Have you read anything lately that pushed you out of your comfort zone? Literature is there to open us up to whole new worlds, and these do just that. Below are 11 books that are sure to inspire you to be courageous, love yourself, and be happy.
1. My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir by Noelle Hancock.How many fears have you faced this year? In her memoir, Noelle Hancock hilariously recounts the story of her “year of fear” sparked by a layoff and the subsequent obsession with Eleanor Roosevelt after seeing a quote of hers in a coffee shop: “Do one thing a day that scares you.” As you read this book, you’ll feel inspired to face your own fears in life, whether it’s skydiving or standing up for what you believe in.
“Having to face yourself and the guilt and self-punishment that comes from falling short of expectations – that’s courageous.”
2. #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso. NastyGal founder and CEO Sophia Amoruso recounts her story of becoming a woman at the helm of a multi-million dollar business by recognizing that she could be more than what she was — and going for it. This isn’t a guide book to starting your own business; it’s an honest story of how Sophia pushed her own boundaries to become the woman she was always meant to be.
“No matter where you are in life, you’ll save a lot of time by not worrying too much about what other people think about you. The earlier in your life you can learn that, the easier the rest of it will be.”
3. Hector and the Search for Happiness by Fracois Lelord. After years as a psychiatrist, Hector starts to wonder about his patients, and what makes them truly happy. In an attempt to uncover the truth, Hector travels the world recording what sparks joy in the people he meets. This book will inspire you to start on your own journey to finding what makes you truly happy.
“The basic mistake people make is to think that happiness is the goal!”
4. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen has a great life, but she still believes that she can be happier. In this book, she sets out to spend one year achieving happiness goals in different areas in her life. While it doesn’t go perfectly, Gretchen integrates self-help with wit and humor to inspire us to continue to make subtle changes to our lives on the path of happiness.
“One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.”
5. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. Don’t get too wrapped up in title. While this does cover the topic of running, it does so in a completely unconventional way — a way that will inspire your life and teach you that you have the ability to be more than you are, whether you’re a runner or not.
“… this ninety-five year old man came hiking twenty-five miles over the mountain. Know why he could do it? Because no one ever told him he couldn’t.”
6. A Million Miles in A Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life by Donald Miller. After Donald wrote a successful book, he felt like his life had stopped. During this time, he was approached by two directors who want to turn his book into a movie. Donald has a chance to really look at his story, both the book as it’s turned into a movie and his own life. He’ll inspire you to think of your life like a book, one where conflict, relationships and emotion are all intertwined to create your unique story.
“Fear isn’t only a guide to keep us safe; it’s also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life… the great stories go to those who don’t give into fear.”
7. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I know this book is relatively old and has been talked about too many times to count, but it is truly an inspiring story of a woman’s courage to leave it all behind to search for (and find) herself. Plus, the whole traveling to different countries (and eating delicious food) is enough to have anyone hooked.
“This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.”
8. Make It Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live on Purpose by Lara Casey. In this book, Lara shares her experience of the do-it-all woman and how exhausted she had become from trying to be perfect. After a complete 180 and the transition to a happy life, she encourages other women to find their passion and take the leap into happiness.
“Leaps of faith mean giving something up for the sake of something better, letting something die in order for something new to be able to grow.”
9. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. It’s easy to get caught up in anxiety, fear and shame in our go-go-go lives. But these emotions don’t help us to flourish and can eat away at our intentions. In this book, Brene encourages us to be courageous and face the emotions that are holding us back.
“Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.”
10. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This is one of two works of fiction on this list and I don’t want to give too much away. One of the underlying themes is that, even in a world of turmoil and hate, people are still good. Read it and be inspired to do as much good as you can in your life.
“Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.”
11. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. Not another running book! While this book does focus on running, Murakami tells his story in a way that will help you realize that you need to do you in life. Plus, if you have any interest in making 2016 your best body year, this book will help you on your way!
“I’ve always done whatever I felt like doing in life. People may try to stop me, and convince me I’m wrong, but I won’t change.”