ReadHacks
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ReadHacks

What’s Life without a little whimsy, right?

I know how to Zen out when my Cheese is Relocated!

Sometimes we all need a little help. A spiritual tune-up, if you will. Our own little wellness retreat, a 5-minute meditation on the subway, a purse-sized personal guru… you’re coming along with me here, right? I’m talking about inspiration from books! Now, trust me, I know what you’re thinking: “I already figured out what color my parachute is, I know how to Zen out when my cheese is relocated, yada, yada, yada.” But hear me out, because these are not your mom’s self-help books.

These titles will have you celebrating your own awesomeness and badassery in 300–400 pages or fewer. They’ve got your back on everything from new job-woes to romantic highs and lows, and won’t leave you feeling like you have to hide that embarrassing book cover from onlookers while riding the bus. (Because, yes, some of us still have residual scars from that time Lorelai Gilmore reminded us how mockable self-help books can be.) In fact, after reading these books, you won’t even care if he’s just not that into you — because you’ll be so into you that he (who?) will relegated to the territory of afterthought.

Sound good? Then check out these 5 inspirational self-help books that will actually, you know, inspire you:

1. The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness

We always have a choice, Pema Chodron teaches: We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us and make us increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder. Here, Pema provides tools to deal with the problems and difficulties that life throws our way. This wisdom is always available to us, she teaches, but we usually block it with habitual patterns rooted in fear. Beyond that fear lies a state of openheartedness and tenderness. This book teaches us how to awaken our basic goodness and connect with others, to accept ourselves and others — complete with faults and imperfections, and to stay in the present moment by seeing through the strategies of ego that cause us to resist life as it is.

2. Level Up Your Life: How to Unlock Adventure and Happiness by Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story

For the past 5 years, Steve Kamb has transformed himself from wanna-be daydreamer into a real-life superhero and actually turned his life into a gigantic video game: flying stunt planes in New Zealand, gambling in a tuxedo at the Casino de Monte-Carlo, and even finding Nemo on the GreatBarrier Reef. To help him accomplish all of these goals, he built a system that allowed him to complete quests, take on boss battles, earn experience points, and literally level up his life.

If you have always dreamed of adventure and growth but can’t seem to leave your hobbit-hole, Steve’s book, Level Up Your Life, is for you. He will teach you exactly how to use your favorite video games, books, and movies as inspiration for adventure rather than an escape from the grind of everyday life. Hundreds of thousands of everyday Joes and Jills have joined Steve’s Rebellion through his popular website, NerdFitness.com, and leveled up their lives — losing weight, getting stronger, and living better.

In Level Up Your Life, you’ll meet more than a dozen of these members of The Rebellion: men and women, young and old, single and married, from all walks of life who have created superhero versions of themselves to live adventurously and happily. Within this guide, you’ll follow in their footsteps and learn exactly how to:

• Create your own “Alter Ego” with real-life super powers
• Build your own Epic Quest List, broken into categories and difficulty levels
• Hack your productivity habits to start making progress
• Train your body for any adventure
• Build in rewards and accountability that will actually motivate you to succeed
• Travel the world freely (and cheaply)
• Recruit the right allies to your side and find powerful mentors for guidance

Adventure is out there, and the world needs more heroes. Will you heed the call?

3. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.” Social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives — experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.

Brown argues that we’re experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection, and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. She writes, “True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.” Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness. Brown writes, “The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”

4. Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability — the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome — is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall.

It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people — from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents — shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.

Walking into our stories of hurt can feel dangerous. But the process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Regardless of magnitude or circumstance, the rising strong process is the same: We reckon with our emotions and get curious about what we’re feeling; we rumble with our stories until we get to a place of truth; and we live this process, every day, until it becomes a practice and creates nothing short of a revolution in our lives. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. It’s the process, Brown writes, that teaches us the most about who we are.

5. What on Earth Am I Here For? Purpose Driven Life

The Purpose Driven Life is far more than just a book; it is a guide to a spiritual journey. Once you take this journey, you’ll never be the same again.

On your journey you’ll find the answers to three of life’s most important questions:

  • The Question of Existence: Why am I alive?
  • The Question of Significance: Does my life matter?
  • The Question of Purpose: What on earth am I here for?

Living out the purpose you were created for moves you beyond mere survival and success to a life of significance — the life you were meant to live.

Five benefits of knowing your purpose:

  1. It will explain the meaning of your life.
  2. It will simplify your life.
  3. It will focus your life.
  4. It will increase your motivation.
  5. It will prepare you for eternity.

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Abhishek Shah

Abhishek Shah

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Nomad | Early Stage Investor | Wannabe Anthropologist | Technology Evangelist | Curious, Inquisitive & Experimental Entrepreneur