Personal Development

12 Personal Development Books on My List for 2021

Every year, I resolve to read more. Reading has never been my strong suit, and even books that I love can take me YEARS to finish. However, the self-help and personal development type books are usually the easiest for me to read. Maybe because it feels like cheap therapy, or because I’m naturally a person always striving to improve and be the best version of myself. This year, my goal is to read one book per month.

If you can relate, then keep reading – because you will LOVE these books on my reading list for 2021.

January: Atomic Habits – James Clear

From Goodreads:

Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits–whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, or achieve any other goal.”

February: Tiny Habits – BJ Fogg

From Goodreads:

“When it comes to change, tiny is mighty. Start with two pushups a day, not a two-hour workout; or five deep breaths each morning rather than an hour of meditation. In Tiny Habits, B.J. Fogg brings his experience coaching more than 40,000 people to help you lose weight, de-stress, sleep better, or achieve any goal of your choice.  You just need Fogg’s behavior formula: make it easy, make it fit your life, and make it rewarding. Whenever you get in your car, take one yoga breath. Smile.  Whenever you get in bed, turn off your phone. Give yourself a high five.”

March: Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done – Jon Acuff

From Goodreads:

“The strategies in this book are counterintuitive and might feel like cheating. But they’re based on studies conducted by a university researcher with hundreds of participants. You might not guess that having more fun, eliminating your secret rules, and choosing something to bomb intentionally works. But the data says otherwise. People who have fun are 43 percent more successful! Imagine if your diet, guitar playing, or small business was 43 percent more suc­cessful just by following a few simple principles.

If you’re tired of being a chronic starter and want to become a consistent finisher, you have two options: You can continue to beat yourself up and try harder, since this time that will work. Or you can give yourself the gift of done.”

April: The Motivation Code – Todd Henry

From Goodreads:

“Henry shows, in fact, that there are twenty-seven “motivational themes”, each with its own unique DNA. For instance: Those driven to Achieve Potential strive to build an ideal future, even when others may not see as far ahead. Those needing to Overcome must conquer whatever obstacles come their way, no matter how difficult or time-consuming. Those who strive to Comprehend and Express are obsessed with mastering new skills and showing off what they know–which is often a lot. Those who want to Make It Right thrive when systems are running smoothly and usually know the “proper way” to do things.

The Motivation Code teaches us to decode our Core Motivation so that we can have conversations, make decisions, and even choose career paths that lead us to experience engagement and fulfillment. Once we know how to activate our inner drivers, we can transform the work we do into work we love.”

May: Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

From Goodreads:

“In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical.

Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.”

June: Sidetracked – Francesca Gino

From Goodreads:

“Psychologist and Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino has long studied the factors at play when judgment and decision making collide with the results of our choices in real life. In this book she explores inconsistent decisions played out in a wide range of circumstances—from our roles as consumers and employees (what we buy, how we manage others) to the choices that we make more broadly as human beings (who we date, how we deal with friendships). From Gino’s research, we see when a mismatch is most likely to occur between what we want and what we end up doing. What factors are likely to sway our decisions in directions we did not initially consider? And what can we do to correct for the subtle influences that derail our decisions? The answers to these and similar questions will help you negotiate similar factors when faced with them in the real world.”

July: How to Have a Good Day – Caroline Webb

From Goodreads:

“In How to Have a Good Day, Webb explains exactly how to apply this science to our daily tasks and routines. She translates three big scientific ideas into step-by-step guidance that shows us how to set better priorities, make our time go further, ace every interaction, be our smartest selves, strengthen our personal impact, be resilient to setbacks, and boost our energy and enjoyment. Through it all, Webb teaches us how to navigate the typical challenges of modern workplaces—from conflict with colleagues to dull meetings and overflowing inboxes—with skill and ease.

Filled with stories of people who have used Webb’s insights to boost their job satisfaction and performance at work, How to Have a Good Day is the book so many people wanted when they finished Nudge, Blink and Thinking Fast and Slow and were looking for practical ways to apply this fascinating science to their own lives and careers.”

August: How Change Happens – Cass Sunstein

From Goodreads:

The different ways that social change happens, from unleashing to nudging to social cascades. How does social change happen? When do social movements take off? Sexual harassment was once something that women had to endure; now a movement has risen up against it. White nationalist sentiments, on the other hand, were largely kept out of mainstream discourse; now there is no shortage of media outlets for them. In this book, with the help of behavioral economics, psychology, and other fields, Cass Sunstein casts a bright new light on how change happens.

