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Book Recommendations

These are some of the books that have improved how I work, reduced my stress, and changed my life. I'm forever grateful to these authors.

Motivation and Productivity

If you want to be more efficient and less stressed, check out these stellar reads.

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

Winners take breaks! So much of this book was fascinating and applicable to my business (you won't catch me making important decisions at 2pm!), but nothing more so than what I learned about taking breaks. I'm sure other books have said, "you should take breaks," but this book came at the right time and I was finally able to hear the truth... high performers take breaks. So now I do, too. Highly recommend!

AMAZON

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

First of all, I will never look at toothpaste the same. I can’t believe a foaming agent had to be added in the early days of toothpaste all because… well, I won’t spoil the surprise for you. I love learning about how my brain works and The Power of Habit gave me the power to understand (and change) my habits.

AMAZON

Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg

The stories and examples in this book are absolutely fascinating and will stick in your brain like dried oatmeal and never let go. I use what I learned about SMART Goals and STRETCH Goals on a regular basis and obnoxiously tell anyone who will listen about the importance of manually manipulating data like the teachers of Cincinnati’s Public Schools.

AMAZON

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People's Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin

As far as books that completely blew my mind go, this one is near the top of the list. I’ve made nearly everyone in my life take the quiz to find out which tendency they are and as soon as I know I say, “Aaahhh yes. It makes so much sense.” But seriously, I use so much of the advice in this book to leverage my own strengths and get the most out of my Questioner tendency.

AMAZON

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind Edited by Jocelyn K. Glei

I loved so much of the advice in this book. It’s chock full of practical, actionable tips you can immediately implement to improve your workday. Probably my favorite piece of advice was, “create before you consume.” Meaning… do your stuff before your check your email and twitter and all those other seemingly important distractions. Highly recommend this one!

AMAZON

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

This book had a ton of advice and explanation about how our brains work and what our brains need in order to do the really super creative stuff. I literally fist pumped the air during the section about how we’re not really doing as much work as we think we are (something I’ve always suspected). Some of the advice is not applicable. Like… we can’t all go on a 6-month solitary sabbatical to the Himalayan’s, but we can all take a social media break.

AMAZON

Mindset

All the productivity tips in the world won't help you if you don't also work on your mindset.

You Are a Badass®: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

This. Book. Is. Amazing. It’s the master handbook of How Your Mindset Got You Where You Are and How To Give Yourself The Kick In The Ass You Need To Change Things. Yes, it’s “woo woo.” If you are opposed to all things woo woo, you will probably hate it. You probably also really need to read it.

AMAZON

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey

If I'm being honest, the first time I read this book I was pretty sure I didn't understand it. I could barely get through a couple of pages before my brain would just melt from trying to understand the words on the page. But I didn't give up. I tried the audiobook, but it was still too much. So, I listened to the abridged audiobook. Then, I graduated to the full audiobook. I still didn't think I was grasping everything, but then I picked the print book back up 5 years later... and I realized how much this book changed my life.

Five years later, not only was it easy to read and understand, but I realized all the time I thought I wasn't getting it, I was internalizing the most important lessons and they had a profound impact on the way I live. From beginning with the end in mind (hello, Future Mel!) to seeking to understand before being understood, I know I'm a much better human because of Stephen Covey's words. Read it. Even if you struggle, don't give up. It will be worth it.

AMAZON

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)

by Don Miguel Ruiz

This is the kind of book you want to read a couple of pages of and then marinate on for the rest of the day. There’s some real deep stuff happening here, but coming to understand the power of the four agreements was the first step in an incredible journey of transformation for me. My life hasn’t been the same in the most positive of ways.

AMAZON

You Are a Badass® at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero

Good thing I listened to this audiobook while I was alone in the car for a 12-hour trip because I did a lot of shouting. Mostly things like, “Holy crap! You’re so right, Jen!” and “Yes! I am a badass and I’m going to stop getting in my own way!” This book changed my money mindset in the most kickass way. (Meaning: it really kicked my ass.) Plus Jen is hilarious. Also, there’s cursing. So ya know it’s not boring.

AMAZON

Goal Setting

How to set your sights on what you want and get there.

Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals by Michael Hyatt

This is a total breakdown of goal setting and achievement. Struggling to accomplish the goals you set? Read this book and figure out where you’re going wrong. Then get back to kicking butt.

AMAZON

Fun & Creativity

Because you deserve to have some fun.

Life Is Like a Musical: How to Live, Love, and Lead Like a Star by Tim Federle

This book is pure joyful fun. I have a theatre degree and loved my time on the stage, so this book pushes all the right buttons for me. Tim uses his experience on Broadway to equate to life lessons like, “Save the Drama for the Stage” and "Find Your ‘I Want’ Song.” There are some great tips for writers and artists of all types, but also this book is laugh-out-loud, gleeful fun. A real treat.

AMAZON

Mel Jolly is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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