Photo by Negative Space / Public Domain

In life, there are many different skills that we need in order to live at our best. These can be developed organically through experience, but sometimes we need a little extra help. Activities like chatting to friends and acquaintances, life coaching or even taking personal development courses can all go a long way towards helping us succeed in our goals to develop those skills. However, reading books can also be an effective and fun way to develop our life skills.

What can books teach us?

From dealing with stress to increasing self-confidence, books can help us improve our well-being and boost our self-worth. What are the best books to read to help us along the way? Well, whilst there are many great tomes of literature than teach us so much, there are also lots of non-fiction books out there that can really help us to develop our life skills. Here’s a few of my favourites to help you get started.

Achieving body confidence

Media can often show us photoshopped images of the ‘perfect body’ which can be very overwhelming. Whilst it’s important to take a step back and develop a healthy sense of self to help us positively embrace our own bodies, we could all do with a little help along the way. There are plenty of resources out there on the subject of developing body confidence, but in particular the book  ‘Beautiful You’ by Rosie Molinary is one of my favourites. It passionately encourages women (whatever their size or shape) to work toward feeling wonderful about themselves despite today’s media-saturated culture.”

Building resilience

Another great read is ‘Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy’, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. This is an ideal read if you have recently been through a setback in your life, whether this is romantically or in a professional situation – such as not getting a certain job or promotion –  this book can really help. It encourages readers to build resilience and inspires them to move forward after suffering a setback.

Learning new skills

Maria Konnikova didn’t know anything about poker until quite recently. After reading a book called ‘The Theory of Games and Economic Behaviour’, by John Von Neumann, she felt inspired to try playing poker and took a year out from her role as a writer to hone her craft.

The result? She placed second place at the prestigious PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo – not bad for a rookie! Whilst Maria worked hard to develop her strategic approach, she claims that being able to develop her ability to see when other players are making decisions under pressure (due to emotion and/or stress) was fundamental to her success.

It just goes to show that whether you play poker or not, sometimes reading a great book can be pivotal in your success story.

Keep calm

For keeping a clear and calm head on the go, Tiddy Rowan’s ‘Little Book of Mindfulness’ is ideal for keeping in your bag or desk at work. The book is a handy curation of suggestions, tips and and inspiring quotes to helps you slow down and focus.

It is really easy to let life overwhelm you and to automatically reach for your phone when you have a spare five minutes, but why not put down your phone and pick up a book instead? There are lots of  books that can really add value to your life, and reading them is an enjoyable experience at the same time. Another favourite of mine is ‘When Breath Becomes Air’, by Paul Kalanithi, which really makes you think. Even taking time out to read a book about helpful life skills for ten minutes a day can make such a difference to your overall health and wellbeing.

What books will you be checking out this summer? Let me know in the comments below!

* This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links


  1. I was really intrigued by this post! Such a fab idea! Thanks for sharing these titles. The body confidence one sounds really great. I’m knee deep in body confidence troubles right now so will deffo be giving it a read! Again, I recently suffered a bit of a set back in my job and resilience is something I need tonnes of being a singer! So will be checking out that book too! And I’m always looking for new ways to keep calm so will be checking out those books too! The poker story is so interesting!! Amazing what a book can do! Thanks for your recommendations!

    Lots of love,
    Molly xo

  2. Great post!

    I’ve added these books to my to-read list, along with some others, including Spirit Junkie, Girl Code, and The Power of Habit.

  3. Hi Jenny!
    I really enjoyed this post! One of my summer goals is to read 1 book per week. I am usually a slow reader mainly because it is hard for me to sit still for an extended period of time, but this is a good way for me to practice slowing down and also learning life lessons from others! I have added your books to my list of books to read. I am currently reading “Mindset” by Carol Dweck and “6 Weeks to OMG” by Venice Fuller. I hope you are having a wonderful summer and happy reading!!!

    <3 Alana

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