Sunstein focuses on the crucial role of social norms–and on their frequent collapse. When norms lead people to silence themselves, even an unpopular status quo can persist. Then one day, someone challenges the norm–a child who exclaims that the emperor has no clothes; a woman who says “me too.” Sometimes suppressed outrage is unleashed, and long-standing practices fall.”

September: How to Change – Katy Milkman

**NOTE: This book will not be released until May 2021. But you bet your BUTT I pre-ordered it because I’m a huge fan of Dr. Milkman!

From Penguin Random House:

“This trailblazing book from award-winning behavioral scientist and Wharton Professor Katy Milkman explains why. In a career devoted to uncovering what helps people change, Milkman has discovered a crucial thing many of us get wrong: our strategy. Change, she’s learned, comes most readily when you understand what’s standing between you and success and tailor your solution to that roadblock. If you want to work out more but find exercise difficult and boring, downloading a goal-setting app probably won’t help. But what if, instead, you transformed your workouts so they became a source of pleasure instead of a chore? Turning an uphill battle into a downhill one is the key to success…

…Whether you’re a manager, coach, or teacher aiming to help others change for the better or are struggling to kick-start change yourself, How to Change offers an invaluable, science-based blueprint for achieving your goals, once and for all.”

October: Badass Habits – Jen Sincero

From Goodreads:

Badass Habits is a eureka-sparking, easy-to-digest look at how our habits make us who we are, from the measly moments that happen in private to the resolutions we loudly broadcast (and, erm, often don’t keep) on social media. Habit busting and building goes way beyond becoming a dedicated flosser or never showing up late again–our habits reveal our unmet desires, the gaps in our boundaries, our level of self-awareness, and our unconscious beliefs and fears. Badass Habits features Jen’s trademark hilarious voice and offers a much-needed fresh take on the conventional wisdom and science that shape the optimism (or pessimism?) around the age-old topic of habits.

The book includes enlightening interviews with people who’ve successfully strengthened their discipline backbones, new perspective on how to train our brains to become our best selves, and offers a simple, 21 day, step-by-step guide for ditching habits that don’t serve us and developing the habits we deem most important. Habits shouldn’t be impossible to reset–and with healthy boundaries, knowledge of–and permission to go after–our desires, and an easy to implement plan of action, we can make any new goal a joyful habit.”

November: Grit by Angela Duckworth

From Goodreads:

“Here, she takes readers into the field to visit teachers working in some of the toughest schools, cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also mines fascinating insights from history and shows what can be gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance. Finally, she shares what she’s learned from interviewing dozens of high achievers; from JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to the cartoon editor of The New Yorker to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.

Winningly personal, insightful, and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that not talent or luck makes all the difference.”

December: Don’t Overthink It – Anne Bogel

From Goodreads:

“We’ve all been there: stuck in a cycle of what-ifs, plagued by indecision, paralyzed by the fear of getting it wrong. Nobody wants to live a life of constant overthinking, but it doesn’t feel like something we can choose to stop doing. It feels like something we’re wired to do, something we just can’t escape. But is it?

Anne Bogel’s answer is no. Not only can you overcome negative thought patterns that are repetitive, unhealthy, and unhelpful, you can replace them with positive thought patterns that will bring more peace, joy, and love into your life. In Don’t Overthink It, you’ll find actionable strategies that can make an immediate and lasting difference in how you deal with questions both small–Should I buy these flowers?–and large–What am I doing with my life? More than a book about making good decisions, Don’t Overthink It offers you a framework for making choices you’ll be comfortable with, using an appropriate amount of energy, freeing you to focus on all the other stuff that matters in life.”

8 thoughts on “12 Personal Development Books on My List for 2021”

  1. Nice to see another Atomic Habits plan! I’ve implemented his thoughts, especially the ones on making them small and easy, and boy have my habits skyrocketed. I’ll be sure to check out the other recommendations in your list. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  2. I’ve done book reviews for Atomic Habits and Tiny Habits. Atomic Habits’ ideas are straight forward and easier to implement but Tiny Habits become more ingrained and are easier to maintain. Hopefully, that last sentence made sense.
    “Luck” and how to get more of it is rarely discussed in the Self-Improvement blogosphere but there is a book on the topic called “Changing Your Luck, Changing Your Life: The Four Essential Principles”. It’s by Richard Wiseman, who has also written for Men’s Health and Fast Company.
    Check it how and see what you think.

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