15 Books That Can Transform Your Life

15 Books That Can Transform Your Life & Why You Should Read Them

Whether your life is amazing just the way it is now, or you are wanting to up-level and transform your life, reading personal development books will have a positive impact in your life. There are many scientific reasons you should read books in general, including higher intelligence, more brain power, less risk for Alzheimer’s, relaxation, better sleep and more compassion towards others. But reading personal development on a regular basis has even more advantages:

  1. You can become a more positive person
  2. You get inspired to make better choices and take positive action
  3. It enhances and expands your life (even if you’re already happy with your life)
  4. Helps you overcome your limitations and self doubt
  5. Makes you hungry for personal growth and success in your life

I suspect I may get one of three responses:

  • “You want me to READ? Hahaha. I don’t read.”
  • “You want me to read self-help books? Hahaha. I only read fiction…not all that serious stuff.”
  • “I don’t have time to read.”

If you fall into one of these three categories, just hear me out for a minute.

“I don’t read”

You do read! That’s just the story you’ve been telling yourself for years for one reason for another. I know this because I used to say this myself. Actually, my exact words were “I HATE to read.” I truly believed that story for a long time…years…until I was no longer forced to read crap I wasn’t interested in, and became open-minded about the possibility of there being something out there that would interest me. Guess what?! I found it!

I also had to drop my expectation that I needed to read as fast as other people read (an entire book in 1-2 days). That is not doable for me. It takes me months to finish reading a book, and that’s perfectly OK. I can’t read for long periods of time because I will fall asleep, so I choose to read mainly before bed and read one chapter at the most. And guess what? I still gets tons of insight and inspiration reading at my pace.

“I don’t need to read self-help books”

Self-help books have all kinds of negative connotation attached to them for some people. Same goes for seeking counseling services. Here’s the truth…it is NOT for “crazy” people. It is not just for people who don’t have their life together. It’s not just for people who are depressed or what we would call a hot mess. That’s why I don’t refer to them as “self-help” book, but rather personal development. By diving into these types of books, you are only bettering yourself and growing into the person that you were meant to be. You are only making your life even better!

“I don’t have time”

This one is my favorite. Drop that story! You DO have time. If you can sit on the toilet with your cell phone, scrolling through Facebook for 15 minutes, then you have time. When you get a 10-15 minute break at work, you have time. If you ever have to wait for your child to finish up practice while you wait…you have time. When you get 30 minutes of peace and quiet before bed or while you’re bathing, you have time. And most certainly, if you have time to watch any TV, you definitely have time. You don’t have to devote hours of your time for reading personal development to make a difference in your life. Just commit to 10-15 minutes a day or one chapter a day. I promise, you’ll notice a difference.

So, now that you DO read and you’re ready to transform your life, here are 15 books you should definitely check out!

1. There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk

By Portia Nelson

If you’re trying to ease into reading, this one might be for you! It’s a very short and easy read that includes the poem “An Autobiography in Five Short Chapters.” Each “chapter” of the poem is a chapter in the book that Nelson elaborates on, sharing her practical wisdom about how life works. It’s witty as well as insightful, and contains one of my favorite poems.

2. Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much

By Anne Wilson Schaff

If you’re a busy women (are we ever not busy?), this is a great book to use as a daily devotional to start your day off on the right foot. It provides a short meditation on a certain topic for each day of the year. I love how raw and truthful the author is and how she really makes you think. So again…doesn’t take up a whole bunch of your time. You can find 5-10 minutes right? Here’s an example of the kind of goodness this devotional can give you…

“We are so ready to take responsibility for everything that we are constantly feeling guilty. If our spouse is feeling down or depressed it must be something we have done. The children aren’t doing well, it must be our fault. A deadline is not met, we should have put in more time. Women are so ready to take on the guilt of the world. It makes no difference whether we have committed these transgressions. If they exist, we must be responsible. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people around us who are happy to support us in these illusions of guilt. When we take on the guilt for everything that happens around us, we make ourselves the center of everything. There must be an easier way to be included.”

