Writing a book in the personal development/self-help field is daunting; I should know, I wrote one! The one thing I learned is that there is a fine line between self-help and total bullshit. What’s even more interesting is that line is different for everyone. Below, find my top five self-development books (that for me held the least amount of BS).

Emotional Intelligence, Dan Goleman

I was 23 just beginning my career. The company I worked for offered the option to continue our education and rewarded us for it. “Wait, so if I read this book I get points towards a monetary raise? Ummmm… sure!” The first book on the list was Dan Goldman’s Emotional Intelligence. When I was growing up intelligence was measured by a number on a paper, a number that for me hovered in the 70’s. Yet I was successful in life, I didn’t know why I found success with a less than average school performance record. Dan Goldman clued me in. I had emotional intelligence and with some effort, I could work on having even more, and that would truly be the basis of all my success.

21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell

My emotional intelligence had gotten me far in my career and in a few short years, I found myself in the role of District Manager. I only knew how to manage other people based on how I was “managed,” and let me tell you…I had some crappy managers. I didn’t want to be like them. Maxwell shares stories of leaders like Mother Theresa and Lee Iacocca both of whom lead by example instead of force. I think following those laws made me a really efficient leader, and my own sales team won awards year after year.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Harold S. Kushner

Within a ten-year timeframe, my husband was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma, my sister died and my son was battling a rare epilepsy disorder called Landau Kleffner. Oh, and my amazing leadership skills ended up getting me laid off when I refused to compromise my beliefs. I found myself in need of an explanation. This book offered me peace at a time when I needed it and allowed me to move forward and tackle the multiple tasks ahead with my faith still intact.

My Foot is Too Big for the Glass Slipper, Gabriella Reece  & Karen Karbo

This book was the end all and be all for me as I navigated being a married business owner with two beautiful kids. Juggling these roles while trying to hold onto my own identity was difficult. My own expectations were too high, and my self-love and respect were being trampled. I couldn’t even see it until I read Gabby Reese’s book.

The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz & Janet Mills

I found this one much later than most, but the book is really good. I loved all four agreements, but the one that resonates with me the most is the first one. Be Impeccable with Your Word. It is truly that simple. Your words are literally gold from your mouth. Treat them as such, use them for kindness, honesty, truth and commitment. If you can’t then don’t use them.

A Year of Inspired Living, Kelly McGrath Martinsen

(Shameless Plug Alert!) A Year of Inspired Living is a book that I wrote that offers essays and guided journaling to help the reader discover a more inspired life than the one they are currently living. Writing this book allowed me to determine how I could make an impact on the world, and reading it I believe you will find your own plan for self-inspiration.

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