husband and I on the same page. I had visions of us meeting weekly about our finances and budgeting to zero every month. That process has been start and stop (mostly stop) – but we recently had another meeting with the goal of just looking at our bank accounts together on a weekly basis. The goal? Raise awareness and foster unity in this money management business.
The biggest takeaway I had from re-reading Bach’s books was – can you guess? Make it automatic! I was already investing in my 401k at work, but hadn’t raised the amount in years. I raised it immediately, and then when I had my pay raise during my annual review – I took the 3% that they were giving me and immediately increased my 401k by 3%.
The next takeaway I had was to get clear on what my values are as an individual and as a couple. Bach writes that “values are the key to living smart and finishing rich. The sooner you and your partner start putting your values first – and stuff second – the sooner you and your partner will start living a life that excites and empowers you both.”
The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
This book had a very 1950s corporate male feel to it – probably because it’s an older book and the author was sharing his personal experience. It was one of the first books I read in 2017 that encouraged me to think about my thoughts and mindset – and for that I’m grateful!
He writes “we do not make one big jump to success. We get there one step at a time.” He challenges us to think about 10 years in the future and visualizing what you want all the different spheres of your life to look like. Schwartz encourages us to take action towards our big goals, because action cures fear!
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
I listened to this as an audiobook. It’s written very conversationally so it was easy to listen to. The main takeaway I had from this book came from the money chapters. I had the realization that I have money blocks and limiting beliefs around money and success. It challenged me to consider my money story and if I wanted to continue to believe those things.
You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
I decided to read this book to dig deeper into money beliefs. I actually didn’t get much more information that I can remember from the first book, but it encouraged me to continue to ask myself questions and gain clarity.
The Great Little Book of Afformations by Noah St. John
You’ve probably heard of affirmations. Afformations are empowering questions that change what we focus on, because what we focus on grows. Instead of asking yourself, “Why don’t I have enough money?” you can choose to ask yourself, “Why does money come to me so easily?” There’s science behind why it’s more effective to ask yourself a question versus a statement. If you’re working on changing your mindset, this is a great little book.
The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
I’ve really enjoyed Canfield’s story of success and hard work. I consider him a mentor in changing my mindset. There are really practical tools and exercises as well as inspirational stories of success.
10% Happier by Dan Harris
This book is about Dan Harris’ journey from skeptic to acceptance of meditation as a source of happiness. If you’re skeptical about meditation, this is a really easy read/listen and might encourage you to try it!
168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam
What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam
These books were really eye opening. I tracked my time for a week and was surprised by the exercise. Vanderkam writes, “I had a realization: while we think of our lives in grand abstractions, a life is actually lived in hours. If you want to be a writer, you must dedicate hours to putting words on a page.To be a mindful parent, you must spend time with your child…In short, if you want to do something or become something – and you want to do it well – it takes time. (p. 2-3)
These are two of the books that helped me to grow in productivity. It was really helpful to hear how others plan their schedules and to try different things that were suggested. It was also really encouraging to read how Vanderkam helped people find pockets of time to do things that were important to them.
In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honore
Honore writes about the Slow Movement happening around the world, which include slow food, slow movement, slow cities, and much more. He writes, “what the Slow movement offers, is a middle path, a recipe for marrying la dolce vita with the dynamism of the information age. The secret is balance: instead of doing everything faster, do everything at the right speed. Sometimes fast, Sometimes slow. Sometimes somewhere in between.” (p. 275)
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
I listened to this classic book on audio this summer. The first habit, “Be Proactive” is one that I think is pivotal in life and in business. The first three habits are about independence and the last ones address interdependence. Covey is a good story teller and I appreciated his illustrations with the habits.
Getting Things Done by David Allen
I became interested in this book after joining the STEP Program from Learn, Do, Become. They have a wonderful program that walks you through life organization, but one of the main things – is paper organization! They have a decision matrix that is really helpful on how to process paper.
Their STEP Program is based off of David Allen’s Getting Things Done system so I wanted to get some more information “straight from the source.”
Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern
I learned so much from Morgenstern. She helped me communicate with my husband and understand that he is differently organized, not necessarily disorganized. She demonstrates compassion, while also providing sound and simple advice to those of us who are decluttering and learning how to organize.
Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck
I haven’t finished this book yet but Martha Beck’s humor, wisdom, and experience makes this a pleasure to read and savor. The main point of the book is that we have an essential self and a social self that are often disconnected. Beck gives us exercises to grow in awareness and strategies for how to harmonize the two sides of our selves so that we are living our ideal life.
So there you have it! My 17 books in 2017 that provoked thought…and most importantly action in my life. What book or books did you read in 2017 that sparked a change in you? Let me know in the comments!