3. How to Stop Worrying & Start Living

By Dale Carnegie

I have highlighter marks all over this one. If you’re not familiar with the insights of Dale Carnegie, you are missing out! This man is amazing and this book proves nothing less. If you are someone who tends to worry, this is your bible. In this book, Mr. Carnegie teaches you methods on how to eliminate or reduce your worries regarding work, finances, what other’s think, etc.

“Circumstances alone do not make us happy or unhappy. It is the way we react to circumstances that determines our feelings.”

4. You Are a Badass

By Jen Sincero

Yes I am! I completely see why the word is in the title, as this book is truly badass! If you are ever doubting yourself and what you can accomplish, you need to read this book. If you’re not living the life you want, read it. Seriously. I’ve read it twice. It’s full of Jen’s wisdom, inspiring stories and humor…oh, and occasional foul language (as implied by the title).

5. A Simple Act of Gratitude

By John Kralik

“A Simple Act of Gratitude” will just make you feel good! John Kralik wrote this book after he made the goal of writing one thank-you note per day for a whole year when trying to turn his life around. It is a truly uplifting and an easy read. It may even inspire you to write a few thank-you notes yourself.

6. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking

By Susan Cain

This book is all about introverts. Even if you aren’t an introvert yourself, but know someone who is, it may just give you some insight that could be useful. In this book, Susan Cain talks about how introverts can modify their personalities with changing circumstances, how you can empower an introverted child, and how organizations can make great use of the natural talents of introverts. As an introvert myself, I spent most of the book saying, “Yes, Yes, Yes!”

7. Only Love Today

By Rachel Stafford

If you’re a Mom, you are going to love this one! The chapters are very short, but very powerful and inspirational. Rachel, best selling author of Hands Free Mama (another must read), talks about how to breathe more, stress less and choose love. I use this book as another one of my daily devotionals, reading one chapter in the morning. It’s another way to start off the day on the right foot.

“I vow to greet my family–and myself–with a loving smile, no matter what happened yesterday”

8. Year of Yes

By Shonda Rhimes

I LOVE Grey’s Anatomy, and now I LOVE Shonda Rhimes. In Year of Yes, Shonda shares her memoir of her journey as she made the decision to say yes to everything that scared her for an entire year. As an introvert herself, her Year of Yes pushed her to grow in ways one can only imagine. This inspirational read made me ponder how I can better embrace all that I am…how I could look fear in the face and move forward anyway…how I could learn to be so brave! Shonda’s writing is real and witty. She puts all her insecurities out on the table for all to see and it’s refreshing to know that even the superstars are “normal” like us.

9. The Compound Effect

By Darren Hardy

The Compound Effect will change the way you think about the little things you do each day in your life and open your eyes to the impact you could have in this world. The whole book is based on the principle that your decisions shape your destiny…even the tiniest or most mundane of decisions. As the publisher of SUCCESS magazine, Darren knows what it takes to be successful in all aspects of life from your career to your relationships.

10. The Success Principles

By Jack Canefield

Speaking of success…I consider The Success Principles the holy grail of success books. This thing is like a bible…and I don’t mean that solely based on it’s size. Jack Canefield gives you everything you need to know in order to get you from where you are to where you want to be. I have so many highlights and marked pages in this book that it is barely recognizable. The very first chapter (and possibly my favorite) sets the tone for the rest of the book, solely based on it’s title-Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life. Yesss! So many times we allow others or outside circumstances to dictate how our life will be, but the magic is in YOU! Your life can be whatever you want it to be….and he will tell you how to get there. 

