Need a fresh start? If you are trying to overcome disappointment, failure or grief or just want to give yourself a kick in the pants, I have started this list of books that are helping me reboot. Have a recommendation to share? Email me or share it in the comments below.
Updated February 2018
Where to start, especially if you need a butt drop:
Pretend you have a plain-speaking, colorful friend who is super smart and worldly. She’s been there and she’s figured it out and now she’s willing to mentor you and tell you that you are a badass. You’ll get that and more from this book. The best part of the book is her recommendations on other books to read depending on your needs.
I also recommend the You Are a Badass page-a-day calendar. This is a great way to start the day and the calendar part is not central to its utility meaning that you can tear off a page as needed. Even if that means you go through a week in one day. We all know some days are like that.
Where to start if you feel busy but not productive:
Deep Work by Cal Newport
If you feel like you are drowning in email, inundated with to-dos, busy but not productive and distracted by everything, this book is for you. Computer science professor Cal Newport will help you examine what it means to do deep work and why it matters. Quitting the distractions isn’t easy but it’s worth doing, especially if you feel like you are jumping from thing to thing but getting nowhere.
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
This book profiles the daily habits and rituals of more than 150 artists. If you ever wondered how to be a prolific writer, painter, etc., the answer is simple. Do the work every day. This book illustrates the importance of habit in getting things done. (There are some cautionary tales among these profiles, too.)
The profiles are short, a page or two or even less and you can skip around the book for inspiration or just to satisfy your curiosity about a favorite artist.
Where to start if you feel stuck:
A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley
Thinking about the path not taken? The path you would have like to take if only you were good at math or languages or something else? This is the book is the compass to help you rediscover the road not taken or the road you never dreamed possible. Professor Oakley is an inspiration and she has practical advice for helping you learn anything. Knowledge is power, my friends.
Where to start if you want to be more resilient:
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
It’s humbling to realize that you lack grit. But it’s reassuring to know that you can develop grit. And grit helps you in so many areas of life. Give your grittiness a regular workout and you’ll be amazed at what you are able to accomplish and overcome.
Fostering a growth mindset in yourself and your kids (or other young people)
Definitely, read the appropriate chapters of Grit, above, if you elect not to read the whole book.
Also check out chapter 7 of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.