As a bit of a book addict – especially anything that promises to make me a better, more successful person – I admit that I’m often quick to exclaim, “THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. IT’S CHANGING MY LIFE.” Only for a few months (even weeks) to pass, and I’ve all but forgotten it even existed. No new habits adopted, no obvious life-changing direction having taken place.
This list is different, however.
These 7 gems have stuck with me since I read them (some of them as long as 3 years ago) and ALL prompted me to make some sort of change that has since reaped positive rewards. No, I haven’t yet made my first million, don’t have my dream body, and aren’t yet a famous Hollywood actor. But my life is more exciting, fulfilling and productive than ever before. And that seems like a pretty good step in the right direction.
So here they are. Whether you’re self-employed, creative or simply love reading, I really hope you find something new in this list and that it makes your life even a tiny bit better.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
If you’re one of the few creatives left on the planet who haven’t read this book, please fix that right now. Elizabeth has this incredible gentle-tough love approach that works to brighten that flame of creativity inside you and quieten the voices telling you you’re not worthy, not good enough or that it’s too late. Perfect for absolutely any human, but especially if you’ve been battling inner demons that tell you to “be practical” and “grow up” when deep in your gut you know you’re supposed to be living a creative life.
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
This book has an interesting format — almost a series of very short essays on the creative process. Steven originally wrote it for fellow writers, then quickly realised that no creatives were immune to the resistance and fear that comes with trying to create. I personally found the first section so powerful it gave me goosebumps, and knowing that I wasn’t the only one experience these struggles helped me to dig deeper and get braver with my creative pursuits. This one will probably be more relatable if you’ve been on a creative path for more than a few years, but it’s a quick read, so definitely check it out no matter where you’re at.
Finish: Give yourself the gift of done by Jon Acuff
I’m a starter. I have all the ideas and I’ll be bursting with excitement to begin with… and then I stop. Before it’s finished. Sound familiar? The author of this book has studied peoples’ habits around goal setting (and finishing) for years now and discovered that while most of us have no trouble beginning new projects, very few of us will ever see them through. The reason for this is very clear and when he first dropped the truth bomb on me, I went, ‘OHHHHHHH.’ It ALL made sense. If you’re sick of starting things and want to learn how to finish them, read this… now.
The Big Leap: Conquer your fear and take life to the next level by Gay Hendricks
Have you noticed how as we get older, we start to become more and more aware of what could go wrong in any situation? This awareness turned me into such a scaredy cat and resulted in me taking less and less risks every year. Most of our fear, however, comes from internal dialogue that was planted in our childhood and then recited (by our inner voices) over and over until we believe it. The author refers to this as our “Upper Limit Problem” and as soon as I was able to give it a label, I suddenly saw my own upper limits on the daily and was blown away by how crippling they are. That is, until you expose them. Which is exactly what this book does. Reading this last year was one of the biggest turning points of my adult life and I truly believe everyone should read (or listen to) this before it’s too late.
Crushing it: How great entrepreneurs build their business and influence — and how you can, too by Gary Vaynerchuck
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Gary Vee as he’s one of the kings of social media — which is exactly what he teaches you about in this book. Reading this book was the kick up the butt I needed to start thinking about building my personal brand and gave me the idea to launch my YouTube channel as part of that process. While some of his teachings can feel a bit high-level and hyped up, he’s living proof that they work, and if you want to create a life and career that truly makes an impact in the world, this book is a good place to start.
The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
This might seem a little off-topic to the other books in this list, but when I read this a few years ago, it changed the way I view “stuff”, inspired me to get rid of 30 (yes, thirty) garbage bags of clothes, and start decluttering my life which in turn decluttered my head. Our living and working environments play such a huge role in how productive and creative we are, not to mention how peaceful and grounded we’re able to feel. If the space you lives in makes you anxious, stressed or uncomfortable, you should read this as soon as possible. It’s incredible how much lighter you feel when you’re not drowning in clutter!
What books made an impact on you in 2018? Comment below and tell me all about them!
Kat is an actor and personal branding coach as well as the host of The Personal Branding Project Podcast and her self-titled YouTube channel. She started her career off by playing Marilyn at Warner Bros Movie World, went on to perform in the original Australian casts of Jersey Boys & Hairspray and eventually found herself writing/producing her own work before becoming a self-employed copywriter and marketing strategist. She now offers 1:1 Coaching and Online Courses for entrepreneurs, freelancers + multi-passionate creatives.