Game changing may sound dramatic but I do believe the written word has the power to change lives. In this case, my life. This is by far the hardest list for me to compile, but these books without a doubt caused me to pause and question my why. These books challenged my way of thinking, inspired me to take action, or are helping me build a life in alignment with my core why.
In no particular order, here we go:
RISE: My Story by Lindsey Vonn
Here’s the thing – Lindsey Vonn is my hero. She inspires me and this book in-particular provides the story behind the headlines about how she became the greatest athlete of all time. Not the greatest female athlete or the greatest skier but in my opinion, the greatest athlete of all time. Period. She literally defines badass woman – but is willing to talk about some of her insecurities about body image, mental health and the pressure to succeed.
In other words, even the person I admire most puts on her pants one leg at a time like the rest of us. I respect her even more for her willingness to be vulnerable. I know Vonn has retired but I continue to watch her story unfold as she pursues the next chapter in her life.
Bittersweet: How sorrow and longing can make us whole by Susan Cain
Earlier this year, I wrote an entire post about how this book fell into my lap at the exact right moment. There’s so much wisdom packed in this book to explain why perhaps upcoming Christmas commercials may make you break out into tears and have others looking at you like a three-eyed monster. More importantly, similar to her book Quiet, it normalizes those of us who are perhaps a bit more feeling or melancholy than the Pollyana culture we’ve been spoon fed since birth.
This simple quiz is a great place to catch a glimpse of how this book will transform your understanding of your natural state of being.
The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward by Daniel Pink
The title of this book pretty much sums up why this book made my list. I’m a daydreamer by default. Often times, those daydreams lead me to reflecting on my past. As much as I’d love to say I’m one of those YOLO gals who runs around saying No Regrets, I am not. I’m a strong believer that hindsight, if used correctly, can be a lens into my future.
This book helped me understand how to channel my reflecting on the past in a more healthy, productive way. This isn’t about ruminating on the past or living in it, but rather learning from it. It seems obvious but there is definitely an increased pressure in culture to proclaim everything happens for a reason (an actual title of one of my favorite 2022 books) and that we should embrace this shit like it is rainbows because it is part of some grand master plan. Perhaps, but Daniel Pink makes a great point when he says when we understand what we regret, we understand what we value most. A great reversed engineering way to understand our why.
The Gap and the Gain by Dan Sullivan with Dr. Benjamin Hardy
This book claims to be a guide to happiness, confidence, and success. That proclamation was almost enough to make me put it down. It is also written for entrepreneurs, which follows that narrative of most business books. This one was extremely easy to apply to my life, though.
The concept is super simple. Gap means you measure your progress against your ideal. Gain means you measure your progress from where you started. For example, let’s say I set a goal of losing 100 pounds in 6-months. After 3-months, I’ve lost 50 pounds. A gap mindset would have me saying, I cannot believe I still have 50 pounds to lose in just 3-months. A gain mindset would say, I cannot believe I lost 50 pounds in just 3-months and have 50 pounds to go. Factually, those statements are the exact same. From a mindset standpoint, one celebrates our past which helps motivate our future, while the other one just shames us into believing we’re never enough. This is a quick read with lots of journal prompts and an opportunity to pause and think about how you judge your performance and those around you.
Everything Happens for A Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved AND No Cure for Being Human: And Other Truths I Need to Hear by Kate Bowler
I started this list with an autobiography from a long-time hero. I’m ending with two books by a new found hero that is challenging people to quit saying as her title to eloquently says, everything happens for a reason. That in fact, sometimes shit happens. In her case, she was living a charmed life as a new mother and divinity professor at Duke University when she suddenly learned she had Stage 4 Cancer. These two books talk not only about her experience as a Cancer patient but also provide insight on our can-do, positivity culture where you can hope your way out of death and if not, there’s somehow something wrong with you. Bowler is often times hilarious, honest and speaking the hard truths we sometimes don’t want to acknowledge – that life can in fact be hard as hell and still beautiful albeit messy.
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Next up, my favorite book of 2022.