5 Books That Will Help You Create the Life You Dream About

5 Books That Will Help You Create the Life You Dream About

Self-help is the most popular and the fastest growing genre in nonfiction literature. It seems like most people really want to help themselves. Wading through the sea of self-help books can be daunting, and it’s hard to figure out which ones are really worth your time. I did a deep dive into self-help books geared toward teaching the reader how to uncover the life they want and how to get it. While each of these books may carry the “self-help” label, they are anything but the cheesy, empty promises that accompany most books in the genre. These books are rich, full of great advice, and actionable steps to make your dreams come to life. Here are five books that will help you uncover your dreams and build the life you really want.

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Dream Big by Bob Goff

Dream Big is one of the most joyous, fun, and hopeful “self-help” books I’ve ever read. I can’t believe this is the first book I’ve read by Bob Goff; his two previous publications, Love Does and Everybody, Always, are both New York Times bestsellers. Goff’s radical positivity and tendency towards hope makes his writing inviting and fun (I mean, the cover of the hardback is designed to be morphed into a paper airplane, if that tells you anything about Goff’s childlike spirit).

Goff has lived a wild life, and his experiences make stories that are both inspiring and exciting to read. Through thoughtful questions, Dream Big encourages readers to figure out what they want, why they want it, and what they’re going to do about it. Goff instructs readers to get honest about the things they want in life and not to waste time with the things they think sound good or noble, but aren’t really things they want. Goff doesn’t shy away from writing about his spiritual beliefs, but allows them to flow naturally and genuinely through his writing in a way that doesn’t feel forced. If you are looking for something that will challenge you to dream big, hope more, and forget the status quo, this book is for you.

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Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

There is no problem in your life, big or small, that is not figureoutable. Marie Forleo wants you to adopt this life-changing philosophy, run with it, and see how it changes every aspect of your life. Marie Forleo is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and founder of B-School, the online course for new entrepreneurs that has helped more than 50,000 students create and expand their businesses. Everything is Figureoutable is not about quick fixes, but rather transforming your mindset to embrace this one simple truth: everything is figureoutable. From fixing your washing machine to fixing your marriage, there is not a single problem in your life that cannot be figured out. Forleo writes,

“Rule 1. All problems (or dreams) are figureoutable. Rule 2. If a problem is not figureoutable, it’s not really a problem—it’s a fact of life or law of nature (e.g., death or gravity). Rule 3. You may not care enough to figure this problem out or achieve this particular dream. That’s okay. Find another problem or dream that ignites a blazing fire in your heart and go back to Rule 1.”

The most powerful part of this book is the many testimonies of the figureoutable philosophy working in her life and the lives of her students. If you like a book with a lot of inspiration as well as actionable advice, this book is for you.

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Own Your Everyday by Jordan Lee Dooley

Jordan Lee Dooley is a popular influencer and owner of the SoulScripts, a company that creates inspirational gear including items expressing Dooley’s most popular phrase, “Your Brokenness is Welcome Here”. Through personal stories of her family, marriage, and business, Dooley illustrates how one may overcome disappointment, shame, and perfectionism. Dooley encourages readers ro reject comparison and embrace themselves fully in their own uniqueness. This book is full of impactful mindset shifts that will propel you down a path toward embracing your purpose. A Christian, Dooley’s faith plays a key role in the development of her world view. While Dooley is a beautiful writer, her youthful take may not be suitable to more mature readers. I recommend this book for women ages 18-30.

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You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

You are a badass. Do you believe that? If not, it’s time to start. This book is all about how to embrace your inner badass so that you can work through your problems and run straight for the life you want. (I noticed that, although through different styles, every author in this series of books stresses the importance of believing that you are valuable, capable, and deserving of a wonderful life). Full of incredible insight and brutal truths, Sincero’s ideas are sure to rock your boat. My favorite thing about this book was Sincero’s chapter on fear. In the chapter, Fear is For Suckers, she writes:

“We’ve made being in fear a habit. We’re pumped full of it as children, like sugar, then as we grow we continue to take in the bad news on TV and the horror in the papers and the violence in books and films and all this junk that fills us to the brim with fear about our world. We’re taught to play it safe and not take risks, and to caution everyone around us to follow suit. And it’s become such an accepted part of our social conditioning that we don’t even realize we’re doing it.”

As you may have guessed from the title, Sincero’s style is not exactly strait-laced. If you are offended by strong language and crude humor, this probably is not the book for you (then again, you may need it most).

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Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

We all love good design. You probably find yourself appreciating good design every day. There’s nothing quite like the glory of an airplane, a perfect pair of jeans, or the simple satisfaction of a perfect chair. Design is important. And it doesn’t happen by accident. Designers use a set of principles to guide their process of brainstorming, prototyping, and innovation. What if we used the very same principles to design our lives? That’s what authors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans have set out to teach you.

In this book, you’ll learn the principles of design, how to think like a designer, and how to use design principles to create the life you want. Whether that be a major overhaul, like a career change, or just a few smaller shifts, like finding more ways to work outdoors, this book will steer you in the right direction. Through data tracking, prototyping, and problem-solving, you’ll be guided through design experiments that will get you closer and closer to the life you really want. You’ll figure out what is most important to you, and what guides you in your design decision-making. This is the only book out of the five which I’ve read multiple times and completed all of the prompts and exercises. Read a lengthier blog post about my experience working through the Designing Your Life Project here.

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Disclosure (Let’s be honest)
This website contains posts with affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission if you purchase a book I’ve linked— at no extra cost to you. I’ll always be upfront with you when a post is sponsored or a book is gifted. All books I recommend are books I actually read and enjoyed.
No joke.