• Jenny King

My Favourite Books for Self Improvement

I'm a big fan of self improvement books. I much prefer the term 'self improvement' over 'self help.' Self help has negative connotations. It suggests weakness, that we're not good enough and I just don't believe this. We're all good enough just as we are, but we also deserve to invest in ourselves and grow. It's good for our mental health and self esteem. So I thought I would share some of my favourite self improvement books today. One of my self imposed book buying rules is that I can buy a book if I know it will nurture my creativity, skills or self worth, so I own a copy of each of these in my little self improvement library.

Happy: Finding joy in every day and letting go of perfect by Fearne Cotton

I just love the simplicity of Happy by Fearne Cotton. It's a book written from personal experience. No it's not going to cure your depression, but I found it really helpful to do some of the exercises when my mind is running wild (which it does often) and bring me back into the moment. It's a book to work through slowly and savour. Plus it's beautiful.

The Comparison Cure: How to be less ‘them’ and more you by Lucy Sheridan

A very recent read for me, and the true reason I have started blogging again. I thought I didn't compare myself to others anymore, I really did. But working through Lucy's book and reflecting on the areas of my life where I do fall into the comparison trap was a real eye opener for me. I realised just how much my fears, my vulnerabilities and my self sabotaging tendencies were holding me back. I adored this book and genuinely feel it could benefit anybody that feels like they're not fulfilling their true potential.

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Someone Who's Been There by Cheryl Strayed

I have this book on audio and I definitely recommend consuming it in this way, it's as if Cheryl Strayed is speaking straight to you if you connect with any of the letters. For several years, Cheryl Strayed was the anonymous internet agony aunt for The Rumpus. Each letter in this collection is responded to with compassion, honesty and from a place of personal experience. It's clear she has lived through and witnessed an awful lot of pain in her life. That pain has made her who she is today, and allowed her to respond to those letters like no agony aunt I have ever read. If you can relate to just one letter in this collection then it is completely worth reading.

"Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard. It can be light as the hug we give a friend, or heavy as the sacrifices we make for our children. It can be romantic, platonic, familiar, pleading, everlasting, conditional, unconditional, imbued with sorrow, stoked by sex, sullied by abuse, amplified by kindness, twisted by betrayal, deepened by time, darkened by difficulty, leavened by generosity, nourished by humour, and loaded with promises and commitments that we may or may not want to keep. The best thing you can possibly do with your life, is tackle the mother-fucking shit out of love." Cheryl Strayed

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert is a very spiritual person and I struggled a little with some of the concepts in this book (and that's coming from someone who is pretty spiritual herself) but she is such a wonderful, motivational, inspirational writer. She's a real advocate for creativity and our capabilities of expressing it. Encouraging us to put our fears aside, embrace what we love and tackle the ideas that come to us.

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin

This is a book about breaking habits. I listened to the audio and immediately bought my own copy of the book to keep close at hand. Gretchen Rubin developed the idea of The Four Tendencies which outlines why certain personalities struggle to form good habits. I'm an obliger, I'm motivated by external accountability - deadlines, pleasing other people - and I really struggle with self motivation and meeting my own inner expectations. It's something I've worked hard on to change. Part of the reason I am now writing my blog again is because I'm trying hard to do things for me and finish them simply because I want to.

This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart by Susannah Conway

The first time I read this book, I was so moved and inspired by Susannah's words that I bought a copy for at least four of my friends. I adored it. I tabbed the heck out of it. It's a book about understanding ourselves, our relationships and our path better. Re-reading my review on Goodreads I wrote that I'd never dealt with true grief, and sadly in just a few short years I now have. I could do with reworking through this book again and unravelling some of those emotions. Susannah shares wonderful reflection tools at the end of each chapter and the book is dotted with her beautiful Polaroid photographs. I keep meaning to work my way through her Unravelling Your Year Workbook too.


Have you read any of these books? What did you think? And do let me know what your favourite self improvement books are. I'm always looking for new ones to read.

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