Recently, I had some spare funds to invest in my businesses. My freelance services were my top priority, but I’m hoping to help An Ideal Life, my writing, and Nightingale & Sparrow, too. As a writer and enthusiastic reader, books were, of course, at the top of my wish list! With that in mind, I chose some of the best professional and personal development books on my TBR and ordered quite the book haul.
I’m balancing these reads with my Pencils & Pages reviews and my personal reading, so I’ve only made my way through a few of these so far. But I’m so excited to dive in further!
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Some of these have been on my wish list for literal years, through recommendations in podcasts, webinars, YouTube videos, and other books. I came across others while compiling this haul, thanks to their subject matter, author, and/or glowing reviews. There are even a few here that I was previously given a chance to review on NetGalley! My health issues mean digital copies take me much longer to read. So, I decided to indulge in print copies of a few I’ve started to enjoy, both to review them in a more timely manner and to support their authors.
Rather than presenting a lengthy “best professional and personal development books” list, I’ve separated this post into categories. Of course, there’s plenty of overlap! First up, we’ve got books focused primarily on productivity. Then, there are some more general personal development books covering topics like creativity and well-being. Next, we have some books targeted to entrepreneurs and freelancers, looking at business, balance, courage, and best practices. Additionally, I ordered an assortment of books targeted to authors and creative writers–perhaps a topic for a future post here or on Pencils & Pages?
I fall into these target audiences and look to these subjects frequently, not just in professional and personal development books but in all mediums. Still, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that books have a special place in my heart! After all, I have a separate blog specifically for book reviews and have written quite a few of my own (with more to come!).
Best Productivity Books
- The Smart but Scattered Guide to Success: How to Use Your Brain’s Executive Skills to Keep Up, Stay Calm, and Get Organized at Work and at Home – Peg Dawson
- The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich – Timothy Ferriss
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity – David Allen
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones – James Clear
- Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life
Looking for more Marie Kondo? Read all about my KonMari journey so far!
Best Personal Development Books
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – Angela Duckworth
- Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle – Emily Nagoski
- Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity – Felicia Day
- Badass Habits: Cultivate the Awareness, Boundaries, and Daily Upgrades You Need to Make Them Stick – Jen Sincero
- Your Time to Thrive: End Burnout, Increase Well-Being, and Unlock Your Full Potential with the New Science of Microsteps – Marina Khidekel
- The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg
- Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One – Joe Dispenza
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – Elizabeth Gilbert
- Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder – Arianna Huffington
- Everything Is Figureoutable – Marie Forleo
- The Magician’s Way: What It Really Takes to Find Your Treasure – William Whitecloud
Best Books for Entrepreneurs & Freelancers
- Don’t Keep Your Day Job: How to Turn Your Passion into YourCareer – Cathy Heller
- Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less – Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
- The Multi-Hyphen Life: Work Less, Create More, and Design a Life That Works for You – Emma Gannon
- Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side Hustlers – Laura D. Adams
- The Byline Bible: Get Published in Five Weeks – Susan Shapiro
- Hack the Entrepreneur: How to Stop Procrastinating, Build a Business, and Do Work That Matters – Jon Nastor
- Chillpreneur: The New Rules for Creating Success, Freedom, and Abundance on Your Terms – Denise Duffield-Thomas
- What If It Does Work Out?: How a Side Hustle Can Change Your Life – Susie Moore
- The Freelancer’s Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams—On Your Terms – Sara Horowitz
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert B. Cialdini
- The One Hour Content Plan: The Solopreneur’s Guide to a Year’s Worth of Blog Post Ideas in 60 Minutes and Creating Content That Hooks and Sells – Meera Kothand
Of course, there are more professional and personal development books on my wish list and TBR—but I’ve got plenty of reading to do before investing in another haul!