books

6 life-changing books that will change your mindset.

Penguin Books Australia
Thanks to our brand partner, Penguin Books Australia

Once upon a time – or more accurately, sometime in the 90's – SATC's Charlotte York stepped inside of a New York Barnes & Nobles in search of a book.

It wasn’t just any kind of book, though.

It was a self-help book.

She was desperate to get her hands on it, but she was equally as desperate to not get caught buying said book.

But times have well and truly changed. 

No longer is it a genre of book we exclusively read on our Kindles to avoid any questionable looks thrown our way. 

Instead, we read them proudly. Why? Because there’s nothing sexier than someone who believes in personal development. After all, no one is perfect.

And now, after making my way through quite a few of them, there’s one thing I’ve come to believe as absolute truth: some of the most therapeutic moments of one’s life come in the form of a self-help book.

So in case you’re wanting to join the club, here are six self-help books that are well-worth the read.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

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It hasn’t sold over seven million copies for nothing.

Atomic Habits is the ultimate practical self-help book, giving us all the tools and inspo to find the motivation we can sometimes… well, lack.

James Clear helps us unlock the secret to breaking habits and forming good ones by separating the process into four clear steps, and in a world full of distractions, we love a good checklist.

But what’s so good about Atomic Habits is that it feels helpful in a super achievable way while maintaining a broad relevance that benefits every reader, regardless of their goals.

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Reese Witherspoon, queen of book recommendations, raved about it recently when talking about her love of creating positive habits. And if it has the Reese tick of approval, you know it's a goodie. 

Think Again by Adam Grant

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Think Again is life-changing in more than one way. Yes, it teaches you how to think differently and, more importantly, critically, but it also completely changes the way you see the world, too. 

In the book, Adam Grant, an experienced psychologist, challenges the way we traditionally view intelligence. Instead of measuring intelligence through our ability to think and learn, he suggests that it should be measured by our ability to rethink and unlearn.

Why? Well, he argues that the speed at which our world is changing and progressing means we need to be more flexible in the way we think. 

Structured in three different parts, the book doesn’t only serve to motivate the individual, it suggests some pretty important stuff about where we are socially and culturally.

Adam argues that the days where we have to know everything are gone. Instead, there’s something powerful to be learned in what we don’t know, and owning that. 

As someone who only recently changed careers and felt absolutely terrified of the unknown, this one helps you breathe again as you realise that not having all the answers might actually be a good thing. 

Power by Kemi Nekvapil

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Presence. Power. Ownership. Wisdom. Equality. Responsibility.

These are the words that ultimately shape Kemi Nekvapil's moving read, Power: A woman's guide to living and leading without apology.

As a woman of colour who grew up in the foster care system, Kemi knows and understands the feeling of powerlessness.

Now a highly respected executive and personal coach, Kemi has trained with Brené Brown and interviewed industry icons like Elizabeth Gilbert and Marie Forleo.

It’s from her extraordinary life experience that Kemi writes unapologetically, guiding other women to build their power through a five-step framework:

Presence to understand what is and isn’t working in our lives.
Ownership of our personal narratives, especially our power stories.
Wisdom about our needs, boundaries and growth.
Equality as part of the diverse human family, all of us worthy.
Responsibility for our choices, healing and happiness.

And as Kemi puts it personally, “no matter who you are, your age, your culture, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity or physical ability, your experience of power will shift as you read this book.”

Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown

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If someone so much as whispers 'Brené Brown' in the Mamamia office, they are met with enthusiasm and passion. Because we, well, love her. 

And can you blame us? Ever since seeing her TEDx talk, The Power of Vulnerability, it’s been love at first sight. 

Research professor, lecturer, author and podcast host, Brené, in her latest book delves into the 87 emotions and experiences that define us as humans, and better yet, provides a framework to better understand the complexity of our feelings in order to better connect with others.

It’s moving and insightful and utterly compelling — so much so that a tie-in series was created in response to its success and is now streaming on Binge.

In a world where we can sometimes feel stilted when confronting and talking about our emotions, it’s exactly the kind of book we all need right now.

Time Wise by Amantha Imber

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In a similar vein to Atomic Habits, organisational psychologist, Amantha Imber is on a mission to help us better use our time so we have more of it to do the things that bring us joy.

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An expert in productivity, Amantha has interviewed over 150 business leaders, entrepreneurs, bestselling authors, and entertainers, all in the name of uncovering tips and tricks for her podcast How I Work

With chapter titles like 'Why do you need to go on a zombie hunt?' to 'Why you need a personal board of directors', Amantha makes timesaving both practical and fun. 

It’s one for the time-poor people, which let’s face it, is all of us.

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss with Tahl Raz

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In Never Split the Difference, Chris Voss shares his experience as a former FBI negotiator, revealing the key principles behind a successful negotiation.

I know, that word gives me the heebie-jeebies too. Mainly because the outcome of any negotiation tends to be high-stake. (Of course, not FBI-high-stakes, but still high enough to usually impact your personal or professional life.)

But what’s so great about this book is that he reminds us that there’s so much more to negotiations than anxiety – there’s empathy, understanding, compassion and even sometimes joy. 

In a world where so many of us struggle to communicate what we want, it’s one you’ve got to add to your list ASAP.

Also, there are FBI stories sprinkled throughout, so you know it’s oh-so fascinating.

Find them all online or at your local bookstore. For more self-help titles, visit the Penguin Books Australia website

Feature Image: Penguin Books Australia/Mamamia.

Penguin Books Australia
Penguin Books Australia are proud to publish the world’s favourite books from the world’s favourite authors. We celebrate writers, stories and ideas that entertain, educate and inspire. From future classics to cherished favourites, we champion emerging voices and bring readers the highest-quality books from established, award-winning and bestselling authors.