14 Books to Read That Will Actually Change Your Life This Year


I made a resolution at the beginning of last year to read at least one book a month. Through middle school and high school, I was the biggest fan of reading and usually went through multiple books a month, so I wanted to get back to my love of devouring a good book. I pretty much succeeded — aside from a month or two, but I read multiple books some months, so it evens out right? — and I want to keep it up in 2020.

I asked for a Kindle for Christmas so that I could maybe even work on increasing this goal to more than one book per month (I’m writing this in December, so here’s hoping that my Christmas wish came true, @mom!). One of the genres of books that I always enjoy when I read them, but just tend not to gravitate toward as much (just give me all the suspenseful thrillers, please), is the inspirational and self-help category.

In an effort to add more books like this to my list for the new year, I’ve researched and found 14 of the best inspirational books, both for myself and for all you fellow book-lovers out there looking for some life-changing motivation in 2020:

Mark Manson
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

In a new approach to self-help, blogger Mark Manson shares how sometimes not being positive all the time is OK — and how owning the realness of life can actually be a good thing. There have been more than 6 million copies sold, so it’s about time to get on this bandwagon.

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Rachel Hollis
Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals

This is the second book from Rachel Hollis, the author of Girl, Wash Your Face, which really took the world by storm last year. The entrepreneur and public speaker aims to inspire women to stop apologizing for their dreams and go after what they truly want in life.

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Gabrielle Bernstein
Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

In Super Attractor, Gabrielle Bernstein provides step-by-step methods for tuning in and aligning yourself to the universe through laws of attraction. She also details how to understand and connect on a deeper level, all while bringing more light into your life.

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Chanel Miller
Know My Name: A Memoir

This is the deeply honest and moving memoir from Chanel Miller, who was known as Jane Doe when her victim impact statement went viral during the Brock Turner case. Miller reclaims both her name and her story to detail the problems in sexual assault cases and how she turned this experience into strength to live a fulfilling life. Although it's not a self-help book in the traditional sense, it has the ability to change your outlook and inspire you to turn pain into strength.

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Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist

This classic novel recently had a resurgence with it's 25-year anniversary. It tells the mystical story of a boy as he learns life lessons about hopes and dreams (that we could all use in our own lives).

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Nir Eyal
Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life

Nir Eyal, a bestselling author and former Stanford lecturer, provides a deep dive into the world of distraction and why we so often let it control our lives. He also provides detailed steps on how to get over distraction to chase your goals.

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Gretchen Rubin
The Happiness Project

A #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Happiness Project chronicles the author’s year-long journey to discovering true happiness. She reveals what she learned on her personal happiness project to be the secrets to living a happier life.

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Marie Forleo
Everything Is Figureoutable

In this instant bestseller, Marie Forleo, a TV and podcast host, provides tangible steps for using your creativity to get through life’s tough decisions and obstacles and achieve your dreams.

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Michelle Obama

If you haven't read this yet, what the heck are you doing?! It's time to pick it up and read the beautiful story of how Michelle Obama become the icon that she is today — and become immediately inspired to be a boss woman like her.

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Lori Gottlieb
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

The reviews have been glowing since this book came out in the spring of 2019. The author of this unique story is a psychotherapist, and she takes us behind the scenes of her own practice, as well as the journey of seeing a therapist herself.

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Malcolm Gladwell
Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know

The newest book by Malcolm Gladwell, author of some of the most successful self-help books out there, deeply examines why people should try to understand strangers, through the lens of some of the world’s greatest tragedies.

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Tara Westover
Educated: A Memoir

In Educated, Tara Westover tells her inspiring story of being born into a completely isolated survivalist family in the mountains. She then went on to take matters into her own hands and get herself into school and go on to study at Harvard and later get a PhD from Cambridge.

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Ryan Holiday
Stillness is the Key

Ryan Holiday outlines how to bring zen principles from ancient philosophies into everyday life and how they can help you move toward success and happiness.

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Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement

She Said is the in-depth story of the sexual harassment case against Harvey Weinstein, which partially inspired the Me Too movement, written by the journalists who broke the story. There are detailed accounts of what they learned from their interviews with victims, and the strength they showed in coming forward.

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