Six books that empowered me this summer.

This summer I made a goal to read ALL THE BOOKS. And well guys, I think I did it. I’m not done yet, though. My “to read” list is actually out of control. Like I’m talking 75 books. Goal to finish by the end of 2017, so get used to these posts.

Also, PLEASE send any book recommendations my way. I love non-fiction (you’ll see a lot of certain topics), self-help stuff is my jam and I love memoirs and autobiographies. But I’ll give anything a try if you tell me it’s good.

Here are my favorites of the self-help/motivation variety that I’ve read this summer. 

The book that changed my life

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. We need to talk about this, you guys.

You’ve probably seen this book and its bright yellow cover somewhere floating around on the Internet. I’ve mentioned it before in a favorites post, but I’m gonna say it here again. Stop what you’re doing and ORDER THAT BOOK. And then read it. And then live it.

I’m telling you, this book changed my whole life. I live the truths that Jen Sincero speaks about every single day. My friend Kasia and I fan girl about this book at least once a day and celebrate how freaking awesome the Universe is and how good it’s been to us. The book is just that good.

If you are in the process of trying to live your best life and having a hard time figuring out your path, this is the book for you. Basically, if you’re a 20 something this book was MADE for you. But it’s great for everyone–my mom loved it, too!


Why I loved it…

In the introduction, Jen talks about how to start living like a badass, you have to get clear on what makes you happy and do that. Instead of acting like it’s impossible for you to have. It all starts with that positive thinking, and then stay open to the possibility of living the life of your dreams.

Jen talks about someday waking up “crying tears of giddy disbelief that you get to be you.” This is the line that has stuck with me since reading this book and something I think of every morning. I have a goal to live the life I always dreamed of. I know that everything I want is right at my fingertips. I’m grateful for what I already have and excited about what’s to come. That’s what this book showed me, or at least emphasized for me.

The most major take-away I’ve received from this book is something that Kasia and I quote on the regular.

“The Universe is awesome and so are you.”

It sounds hippie-dippy, I know. But it’s incredible what starts to happen when you begin to own how truly awesome you really are and put your trust in something bigger than yourself. When you stop trying to control every aspect of your life and start just going with it, amazing things will begin to happen and you’ll just FEEL better, too.

The book that inspired me to chillllll…

The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle BernsteinGabby Bernstein is awesome and has an amazing story. This read is a little more serious than Badass but in the end its message is similar. This book also has lessons at the end of each chapter to help you practice meditating. I’ll admit, I kind of skipped over that part. Meditating seems impossible for someone like me who can’t turn off their thoughts ever, but I promise I’ll give it a try.


Why I loved it…

One of my favorite things this book taught me, similar to what Badass taught me, is that sometimes things just aren’t going to go your way. Our master plans will be thrown off kilter more often than not. This doesn’t mean that someone is up there laughing at your misfortunes. Quite the opposite. These struggles (Gabby calls these “assignments” from the Universe, for Jen they’re “detours”) lead us to where we’re supposed to be. We’ll end up where we need to if we just trust and take those as necessary lessons we needed to get us to where we’re supposed to be. Gabby says also that we cannot ignore these assignments from the Universe. We have to show up for them or they’ll continue to appear for us in different ways until we do.

The book that opened my eyes a little…

The Law of the Garbage Truck by David J. Pollay. This book was not my favorite read, but the message behind it is strong, important and something that’s really easy to forget.


Why I loved it…

Pollay says “Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you. So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Believe me, you’ll be happier.” 

It’s important to learn how to keep people from dumping on you and avoid dumping your problems on others. There’s a difference between venting and dumping. Venting requires permission. Dumping is toxic.

The book that educated me…

Change your thinking, Change your life by Brian Tracy. This book was SO. INTERESTING. The premise: you become what you think about most of the time. Tracy goes through many different kinds of thinking and the great principles that dictate the way our mind works. Stay tuned for another post on this in the future (this is so interesting to me). The moral of the story, though, is the the only real limits on what you can be, do, or have are due to you and your own thinking.


Why I loved it…

Tracy provides some tips on how to get empowered, change your way of thinking and start to see the changes in your own life. Here are some of my favorite lines from the book:

  • To realize your full potential, your greatest need is to break out of your limited thinking by dreaming big dreams and imagining unlimited possibilities.”
  • “People with clear, specific goals, who know exactly what they want, are very different from people who are going through life hoping for the best.”
  • “You are not helpless, and you are not stuck in a rut. Your true potential is limited only by your own imagination and determination.”
  • “To develop courage, force yourself to act courageously, even when you are afraid.”
  • “The final courage you need is the courage to persist  longer than anyone else… if you refuse to quit, you must ultimately succeed.”
  • “Your biggest challenge and your greatest responsibility are to create within yourself the mental equivalent of what you want to experience on the outside.”

Highly recommend for an educational read!

The book that motivated me for the future

Last but not least, I love Brené Brown.  Her book, The Gifts of Imperfection – Let Go f Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are (Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life), was incredible.

Check out some of her talks on YouTube for sure. She uses qualitative research methods based in grounded theory to explore shame, imperfection, authenticity, vulnerability, courage and empathy. Sorry, communication/psych nerd just nerding out for a second. This is exactly the kind of research I hope to pursue down the line, so being gifted this book was so amazing. (Thanks to my Aunt Lori!)


Why I loved it…

Obviously I’m pretty fascinated by the idea of perfection (duh). Brené talks a lot about embracing the vulnerabilities in our life and overcoming the pressure of perfection to live a wholehearted life.

“Owning our story is hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”

She also talks a lot about the difference between shame and guilt. Guilt is something I feel most of the time, but after learning the differentiation from Brené it may not be guilt at all.

And finally, something I really needed to hear in this book was about having faith and leaning into uncertainty. She talks about faith as a place to mystery, where we have to find the courage to believe in what we can’t see and let go of the uncertainty. Faith is what we need when we live and love with our whole hearts, because we risk being vulnerable and getting hurt. Personally, I have a really, really difficult time letting go of uncertainty. Not knowing kills me. But Brené puts it simply:

“The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty.”

As someone who is always dying to know how things are going to turn out, this has given me the strength to have faith that things will work out the way they’re supposed to in the end and in order to enjoy life, I just have to go. with. it.

So what have you been reading this summer? Anything that’s inspired you? I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to take on the fall as my best self.


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