List: Best Books for Personal Growth

1. Best books for Emotional Growth: Dare to Lead, Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown

Brené Brown has been a breakout author and speaker in the realm of vulnerability. Her 2010 TedTalk on The Power of Vulnerability has almost 50m views and that was just the start of her reach. I have read or listened to all her books many times and I have found truth in her words.

I have been listening to Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. It is filled with actionable suggestions on how best to recognize and honor vulnerability and emotions in the workplace. Unlike her other books which are focused on personal emotions, this book centered on how to use these in a leadership setting. I recommend starting with Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and Braving the Wilderness then moving on to Dare to Lead to get the most out of it.

Brown’s podcast Unlocking Us with Brené Brown is one of my favorite new podcasts of the year. Brown narrates her own books and podcasting was the natural next step. Started just at the beginning of the pandemic Brown has been talking to many experts about some of the hardest emotional and vulnerable topics. I cannot recommend it enough.

I recommend these books if you’re ready to understand your own emotions, fear, and vulnerabilities and to work through how these things affect you. 

2. Best book for getting your finances in order: I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

Ramit Sethi has been in the business of helping people with their personal finances for his whole career. He has an awesome online presence (hello Instagram!) and focuses on accessible and simple advice. His book, I Will Teach You to be Rich is in its second print edition and shows you a 6-week program to get your financial ducks in a row. My favorite part is the section on how to find and develop your personal Rich Life, which helps you to focus on the why of your personal finances. This has helped me to think through what I want out of my money not only what accounts it will go into.

I recommend this book if you’re looking for no-nonsense, simple instructions on how to set up your personal finances and how to make your money work for you. 

3. Best business memoir to understand grit and imposter syndrome: It’s About Damn Time by Arlan Hamilton

Arlan Hamilton is a successful venture capitalist who came up from nothing. She writes in this book about her story of learning, overcoming, and becoming the person she is today. I wrote about It’s About Damn Time earlier this summer and I still think about many of her stories and learnings.

I recommend this book if you’re looking for inspiration to overcome your imposter syndrome and learn about one of the great’s backstory.

4. Best books to define your why: Start with Why and The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek has devoted his career to helping organizations and people define their purpose. Start with Why defines why purpose-driven missions are important. The Infinite Game shows how these missions should be expansive and the how of a company should be aligned with the why but not the sum total of the why. One of the best ways to be resilient is to have purpose larger than yourself then be flexible about how you achieve your purpose.

I read and wrote a discussion guide for The Infinite Game last year (disclosure: I received a press copy of The Infinite Game from Penguin Random House) and it helped me think more expansively about my purpose.

I recommend this book if you’re looking to define your own why and align that with the work that you do.

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