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I was seven when I was given my first book, all my own, to read. It was a present from my second grade teacher as an end of year parting gift and the beginning of my book collection. I still have it.
It wasn’t a self discovery book but I think in some ways it was for me. That book began a journey of reading that was life transforming.
By high school, I was reading a book a day. 900 page novels would be devoured in just a weekend. I just absolutely loved books. But it wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s that I picked up my first personal development book.
I don’t remember what it was anymore, but I remember that it changed my life too. My shift from novels to self improvement books was a slow one at first.
Occasionally, I’d pick up a book that looked interesting or helpful but the more I read life transformative books, the more I wanted to read.
This happened until the only thing I was reading was personal growth and self discovery books. I had come to a place in my life where I knew something needed to change and these books seemed to hold many of the answers I needed.
The Best Self Discovery Books
In this post, I want to share the best self discovery books I’ve read with you, but in order to do that, I want to tell you my personal benchmark for a good one.
I’ve come to believe that our lives change in the small moments. It’s easy to think we’re waiting for big life altering transformations, but when it comes to personal growth, the smallest little “ah-ha” moments can have the biggest impact on us.
These tiny shifts are what I look for in a book. Sometimes we find books that seem to hold life altering revelation on every page, and other times we get one little perspective shift out of the whole book. One tiny perspective shift that is worth the read.
The best self discovery books don’t necessarily tell us who we are, but rather they give us awareness moments that help us see ourselves. It empowers us to move into alignment with who we authentically are, better understand ourselves and the world we’ve created for ourselves. Most importantly it helps give you a sense of finding yourself.
To find your authentic self is to find the life you were meant to live. There is nothing more soul enlightening than living in alignment with who you are; to let go of the facades and things that hold us back from the life we actually want to live.
Creating a life you feel good about and finding your true self…it all starts with perspective and mindset shifts. The best self discovery books don’t tell you who you are; they show you the life altering “ah-ha” moments that give you the tools to step into your authentic self so that you can create your best life.
These have had the greatest impact on my life…
I could talk about this book all day long but for the sake of brevity I’ll just say this…
No single book has helped me understand myself more than this one has. This book is all about the enneagram and when I discovered my type on the framework, it laid before me answers I had been searching for my whole life.
It also showed me a growth path that has changed my relationship with myself and others.
If you were like the old me and wanted life to be good but also believe it won’t stay that way, then you’ll want to add this book to your list.
It showed me how I kept self sabotaging my own life because my internal capacity to experience good things was capped. As if there were a glass ceiling on the goodness I could handle.
Anytime things started to get too good, it was actually out of my comfort zone, and I would find myself unconsciously self sabotaging to return me to my normal. This book helped me start to change that.
I recently picked this one up and loved the simplicity of its message. There is a kind of magic in hearing from people who have all lived to be over 100 years old talk about what brings happiness, purpose, and joy.
Hearing about what they cherish and what matters at the end of life made me reconsider my current actions/desires in a way I never would have otherwise. And as I like to say – you need to know what you want in order to bring it to life.
The number of things that hold us back from taking action on our dreams are countless but it means we’re living in fear and allowing it to shape our lives. It’s a hard place to be – to want something in life but let fear and anxiety hold you back.
In Take Control of Your Life, Mel Robbins coaches people through their biggest fears by helping them learn to identify what they are feeling and how to take control of it. I listened to this one a couple of times in a row and it empowered me with tools and mindsets I didn’t even know I needed.
Inside every one of us is a longing to let our creative soul guide us and to live in our passionate pursuit.
We don’t often consider that we can live out our passion and not require it to be our means to an end. We think we must choose either/or if we cannot make them one. This book sparked a major life change for me and it’s been truly *magical*.
I suggested it to a friend too and she said the same thing. If you’ve been feeling stuck – this is a must read!
There’s just something about knowing that no one is perfect, and also that so many other people had the same self shaming kind of thoughts and feelings I did.
Reading this book was like being handed a permission slip to just be myself – no shame – no condemnation. I didn’t have to be perfect or live up to what I thought society expected of me. I could just accept the gift that was me and my life.
This book taught me shame resilience and empathy for myself and others. It was everything I needed in my life in a time when who I was as a person, wife, and parental figure collided.
It is said we don’t always remember what someone says, but we always remember how we felt.
That’s how I feel about this book. I read it two years ago and while I couldn’t perfectly recite all the exercises and mindset shifts in it anymore, I do remember that this book helped me put into words what I wanted and needed in each area of my life more than anything else had up to that point.
If you feel like life is a series of mismatched days and constantly striving for survival, I’d suggest this Matthew Kelly book as a great place to start.
Reading Dr. Ho’s book helped me see that self sabotoge is a factor every person deals with in accordance with the L.I.F.E happens model.
Due to our childhoods, we have a tendency to minimize ourselves in the areas of low/shaky self concepts, internal beliefs, fear of the unknown, or excessive need for control.
This book has quizzes and exercises to help you immediately stop your self saboteurs and start living in freedom.
These aren’t the only self discovery books that are impactful, but they are the ones that have played a big part in helping me find myself and transforming into the person I am today. There is no chance I would be who I am today without them.
There’s something incredibly powerful about opening yourself up to a greater sense of personal awareness. It can feel vulnerable and hard, but it’s also what empowers us to see the growth path that will allow us to level up in life – to intentionally create a life we feel is in alignment with our most authentic self. There is nothing more soul enlightening than living in alignment with who you are; to let go of the facades and things that hold us back from the life we actually want to live.
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ABOUT ALLISON SUE
I’m a personal growth blogger, a nerd when it comes to books, and a lover of all things journals. When I’m not with you online, you’ll find me with my family, traveling somewhere, or watching Chinese shows on Netflix with my husband. Empowering you with tools to navigate to a life you feel confident about is always on my mind. I’d love to be on your confidence hype squad!
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