I read a lot. In fact I have counted the number of books I read in 2021. Want to know how many I read from cover to cover? Fifty four! While I enjoyed most of them, I have decided to select just 10 to make a favorite list. If you listen to the podcast, I have read all the books by the authors that I interviewed.
In addition to the Best Self-Help Books of 2021 list, I really enjoyed and highly recommend the following books: The Girl in the Red Boots by Judith Rabinor, The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity–and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race by
I will create a different list for best parenting books of 2021.
1. What Happened to You: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey
An excellent and accessible book, a Q&A between Oprah and Dr. Bruce Perry.What we experience in childhood shapes us forever―and that is especially true for young victims of trauma. It’s a lesson Oprah learned as a child being raised by an abusive grandmother. She developed ‘a keen sense of when trouble was brewing’―when she would be subjected to ‘whuppings’ at times so brutal, the welts left behind would bleed through her clothing.
2. Set Boundaries, Find Peace: a Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Tawwab
This The instant New York Times bestseller is a must read for everyone. Healthy boundaries. We all know we should have them–in order to achieve work/life balance, cope with toxic people, and enjoy rewarding relationships with partners, friends, and family. But what do “healthy boundaries” really mean–and how can we successfully express our needs, say “no,” and be assertive without offending others?
3. Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It by Ethan Kross
A NATIONAL BESTSELLER from an award-winning psychologist who reveals the hidden power of our inner voice and shows how to harness it to combat anxiety, improve physical and mental health, and deepen our relationships with others. One of my favorite books of 2021. Such an enjoyable read with about 21 practical tools to help our inner voice work in our favor. Listen to my interview with the author on the podcast. It’s Ep. 294: The Voice in Your Head and How to Harness It
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER from the author of the million-copy-selling Essentialism, which is a fantastic book, comes an empowering guide to achieving your goals. It all starts with a simple principle: Not everything has to be so hard.
The effortless way isn’t the lazy way. It’s the smart way. It may even be the only way. Not every hard thing in life can be made easy. But we can make it easier to do more of what matters most.
5. The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer by Steven Kotler
I really enjoyed this one. In fact right after finishing I started it again! What does it take to accomplish the impossible? What does it take to shatter our limitations, exceed our expectations, and turn our biggest dreams into our most recent achievements? Inspirational and aspirational, pragmatic and accessible, The Art of Impossible is a life-changing experience disguised as a how-to manual for peak performance that anyone can use to shoot for the stars . . . space-suit, not included.
6. How to Do The Work Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self by Nicole LePera
From Dr. Nicole LePera, creator of “the holistic psychologist”—the online phenomenon with more than four million Instagram followers—comes a revolutionary approach to healing that harnesses the power of the self to produce lasting change. In How to Do the Work, Dr. LePera offers readers the support and tools that will allow them to break free from destructive behaviors to reclaim and recreate their lives. Nothing short of a paradigm shift, this is a celebration of empowerment that will forever change the way we approach mental wellness and self-care.
This book is not only a fantastic read but visually is beautiful too. In Atlas of the Heart, Brown takes us on a journey through eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. As she maps the necessary skills and an actionable framework for meaningful connection, she gives us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances—a universe where we can share and steward the stories of our bravest and most heartbreaking moments with one another in a way that builds connection.
8. No Bad Parts: Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness by Richard Schwartz
Discover an empowering new way of understanding your multifaceted mind―and healing the many parts that make you who you are.
Is there just one “you”? We’ve been taught to believe we have a single identity, and to feel fear or shame when we can’t control the inner voices that don’t match the ideal of who we think we should be. Yet Dr. Richard Schwartz’s research now challenges this “mono-mind” theory. “All of us are born with many sub-minds―or parts,” says Dr. Schwartz. “These parts are not imaginary or symbolic. They are individuals who exist as an internal family within us―and the key to health and happiness is to honor, understand, and love every part.”
I interviewed Dr. Schwartz on the podcast and he conducted an IFS session with me, which was quite eye-opening and very helpful. Listen to Ep. 292: Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness
9. The Breathing Cure by Patrick McKeown
I learned so much from this book about breathing. “Many people believe that taking a deep breath increases body oxygenation. The opposite is the case.” — Patrick McKeown, bestselling author of The Oxygen Advantage
This is the bible of breathing. I have interviewed Patrick for the show and that episode will air in January. It’s phenomenal.
The Breathing Cure will guide you through techniques that embody the key to healthy breathing and healthy living. McKeown’s goal is to enable you to take responsibility for your own health, to prevent and significantly reduce a number of common ailments, to help you realize your potential and to offer simple, scientifically-based ways to change your breathing habits. On a day-to-day basis, you will experience an increase in energy and concentration, an enhanced ability to deal with stress and a better quality of life.
We are living through one of the most anxious periods any of us can remember. Whether facing issues as public as a pandemic or as personal as having kids at home and fighting the urge to reach for the wine bottle every night, we are feeling overwhelmed and out of control. But in this timely book, Judson Brewer explains how to uproot anxiety at its source using brain-based techniques and small hacks accessible to anyone.
We think of anxiety as everything from mild unease to full-blown panic. But it’s also what drives the addictive behaviors and bad habits we use to cope (e.g. stress eating, procrastination, doom scrolling and social media). Plus, anxiety lives in a part of the brain that resists rational thought. So we get stuck in anxiety habit loops that we can’t think our way out of or use willpower to overcome. Dr. Brewer teaches us map our brains to discover our triggers, defuse them with the simple but powerful practice of curiosity, and to train our brains using mindfulness and other practices that his lab has proven can work.
I hope you found this helpful and you’ll be inspired to pick up a book or two for yourself or as a gift for others. Books make great gifts!
As I mentioned, I’ll create a favorite parenting books post as well. I read some fantastic ones this year.
There are so many books on my to-read list! I’m looking forward to some quite time during the holidays to dive into them.