Health and Happiness Reads

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Looking for reading suggestions about living a healthier and happier life? Learn about what I’m reading—and what I took away from it—below (and check back as I will keep adding reviews!)

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Cover of the Book Big MagicWhen I started blogging, I had no idea what an important part of my life it would becomeBig Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert, helped me understand why this is the case.  Creating, according to Elizabeth, connects us to our humanity.  It keeps our brains occupied with building something instead of tearing something down—ourselves, our relationships, etc.

For many years, I didn’t feel like I was enough, let alone that I had gifts to share with the world.  I still second-guess myself—I’m sure I always will to some extent—but with each new post I write, I gain confidence that what I am creating matters.  This is the “big magic” about which Elizabeth was writing.

Read my full review here.

Better than Before by Gretchen RubinBook Cover

I owe a lot to Gretchen Rubin’s book Better than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life.  In it, she identifies a framework to use to break bad habits and adopt new ones. 

By following her suggestions, I have been able to take control of my spending, lose weight and examine what I want out of my career.  

Read my full review here.   

Book CoverThe Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project is one of the books that kick-started my journey to make my good life even better.  In the book, Gretchen documents a year spent on not just researching happiness and habits, but actually making changes in her life to see if they made her happier.

The systematic approach she took—she set specific goals each month based on a theme and monitored her success on a daily basis using a goals chart—was something that definitely appealed to how I like to problem-solve.  By implementing this approach, I was able to develop better habits to replace the ones that weren’t helping me reach my goals.  If you are looking to make changes in your life, I highly recommend this book as a place to start.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

Picture of the book MindsetThe topic of mindset—and adopting a positive one—has been popular for years now.  But do you know why mindset is so important, so life-changing?

I didn’t which is why I was really excited with a friend recommended to me the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck.  It took me a little while to get through it but I am so glad I persevered.  It helped me see why in some areas of my life, I find it easy to tackle challenges and in other areas, I feel so powerless.

You can read my full review here.

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

Book CoverProcessing grief is not easy—and I should know because I have had to do so a lot in my lifetime.  In Option B, Sheryl Sandberg shares her experience doing so after her husband died unexpectedly, leaving her a single mom of two younger children.

Sheryl’s sincerity comes through: she clearly wants to help others who have experienced the loss of a loved one.  And she does a good job of weaving together research on resilience and working through grief with stories of people who have experienced loss too.

There were things that frustrated me with the book, however.  For example, her name-checking of famous people isn’t really necessary to tell her story.

You can read my full review here.

Book CoverWhy We Get Fat by Gary Taubes

The low carb, high fat approach to eating—also known as a ketogenic diet—described in Gary Taubes’ book Why We Get Fat will probably contradict everything you have learned about dieting.  Nevertheless, I recommend you keep an open mind reading it.  I did and it has been a game-changer for me.

I have lost weight (more than 30 pounds as of writing this review) but more important to me, I have done it without hunger.  The first couple months were an adjustment but since then, it has been remarkably easy to avoid carbs.  You can read more about this in my post, The Keto Life When You Hate to Cook.