What are your friends reading? We are constantly bombarded by content on and offline and it helps to have some kind of filter to weed out the noise. One excellent filter is getting a recommendation and reviews from an avid reader whose tastes you trust and can rely on.
These 9 non-fiction books cover topics ranging from self-improvements, self-confidence, understanding the world better, being more creative, and even your health. They are quarter-life crisis books because that’s exactly what they help you with. They should be on your reading list if they aren’t and here’s why. Read below.
Creative confidence was given to me by a friend at the beginning of the year as a holiday gift. Months later, she asked how it was, and as I grappled with explaining how much I loved the book and the effect it had on me, I blurted out, “it made me more confident in my creativity, I guess”. We both paused and looked at each other in excitement because “that’s the title of the book!”. So yeah, the book does what it says. Creative confidence is an all-encompassing book on the subject of creativity and breaks it down in the different nuances of ways you could doubt yourself, or play down your creativity, and it shows you why you shouldn’t. If you’re starting as a creative or have moments where you doubt yourself and your abilities, this book will help you immensely.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
I’m currently on a mission to read all of Malcolm Gladwell’s books and all of his articles, I can find in The New Yorker archives. He is one of the great thinkers of our time, and I find his books very intelligent and educational. He breaks down otherwise complex topics and makes you see the world with a more advanced yet simpler perspective. This book Outliers – The Story of Success, does just that.
Gladwell is brilliant. The book breaks down the lives of some of the most successful people in different generations and points out overwhelming patterns that you would have never thought about prior. Patterns like where they grew up, the opportunities they had, and how much time they spent practicing and perfecting their craft. In one chapter, he talks about the 1,000-hour rule, which is that every professional ever spent at least 1,000 hours practicing from Mozart to Bill Gates to top athletes. Then he talks about how “Genius” is not some out of reach thing. Reading this book makes you understand the importance of hard work in the pursuit of success.
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
I’ve never had an author speak to me so directly and so tenderly like Anne Lamott. As the title says, Bird by Bird is a book with instructions on writing and life in general. The book covers topics like self-doubt, envy, feeling lost, and dealing with your place in the world. She excellently captures the art of writing and all its craziness in an ethereal way that makes you realize you’re not crazy, you’re just a writer. If you are a writer or you’re thinking of becoming a writer, or you need to read a good book, this is a perfect book to pick up. It’s an easy read and is very wholesome.
Notes to Self by Emilie Pine
I was drawn to this powerful half memoir half collection of essays because of it’s simple aesthetic and evenly divided short stories. Generally, I’m always curious about Irish authors because it helps me to understand more clearly my own country when I hear about tales that are so different to my own, about times I wasn’t alive or wasn’t aware of. I never expected this book to be so imbued with eye-watering honesty, encompassing issues about family struggles, addiction, consent, inequality, infertility, and miscarriage. Now a successful professor at Trinity University in Dublin, Pines wild tales of her youth, her complicated upbringing, and the general uneasiness of being raised in conservative Ireland in the 80s and 90s ring loudly through each page. Reading this book stresses that life is messy and slapdash, vast and sobering, but also filled exponentially with elevated joy. Reading these stories that shadowed the backdrop of the ever-evolving Ireland, I was reminded that there is always, always, time to change.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Who better to have stumbled upon during a seemingly everlasting quarter-life crisis than Carty-Williams vibrant millennial protagonist, Queenie? Though parts of me felt wholly connected to Queenie’s mindset, in reality, reading this revolutionary flick resulted in a lot of head shaking and disappointment at her unhealthy antics, and that’s precisely the point. But ultimately, it revived in me the mantra that nobody is perfect, especially not Queenie. Carty-William’s documentation of gentrification, mental deterioration, and sexual politics are not solely provocative, but a vital shake-up of narrative to create a welcoming platform of education and unity. We are all just trying to get through with our bit of baggage, and Queenie taught me that there is simply no right way to do that, but humor, honesty, and understanding are sure to get you far.
The subtle art of not giving a f*ck by Mark Manso
The subtle art of not giving a f*ck is the perfect book for randomness and laughs while you learn a lot about yourself. Yeah, this s a self-help book, but the examples used and the tone in which is written makes it incredibly different than other self-help books. If you are giving too many fucks on what other people are thinking or if you want to shake your daily habits a lot, this book is for you. I do have to accept that this book is extremely fun to read but not necessarily deep. This makes it the perfect introduction to the whole genre of self-improvement.
Spend an hour watching the news, and it’s easy to think that humanity is evil, doomed, that we are more divided than ever, and that the future is daunting. However, the authors of the book use data and wit to prove otherwise.
Factfulness teaches readers how to question everything we read and hear and how to interpret data and forecasts.
I believe this book is a must for anyone that hasn’t been exposed to cultures that are radically different from theirs. It challenges the stereotypes we have about the developing world and points out the flaws in the developed world.
Secrets of a Millionaire Mindset
If money is a source of stress for you, you have to read this book! Secrets of a Millionaire Mindset is a manual on how to change the way we think about money and how to improve our behaviors and habits to manage it better.
The author divides the book into two parts:
- The first part of the book challenges readers to be aware of how they think about money. The author asks questions and outlines activities to get us to think about our relationship with money grow, how money was discussed and managed growing up, and the kind of language we use related to money on a day to day basis.
- The second part of the book is all about action. The author gives very practical tips on how to manage and save our money, how to negotiate, how to make money based on the value we provide instead of the time we put in.
I’ll admit that the author writes like a cheesy 90s American infomercial, and he promotes his seminars throughout the book. If you can get past that, you’ll find a lot of golden nuggets.
The Blood Sugar Solution: 10-Day Detox Diet
I think it’s important to sometimes start afresh and update our own human version of our IOS. That’s why after the holidays I decided to quit sugar. A lot of people think of quitting sugar as getting rid of chocolate and sugary drinks, but there’s sugar in so much more than coca-cola and ice cream. As Dr. Hyman’s book explains, there is sugar in everything.
Two things to bear in mind with this book.
- It’s only 10 days
- Shouldn’t think of it as a diet
I don’t like diets, and I don’t like books advocating diets. In this day and age, I feel like we are constantly surrounded by the pressure of how to look, how to eat, and how we should be seen by society. I know what food suits me, and I know that when I overindulge in sugar, alcohol, or too much fat (avocado’s included, woe is me, am I even a millennial?) my mood, body, and skin react accordingly.
Sugar is found in carbohydrates, in fruit, in alcohol, and even in some vegetables. As someone who isn’t too keen on meat, it’s been tough to find alternatives or food to eat. I will say though that after day two already, I had very few cravings for carbs. I felt energetic and did the usual sports I would typically do, and more.
The book tells you to weigh yourself, and measure yourself and write about yourself and blah blah blah but I didn’t do that because all that mattered to me really, was how I felt. Not how I looked or how much I weighed, so I ignored that part of the book. I would say this is a handy tool if you’re feeling lethargic, sick, and tired and need to re-center your eating patterns. However, take this all with a pinch of salt – or should I say sugar, because everyone is different, economically speaking in particular. I’d recommend following Dr. Hyman on Instagram for anyone wanting to re-center their health.