I have to admit, I used to hate summer reading when I was a kid. I mean, come on, summer is when you’re supposed to relax and recharge– not slog through school assignments, right?
But what if your reading list was the very thing that motivated, energized and rejuvenated you? What if you had an endless supply of ideas about how to maximize your potential and live the best life possible? What if you could shorten the learning curve of life by pro-actively engaging with material that has the power to positively impact everything from your relationships to your accomplishments to your self-confidence?
Life is busier than ever, and we don’t always have the time (or the energy) to dedicate to workshops and seminars that can facilitate such personal growth. To that end, books are a fantastic (and crazy affordable) resource for discovering new tools, strategies, research and insights into some of life’s most pressing topics.
SO, I decided to put together a fresh list of books (for teens and adults alike) that are sure to lift you up, deepen your thinking and inspire you to action! Enjoy!
1) Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson
World-renowned researcher Dr. Barbara Fredrickson gives you the lab-tested tools necessary to create a healthier, more vibrant, and flourishing life through a process she calls “the upward spiral.” You’ll discover:
• What positivity is, and why it needs to be heartfelt to be effective
• The ten sometimes surprising forms of positivity
• Why positivity is more important than happiness
• How positivity can enhance relationships, work, and health, and how it relieves depression, broadens minds, and builds lives
• That your own sources of positivity are unique and how to tap into them
• How to calculate your current positivity ratio, track it, and improve it
With Positivity, you’ll learn to see new possibilities, bounce back from setbacks, connect with others, and become the best version of yourself.
2) Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success
By, Adam Grant
For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.
Using his own pioneering research as Wharton’s youngest tenured professor, Adam Grant shows that these styles have a surprising impact on success. Combining cutting-edge evidence with captivating stories, Grant shows that although some givers get exploited and burn out, the rest achieve extraordinary results across a wide range of industries.
3) The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles
By, Karen Reivich & Andrew Shatté
Resilience is a crucial ingredient–perhaps the crucial ingredient–to a happy, healthy life. More than anything else, it’s what determines how high we rise above what threatens to wear us down, from battling an illness, to bolstering a marriage, to carrying on after a national crisis. Everyone needs resilience, and now two expert psychologists share seven proven techniques for enhancing our capacity to weather even the cruelest setbacks.
Readers will learn to:
• Cast off harsh self-criticisms and negative self-images
• Navigate through the fallout of any kind of crisis
• Cope with grief and anxiety
• Overcome obstacles in relationships, parenting, or on the job
• Achieve greater physical health
• Bolster optimism, take chances, and embrace life
4) The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom
By, Jonathan Haidt
In his widely praised book, award-winning psychologist Jonathan Haidt examines the world’s philosophical wisdom through the lens of psychological science, showing how a deeper understanding of enduring maxims-like Do unto others as you would have others do unto you, or What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger-can enrich and even transform our lives.
5) Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being
By, Martin Seligman
Flourish builds on Dr. Seligman’s game-changing work on optimism, motivation, and character to show how to get the most out of life, unveiling an electrifying new theory of what makes a good life—for individuals, for communities, and for nations. In a fascinating evolution of thought and practice, Flourish refines what Positive Psychology is all about.
“Well-being” takes the stage front and center, and Happiness (or Positive Emotion) becomes one of the five pillars of Positive Psychology, along with Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment—or PERMA, the permanent building blocks for a life of profound fulfillment.
6) Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
By, Carol Dweck
World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in decades of research on achievement and success, has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea–the power of our mindset.
Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success–but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals–personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.
7) Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
By, John Ratey
In SPARK, John Ratey, MD embarks upon a fascinating journey through the mind-body connection, illustrating that exercise is truly our best defense against everything from depression to ADD to addiction to menopause to Alzheimer’s. Filled with amazing case studies (such as the revolutionary fitness program in Naperville, Illinois, that has put the local school district of 19,000 kids first in the world of science test scores), SPARK is the first book to explore comprehensively the connection between exercise and the brain. It will change forever the way you think about your morning run.
8) The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work
By, Shawn Achor
Our most commonly held formula for success is broken. Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. Isolating seven practical, actionable principles that have been tried and tested everywhere from classrooms to boardrooms, stretching from Argentina to Zimbabwe, Achor shows us how we can capitalize on the Happiness Advantage to improve our performance and maximize our potential
9) Counter Clockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility
By, Ellen Langer
If we could turn back the clock psychologically, could we also turn it back physically? For more than thirty years, award-winning social psychologist Ellen Langer has studied this provocative question, and now, in Counterclockwise, she presents the answer: Opening our minds to what’s possible, instead of presuming impossibility, can lead to better health–at any age.
Langer challenges the idea that the limits we assume and impose on ourselves are real. With only subtle shifts in our thinking, in our language, and in our expectations, she tells us, we can begin to change the ingrained behaviors that sap health, optimism, and vitality from our lives. Improved vision, younger appearance, weight loss, and increased longevity are just four of the results that Langer has demonstrated.
10) Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead
By, Brene Brown
Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Whether the arena is a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation, we must find the courage to walk into vulnerability and engage with our whole hearts.
In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection.
Bonus: The Four Agreements (This book will never go out of style!)
By, Don Miguel Ruiz
Rooted in traditional Toltec wisdom beliefs, four agreements in life are essential steps on the path to personal freedom. As beliefs are transformed through maintaining these agreements, shamanic teacher and healer don Miguel Ruiz asserts lives will “become filled with grace, peace, and unconditional love.”