Eat better, sleep more, complain less, get out of debt, make more money, do that thing you’ve been dreaming of doing—how many of these do you long for but still haven’t gotten?
While a healthier, more peaceful, more abundant life sounds great in theory, it’s not so simple to achieve.
If you’re longing for more joy, more sleep, better relationships, or simply just a skinnier waistline and a fatter wallet, here are 12 nonfiction books that are the perfect way to start your transformational journey!
Just a heads up, this post contains affiliate links—that means I get a small commission of any sales made from the links below, but the price is the same for you whether you purchase via my link or directly from Amazon 🙂
1. Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?
Author: Mark Hyman, MD
Summary: In Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?, Dr. Mark Hyman breaks down what exactly to eat and what to avoid in order to achieve total health.
The book is divided up by all the main food groups—meats, dairy, vegetables, fruits, grains, drinks, etc. Dr. Hyman explains in simple-to-understand terms why a certain food is or is not healthy.
His nutrition philosophy is to eat real, whole, nutrient-dense foods, but in a way that’s realistic, doable, and sustainable.
This is a great book to read if you’re at the very beginning of a wellness journey or if you’re well-versed in nutrition and health, but want an unbiased, realistic perspective.
2. Think and Grow Rich
Author: Napoleon Hill
Summary: Think and Grow Rich has created more millionaires and billionaires than any other money philosophy in history.
In the book, Hill walks through the core principles to achieve real and lasting success in one’s life.
These principles—like definiteness of purpose, perseverance, and burning desire—are explained theoretically as well as demonstrated through stories of Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, and other millionaires from Hill’s generation.
Hill’s principles are not just designed to attract wealth, but to attract success and happiness of all kinds. This is a truly transformational book with powerful and lasting ideas that will simply make you a better person and allow you to create a life you’re obsessed with.
3. Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be
Author: Rachel Hollis
Summary: Girl, Wash Your Face is a collection of lies so many of us fall prey to and the game plan for tackling them head on in order to become the person you’re meant to be.
Not only does this book give sound advice for how to deal with the crippling lies we face daily that bring insecurity, fear, and doubt, the author regales her own stories of how she was on the other side of the lies and how she finally overcame them.
This book is helpful and inspiring as well as entertaining, told with honesty, wit, and candor.
4. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Summary: Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of the bestseller Eat, Pray, Love as well as several other books. Big Magic is her manifesto to the creative life. While this book is for creatives of any kind, it’s especially good for writers since Gilbert herself is a writer.
She explores the idea of fear and what that really means for those of us longing to put our work out into the world. Instead of the typical “just do it” mentality, she takes a different look at fear by acknowledging that it’s actually necessary, but it doesn’t have to be crippling.
Giving us an inside look at her writing process, Big Magic is just that—magic. If you need some inspiration to keep writing or just want to know you’re not alone in some of the hardest parts of your writing endeavor, you’ll love this book.
5. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacifice Crest Trail
Author: Cheryl Strayed
Summary: Wild is the personal account of Cheryl Strayed’s hike of more than a thousand miles across the Pacific Crest Trail.
Losing her mother, then her marriage, and eventually her last leg of hope, Strayed was driven to make the most impulsive decision of her life—to hike through three states, completely alone and without any type of training.
This memoir is beautifully told, capturing the unimaginably terrifying yet beautiful setting of the PCT while flashing back to the demons and stories of her sordid past.
6. Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Break Habits—To Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life
Author: Gretchen Rubin
Summary: It’s no secret that habits are the key to a productive, healthy, and enriching life. But breaking bad habits and adding new habits is a near impossible feat.
In Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, tackles the question: How do we change our habits?
In her research, she discovers there are four personality types, or as she refers to them, The Four Tendencies: the Obliger, the Questioner, the Rebel, and the Upholder.
After explaining these Four Tendencies in detail so you can see which fits you best, Rubin then outlines how each Tendency can make lasting positive changes in their life.
