I spent 2021 in an impromptu book club focused on self development. Yes, it was unexpected, but we’re already planning to do it next year too. We learned some things about ourselves, but we also learned some things about self development books. Here are three things I want you to know.
Self Development Books
When you hear the term self development, you probably think of the self help section at your bookstore. Perhaps you are lucky enough to have never visited the aisle. But that’s not me. I have loads of stuff I’d like to improve upon, so when my friend suggested we read one self development book a month in 2021 and then FaceTime to chat about it, I was completely on board.
The book club started with simple parameters. We identified areas in ourselves that we wanted to work on and found books that applied to those topics. We selected some self development books that had been getting a lot of buzz and ones recommended by authors of other books that we read.
In the end, we learned a few things. About ourselves, about the self development book category, and about those who write these kind of books. I want to share some of what we learned so you can avoid the mistakes we made in our Self Development Books Book Club.
The Self Development Books We Read
First off, here’s the list of what we read:
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
- You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
- Get Rich, Lucky Bitch: Release Your Money Blocks and Live a First Class Life by Denise Duffield-Thomas
- The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz
- Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
- The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi
- Essentialism by Greg McKeown
- The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
- Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab
You will notice this list does not contain twelve books (one for each month). That’s part of why I’m writing this blog post.
Lesson One: Don’t Invent Problems for Yourself
I want to refer you to Be There in Five, a podcast by Kate Kennedy. She does an incredible series on how “self help gurus” have created an industry based entirely on convincing people they have a problem that needs to be “fixed.”
My first lesson is this –
Don’t think you have a problem because someone else says you do.
I am not a doctor; this is not medical advice. I’m a person talking to another person saying you’re cool. We’ve got this. Don’t go looking for trouble, and don’t let an internet/television/social media personality tell you you have a problem.
Lesson Two: Investigate the Author of the Self Development Book
My friend and I met for Self Development Book Club one month and we said to each other, “Has this author been through enough to write this book?”
The answer: No.
This lead to lesson two –
Ask yourself if the author is qualified to write that self development book.
I won’t say which book it was, but it was disappointing to invest so much in a book only to feel disillusioned at the end of it. This experience led us to be more cautious in our monthly self development book picks, but it also made us slightly more jaded. So save yourself the trouble and investigate the author.
Lesson Three: Take a Break
It’s exhausting and overwhelming to read a self development book every single month.
This led us to lesson three –
Take a break.
In 2022, we will not be meeting every month. Absorbing the information provided in a truly helpful self development book written by a qualified author is a lot to take in, and it’s important to take a break, reset, absorb, and move on.
There were some break out self development books in the book club for me.
Here they are:
I like to think of myself as a pretty organized person with all my ducks at least in the same pond, and yet somehow Kendra tells me how to make my life EVER BETTER. Judgement free and truly helpful, discover what it means to be a Lazy Genius.
One word: DANG. If you are struggling with what’s holding you back in life, you may find some help here.
If you suffer from anxiety and/or depression –
This book affected me so much I went on to read Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive.
If you’re looking to start your own self development journey in 2022, I recommend these self development books. And I wish you luck. I’m very much looking forward to the next year of self development and what I might discover about myself and the world around me.