A curated list of books to inspire and energize you as you kickstart the new year. Whether you’re looking to set resolutions that stick, or you just want go into the next year with a positive outlook, these books can help.
The Book of Joy
by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, with Douglas Abrams
Two great spiritual masters share their own hard-won wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity. The occasion was a big birthday. And it inspired two close friends to get together in Dharamsala for a talk about something very important to them. The friends were His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The subject was joy. Both winners of the Nobel Prize, both great spiritual masters and moral leaders of our time, they are also known for being among the most infectiously happy people on the planet. From the beginning the book was envisioned as a three-layer birthday cake: their own stories and teachings about joy, the most recent findings in the science of deep happiness, and the daily practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives. Both the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu have been tested by great personal and national adversity, and here they share their personal stories of struggle and renewal. Now that they are both in their eighties, they especially want to spread the core message that to have joy yourself, you must bring joy to others. Most of all, during that landmark week in Dharamsala, they demonstrated by their own exuberance, compassion, and humor how joy can be transformed from a fleeting emotion into an enduring way of life. – Description from the catalog
Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself
by Nedra Glover Tawwab
Healthy boundaries. We all know we should have them—in order to achieve work/life balance, cope with toxic people, and enjoy rewarding relationships with partners, friends, and family. But what do “healthy boundaries” really mean—and how can we successfully express our needs, say “no,” and be assertive without offending others?
Licensed counselor, sought-after relationship expert, and one of the most influential therapists on Instagram Nedra Glover Tawwab demystifies this complex topic for today’s world. In a relatable and inclusive tone, Set Boundaries, Find Peace presents simple-yet-powerful ways to establish healthy boundaries in all aspects of life. Rooted in the latest research and best practices used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), these techniques help us identify and express our needs clearly and without apology—and unravel a root problem behind codependency, power struggles, anxiety, depression, burnout, and more. – Description from Libby
Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits – To Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life
by Gretchen Rubin
Habits are the invisible architecture of our lives. Rubin provides an analytical and scientific framework from which to understand these habits–as well as change them for good. Infused with her compelling voice and funny stories, she illustrates the core principles of habit formation with dozens of strategies that she uses herself and tests out on others. Rubin provides tools to help readers better understand themselves, and presents a clear, practical menu of strategies so readers can take an individualized approach. She tackles each strategy herself and in doing so shows us the importance of knowing ourselves and our own habit tendencies. Armed with self-knowledge, we can pursue habits in ways that will truly work for us, not against us. Going to the gym can be as easy, effortless, and automatic as putting on a seatbelt. We can file expense reports, take time for fun, or pass up that piece of carrot cake without having to decide. With a foundation of good habits, we can build a life that reflects our values and goals. – Description from the catalog
The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices by Casper Ter Kuile
An affirming exploration of how to deepen the practices we do every day-yoga, book club, walking the dog-so they become rituals in the fabric of our modern spiritual lives. -Description from the catalog
How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy
by Jenny Odell
When the technologies we use every day collapse our experiences into 24/7 availability, platforms for personal branding, and products to be monetized, nothing can be quite so radical as . . . doing nothing. Here, Jenny Odell sends up a flare from the heart of Silicon Valley, delivering an action plan to resist capitalist narratives of productivity and techno-determinism, and to become more meaningfully connected in the process. – Description from the catalog
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals
by Oliver Burkeman
The average human lifespan is absurdly, insultingly brief. Assuming you live to be eighty, you have just over four thousand weeks.
Nobody needs telling there isn’t enough time. We’re obsessed with our lengthening to-do lists, our overfilled inboxes, work-life balance, and the ceaseless battle against distraction; and we’re deluged with advice on becoming more productive and efficient, and “life hacks” to optimize our days. But such techniques often end up making things worse. The sense of anxious hurry grows more intense, and still the most meaningful parts of life seem to lie just beyond the horizon. Still, we rarely make the connection between our daily struggles with time and the ultimate time management problem: the challenge of how best to use our four thousand weeks.
Drawing on the insights of both ancient and contemporary philosophers, psychologists, and spiritual teachers, Oliver Burkeman delivers an entertaining, humorous, practical, and ultimately profound guide to time and time management. Rejecting the futile modern fixation on “getting everything done,” Four Thousand Weeks introduces readers to tools for constructing a meaningful life by embracing finitude, showing how many of the unhelpful ways we’ve come to think about time aren’t inescapable, unchanging truths, but choices we’ve made as individuals and as a society—and that we could do things differently. – Description from Libby
Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times
by Katherine May
Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break up, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but embraced the singular opportunities it offered. A moving personal narrative shot through with lessons from literature, mythology, and the natural world, May’s story offers instruction on the transformative power of rest and retreat. Illumination emerges from many sources: solstice celebrations and dormice hibernation, C.S. Lewis and Sylvia Plath, swimming in icy waters and sailing arctic seas. Ultimately Wintering invites us to change how we relate to our own fallow times. May models an active acceptance of sadness and finds nourishment in deep retreat, joy in the hushed beauty of winter, and encouragement in understanding life as cyclical, not linear. A secular mystic, May forms a guiding philosophy for transforming the hardships that arise before the ushering in of a new season. – Description from the catalog
Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life
by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein
The workplace is a magnet for clutter and mess. Who hasn’t felt drained by wasteful meetings, disorganized papers, endless emails, and unnecessary tasks? These are the modern-day hazards of working, and they can slowly drain the joy from work, limit our chances of career progress, and undermine our well-being. There is another way. In Joy at Work, bestselling author and Netflix star Marie Kondo and Rice University business professor Scott Sonenshein offer stories, studies, and strategies to help you eliminate clutter and make space for work that really matters. Using the world-renowned KonMari Method and cutting-edge research, Joy at Work will help you overcome the challenges of workplace mess and enjoy the productivity, success, and happiness that come with a tidy desk and mind..”–Amazon
The Comfort Book
by Matt Haig
Nothing is stronger than a small hope that doesn’t give up. The Comfort Book is a collection of little islands of hope. It gathers consolations and stories that give new ways of seeing ourselves and the world. Matt Haig’s mix of philosophy, memoir and self-reflection builds on the wisdom of philosophers and survivors through the ages, from Marcus Aurelius to Nellie Bly, Emily Dickinson to James Baldwin. This is the book to pick up when you need the wisdom of a friend, the comfort of a hug or a reminder that hope comes from unexpected places. – Description from the catalog
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
by Charles Duhigg
In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives. – Description from Libby