A new year often brings about a new resolve to live life better. I've always felt that personal growth books are a wonderful investment in your self and your future. More than blog posts and podcasts, books give you so much more bang for the time you spend consuming them and if you take them to heart, they can bring massive growth and often much-needed change to one's life. This is why I commit to reading personal growth books at least 20 minutes a day. Over the course of a year, this adds up to quite a lot.
Below are my top 5 personal growth book recommendations that I read in 2021. Some of them gave me helpful, easy-to-implement suggestions that led to major improvements in my life. Others provided insights that have served to give me greater perspective on overall trends in my life. And some helped me consolidate my approach to certain aspects to things in my life. All of them were enjoyable to read and gave me plenty to think about. So if you're looking for a few personal growth books to add to your reading list in the new year as we start 2022, here are a few worthy of consideration.
1. Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most by Greg McKeown
Following up on concepts of his book Essentialism: The Discilipined Pursuit of Less (also a fantastic read) helps prevent overwork on things that are not as personally valuable. It gives perspective on the things you spend the most time on and provides insight into the process of looking at how you can do more with less effort. McKeown's writing style is both accessible and engaging, and if you get the audio version of the book, you can enjoy listening to him read his own book with his mellifluous British accent.
2. The Comfort Crisis: Embrace Discomfort To Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self by Michael Easter
We all live in a world in which humanity has learned to control our environment so much so that comfort is our normal state and things that cause discomfort are more often than not avoided. You may have heard the saying, "Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone." If this maxim is to be believed, the vast majority of the humans in developing countries are not experiencing life to the fullest. This book goes through the author's personal narrative experiencing discomfort through planned "misogi" experiences that brought him to his personal edge, showing us the benefits of this practice on our health and wellbeing. I can totally relate to the insights shared in this book, especially when I think of my experiences going on solo backpacking trips, and it gave me more ideas of how to implement the concepts of discomfort more regularly in my life.
3. Eat Smarter: Use the Power of Food to Reboot Your Metabolism, Upgrade Your Brain, and Transform Your Life by Shawn Stevenson
While this book didn't blow my mind with a ton of new information about health and nutrition, what it did do was give me a convenient book to recommend to people starting out on their journeys to improving their nutrition and eating patterns. It is really easy to read, making sense of a ton of cutting edge research in nutrition, providing a basis for understanding the importance of our choices in this regard. It is not a diet book, and doesn't pander to any specific way of eating (I.e. low carb, low fat, carnivore, vegan, etc.) The information within is helpful for making good eating choices no matter what style of diet you follow, making it a useful resource for everyone wanting to eat healthier.
4. Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success by Shawn Stevenson
Another book by the same author of Eat Smarter, this book is a quick and easy read with tips for improving sleep that are easy to implement. You don't even have to read the whole thing. You can just go to the tips themselves and try them out with great return on investment if you do. But if you need to be sold on the tips (or need to sell the ideas to a loved one), the book can help further your cause by clearly laying out the reasons and scientific back for each tip.
5. The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer by Steven Kotler
Flow researcher Steven Kotler wrote this book to "change your definition of the possible, teaching us how we too can stretch far beyond our capabilities, making impossible dreams much more attainable for all of us." This sounds like a pretty wild claim, but he lays the groundwork well to show that it is indeed possible for those who are so inclined, providing skills in motivation, learning, creativity and flow all of which are thoroughly grounded in science. If you want to find your flow and turbo-charge you processes to get improve performance in any area of your life, this book may help.