Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just to make sure you’re out there living your absolute best life. This week’s nonfiction picks center around the topic of self-development books, which showcase how you can improve your health, quality of life, and more with these great reads. Listen: we’re all trying to keep it together. But, with the right tools, staying on our game doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. Let’s dive into our picks and take a look!
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5. The Science of Self-empowerment by Gregg Braden
The Science of Self-Empowerment by Gregg Braden is about applying the advanced sense of awareness and spirituality that monks, nuns, and mystics have to our daily lives! Incorporating both scientific and philosophical perspectives, this book helps one achieve a form of spirituality that encourages true growth. Using real-world science to ground its claims, this self-help book that will find you rising to new heights and maybe even centering yourself like the worlds most spiritually-oriented people do.
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4. Do it Scared by Ruth Soukup
Do It Scaredby Ruth Soukup is for anyone who feels like they’re stuck in a rut or not taking the chances they really want to. The book helps you identify the source of your fears and tackle them with detailed, hands-on exercises. It lets you not only develop a plan but also, and perhaps more importantly, have the means and method to push yourself toward achieving your goals. This book contains the message that life is about taking chances and will absolutely help you take the first steps toward a better existence.
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3. Turning Dreams into Reality by Yuval Tabib
Turning Dreams Into Realityby Yuval Tabib is based on experiences of the author and how Tabib made their dreams ‘truly’ come true. It’s hard work, but this book has a lot of answers that will make your existential problem-solving a more enjoyable experience. Drawing on theories from physics and Quantum Theory, this book has the answers to make you bend the world around you rather than let it control your life. Though actually achieving your dreams is certainly never an easy feat, purchasing this book certainly will be! Go out and go for it.
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2. Life Admin by Elizabeth Emes
Life Admin by Elizabeth Emes is about managing one’s life and keeping precious moments from slipping by. The author, Elizabeth Emes, is a working mother with two children who realizes one day that her life is being overwhelmed by all that she has to do. In a moment of epiphany, it dawns on her that she needs to take better control of her own time, and so she offers all her struggling readers tips of how she learned to manage it. This book explores labor and how it chokes our lives while also showing us how to reduce labor… or at least reduce its negative impact on our lives.
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1. Own your Everyday by Jordan Lee Dooley
Own Your Everydayby Jordan Lee Dooley is about sharing her life experiences. She’s accidentally started a small business; embarrassed herself onstage during talks; and, like most of us, has wasted time caught up in her own anxiety. She’s had a broad range of life experiences, both good and bad, and she’s become an inspiration to young people (especially women) the world over. Now, she shares tips for overcoming obstacles and redefining success, all based on concrete stories of her own experiences.
Mental health, along with the illnesses that can plague us, make up some of the most taboo, stigmatized topics of discussion within our society today. Historically speaking, society has always had a difficult time equating mental illnesses with the same sincerity physical illnesses foster. It’s almost as if there’s this underlying belief that people can think their way out of mental illnesses as opposed to receiving professional medical treatment.
However, within the past five or so years there has been such an uprise in the media of people coming out of the corners, shedding their shame, and openly sharing their struggles with mental health that the way we view mental illnesses has begun dramatically shifting for the better. This is even despite the stigmas society has already planted; it’s a shift that has been so necessary. Mental health is just as crucial to us as our physical health; we cannot function as whole, healthy, happy humans when the neurons in our brains are preventing us from doing so.
Stigmatizing mental health only harms our society more; insinuating that there is something to be ashamed or embarrassed of only prevents people from seeking the help they need. It’s important that we are open about our struggles. It’s vital that we are receptive to the struggles of those around us. We have to uplift and support each other, always standing up for the insanely complicated complexities of what it is to be human.
If you or someone you know is struggling, here are hotlines that solely exist to support you. Don’t be afraid to utilize them, there is no shame in feeling trapped inside of that dark, lonely place our minds can sometimes go:
24 Hour Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis and a live, trained Crisis Counselor will receive the text and let you know that they are here to listen.
And, if you’re struggling, here are seven memoirs of people who may have been in your shoes before and have proven that even the worst is never permanent; we are alwayscapable of recovery.
In this stunning memoir, one woman brings us into her struggle with bipolar disorder and the lithium that grounded her, kept her hallucinations at bay, and led her to lead a healthy, normal life. This was for twenty years before doctors told her it was destroying her kidneys and forced her to choose between functioning kidneys, or the little pink pills that saved her life.
Lowe takes us on a raw, honest journey as she adjusts to a new medication while traveling to Bolivia and examining the world’s largest lithium mines and learn all of the mysteries about the drug that kept her sane.
Everything around me came into question: What was real, what was imaginary? What was genuine feeling and what was the disorder? Who was I in relationship to the disease? What was mental illness? How long had it been around?
