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24 Sep 2017


By Gracie Carroll

9 Essential Self-Help Books To Have On Your Book Shelf (And In Your Life)

By Jen Kirsch

Self Help Books Edit Seven Toronto 2018

When it comes to reading, I tend to go through phases of the types of books I gravitate towards. And since the new year rolled around, I’ve found myself hitting the reset button. As I mentioned last month on here, I’m going through a breakup, and working on getting that joie de vivre back that I pride myself on.

Since then, I’ve been basking in books of the self-help variety to help ignite the spark that somehow went out within me, and to get to a place mentally and emotionally that will serve me better in terms of my well-being, my work-life, my love life, et al. For those of you who have yet to dabble in the self-help genre, here are my top 9 essential self-help book recommendations to help you be your best self.

The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz

Self Help Books Edit Seven Toronto 2018

In my first therapy session in my mid-twenties, my therapist told me to buy The Four Agreements and read it before my next session as part of my homework. This book has greatly changed my life and how I operate and is by far the number one must have for any living breathing human. Basically, if you live your life abiding by the four agreements Don Miguel Ruiz writes about, then you will live a life free of drama and pain. It’s a classic for a reason.

The Mastery of Love – Don Miguel Ruiz

Self Help Books Edit Seven Toronto 2018

Also by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Mastery of Love shares insight on what real, healthy love looks like, and through metaphorical examples showcases why we tend to accept scraps from others. Awareness leads to change, so this read, which Britney Spears once said changed her life, can help you seek out what you deserve when it comes to romantic relationships. It’s short and digestible meaning you can easily read it in one sitting.

Love Warrior – Glennon Doyle

Self Help Books Edit Seven Toronto 2018

This memoir, Love Warrior, by Glennon Doyle is one of the most honest, raw, deep and shape-shifting books I’ve read about love, loss, grief and even addiction. I almost don’t want to even write a write up on what you’ll expect, because no words will do this book justice. The author behind it has become one of my favourite, empowering women to follow online and her journey is nothing short of inspiring. If you’re going through marital troubles, relationship problems or coping with loss, this book is for you. It will make you feel braver than you’ve ever felt, and a little less alone and will help you hone into your inner warrior. Trust me, she’s in their somewhere, lovely. As an aside, fans of this book include one Oprah Winfrey and Eat Pray Love’s Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s also a #1 New York Times Bestseller (!).

How to Get Sh*t Done – Erin Falconer

Self Help Books Edit Seven Toronto 2018

In How to Get Sh*t Done, Erin Falconer, editor in chief and co-owner of the highly respected self-improvement site Pick the Brain (one of the most popular and respected self-help communities online), shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. If your emotions or your expectations tend to get in your way, this book is for you. You’ll learn how to let go of that, embrace your inner free spirit and get shit done.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck – Sarah Knight

Self Help Books Edit Seven Toronto 2018

If you read my piece on how I’m choosing to live a life of joy this year, then you no doubt know I’m head over heels for author Sarah Knight who wrote You Do You, the third book in her self-help series of titles. So it should come as no surprise that I’m hot for The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck  (which was the first in her series) because it’s just so easy to read, conversational and once you read it, and it seems like a no brainer. We’re so consumed as human people with worries of what we should have said or done, or how things might pan out. We worry about being judged and how we look and why didn’t we get X amount of likes on our most recent Insta post? We do things out of guilt and say yes, when we mean no and then spend our time hating being at whatever commitment it is, because we don’t want to offend anyone. Anyways, this book is a major wakeup call. It’s short, sweet and you’ll likely want to pass it off to your pent up friend, if only you didn’t want to have it on hand at all times for yourself. Great point of reference and my copy is filled with little tabby’s here there and everywhere.

The Measure of My Powers – Jackie Kai Ellis

Self Help Books Edit Seven Toronto 2018

This memoir, The Measure of My Powers, has total Eat Pray Love vibes and comes from writer Jackie Kai Ellis, a woman who had the quote unquote perfect marriage–handsome husband, great home–but just wasn’t fulfilled. She was clouded with depression and finally decided to leave it all to start a life full of passion and ultimately joy. We see her journey from France to Italy, then the Congo and back again—to find herself. Along the way, she goes to pastry school in Paris, eats the most perfect apricots over the Tuscan hills, watches a family of gorillas grazing deep in the Congolese brush, has her heart broken one last time on a bridge in Lyon. I have a feeling this honest, raw, indulgent read is going to be one women everywhere are talking about and keeping on their bedside table. The author is the founder of Vancouver’s Beaucoup Bakery and the lead of The Paris Tours. It was also just announced by Indigo that it’s the new Heather’s Pick for March.

Judgment Detox – Gabrielle Bernstein

Self Help Books Edit Seven Toronto 2018

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Gabrielle Bernstein comes a clear, proactive, step-by-step process to release the beliefs that hold you back from living a better life. Judgment Detox is all about how you interact with judgement and changing your thought pattern and in turn, actions. Bernstein has been featured on Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday as a “next generation thought leader,” and each lesson in this book focuses on a sense of ultimate healing.

You Are a Badass – Jen Sincero

Self Help Books Edit Seven Toronto 2018

This book, You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, has been a MASSIVE success and is about to have its 5th anniversary in April. It has continued to top the best-sellers list (!) since it came out and really hones into the idea of personal growth and overcoming those self-sabotaging behaviours we totally repeat. It’s light, fun, the chapters are short and there are even some activities within the book to help make you accountable.

Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal – Lori Deschene

Self Help Books Edit Seven Toronto 2018

Though not out yet (coming Jun 2018), I was able to get my hands on an advanced copy of Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal and feel like it must be included on this list. A big fan and follower of Tiny Buddha’s online community over the years, I seek solace in the words of wisdom provided on their website, and more succinctly on their Twitter posts. This is an interactive book that asks the readers to take part of journaling their fears, concerns, anxieties and stressors, putting pen to paper to create goals and to see our often misguided train of thought.

Happy Reading!



(Story by Contributing Editor, Jen Kirsch)

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