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Top Self-Improvement Books of 2011 for Gift Giving

By Edited Oct 5, 2016 0 0

Choosing a Book for Gift Giving

Books Gift Wrapped


Self-Help or self-improvement are  broad  categories for books ranging from those inspired by Eastern spirituality to psychology to Christian guidelines for living.  All in the category aim to provide help in living a better, happier more successful life.   So with that in mind I’ve given a tongue in cheek guide to help focus on who each book might be best for.  Some are really cheap in Kindle versions, others come in hardcover or paperback and audio editions.

 For the frugal person,  unemployed or neo-hippie in your life:

1.  Simplify by Joshua Becker- youngish suburban family guy who has converted to minimalist lifestyle,  getting rid of over 70% of his family's belongings.  He now extols the life and gives tips and how to’s for the rest of us.  

For the woman with a dry-wit who enjoys shopping:

2.  The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman by Karen Karbo.  Illustrations by Chesley McLaren.

A witty little book using the challenging life of the fashion icon Coco Channel who rose from poverty to riches.  The author reaps life lessons for women from Chanel's saga.  Full of opinion and humor sure to piss of some folks and amuse others.  

For anyone who's focused on work and excelling, corporate manager, coach, teacher or self-employed:

3. Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long by David Rock

This audio book is getting rave reviews. Looks like over 95% of the reviews on Amazon are the highest-five stars. Wow. Uses scientific research to explain for the average person how to accomplish  tasks, manage work stress and work volume more effectively.

For family member, like mom with a sentimental streak who loves heart-warming stories:

4. Lost December by Richard Paul Evans

By the author of the #1 bestseller the Christmas Box, this is a tale of a wealthy son who squanders his fortune. He begins to work at a lowly job and try to rebuild his life.  His character deepens and he grows as a result of the pain and suffering.  Lost December is basically the prodigal son story retold.

For family member: dad or mom or Aunt Sue who thrives on an upbeat, feel good, "it's all good," Christian message:

5. Every Day a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week by Joel Osteen

Written by the pastor and media star of a Texas-based, mega-church,  this book continues his philosophy of feel good Christianity. He preaches a positive outlook, and joy under all circumstances. It's hugely popular despite some detractors.

The rational,  30 something, who appreciates new research on health and wellbeing, with a spiritual spin, that they can use:

6. Spontaneous Happiness by Andrew Weil

Interestingly also about happiness, but form a different angle than Rev. Osteen. Andrew Weil is a physician and combines and integrates information on happiness from many areas including Western psychology, Eastern spirituality, nutrition and more. He outlines into a multi-week program that looks at all areas of life and how they support our ability to be happy.

For the business owner or anyone who wants straightforward principles on how to be more successful in life.

7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

This book is a perennial bestseller having sold over 15 million copies since it was first published in 1990. It really is a classic, a nice mix of self-help and business success blended in an easy to digest and well organized fashion.  They may already own it!

Mom or Aunt Sara, or anyone in the family who loves soap operas and reality shows, those who like, memoir and intense storytelling.

10. Why Me?  by  Sarah Burleton

A disturbing autobiographical story of the abuse of a girl at the hands of her deeply disturbed mother. I read an excerpt and couldn't stop reading it, riveting and upsetting.  A tear-jerker and yet inspirational story, as she survived to give voice to her story. 

The driven, stressed perfectionist mom, or career woman looking for a way out of feeling overwhelmed and not good enough:

11. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Wonderfully human and inspiring, the subtitle, "Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are" says it all.  The author, a researcher in human behavior, combines her own experience and research.  She outlines how to live a meaningful life and enjoy it, without feeling that we are not keeping up or doing as much as we "should."   

An inexpensive gift for the apt-dweller or anyone who's got too much stuff:

12. Miss Minimalist: Inspiration to Downsize, Declutter, and Simplify by Francine Jay.

Available in an very inexpensive Kindle edition.  This digital book tells us how to do what it's title says in a series of separate articles compiled from her popular blog.  Minimalism, is really gaining momentum in the last few years.   Folks are realizing that they may be accumulating and paying for so much stuff  that may not really make them happy.

For the positive thinker who needs more of that, your cheerful younger sis.   Not for the cynic, they may throw it out the window:

13.  The Secret  by Rhonda Byrne.

All the rage a few years ago and still having an impact in the New Age, law of attraction and manifestation niche which is huge.  This book spun off a lot of other books in the genre. Easy to read and motivating, it's less a how-to than a motivational, feel good book to get started with. For more depth and concrete steps to take, check out Shakti Gawain's book, Creative Visualization which is it's predecessor and a perennial classic.

Anyone who loves Oprah and her take on positive spirituality or the opposite someone wh isn't into television and loves to spend quiet time along or in nature may appreciate:

14. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.  This quiet man with a bit of a lisp has created a worldwide phenomena of a book that has sold over 2 million copies.   And that number is not showing readership, such as via libraries or passing book on. I got this book via loan from a friend who raved about it. A lot of it is based on Buddhism but stripped down to essential non-religious core. The key message which is deceptively simple to get but hard to practice is to stay in the Now; letting go of thoughts of planning, and desiring.  And releaseing the past: remembering, rehashing.  And basically that is where the Divine is found if we are really present.

Anyone dealing with the aftermath of loss of a loved one, illness or severe life challenge. Gives examples and the authors experience of being "broken open" by life traumas and how she coped and thrived:

15. Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow by Elizabeth Lesser

She is the co-founder of one of the largest retreat and learning centers in the U.S., the Omega institute.  And has studied with many luminary teachers, she weaves in her own shortcomings and difficulties to create lessons on coping with difficult times.

Image: CC license @Flickr. Some rights reserved by susansimon



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  1. "Bestsellers: Self-Help." Amazon. 21/November/2011. 21/November/2011 <Web >

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