This book details Times journalist Rachel Kelly’s struggle with moderate anxiety that, in a period of only three days, suddenly progressed to severe, debilitating depression. She delves deep into the darkest periods of her life and how reading poetry helped her to heal in more ways than she could’ve ever guessed.
Filled with the very poems that pulled her out of the void, this memoir acts as a lifeline for when your chest feels heavy and you don’t want to be alone.
Unlike the moment I fell ill, I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I got better. This is a relative term. Depression has changed everything for me. I will never not need to manage this illness. The severity of the symptoms comes and goes. The illness is not me; I’m just someone managing it’s symptoms, in the way that many people manage many conditions.
This darkly comedic, poetic, and brutally honest collection stems from Broder’s viral Twitterpage; depicting her struggles with anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, obsession, and more. It’s a book everyone can relate to, and a good testament as to why Broder is one of the most popular contemporary writers today.
I know I have an ocean of sadness inside me and I have been damming it my entire life. I have always imagined that something was supposed to rescue me from the ocean. But maybe the ocean is its own ultimate rescue – a reprieve from the linear mind and into the world of feeling. Shouldn’t someone have told me this at birth? Shouldn’t someone have said, “Enjoy your ocean of sadness, there is nothing to fear in it,” so I didn’t have to build all those dams? I think some of us are less equipped to deal with our oceans, or maybe we are just more terrified, because we see and feel a little extra. So we build our shitty dams. But inevitably, the dam always breaks again. It breaks again and the ocean speaks to me. It says ‘I’m alive and it’s real’. It says, ‘I’m going to die, and it’s real.
Emma Forrest’s memoir takes a sharp look at her as a twenty-two year old struggling to make it in New York City, growing more manic day-by-day, and falling further into her own vortex of loneliness and destruction. She begins meeting with a psychiatrist and clinging to him as her own personal safe haven until he suddenly passes, leaving her to now pick up the pieces of her newfound mourning; all while learning how to cope with healing alone.
It is madness. And if you don’t know who you are, or if your real self has drifted away from you with the undertow, madness at least gives you an identity. It’s the same with self-loathing. You’re probably just normal and normal-looking but that’s not a real identity, not the way ugliness is. Normality, just accepting that you’re probably normal-looking, lacks the force field of self-disgust. If you don’t know who you are, madness gives you something to believe in.
In this powerful, poignant memoir that’s part-biography, part-historical look, Sandra Allen translates the messy, mistyped, and fully capitalized autobiography her schizophrenic uncle, Bob, mails her one day and blends it alongside a look back at their familial history and the cultural shifts occurring during Bob’s adolescence in the sixties and seventies.
This book is such an honest, in-depth look at a mental illness that is still so publicly stigmatized, it will forever change the way you view schizophrenia.
I’M ROBERT: this is a true story of a boy brought up in berkely california durring the sixties and seventies who was unable to identify with reality and there for labeled as a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic for the rest of his life.
In this chaotic, tragic memoir, Cat Marnell details her life as a twenty-six year old associate beauty editor, popular Manhattan socialite, and uninhibited party girl who kept secret her chronic struggles with bulimia, drug addiction, hallucinations, and insomnia from the world who knew her well.
This book is such a relatable take on addiction and loneliness it will break your heart.
And you fall deeper and deeper into the earth, but it’s not the earth, exactly, it’s this series of . . . lofts built into the earth like underground tree houses, right, and another floor falls out from under you, and then you are on a different floor of the world, and you are starting to accept that things will never be the same.
In this stunning look at trauma, binge eating disorders, and the dysmorphia beneath it all, Roxane Gay boldly describes her own struggles with food, her body, and the violence that led her here.
This all-too-relatable journey of one woman’s struggle to save herself as she teeters on the line between self-care and self-destruction will leave anyone feeling capable and empowered.
I buried the girl I had been because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. She is still small and scared and ashamed, and perhaps I am writing my way back to her, trying to tell her everything she needs to hear.
In TATWD, Aza is overwhelmed by compulsive thoughts and anxiety the same way that Green has been his entire life. From a young age, he’s battled with OCD and anxiety. TATWD came to be after Green had one particularly bad spell with his illnesses. He told the New York Times, “Coming out of that, it was difficult to write about anything else.”
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Anyone who’s experienced either affliction knows how inexplicably debilitating they can be. The smallest tasks seem impossible. Green keeps a handle on his disorders with the help of medication, therapy, and the support of his loved ones.
As a well-known author, taking this public platform is a significant move for him. More often than not, when celebrities come out in support of something, they are successful in bringing awareness to it. In addition to being hard to live with, mental illness can evoke fear. This fear is the possibility that the people closest to you won’t be understanding enough to accept it and live with it too.
In this case, Green is a successful adult writing from experience. That’s exemplary. He’s using his talent to reach a wide audience and to inspire young people suffering from mental illnesses. It’s refreshing that John Green was willing to step forward with his diagnosis in addition to writing an accurate viewpoint. Turtles all the Way Down was released October 10th.