This is a great book that will give you insight into who you are at your core and offer practical tips to enhance your life.
7. The Spender’s Guide to Debt Free Living: How a Spending Fast Helped Me Get From Broke to Badass in Record Time
Author: Anna Newell Jones
Summary: The Spender’s Guide to Debt Free Living is an amazing book for anyone who wants to get out of debt quickly and stay out of it.
This book has practical, unique, and easy-to-implement ideas about paying off debt fast by going on a spending freeze, generating side income, and opening your eyes to where your money is actually going.
Based off the author’s popular blog AndThenwWeSaved.com, this book is the essential companion for anyone who doesn’t know a lot about personal finances, but wants to start taking control of them to go from unhealthy spender to debt-free saver in record time.
8. Skin Cleanse: The Simple, All-Natural Program for Clear, Calm, Happy Skin
Author: Adina Grigore
Summary: No matter what skin issues you face, from acne to redness to dryness, Skin Cleanse is right for you if you want healthy, radiant skin.
In the book, the author walks through her hollistic program designed to heal skin from the inside out. She developed her regime after suffering from terrible skin conditions her entire life. When she would seek help for her skin ailments, doctors would ply her with harsh and harmful chemicals that only made the issues worse. Finally, after a particularly painful reaction to a prescription, she declared she was fed up with “solutions” that not only didn’t solve anything, but made it worse. She then took her skin’s health into her own hands.
Relying heavily on the idea that less is more, she figured out what natural solutions not only solved her skin ailments, but also made her skin happy, calm, and beautiful.
This book explains the basics of your skin and what is needs to thrive as well as provides tons of practical tips and recipes for homemade, easy, and affordable skin care solutions.
9. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Author: Marie Kondo
Summary: In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the KonMari Method—the specific decluttering method developed by the author—is based off the simple concept that only things that are useful or bring you joy should be kept, while everything else should be purged.
Throughout the book, you’ll learn practical methods for getting rid of your stuff and how to deal with the heartache purging can bring, how to organize your items in the most efficient and easy to maintain way, and how to treat your personal belongings, especially clothes, with the respect they deserve.
This book is amazing and will give you the motivation and guidance you need to declutter your life and sincerely change it for the better.
10. Clean Cuisine: An 8-Week Anti-Inflammatory Diet that will Change the Way You Age, Look, and Feel
Author: Ivy Ingram Larson and Andrew Larson, MD
Summary: Clean Cuisine is an 8-week, 8-step program that teaches you how to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet and live a hollistic and healthy lifestyle.
Many health experts believe systemic inflammation is the root cause of all diseases and health issues. Clean Cuisine offers the antidote to that—an anti-inflammatory diet that not only reverses inflammation, but gives your body and mind everything they need to be as healthy as possible.
This program makes it easy to change to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle reglardless of where you’re starting. It also offers fitness tips and general hollsitic living tips that go hand in hand with your new way of eating.
This is not a fad diet or an extreme approach—it’s a practical way to take charge of your health, reverse and prevent disease, and feel and look your absolute best.
11. Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living
Author: Shauna Niequist
Summary: In Present Over Perfect, Shauna Niequist shares her exhausting battle of always trying to prove herself until she finally couldn’t take it anymore.
If you’re burnt out and sick of the endless pressure to be better, this book is for you.
This is a collection of essays that focus on the real purpose of life—to truly connect.
Present Over Perfect walks through the ways you can finally give up the impossible standards and instead find the peace, space, and courage to start breathing again.
12. The Power of Now
Author: Eckhart Tolle
Summary: The Power of Now is one of the most transformational philosophies of this century.
This book walks through the complete process of changing your mind so you leave the painful and often unbearable state of living in regret or anxiety and instead existing completely in the present moment.
By focusing on the idea of Your Thinking Self and Your Higher Self, this is a wonderful guide to let go of pain and instead adopt joy and peace in a way that is approachable and truly transformational.
What’s a book that had an inspiring impact on your life? Share it in the comments below!