11. The Miracle Morning

By Hal Elrod

I bought this book in an attempt to become a morning person. I’ve always wished I was a naturally early riser just slaying it before anyone else even woke up. That is not me, but I tried. Although this book did not make me a morning person, it did teach me some practices that have made the beginning of my day much more pleasant and calm. Hal opens up the book by telling his compelling story of his rise from adversity which was nothing less than inspiring. He then teaches what has transformed his own mornings through the acronym Life S.A.V.E.R.S and how you can implement these practices into your morning no matter how little time you may have. When I practice this, it truly does start of the day on a great foot and puts me a much more peaceful and focused mindset for the day.

12. Mothering & Daughtering

By Sil & Eliza Reynolds

This book, written by a mother and daughter, is a two-part book. The first half of the book is from the mother’s perspective and the 2nd half of the book (or back half) is from the daughter’s perspective. This book is perfect if you have a tween or teen daughter. I would recommend you read both halves of the book and definitely get your daughter to read the Daughtering half (either alone or with you). The Mothering half is a little psychology heavy at times, but I just love the daughtering side. It’s very relatable and easy to read. It covers an array of topics that your teen daughter will eventually have to deal with and gives great insight for both you and her on how to handle it all.

13. 5 Love Languages

By Gary Chapman

If you are in a relationship, plan on being in one, or have ever been in one then you definitely should read this book. I had so many ah-ha moments the first time I read this book. Gary Chapman talks about the 5 ways that people give and receive love, and how can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life. Each one of us has a primary “love language”…a way that others speak or act that makes us feel loved. Relationship troubles happen when we aren’t speaking each other’s love language. You may think you are showing love to your spouse by keeping the house clean (Acts of Service), but if that’s not his love language then keeping the house clean isn’t going to do much for him in terms of making him feel loved.

If you are in any kind of relationship, do yourselves both a favor and read this book….both of you, and then talk about your love languages. You may just find yourself also having an ah-ha moment.

14. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

By John Gray

I first read this book probably over 20 years ago, and have since found myself reading it a few more times when I’ve heard myself say things like “Geez, I don’t understand men.” Whether you are a man or a woman, this book is a must read. John has several books now, and all of them are amazing…he has one for married couples, those just dating, those under a lot of stress. Any one of them would be a great one to pick up. It will give you invaluable insight into your significant other’s thoughts and behaviors.

15. Getting Past Your Breakup

By Susan J. Elliott, JD, MEd

This book got me through some CRAP you guys! So, if you are still trudging through the aftermath of a breakup or divorce, this book can be super helpful. Susan talks about how you can turn a devastating loss into the best thing that has ever happened to you. This book was such a big part of my healing process in the past, in combination with a few other resources. If you are ready to leave the self-pity behind, get yourself out of victim-mode and move forward with your life…this book is magic.

I would love to hear what you’re favorite books are!! Please share them in the comments, along with what you love about them.


Stacy R. Landry


  1. Amber Roshay

    Some really good book recommendations on this list. I definitely need to find time to read more. Not only read more, but books that will uplift and inspire me. I have put Quiet on my list to buy for my husband. I think he’ll really like it. He’s an introvert!

    1. srenee05

      Your husband will definitely relate if he’s an introvert! I loved that book.

  2. Cole Nemeth

    I’ve read a couple of these books (The Miracle Morning and You Are a Badass) and they were great! I need to add a few of these to my goodreads list!

  3. Lisa

    I thought this was an awesome collection of books. I have a few of them on my shelf already and they are truly enlightening, eye opening and transformational. Thank you very much for writing this blog. I think I will do some reading over the holidays.

  4. Brittanie

    I will check out some of these! The only one I have read was 5 Love Languages. I am currently Listening to The Gifts of Imperfections: How to Let Go of who you think your suppose to be and Embrace who you are. By Brene Brown. It is has some really great points. I actually bought the book to highlight some things in it.

    1. srenee05

      I love Brene Brown! I actually haven’t read that one. I’ll have to add it to my list. You’re a highlighter too?! lol

  5. HannahC

    Nice Post! I LOVE books and I’ve only read a couple of these. I’ll add the rest to my TBR list! Thank you!

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