Was It Something I Read? Five books that will turn your life around.

Was It Something I Read? Five books that will turn your life around.
Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

The self-help genre is fraught with peril.

If you're like the millions of Americans who have already failed your New Year's resolution, you are not alone. The self-help genre of books continuously grows against all other categories year over year, partly because of a universal sense that we aren't there yet. Somehow we're not complete.

Now that could be constructive or destructive depending on where your there is. If your there is somewhere safe and healthy, that doesn't hurt anybody else without their consent; well yeah, man, cool. Self improvement is great within reasonable limits.

Unfortunately for many of us, we don't know where our there is, we just know we ain't there yet!

So without shame or reservation, I present to you a few really, really good reads that will either help you figure out where there is for you or enhance your there forever. I am a huge believer in self-help books, especially for the more spiritually agnostic folks out there. It's very easy to not take a little time and think about who you are and what you want if you don't reflect and at the end of the day, self-help books are all about that.

The Easy Way to Quit Smoking by Allen Carr

This book isn't just a self-help book. I was smoking a pack a day, a terrible habit which I had picked up at thirteen. I was nearing thirty and felt like I was sixty. On a whim, I got this with Audible book credits and listened to it on my commute for a week or so.

At the beginning of the book he tells you, "once you finish you'll be done with no cravings ever again." It really worked for me and if this post can help even one person quit through this method, I will be a very happy man.

The Strenuous Life by President Theodore Roosevelt

Imagine a self-help book written by someone who basically invented being a Horatio Algers-esque, rags-to-riches, sickly to studly, war fighting, US president-being, gets-shot-in-the-chest-and-keeps-delivering-a-speech-kinda badass.

Theodore Roosevelt wanted to preach the virtue of doing the hard work and doing it well. He managed to do so in an incredible and important way. Best of all it's written in plain English and it's a quick read.

Home Maintenance For Dummies by James Carey and Morris Carrey Jr.

Some people grew up with a carpenter for a father and a plumber for a mother. I grew up with a publisher and a non-profit type. Suffice to say, I did not walk out into the world knowing which way to hold a hammer... like which end do I screw the nail in with??

Anyway, I digress. By the time I moved out I had no idea what I was doing. Fortunately a family friend gave me this book as a departing gift. It contains all of the important elements of maintaining your home. My favorite part? It contains suggested cadences for routine maintenance and helpful images.

This book has saved my family thousands on handyman calls with everything from repairing a sink to protecting my counters.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

All of these books changed my life but this book I feel like will pay dividends in a way that enhances every other part of my life.

In it, James discusses the importance of building habits and then walks you through how to start them, how to stack them, how to get through funks, and how to use them to succeed in every element of your life.

The most important takeaways I got from this book are simple life lessons that radically changed my worldview and gave me agency for the first time as an adult. By following the simple steps in this book, I was able to begin taking care of things in ways that I hadn't before.

My house is cleaner, my car is safer, I'm physically stronger and healthier, and I'm actually able to enjoy hobbies without neglecting my family or my job. I can reap all those benefits because of the system laid out in Atomic Habits.

What books are you reading lately? What would you recommend to somehow who wants to get better but doesn't ONLY want to get better?