Here at The Real Good Life, we champion the lowercase “real good life.” For a number of us on staff (and our customers, more on that in a bit…), this means we read as many books as we can get our hands on. Usually, we’re a fiction kind of crowd, but this time around I wanted to share self improvement books that made us think.
Now first, a caveat: “self improvement” can be an ugly phrase. Let’s be clear – I love you just the way you are at this very moment. Doesn’t matter what your job is, how you raise your kids, or how many holiday wreaths you own. You’re perfect at this exact place in time. That said, I appreciate here in the real good life, a lot of us strive for improvement. These books may help you get there.
P.S. We are including affiliate links to Amazon for these books. Should you order them from there, we both win. That said, I still think you should order from a local bookshop like Boswell Books every time.
The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi
I am a little late to The Lazy Genius Way, but dang I’m glad I finally made it. What a perfect way to combat the overwhelm of being an adult in 2021 – “be genius about what matters and lazy about what doesn’t”. Not that we need permission to not be perfect at everything, but if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll find it in this book (and/or Instagram account and/or podcast). Even better, you’ll also get bunches of “duh, why didn’t I think of that” specific ideas for simplifying even the things you love.
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
Yes, this is a business book, but I want every human in my life, in business or not, to read Essentialism. As you can pick up from the title, it is about only doing what is essential in your life. First you have to define what’s essential and then make a plan to actually make that happen. It’s en vogue to talk about rest and getting off the hamster wheel, but if that’s just talk OR if the rat race is what makes your skirt fly up, you’ll find plenty of thought-provoking commentary here. Buy the book and read it at least every other year. It’s always valuable.
Welcome Home or Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith
As you know by now, I wanted to be Martha Stewart when I was a teen. Since then I’ve realized she tries way too hard, particularly when it comes to home and holiday decor. (Though I swear I will someday replicate the Christmas tree she created with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!) Instead, enter Myquillyn Smith, the woman behind The Nester. Her easy, realistic way of looking at styling a home (ex. keep in mind you need flat surfaces for laundry baskets, science projects, and puzzles that will stay out for weeks) found in Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff has been constantly on my mind as I decorate my new house. That book led me to find Welcome Home, Myquillyn’s new book about decorating seasonally that came in my life just as I feel called to really get into the holiday spirit. (And by “holiday” I mean Halloween, Christmas, winter, Easter, 4th of July, etc. This house is asking for it!)
Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman
Traction is a must read book if you’re considering entrepreneurship or, more importantly, you’re already on this path but feeling a little stagnant. This book gives you a proven process applicable to almost any industry that will help you scale. If this one speaks to you, I also recommend Rocket Fuel and the other books in Gino’s series. I see why he gets the big bucks for workshops. Gino is on to something!
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Okay, I appreciate saying in the fall of 2021 that Untamed is a “hell, yeh!!” kind of book is just like me figuring out A Star is Born was a great movie about 2.5 years after it was released. This is not an earth-shattering statement, but still I hope it will be the push you need to read it for the first time or read it again. I won’t quote the most mentioned phrase in the book, but we are amazing feline-like critters!! Many thanks to this book for reminding me of that. At this stage of my life, I don’t resonate with the introductory thought that women are taught to settle or be okay with anything less than perfect, but I know this does speak to some. More so than insuring everyone has equal access to brownies, I want to make sure everyone is living a fulfilling life. This book tells you how better than I ever could, so get to reading if that sounds like you.
P.S. After we’ve done these book round-ups in the past, customers have thrown books in their bags for me to read. I absolutely LOVE that. Sharing books is my favorite. If you’ve got a book that’s ready to see a new life elsewhere, throw it in your bag the next time we’re doing a drop off. Make sure your name is in there somewhere so we can stick a new book in your bag the following time we deliver. I may not yet be able to be BFFs with every customer, but this is a great 2021 way to be friends. 🙂