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12 Books Everyone Should Read to Improve Your Life

12 Books Everyone Should Read to Improve Your Life

How These Books Will Change You!

One of the things which helped me go from being a homeless single mum to multiple international award-winning CEO was the books I read.

Books forced me to get out of my own head and out of my own way.

They showed me another way of thinking, helped me focus, taught me numerous skills and enabled me to build a business, improve my finances and completely change my life.

This year I committed to reading at least 1 book a month, but in January I have already read 5!

I simply cannot get enough of all the books I have wanted to read and I want you to be able to read the books which have truly changed my life too.

*Affiliate links are used in this post for the books I recommend and where I buy mine as they are the cheapest I’ve found.

1. The Big Leap

Recommended to me by a reader, it is one of the best books I have read lately. It opened my eyes to a bunch of things which have happened in my life, how I have self-sabotaged and how to change my mindset.

While I have read many books on mindset, money, human psychology and similar topics, this one was a game changer. It is easy to read, covers so much for such a short book and gives you practical advice and action to take.

2. The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck

Or you could read The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A F*ck by Sarah Knight. Similar theme, different style. In a nutshell, either of these books will help you stop worrying so much about what people think and instead live your life.

It’s not about being a horrible human, it’s about setting boundaries and knowing what you need (or don’t need) in your life. Learning to say no and instead, making yourself a priority.

How often do you agree to do something because you are worried about what people think? Or, how often do you not do something you really want to because of what people might think?

Mentally, there are significant hurdles to get over this way of thinking which the books go through then show you how to change. I’ve gifted these a few times now.

3. Not Just Lucky

This was given to me last year (funnily enough, it was a surprise gift that happened at the same time I was surprising them with The Life-Changing Art of Not Giving A F*ck!). Not Just Lucky is mind-blowing. For starters, I knew much of it but the stats and seeing it in black and white made me think.

Women often do the work but don’t take credit, we dismiss compliments and often lack confidence. This book covers it all without making you feel like crap.

Personally, it made me stop referring to myself as ‘just lucky”. In the past few years I not only overcame extreme trauma (domestic violence, homelessness, robbery, rape, paralysis, a cancer scare and mental health issues), but I won awards, founded a company, bought and sold businesses, became an author and was a finalist for Young Australian of the Year.

I have achieved more than I ever thought possible, mostly as a single mother and it was because of my hard work, determination, commitment and my support network. It wasn’t luck. It was me!

This book is a must-read for everyone. For women, it will open your eyes, boost your confidence and change your mindset. For men, it will show you actual research and facts behind everything and hopefully, help equality.

4. The Barefoot Investor or The Total Money Makeover

Similar books again, but slightly different. I think they are both great, it’s a matter of choosing which works for you. The Barefoot Investor is Australian, The Total Money Makeover is geared to a US audience.

I preferred The Total Money Makeover, but I think that might be because I like his blunt style, I was religious when I read it and it was at the start of my financial blogging life.

In a nutshell, each of these books teaches you about money management, getting out of debt and they both have steps to follow.

The Total Money Makeover Steps

Baby Step 0 – Sort out your 4 falls, as in get up to date on all your bills and have secure housing etc.
Baby Step 1 – Get a $1,000 Emergency Fund asap
Baby Step 2 – Pay off your debt (using the snowball method)
Baby Step 3 – Get a 3 to 6 month Emergency Fund
Baby Step 4 – Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
Baby Step 5 – College funding for children
Baby Step 6 – Pay off home early
Baby Step 7 – Build wealth and give!

The Barefoot Investor Steps

1. Set a monthly date night
2. Set up your buckets (based on his serviette strategy for a budget. These are separate bank accounts for different things).
3. Domino your debts
4. Buy your home
5. Increase your super to 15%
6. Boost your Mojo to 3 months (your Mojo is your emergency savings account which you set up during the first few date nights)
7. Get the banker off your back (clear your mortgage)
8. Nail your retirement number (you don’t need $1,000,000 to retire!)
9. Leave a legacy

So as you can see, there are similarities, but also key differences. I think they are both a great start, however, decide what works best for you. If you are great with money (especially credit cards) there are ways to accrue points and make your money go further, which goes against the ideas in these books.

