Our Favorite Personal Development Books, May 2017

Our Favorite Personal Development Books, May 2017

SUCCESS magazine’s monthly Reading List features the best books in business, personal development and well-being. Here are the top titles from The Abundance Issue.

Our Favorite Personal Development Books, May 20171. Women Who Work

Rewriting the Rules for Success

By now Ivanka Trump is the kind of celebrity who could go by one name, like Cher or Madonna. Of course, she is also now a divisive figure, if only by proxy, whether that’s fair or not. It’s the reason publication of this book was pushed back from March to May. Can a businesswoman so closely associated with men whose policies have received backlash from many women really speak for working women? The truth is she doesn’t really try to.

Trump provides a forum on her website for working women to share their experiences and passions. Women Who Work is an extension of that discussion. For readers who can set aside political feelings, it will be an informative read. Trump acknowledges the luck of being born to a billionaire father while emphasizing the hard work required to build on that advantage. She also insists on being seen as a fully rounded person—a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend. Women Who Work is meant to inspire and empower.

Our Favorite Personal Development Books, May 20172. Insight

Why We’re Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life

Insight offers a bold, exhilarating take on self-improvement. After all, self-awareness is what the entire human project is about. Our scientific name, Homo sapiens sapiens, means doubly wise (or self-aware) man. French philosopher René Descartes declared, “I think, therefore I am.” But some modern neuroscientists believe that self-awareness is an illusion—that people are as driven by instinct as squirrels. Organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich brings fresh perspective to an old question.

Combining her own research with the latest science, Eurich measures the connection between self-awareness and performance, at work and at home. Although 95 percent of her subjects believed they were self-aware, most proved inept at perceiving how they were seen by others. Fortunately self-awareness, the “meta-skill of the 21st century,” is remarkably easy to acquire via Eurich’s counterintuitive insights. This book might help you perform better, make better decisions and become happier. (May; Crown Business; $28)

Our Favorite Personal Development Books, May 20173. No Limits

Blow the CAP Off Your Capacity

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” wrote Robert Browning in his poem “Andrea del Sarto.” It’s one of the most famous quotes not to come from the Bible, Homer or Shakespeare, and it means we must seek to find the limits of our talent and drive if we are to achieve all that we are capable of. Broadly, that’s the theme of John C. Maxwell’s latest motivational book. Don’t accept perceived limitations, he warns.

The author of more than 70 books, several of them New York Times No. 1 best-sellers, is a top leadership expert, a SUCCESS ambassador and longtime columnist. He identifies 17 core capabilities. Some, such as energy and creativity, are innate, while others, such as attitude, character and intention, are a matter of choice. Maxwell examines each one, giving instructions on how to identify and maximize your potential. The book might not be the first to urge readers to push out of their comfort zone, but few authors have done it with more conviction and effectiveness than Maxwell.

Our Favorite Personal Development Books, May 20174. Brilliant Living

31 Insights to Creating an Awesome Life

Some inflation is at work in the principles of self-improvement. Ten Commandments then Twelve Steps—and now the digits have exploded. Simon Bailey’s 31 insights probably aren’t the most but it’s a big number comprising a focus on faith, family, health, social life, career and so on. Bailey is the leader of the Brilliance Movement, a philosophy centered on celebrating rather than criticizing yourself. Despite the high insight count, Bailey’s message is simple, and many will find it is exactly the spark they’ve been looking for.

Our Favorite Personal Development Books, May 20175. Becoming Curious

A Spiritual Practice of Asking Questions

Curiosity might have killed the cat, but for Casey Tygrett it is also an essential ingredient to human growth. It takes only a little curiosity to move us toward knowing our friends better, to stumble across unforeseen opportunities, to understand our own thoughts and feelings. Pastor, blogger, spiritual director and author, Tygrett takes an engaging approach to being more curious. When we stop asking questions, he says, we give up. That’s how asking questions becomes a spiritual practice.

The Only Leadership Decision That Really Matters

Anthony Tjan brings a timeless human question into the modern business world: What is goodness? In the workplace, goodness is often limited to competence and productivity. Tjan says real goodness includes integrity, compassion, generosity, gratitude and kindness. Sometimes dismissed as soft, these characteristics actually enable leaders to create business cultures of real value and longevity.

Related: 13 Must-Read Books on Success and Being Successful

This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

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Chauncey Mabe is a freelance writer, book critic, and blogger in Miami, Fla. For 23 years he served as Book Editor and Senior Entertainment Writer at the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. He was Book Blogger for the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, the parent organization of Miami Book Fair International, from 2009 to 2012. He also blogs for the Betsy Hotel South Beach hotel, which sponsors literary events year round. His reviews and feature stories have appeared in publications such as the Toronto Globe & Mail, the Serving House Journal, Inspicio, the Palm Beach Arts Paper, the Baltimore Sun, the Juneau Empire, and the Chicago Tribune.

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