As we get our kids ready for back to school, it’s time to start thinking about your own personal growth.

Oh, wait. You thought back to school prep was just for kids?

No way! You need to learn and grow too. The difference is you get to choose what and how you will learn.  You get to choose what part of your life needs a kick in the pants!

Today I’m sharing my favorite motivational books that have made a huge impact on me personally and professionally. They have kickstarted new habits and launched some huge growth in my life. I’m a sucker for motivational reads, so feel free to send me your recommended motivational books too!

Side note: I decided not to put Christian books in this category because if I did, my list would be WAY TOO LONG.  Instead I’ll save my favorite Christian nonfiction books for another post in the near future.  You won’t want to miss it!

In the meantime, are you ready to go back to school?



The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

I picked up this book because I wanted to know the secret behind why someone can develop a good habit or break a bad one.  It’s not only an interesting concept on a personal level (we all want to develop better habits), it’s also a fascinating topic for anyone who loves to explore how the brain works and what shapes our motivations.

In The Power of Habitaward-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives. (From Amazon)



Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Are you afraid to create something beautiful?  Do you fear that what you create will be rejected? This book is about giving creative people the motivation to do their work and cast off all the things that keep us from creating beautiful things. Written by the author of Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert has powerful and relatable insights into the creative process and how to overcome what holds us back.

With profound empathy and radiant generosity, Gilbert offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy. (Amazon)



What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast  by Laura Vanderkam

I read this on vacation last year, which is not the ideal time to read a book about getting up early and being productive since vacations are anything but that. At the time, I was interested in developing a long-term habit of productive morning routines and this book helped me to do just that a few months later. It focuses not only on productivity, but on how to eliminate waste from your schedule while being intentional with how you rest. For a more in-depth book about using your time well, read her longer work, 168 Hours.

Laura Vanderkam helps readers build habits that lead to happier, more productive lives, despite the pressures of their busy schedules. Through interviews and anecdotes, she reveals . . .What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast—to jump-start the day productively. What the Most Successful People Do On the Weekend—to recharge and prepare for a great week. What the Most Successful People Do at Work—to accomplish more in less time. (Amazon)




Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy

I started listening to Michael Hyatt’spodcast before I read his book and his information is always extremely practical for leadership development and personal growth. Although his information is designed to strengthen leaders, he is also a great resource for big picture goal-setting.

This book helps readers come up with a “life plan”that defines what’simportant to you and helps you achieve it. Perfect for young adults who are just starting to formulate a direction in life and need help seeing that work success is not everything.

In this step-by-step guide, the authors share proven principles that help readers create a simple but effective life plan so that they can get from where they are now to where they really want to be–in every area of life. (Amazon)



Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

You may have heard of Simon Sinek’sTed Talk on the same subject, which is a shorter version of his message.  Although this is a business book, it was a fascinating look at how companies have found success by defining why they do what they do.  Sinek gives dozens of examples of this, and focuses on Apple’s success as a prime of example of how a defined “why”made them successful.

Although the premise of the book is not surprising (of course companies are successful when they define their why), what is fascinating is discovering just what the why is. Often times, the why has a broader purpose of changing the world and not just making a lot of money. An important read for anyone in business, ministry, or an entrepreneur.

START WITH WHY shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way — and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY. (Amazon)


summer reading

Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Hollis is known for being a big dreamer and working hard to chase those dreams. (which is why I talked about her book when I recommended my summer reads). She’salso good at telling women not to give up on their dreams, no matter the obstacles or lies you believe about yourself.

Using examples from diverse areas of her life, she works through the dreams she’s had in business, marriage, family and personally. For those who like audio books, Hollis is an especially good reader.

With painful honesty and fearless humor, Rachel unpacks and examines the falsehoods that once left her feeling overwhelmed and unworthy, and reveals the specific practical strategies that helped her move past them. In the process, she encourages, entertains, and even kicks a little butt, all to convince you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be. (Amazon)


I would love to hear about your recommended motivational books!


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