However, people are usually terrible with credit cards and instead end up spending more and paying a lot of interest.

5. The Tightwad Gazette

A complete guide with so many tips in every area to save money. I read this years ago and was amazed at some of the suggestions. I don’t implement all of them, but it was a fascinating read. You can only buy this second hand now.

6. The 5 Love Languages

Completely unrelated to business or finance, this book is a game changer. Learning about your love language and the language of those around you will change your interactions.

For example, gifts is the dominant love language of my eldest and quality time and touch are the main love languages of my youngest. My eldest needs quality time and touch still, but in much smaller doses.

Knowing this and working in a way where I speak their love language has drastically changed the feel in our home and our relationships.

You can use the tips in the book for work situations, family, your love life, anything interactions with people really.

7. Tools of Titans

Possibly one of the thickest books I’ve read and not a book you need to sit and read cover to cover, but still incredible. It’s based on interviews from Tim’s podcast and covers every aspect of life with loads of tips and recommendations from his guests.

I read it when I flew to Dallas and back one year and couldn’t put it down. My highlighter got a workout and I am not one who ever marks a book. I knew this is a book I will refer to often.

8. The Richest Man In Babylon

When I was around 13 I read this and it started my passion for finance. I already enjoyed finding ways to make money, but this little book helped me learn how to manage my money and why in an easy to read format. I was raised religiously so the parable/Bible style of writing worked for me.

9. The 7 Habits Of Highly Successful People

As a teenager, I was going through a tough stage when I came across this. Going through the exercises in the book and applying them to my life changed how I did things and saw me get a job, move out of home at 17 and focus on how I want my life to be. I read it again when I got divorced and it’s been a guiding book for my life.

The 7 habits are

1. Be Proactive
2. Begin With The End In Mind
3. Put First Things First
4. Think Win-Win
5. Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood
6. Synergize
7. Sharpen The Saw

10. Mans Search For Meaning

Possibly one of the most recommended books I have read. Numerous podcast interviews, articles about successful people and people in my life I view as successful have recommended it. I finally got to read it recently and can see why.

Viktor outlines experiences of his in concentration camps, shares insight into human psychology and various therapies. While the details of his experiences can be harrowing, his message and the way he delivers it is powerful and necessary.

11. The 4-Hour Work Week

You will see I am a bit of a Tim Ferriss fan. This was the first book I read about working less and living more, outsourcing and simplifying my life. While there are numerous books out there now about it, at the time, this was the first I had seen which went into depth about how to structure your life.

He was rejected by nearly 30 publishers for this book but was so sure it was needed that he persisted.

12. Lucky Bitch

Mindset is powerful. It is incredible how our upbringings can dictate what we think and our relationships with money. Denise is a positive influence and this book will make you think about why you are the way you are with money plus provide actionable steps to change. I was surprised by how easy to was to read and how much I wanted to read it once I got started.

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Matthew Crump

Friday 20th of March 2020

Some amazing books there I also recommend both The $100 Startup and Side Hustle both by Chris Guillebeau there both amazing reads especially for someone looking at a side hustle to make more money

The Thrifty Issue

Friday 20th of March 2020

They are good books!

Fran D

Thursday 1st of February 2018

I would love this prize, great books, and this year I am reading a book a week, 52 books for the year.

Nicole Graham

Sunday 28th of January 2018

I need these books, I need the inspiration for some me time.


Sunday 28th of January 2018

The 5 love languages is a great read but I look forward to reading some of the others on the list. :-)


Sunday 28th of January 2018

All excellent books, thanks for sharing.

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