17 Books to Inspire, Uplift, Nurture, and Motivate You

I used to start my days with the news, emails, and social media.

It took me years to realize that this habit drained my energy and enthusiasm for the day.

By contrast, when I changed my routine to morning prayers followed by reading something for personal growth, I elevated my energy and enthusiasm. It’s a simple habit but a powerfully positive one.

Book titles.

Reading daily for spiritual, emotional, and/or intellectual growth feeds us. Click To Tweet

Social media doesn’t. The news doesn’t. Emails don’t.

Why not carve out half an hour every day for something that will make you happier in both the short and long run? I like centering my mind and heart before I dive into the business of the day, but your reading time doesn’t have to be in the morning.

To get you started, here is a list with amazon links for books that have had an impact on me during the last few years.

This list comprises a mix of the professional, personal, and spiritual.

  • The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Change Your Life (Before 8 AM) by Hal Elrod. The book that kicked off my new morning habit.

  • The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success by Darren Hardy. The focus in this book is on how little decisions shape your life, and how therefore little decisions can change your life. His suggestions help make change manageable and practical.

  • The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan. Focusing on one thing at a time gets more done. In this age of multi-tasking, who knew that we accomplish more—and feel better—doing only one thing—the one most important thing—at a time?

  • 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential by John C. Maxwell. You can’t go wrong with Maxwell. This book guides you through “laws” such as “The Law of the Mirror: You Must See Value in Yourself to Add Value to Yourself.”

  • Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day by Todd Henry. This book is both logical and compelling. Several of my favorite quotations come from this book, such as:

“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

  • Find Your WHY: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team by Simon Sinek. This book is SO effective! I’ve done the exercises with a friend, and we couldn’t believe how revealing they were of core purpose. HIGHLY recommended!

  • Start with WHY: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. For those who want more detail about Sinek’s rational for “WHY” we do things being the starting place for growth and decision-making.

  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. One key to change is to understand how habits work. This then makes—well, almost anything!—possible.

  • Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Circle by Mark Batterson. Forty true stories of prayer during a 40-day cycle. I found that reading this book—and acting on it—deepened my prayer life. I did two cycles following this guide and will probably try to do another at least once a year.

  • Undone: A Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life by Michelle Cushatt. This memoir of a woman who thinks she’s nailed her spiritual life and then comes to question everything when diagnosed with cancer was moving and uplifting.

  • The New Kitchen Mystic: A Companion for Spiritual Explorers by Mary Hayes Greico. Healing words of wisdom found in life’s daily activities.

  • Firstlight: The Early Inspirational Writings by Sue Monk Kidd. A collection of short reflections on life that made me think while also helping me feel at peace.

  • Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott. Whether you pray regularly or never pray, this book opens a path to prayer that is simple, elegant, and joyful. I’ve read it twice.

  • The Deal: A Guide to Radical and Complete Forgiveness by Richard Smoley. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools in my toolkit for finding happiness.

  • A Season to Remember: Faith in the Midst of the Storm by Carson Tinker with Tommy Ford. One person’s story of the 2011 devastating tornado in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the way his faith got him through it. There’s a chapter on “self-talk” that really clarifies how what we say to ourselves in our heads can bring us down or lift us up.

  • The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. More than any other book I’ve read, this helped me understand how living in the present moment enables you to let go of emotional garbage to deal with what’s truly in front of you.

  • The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing by Bronnie Ware. I found myself becoming bolder and less fearful of change as a result of this book’s insights.

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” ~John Green

I hope something on this list will fill you with zeal and hope. Tell me YOUR favorites in the Comments!

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My book, Build Happiness: Block-Based Exercises to Change Your Perspective and Change Your Life Is a guide to what I call “Practical Mindfulness”—practical ways to bring happiness into your daily life.

Learn more: https://buildhappiness.today

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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