• Chas

The Best Personal Development Books for Leveling Up

Updated: Mar 8

Being on lockdown or practicing social distancing is rough. We can all confidently admit that it’s not ideal, but this is the perfect time to devote yourself to reading, being proactive, and leveling up in all aspects of your being.


Here are some of the best books to read (or listen to) to help you grow, evolve, and flourish…


personal development

GIRL, STOP APOLOGIZING: A SHAME-FREE PLAN FOR EMBRACING AND ACHIEVING YOUR GOAL

By: Rachel Hollis Rachel Hollis has seen it too often: women not living into their full potential. They feel a tugging on their hearts for something more, but they’re afraid of embarrassment, of falling short of perfection, of not being enough.

In Girl, Stop Apologizing, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of a multimillion-dollar media company, Rachel Hollis sounds a wake-up call. She knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in light of other people—whether as wife, mother, daughter, or employee—instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want. With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviors to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself.


personal development

BIG MAGIC: CREATIVE LIVING BEYOND FEAR

By: Elizabeth Gilbert


Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

personal development

GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD: STOPPING THE SPIRAL OF TOXIC THOUGHTS

By: Jennie Allen


Are your thoughts holding you captive? I’ll never be good enough. Other people have better lives than I do. God couldn’t really love me. Jennie Allen knows what it’s like to swirl in a spiral of destructive thoughts, but she also knows we don’t have to stay stuck in toxic thinking patterns.

As she discovered in her own life, God built a way for us to escape that downward spiral. Freedom comes when we refuse to be victims to our thoughts and realize we have already been equipped with power from God to fight and win the war for our minds.


In Get Out of Your Head, Jennie inspires and equips us to transform our emotions, our outlook, and even our circumstances by taking control of our thoughts. Our enemy is determined to get in our heads to make us feel helpless, overwhelmed, and incapable of making a difference for the kingdom of God. But when we submit our minds to Christ, the promises and goodness of God flood our lives in remarkable ways.


personal development

THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION: LET GO OF WHO YOU THINK YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE AND EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE

By: Brené Brown


A motivational and inspiring guide to wholehearted living, rather than just the average self-help book, with this groundbreaking work Brené Brown, Ph.D., bolsters the self-esteem and personal development process through her characteristic heartfelt, honest storytelling. With original research and plenty of encouragement, she explores the psychology of releasing our definitions of an “imperfect” life and embracing living authentically. Brown’s “ten guideposts” are benchmarks for authenticity that can help anyone establish a practice for a life of honest beauty—a perfectly imperfect life.


Now more than ever, we all need to cultivate feelings of self-worth, as well as acceptance and love for ourselves. In a world where insults, criticisms, and fears are spread too generously alongside messages of unrealistic beauty, attainment, and expectation, we look for ways to “dig deep” and find truth and gratitude in our lives. A new way forward means we can’t hold on too tightly to our own self-defeating thoughts or the displaced pain in our world. Instead, we can embrace the imperfection.


personal development

Everything Is Figureoutable By: Marie Forleo

While most self-help books offer quick fixes, Everything is Figureoutable will retrain your brain to think more creatively and positively in the face of setbacks. In the words of Cheryl Strayed, it’s “a must-read for anyone who wants to face their fears, fulfill their dreams, and find a better way forward.”


If you’re having trouble solving a problem or reaching a dream, the problem isn’t you. It’s that you haven’t yet installed the one belief that changes everything.

Marie’s mom once told her, “Nothing in life is that complicated. You can do whatever you set your mind to if you roll up your sleeves. Everything is figureoutable.”

Whether you want to leave a dead end job, break an addiction, learn to dance, heal a relationship, or grow a business, Everything is Figureoutable will show you how.


personal development

IN THE FLO: UNLOCK YOUR HORMONAL ADVANTAGE AND REVOLUTIONIZE YOUR LIFE

By: Alisa Vitti


Women have a important biological rhythm they experience every month that affects productivity, weight, sex drive, energy, and mood. It is essential to be aware of and take care of this rhythm, but it has been widely ignored by medical, nutrition and fitness research. So as women, we diet, we deprive, and we cram as much as possible into our day, striving to accomplish impossible to-do lists, and scheduling our lives based on a 24-hour time cycle, ignoring the intuitive time our bodies naturally keep: a monthly cycle with four hormonal phases that offer incredible advantages.


In the FLO presents a revolutionary 4-week solution to manage your energy and time according to your female biochemistry. By working with each phase, you’ll support your hormones, unlock peak creativity and performance, and avoid burnout. You’ll know exactly when to eat certain foods, clear your social calendar, or ask for a raise—and you’ll have the tools to do so, including:

By getting In the FLO, you’ll get more done with less effort, you’ll feel better consistently throughout the month, and you’ll enjoy the freedom that comes with living on your own time.


personal development

DON’T OVERTHINK IT: MAKE EASIER DECISIONS, STOP SECOND-GUESSING, AND BRING MORE JOY TO YOUR LIFE

By: Anne Bogel


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.


personal development

BECOMING

By: Michelle Obama


In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.


In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.


personal development

THE UNIVERSE HAS YOUR BACK: TRANSFORM FEAR TO FAITH

By: Gabrielle Bernstein


In her latest book, The Universe Has Your Back, New York Times best-selling author Gabrielle Bernstein teaches readers how to transform their fear into faith in order to live a divinely guided life. Each story and lesson in the book guides readers to release the blocks to what they most long for: happiness, security and clear direction. The lessons help readers relinquish the need to control so they can relax into a sense of certainty and freedom. Readers will learn to stop chasing life and truly live.

Making the shift from fear to faith will give readers a sense of power in a world that all too often makes them feel utterly powerless. When the tragedies of the world seem overwhelming, this book will help guide them back to their true power.

