5 Self-Development Books to Read in 2019

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I have a confession to make… I’m a sucker for self-development books. Because of my love for self-help, I have to be careful not to become a self-help junkie. A self-help junkie is someone who devours self-development books without putting the advice into action. Self-help junkies don’t make concrete changes to improve their life. Because of the prevalence self-help junkies, I hear often that self-help books are a scam. I wholly disagree.

Not All Self-Development Books Are Created Equally

Like any other genre, not all self-development books are created equally. Readers interested in self-development have to find a good book and be willing to put the advice into practice. The best self-development books give direct advice that can be used immediately. Rather than reading through pages of fluff about how great you are or how you just need a better attitude, great self-development books challenge our ways of thinking and push us out of our comfort zones. In 2019, I challenge you to read these books and put the advice into practice. However small the changes are, each change is a big step forward!

The Top 5 Self-Development Books to Read in 2019

1. How To Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers
by Toni Bernhard

Bernhard is an author who became chronically ill in 2001. She was originally diagnosed with an acute viral infection, but she never got better. In How To Be Sick, Bernhard discusses her journey coming to terms with being sick and how to live a fulfilling life with a chronic illness. She offers concrete steps for individuals with chronic illness and their caregivers to lead a fulfilling life, despite being sick. How Not To Be Sick won the Nautilus Gold Medal in Self-Help.

2. The Emotional Extremist's Guide to Handling Cartoon Elephants: How to Solve Elephantine Emotional Problems Without Getting Run Over, Chased, Flattened by Renee Hoekstra

Hoekstra is a clinical psychologist who wrote The Emotional Extremist's Guide to Handling Cartoon Elephants for any adult that experiences painful, overwhelming emotions. The book is a friendly guide with light-hearted pictures of cartoon elephants that illustrate how overwhelming emotions can feel like “the elephant in the room.” Hoekstra helps readers address the elephant in the room head-on by understanding their difficult emotions and learning how to cope with them.

3. The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron

Aron is a psychologist who wrote The Highly Sensitive Person for anyone who feels overwhelmed by everyday life. Those of us who are easily affected by loud sounds and bright lights (among other things) can have a hard time living in a society that thrives on constant ads, aggressive bosses, and violent media. In The Highly Sensitive Person, Aron celebrates the highly sensitive person’s differences and helps us understand ourselves. By understanding our highly-sensitive traits, we are able to maximize the strengths that our sensitivity brings and minimize the weaknesses.


4. The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People by Judith Orloff

Orloff is a psychiatrist and New York Times bestselling author. She wrote The Empath’s Survival Guide for all empaths. Empaths take on other people’s emotions as their own. As a result, empaths often have trouble distinguishing their emotions from others and managing those emotions. Orloff provides empaths with tools and exercises to learn how to cope successfully in a harsh world. Instead of pushing us to build a protective barrier around ourselves and “toughen up,” Orloff helps us understand ourselves and find the best spot for ourselves in today's world.


5. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead Paperback by Brené Brown

Brown is a research professor and New York Times bestselling author. Her motto is “courage over comfort.” In Daring Greatly, Brown challenges readers to embrace their vulnerability and uncertainty. In an ambivalent world, Brown argues that vulnerability is actually our best trait. Rather than build the reader up with fluff and useless advice, Brown calls the reader out, pushing them to “dare greatly,” leaving behind feelings of shame in order to accomplish our dreams.

Sources: Toni Bernhard, Renee Hoekstra, The Highly Sensitive Person, Judith Orloff MD, Goodreads

Written by: August Blair