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12 Self-Help Books for Women That Will Change Your Life

Published to empower

Woman removing books from a shelf
Photo courtesy of Christin Hume

The year is already underway, but there’s still time to tackle those goals you’ve set for 2021. One way to get you started is to grab some wisdom from self-help books. They aren’t books full of kumbaya cheesiness. Instead, the advice found in these books can feel like a trusted mentor or girlfriend is giving you a dose of inspiration. No matter what you are going through, whether it’s trying to find your footing in your career, asking for a raise, looking for your purpose, or even dealing with a breakup, there’s always room for a little encouragement. Check out these 12 books by women to empower you that you should add to your reading list. 

I Am That Girl: How to Speak Your Truth, Discover Your Purpose, and #bethatgirl

Author: Alexis Jones

Trying to discover your purpose or your passion? Alexis Jones is known for competing on the Spring 2008 season of Survivor, but she’s now an activist and motivational speaker. In this book, Jones urges readers to stop listening to anything that says you aren’t good enough or notions of failure. There are stories from 30 women to teach you how to start living the life you want now and be the best version of you. 

Read more: 9 TED Talks That Will Make You a Better Ally

Bad Ass Habits

Author: Jen Sincero

Kick those bad habits to the curb with Jen Sincero’s Bad Ass Habits, an easy-to-digest, New York Times bestselling book on transformation. It gets to the core or breaking those habits, creating new healthy ones, and sticking to them. There’s a 21-day, step-by-step guide to helping you ditch the habits that aren’t serving you and giving yourself permission to go after your dreams with a plan of action. 

WorkParty: How to Create & Cultivate the Career of Your Dreams

Author: Jaclyn Johnson

Careers can be a roller coaster, but sometimes you just get knocked down completely. Before turning 25, Jaclyn Johnson faced a couple of blows to her career, and her only option was to revamp her professional life. She launched the Create & Cultivate, an online platform and conference for women looking to create and cultivate the career of their dreams. In this book, she shares the stories from leading women entrepreneurs about how they cultivated passion and embraced failure to turn their heartache into hard work all while having fun. 

Read more: The Best Podcasts for Women

Do Nothing: How to Break Away From Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving

Author: Celeste Headlee

Do Nothing is exactly what many would love to do when the weekend is on the horizon. This book will help you free yourself from the toxic culture of burnout. Award-winning journalist Celeste Headlee seeks to help shift your thinking because it’s time to stop self0sabotaging wellbeing, put work down, and start living. This book pulls from history and science to examine long-held assumptions about time management, hard work, idleness, and bad habits that are actually less productive.  

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Author: Pema Chödrön 

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade like Beyonce, but in the event that doesn’t work, this book gives some solid advice on dealing with tough moments when everything seems to be going wrong. It’s not what you expect, because the author draws from traditional Buddhist wisdom and offers life-changing tools that include moving toward painful situations to open up your heart so you can heal.  

I've Been Thinking . . .: Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life

Author: Maria Shriver 

Journalist and former First Lady of California, Maria Shriver is no stranger to the stress juggling multiple roles can bring. Her book is full of relatable wisdom where she shares inspiring quotes, prayers, and reflections to make readers feel, laugh, and get into a place of acceptance and joy. There’s also an I’ve Been Thinking interactive journal if you want to dig even deeper. 

Read more: Why You Should Keep A Work Journal

The Likeability Trap: How to Break Free and Succeed as You Are

Author: Alicia Menendez 

Women are told to be nice, but not too nice, be successful, but not too successful. Women are criticized at work for being cold, and warmer personalities are seen as pushovers. The Likeability Trap takes a deep dive into the pressure put on women to be amiable at work and at home. Menedez empowers readers to let go of the likeability pressure and reimagine leadership rather than reinventing themselves. 

Didn't See That Coming: Putting Life Back Together When Your World Falls Apart

Author: Rachel Hollis

The curveballs of life can hit hard at any time, whether it’s the loss of a job, or the death of a loved one, and transformation can feel impossible when grief and uncertainty linger. Rachel Hollis shares true stories and humor to help you navigate how to get through your pain changed for the better. 

The Listening Path: The Creative Art of Attention (A 6-Week Artist's Way Program)

Author: Julia Cameron

Listening is an aspect that’s needed in every part of your life. From listening during work meetings, to coworkers, and at home listening to family members, it’s a skill that can always be refined. The Listening Path is a book that teaches listening skills and creativity over the course of six weeks. Each week, readers will be challenged to expand their ability to listen in a new way, by listening to their environment and learning to listen to silence.

Read more: How to Listen Effectively (& Why You Should)

How to Get Sh*t Done: Why Women Need to Stop Doing Everything so They Can Achieve Anything

Author: Erin Falconer 

The title is self-explanatory. The book is an honest guide about achieving your dreams by focusing on what really matters. You’ll reclaim your life and stop doing everything for everyone else so you can amp up your productivity to reach your goals in no time. 

Read more: 10 Things That Aren’t Your Job (That You Might Be Doing Anyway)

Living Over Existing: How to Push Past the Mental Barriers That Are Holding You Back from Success 

Author: Alisha Robertson

It’s time to get out of your own way and build the brand or business of your dreams. Alisha Robertson shares her journey from being insecure around other successful people to taking a leap of faith and finding the confidence to turn dreams into reality. You’ll learn what’s holding you back from your purpose and clear those mental obstacles out of the way. 

Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts

Author: Jennie Allen

Thoughts create, and if those negative thoughts are spiraling out of control, then Get Out of Your Head can help pull you out of toxic thinking patterns. This book is Christian perspective of how to transform your emotions, outlook and circumstances by controlling your thoughts therefore creating good things in your life. 

Read more: 20 Signs You’re Too Self-Critical at Work

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