Working to achieve your dreams is no easy feat. While you’ll definitely have days where things are going perfectly according to plan, you’re sure to encounter some tough times as well. Since giving yourself a pep-talk to boost your confidence or watching the most inspiring TED talks of all time doesn’t always do the trick, we pulled together a list of some of the most motivational books to help you stay the course. Full of truths, testimony, mantras and stories, they promise to lift you back up and get you where you’re going. Bonus: They all make pretty great last-minute grad gifts too.
1. The Quarter-Life Breakthrough by Adam Smiley Poswolsky ($50): You don’t have to stay stuck. This book, written for people in their twenties and thirties, promises to help you navigate self-doubt, uncertainty and feeling down in the dumps. Use its inspiring and smart advice to lift yourself up and find work that really matters to you. Break on through, young ones!
2. The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do by Jeff Goins ($8): We love Jeff Goins’ books for their well-explained thoughts, and this read is no exception. By digging into the actual act of working, he’ll help you uncover where you can find more inspiration and motivation, as well as how to keep learning, growing and reaching toward your goals and dreams.
3. Born for This by Chris Guillebeau ($14): Though this is one of the more techy-feeling titles on the list (Guillebeau did pen the New York Times Bestseller The $100 Startup, after all), this book is based on principles that apply to pretty much anything you hope to accomplish. We especially adore the included how-to tips, which cover “hacking” your current job, making work work for you, finding joy in the everyday and so much more.
4. The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna ($10): This fantastic, visual and fun read explores the concept of “should verses must” and what both words mean in regard to your personal and professional dreams and goals. A creative, Elle Luna uses her own experiences to illustrate what the crossroads between the two can look and feel like.
5. The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander ($11): Stories and personal notes are the basis of this book, which presents 12 tactics for bringing thought and creativity into everything you do. This is a truly awesome read for recent grads, people thinking about trying something new as a side hustle or even those considering a career change.
6. Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business and Life by Nancy D. O’Reilly ($15): You’ll be incredibly inspired by the amazing women in this book. O’Reilly does a fabulous job profiling a series of gals who refused to give up, including best-selling authors and Emmy Award winners. Take their advice to exceed expectations with flying colors in your own life.
7. Find Your Happy Daily Mantras: 365 Days of Motivation for a Happy, Peaceful and Fulfilling Life by Shannon Kaiser ($13): Who doesn’t love a good mantra? This lightweight read features an uplifting message for every day of the year. Use them daily to boost your confidence and discover your potential. This is the companion book to Shannon’s bestseller Find Your Happy.
8. Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin ($12): If you’re feeling unmotivated or generally down in the dumps, consider your habits. Gretchen Rubin’s research can help you get your mojo back by making positive changes that’ll give you the energy you need to make your dreams come true.
9. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes ($13): A major success story, Rhimes is the mastermind behind popular shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal — and this book, a memoir, became a bestseller. Be inspired by her abilities to overcome fear and push herself outside of her comfort zone, and then go and do the same.
10. 52 Cups of Coffee by Megan Gebhart ($12): A really cool collection of notes, Megan Gebhart has beautifully documented her thoughts following weekly chats over coffee for an entire year. Her idea to have the caffeinated conversations came after realizing she didn’t want to work a nine-to-five job after graduating from college. If you feel similarly, you’ll have extra appreciation for her 52-week emotional journey.
11. Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed ($10): If you’ve read or seen Wild, you’re likely already a huge fan of Cheryl Strayed — and are sure to love this book, which is jam-packed with more than 100 of her best quotes. Pull the trigger on a copy for yourself or a friend who needs a pick-me up. We promise this will do the trick.
Which books inspire you? Tag us on Instagram @BritandCo to let us know!
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