When readers follow this path, they’ll begin to feel a swell of energy move through them. They will find strength when they are down, synchronicity and support when they ’re lost, safety in the face of uncertainty, and joy when they are otherwise in pain. Follow the secrets revealed in this book to unleash the presence of your power and know always that The Universe Has Your Back.


personal development

HOW TO STOP FEELING LIKE SH*T: 14 HABITS THAT ARE HOLDING YOU BACK FROM HAPPINESS

By: Andrea Owen


How to Stop Feeling Like Sh*t is a straight-shooting approach to self-improvement for women, one that offers no-crap truth-telling about the most common self-destructive behaviors women tend to engage in. From listening to the imposter complex and bitchy inner critic to catastrophizing and people-pleasing, Andrea Owen–a nationally sought-after life coach–crystallizes what’s behind these invisible, undermining habits. With each chapter, she kicks women’s gears out of autopilot and empowers them to create happier, more fulfilling lives. Powerfully on-the-mark, the chapters are short and digestible, nicely bypassing weighty examinations in favor of punch-points of awareness.


personal development

VIBRATE HIGHER DAILY: LIVE YOUR POWER

By: Lalah Delia

Too often we feel pulled down by circumstances or the negativity of others. We think we have no control over the things that are hurting us and holding us back from realizing our truest selves. But according to Lalah Delia, we have more power within us than we know: listen to your unique inner voice and trust your instincts. By doing so, you’re already experiencing the transformative power of vibrational-based living.


Vibrating higher daily is about making intentional day-to-day choices that lift us out of mindsets, habits, and lifestyles that don’t serve us and into ones that do. This book is an invitation to engage with everything that feeds our soul and raises our vibration, and to simultaneously let go of the things bringing our energy down. Through poetry, mantras, and affirmations, Lalah Delia empowers us to live with higher potential and quality of being.


Vibrate Higher Daily is a manifesto unlike any other for stepping into our power.


personal development

GIRL CODE: UNLOCKING THE SECRETS TO SUCCESS, SANITY, AND HAPPINESS FOR THE FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR By: Cara Alwill Leyba


A few years ago, I made a crazy claim in the first edition of Girl Code: that in today’s competitive marketplace, the fiercest thing a female entrepreneur can do is to support other women.

Something dynamic happens when women genuinely show up for each other. When we lose the facades, cut the bullsh*t, and truly have each other’s backs. When we stop pretending everything is perfect, and show the messy, beautiful parts of ourselves and our work—which all look awfully similar. When we talk about our fears, our missteps, and our breakdowns. And most importantly, when we share our celebrations, our breakthroughs, and our solutions.


I’m convinced that there’s no reason to hoard information, connections, or insight. Wisdom is meant to be shared, so let’s start sharing what we’ve learned to make each other better. Let’s start building each other up. Let’s live up to our potential and start ruling the world.

Girl Code is a roadmap for female entrepreneurs, professional women, “side hustlers” (those with a day job plus a part-time small business), and any­one in between. This book won’t teach you how to build a multimillion-dollar company. It won’t teach you about systems or finance. But it will teach you how to build confidence in yourself, reconnect with your “why,” eradicate jealousy, and ultimately learn the power of connection. Because at the end of the day, that’s what life and business are all about.


personal development

BUY YOURSELF THE F*CKING LILIES: AND OTHER RITUALS TO FIX YOUR LIFE, FROM SOMEONE WHO’S BEEN THERE

By: Tara Schuster


By the time she was in her late twenties, Tara Schuster was a rising TV executive who had worked for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and helped launch Key & Peele to viral superstardom. By all appearances, she had mastered being a grown-up. But beneath that veneer of success, she was a chronically anxious, self-medicating mess. No one knew that her road to adulthood had been paved with depression, anxiety, and shame, owing in large part to her minimally parented upbringing. She realized she’d hit rock bottom when she drunk-dialed her therapist pleading for help.

Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies is the story of Tara’s path to re-parenting herself and becoming a “ninja of self-love.”


personal development

Own Your Everyday: Overcome the Pressure to Prove and Show Up for What You Were Made to Do By: Jordan Dooley


Does it ever seem like you still have to find your purpose or that you’re stuck with “unfigured-out dreams”? Do you feel the pressure to prove yourself or worry about what others will think?


You are not the only one.


From accidentally starting a small business instead of using her college degree, to embarrassing herself onstage in front of thousands, to wasting time worrying about what others think or say, Jordan Lee Dooley knows exactly how that feels—and she’s learned some important lessons about living a purposeful life along the way.


An influential millennial widely recognized for her tagline turned international movement, “Your Brokenness is Welcome Here,” Jordan has become a go-to source that women around the world look to for inspiration in their faith, work, relationships, and everyday life.


personal development

The Upside of Being Down: How Mental Health Struggles Led to My Greatest Successes in Work and Life By: Jen Gotch

After graduating from college, Jen Gotch was living with her parents, heartbroken and lost, when she became convinced that her skin had turned green. Hallucinating that she looked like Shrek was terrifying, but it led to her first diagnosis and the start of a journey towards self-awareness, acceptance, success, and ultimately, joy.

With humor and candor, Gotch shares the empowering story of her unlikely path to becoming the creator and CCO of a multimillion-dollar brand. From her childhood in Florida where her early struggles with bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety, and ADD were misdiagnosed, to her winding career path as a waitress, photographer, food stylist, and finally, accidental entrepreneur, she illuminates how embracing her flaws and understanding the influence of mental illness on her creativity actually led to her greatest successes in business and life.


Hilarious, hyper-relatable, and filled with fascinating insights and hard-won wisdom on everything from why it’s okay to cry at work to the myth of busyness and perfection to the emotional rating system she uses e