I like to imagine that even Angelina Jolie, whose life seems pretty close to perfect, feels just a wee bit lost. Maybe she treats herself to a third serving of pizza, just like me. Maybe she calls her mom to cry, just like me. Maybe she even picks up a book to help give her a little extra push in the right direction, just like me.
These self-help books aren’t just about helping you find inner peace — although many of them will — and they shouldn’t be looked at as the end all be all of what you base your life on. With any luck, these books should help spur an inner conversation about your views, what you make of their suggestions, and what you want to bring to your life versus what you want to leave behind.
Here are just a few books that span everything from sparking your creative life, to finding peace in your home through cleaning, advice columns for everyday blunders, and more. Hopefully you’ll find one that’s just the right fit for what you need. I'm betting you will.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the podcast with the same name, do so now. If it any indication of what’s to come, Gilbert leads readers through breaking out of their own creative ruts, finding fulfillment, and facing fear while finding balance between our spiritual and pragmatic beings in her forth coming book. Yes, please.
Tiny Buddha's 365 Tiny Love Challenges by Lori Deschene
Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges aims to help readers create fulfilling, sustainable partnerships through daily guides of small but creative challenges to spread love to everyone from romantic partners to friendships, coworkers, yourself — heck, your barista could use some love, too! Stick it out through the year and see how you can cultivate a new outlook on relationships, the kind of emotions you choose to hang onto and where you can insert love instead.
You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
Aggressive, expletive-filled self-help? Count me in! With chapters like "Fear is for Suckers" and "Your Brain is Your Bitch," Sincero cuts through the ambiguity often associated with the genre to bring practical advice and snarky humor alongside inspiring quotes and exercises that will get you to start recognizing your own greatness, tap into your personal motivations and learning to love even the parts of you that you struggle with the most.
Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
By now, J.K. Rowling’s 2008 commencement speech at Harvard University is well known amongst the archive of inspirational “out unto the world with you” messages. Published for the first time in hardbound form earlier this year, now we can all draw encouragement not only to use our imaginations to dream big but to embrace failures, better our worlds and approach life with ferocity.
Small Victories by Anne Lamott
Anne Lamott is no stranger to dolling out sage advice about life, faith and writing. Small Victories is a celebration of just that — the small victories that we conquer in life that are easy to overlook but that truly change us. Through forgiveness, restoration and transformation we can cultivate light in even the darkest of situations.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
For me, sometimes reevaluating my life is as simple as cleaning my house. All of a sudden with laundry put away, grime slicked off the counters and crumbs vacuumed off the bed (the epitome of being an adult is eating in bed, right?) the topsy turvy things in life seem to right themselves. From giving your possessions a meaningful life, to which direction your socks prefer to face and finding enough inner quiet to determine what things spark true joy, Kondo’s cleaning manifesto lays out spotless directions to live a simple, beautiful life.
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
If you’re a lover of The Rumpus’s Sugar advice column, or really any other works by Chery Strayed (you may have heard of a little one called Wild), you’ll want to jump on Tiny Beautiful Things immediately. Life is not made up of just one fix it solution, which is the beauty of this book; it encompasses all the little problems, and the “best of” answers, that readers have submitted over the years. Think of this as a dictionary for all of the questions that come up in life.
Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin
Home should be your happy place: that is the premise of Gretchen Rubin’s follow up to The Happiness Project . The best part? This isn’t an unattainable theological kind of undertaking; Rubin has taken on the quest for a home based on simplicity, comfort and love, in just one school year, September through May. Rubin strikes a balance between philosophical ideas, memoir-style stories, experimentation and practical solutions to take on room after room and make home not just where the heart is but where the happiness is.
Radical Self Love by Gala Darling
As readers of her eponymous blog know, Gala Darling is not just a blogger, coach and social media powerhouse, she is also rhinestone encrusted spiritual unicorn. Her new book, Radical Self Love , is more than just a how-to for trying to find happiness, it addresses life at the source and encourages readers to find self-love and fulfillment to craft an authentic life and watch as success follows true passion.
Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein
Spirit Junkie has become a go-to spiritual guide for the Millennial generation. Bernstein, who turned a life of partying and publicity into a life of ohms and openness, shares her path to transformation as a guidebook for those looking to overcome fear and find an inner excitement to take on life each and every day. OK, it may sound a little woo-woo, but Bernstein offers a fresh perspective on the idea of choosing love to a new generation in a more edgy and hip way.
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
If the more lovey self-help is just not for you, there’s a good chance The Gifts of Imperfection is. Based in sociology and fact-driven research, Brown presents her theories of human worth and authenticity through extensive research on vulnerability, shame and empathy. Don’t let the title deceive you, the book’s perspective on psychological balance and how to attain emotional health in an evidence-based manner is refreshing. Want a sneak peek? Check out Brown’s TedxHouston talk from 2010.