The self-help aisle at Barnes & Noble is a fun place to find yourself in. While it’s true that the genre has nearly doubled in size since 2013, it can also be said to be oversaturated, overwhelming, and—if we’re honest, pretty cringe-worthy. What you need may not be theoretical concepts or another omnipresent golden rule, but rather, actionable advice. Baby steps, as Bob once learned; rituals if you will, to optimize your day-to-day and step up your quality of life.
Here are three books which, who knows, could very well change your life. Or, at the very least, create some changes in your life.
ATOMIC HABITS: AN EASY & PROVEN WAY TO BUILD GOOD HABITS & BREAK BAD ONES
by James Clear
Written by a Fortune 500 speaker, Atomic Habits is all about habit forming and dives into the philosophical aspects of daily adjustments you can make to get “1 percent better every day”. So what makes this different than any other run-of-the-mill self-help book? Taking a less-is-more approach to your daily tasks, James Clear uses proven ideas from neuroscience, biology, and psychology. Incorporating some of the world’s biggest success stories—from Olympic gold medalists and business leaders to star comedians who have used these methods to master their craft and reach their goals to rise to the top of their field. We found ourselves inspired by the do-able, less is more approach to a more efficient work flow.
DEEP WORK: RULES FOR FOCUSED SUCCESS IN A DISTRACTED WORLD
by Cal Newport
Deep Work is all about focusing on the task at hand; it’s a one-size-fits-all guide on craftsmanship. By tapping into something deeper that often gets ignored in the chaos of the every day, and the deluge of emails, social media scrolling, and other time suckers, you’re able to become the best at what you do—even if you’ve already been doing it for years and thought it was going pretty well. It brings up the effect that technology and added distractions has had on us as a society. How can we perform deep work despite said distractions? Newport makes a compelling case for how to cultivate this skill and the results it will have on your life.
FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE
by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
According to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s investigations of “optimal experience,” what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and—most compellingly—a total involvement with life. Csikszentmihalyi demonstrates the ways this positive state can be controlled, not just left to chance. By reorganizing the information that enters our consciousness, we can discover true happiness, tap into our potential, and greatly improve the quality of our lives.