Wellness Wednesday: 15 Self Help Books That Don’t Suck

Fifteen?! Yes FIFTEEN. So bookmark this or PINNIT or whatever. This is a damn good list. Pinky swears. And I scaled back for sequel, so. There could be more, but I didn’t want to be obnoxious about it. Ahem.

So ‘Personal Development.’ The big ‘ole PD. Ugh. Is that what you’re thinking? For the most part, I suppose you could say that’s what I think about that whole world of know-it-all gurus too. It’s a saturated market. But then, aren’t all industries with professionals and would-be professionals? Keep in mind – there are a lot of self-help and PD books out there that DO SUCK. These don’t. You can take it from a converted skeptic who opened up her heart and mind a long time ago, to break free from pain, debilitating self-doubt and self-medication to begin crawling out of a black hole. So many of these book choices may not shout PD, but they’ve impacted my life in REAL and TANGIBLE ways. I’ve savoured all of them, four of which are in my current roster in the midst of being digested.

If you have any of your own faves, please share in the comments!
1. Women Who Run With The Wolves — Clarissa Pinkola Estes (this woman is a straight up ORACLE. I pretty much use this book as a text and there’s writing all up in it. I’ve read and re-read this a number of times. For my fellow Wild Women. I recommend this book to anyone who has lost parts of herself (or is searching for) and wants to reclaim/claim them.)
2. It Was Me All Along — Andie Mitchell (this is a memoir, yes. One of heartbreaking truth and deep candour. If you struggle with emotional eating, this book is for you. Almost done this one.)
3. Women Food and God — Geneen Roth (nothing preachy, Roth does not promote any particular religious practice, except for ‘religiously’ learning how to take care of oneself. She has written and lectured about food and the female body for decades. Her determination to help women stems from her own struggle with food, dieting, and her body. Of this, I can relate to greatly and she is a GURU and a genius in my books! Anything by her would be a good start if you too, can relate.

4. The Slight Edge — Jeff Olson (as someone who has recently begun to work heavily on how I stay self-motivated and how I manage my time … this book has helped me laser in my daily focus. This one is still on my nightstand table and I’ve taken many notes as it’s helped discover how my own inner dynamics function: thought processes and how I process information … and turn this self-actualization into powerful tools for personal and professional success. I like his down-to-earth approach in mastering positive/big change and greatness in one’s life. Read this too fast the first time. Taking a second go at it to really digest.)
5. Daring Greatly —Brené Brown (I first discovered Brown on FB from that Ted Talk she gave which went viral. So of course I wanted more. She helps me define what courage really is and how to live authenitically. This is the kind of book that you have to re-read, dismantle, take notes on, discuss with family and friends. )
6. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up — Marie Kondo (my mentor turned me onto this one and since gorging on the book we’ve completely PURGED years and years of build-up. Clothes, toys, books, boxes still unpacked from our move 5 years ago. In our defense, we moved when I was 9 months pregnant with an 18 month old and the years have flown by in a whirlwind of not enough sleep and never enough time. Well, now that both kids are (almost!) school age, time seems to be on our side again and boy, have we cleaned house. Yes, it’s life-changing. Do it.)

7. You Are a Badass — Jen Sincero (holllaaaa! My very 1st assigned coaching PD book. Thank fuck. I was scared. This was funny and indeed badass. Take if from a former degenerate. (Kidding. Sort of. You had to be there.) Yet another one that I use like a textbook.)
8. I Am Woman — Lee Maracle (one of my first Marcale books. Essential reading as a Nish Kwe. And even if you’re not. Especially perhaps, if you are not. She profoundly explores issues of sovereignty and Native women … together. Maracle makes a visceral connection between a woman’s integrity, sexuality, and tribal self-determination. She tackles issues of domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault from a much needed Indigenous female perspective. One of the most powerful reads I’ve ever experienced and it will be for you too, especially if you’re a survivor.)
9. The Creative Habit — Twyla Tharp (I’m about halfway through this one and I keep coming back for more! As a creative professional who struggles to merge what diverges, the practical exercises she puts forth in her book have me inspired to focus, take a deep breath every day and begin anew.)

10. A Recognition of Being — Kim Anderson (as a mixed Native woman who doesn’t know of her tribal affiliation or direct Indigenous or ancestral roots, I strive to define myself the best ways I can and be a voice of knowledge in a sea of doubt, misunderstanding, and stright-up racism. This book has helped me come to terms with how my own identity has been shaped by euro-western culture and how those negative stereotypes and images are revisited every single day in the media, on the streets and in the privacy of otherwise ‘good-peoples’ homes. This for the kwes who are working to reclaim their identity, their power and their voice while being successful in life, without compromising their heritage or womanhood.)
11. Men, Women & Worthiness — Brené Brown (as someone who has let shame and crippling self-doubt lead how I live my life, Brown’s intellect, research and insight; has helped me better understand myself and how I am in my relationships. Just starting this one!)
12. The Compound Effect — Darren Hardy (no this is not a gimmicky book. It’s a step-by-step operating system yes, which I’m kind of – more than – digging at the moment. Although, I’m only about a 1/4 of the way through this one.)

13. Innocence Revisted — Kathy Zezelman (not gonna lie. This is a hard read and may not be for those beginning on a healing journey. I found it an inspirational story and a wonderful resource as a survivor, the friend of survivors and a former mental and social health professional. At one time I was all 5. While I may not actively work in the field of social work anymore, the other 4 facets will always be a part of my story and the stories of those who are in my life. My work still has much to do with helping others, many who were once a victim, so.)
14. Jab, Jab, Right Hook — Gary Vaynerchuk (by now I’m sure you are all aware of my penchant for social media both in the professional and personal sense. I’m a firm believer of the mantra of, you and I are living stories. And those stories when shared, inspire others and begin to spark other stories. And as they gather and cluster, they take root and develop power … shedding, shame, reservation, and guilt. Authenticity is key and a tool, when wielded right, to help develop one’s business when one’s profession collides into the realm of very personal inner work. Much like the work that I do as a coach, both as a business mentor and as a wellness coach.)
15. One Story, One Song — Richard Wagmese (another one of my fave Native authors, this is a collection of inspiring and eye-opening short stories, showing us how stories are a powerful tool in shaping the human mind and heart. How stories can empower us and how they have the potential to change our lives. The tales are grouped according to the four directions teachings traditional Ojibway elders seek to impart: humility, trust, introspection and wisdom.)


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