In honor of World Book Day, I wanted to share the 10 practical self-help books that changed my life. In no particular order they are:
1. How to Get out of Debt, Stay out of Debt and Live Prosperously by Jerrold Mundis.
I had credit card debt and this book told me precisely how to get out of debt with a step by step plan. I learned that if you want to learn how to do something, the right book can help you do so, whether that something is getting out of debt, clearing clutter, learning how to negotiate, taking care of a new born baby or any of the other things one needs to do in life.
2. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
The simple exercises that helped me tap into my natural creative nature were to write Morning Pages every day and to take myself on an Artist’s Date every week. She offers many other exercises in her book but these two were enough to get me started writing Coach Yourself to Success.
3. Creative Visualization by Shatki Gawain.
I had no idea you could visualize what you want and increase your chances of making it happen. Shatki Gawain shows you exactly how to do this in this short and simple book, a book much more useful than The Secret for attracting what you want.
4. Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James.
This book not only showed me how to simplify my already complicated life, but also it inspired me to write my first book about life coaching (see below) with 101 coaching tips.
5. Coach Yourself to Success by Talane Miedaner.
Okay, I’ve managed to sneak my own book onto this list because writing this book did in fact change my life, catapulting my speaking and coaching career to another level.
6. You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen.
After reading this classic book, I realized much more was negotiable than I had realized. Everyone needs to learn to negotiate. It is an essential life skill and especially if you approach it from a win-win perspective. You’ll be more confident asking and negotiating a pay raise, getting discounts on purchases both major and minor if you know how to negotiate.
These books are essential to understanding how money works, how the rich think differently than the middle class and the poor, and that you make money by buying income-producing assets instead of doodads.
8. A Life Less Throwaway: The Lost Art of Buying for Life by Tara Button.
This book helped me realize how damaging our “normal” consumer lifestyle is. It also showed me how to make practical changes to lessen the damage we are doing while enhancing the quality of our lives such as creating a uniform for work. I like her fashion evaluation form in the book.
I laughed out loud when I read that Dana had a cast iron bathtub in her back yard because I had one, too! Truly kindred spirits at some level. The biggest revelation from her books was that a house is a container full of containers and there are real physical limits to how much stuff can comfortably fit into that container that is your home. Obvious but I had never thought of it that way. She also has very practical tips about decluttering in a busy family household with kids, creating a workable cleaning schedule and made me realize that yes, it works much, much better if you run the dishwasher every night and empty it every morning, and it works better to keep the lids on your storage containers too. Simple things that used to create chaos are now sorted. I now also do a daily load of laundry although she does everything on a specific set laundry day.
10. The New Contented Little Baby Book by Gina Ford.
I had no idea how much work a new born baby could be so this book gave me the feeding and sleeping schedule that worked to have my first baby sleeping through the night after 8 weeks — a miracle given she was colicky. Unfortunately, that same plan didn’t work on my second baby and she didn’t sleep for a year. But, if it works on even one child, it is worth doing for all those lovely nights of sleep. I also knew that if I followed the schedule, my chances of getting a good night’s sleep were vastly improved and that I’d be giving my baby the correct number of feedings and naps throughout the day. More than I would have thought!