While I love a good how-to video on Lynda, or a decent free class on Coursera, nothing helps you grow your ideas better than a great book: audio, ebook or print — pick the learning cocktail of your choice. It’s hard to beat the intimate, personalized learning experience they create in the comfort of your own home (and your ex-boyfriend’s boxers). And if you’re for something to take your biggest dreams to the next level, there’s nothing like these five inspirational reads below to give your goals in gear. Check em’ out!

The Self-Esteem Workbook

When it comes to pursuing your dreams, it’s important to take good care of the woman inside of you. After all, she’s taking a lot of knocks and bruises to make all of those goals happen. Which makes it all the more important to check in with yourself regularly and ensure your self-esteem is healthy and intact.

At least that’s the philosophy of author Glenn R. Schiraldi, Ph.D. in his bestselling The Self-Esteem Workbook. Filled with dozens of dotted lines and fun self reflecting charts to fill in.  His holistic approach inspires you to reflect on our daily routines in a new way. The things you eat, the people you spend time with, your choice of exercise, and so on. With his help to become more intentional with our actions, you’ll begin to learning how to think more positively and create actionable steps towards a life you better recognize as your own. It’s the equivalent of a choose your own adventure book,  but instead of choosing the next path for a random character, you’re the star of this book. And if you take it seriously, you’ll be the one who gets the shiniest prize of them all at the end of the adventure — hint: your best self.


One of the most notoriously feared words in all of business, rests smack dab in the center of this book’s cover. But author Heidi Farrelly minces no words,  as she is passionate about showing you the way to find big rewards by making a few small changes. While she admits budgets are annoying, constrictive and difficult to manage, her honest and endearing approach helps readers see a potential light at the end of the tunnel. Budget breaks down the misconceptions about setting fiscal limitations, how to set new goals, and provides helpful apps that can help you make your own budget fail proof.

A follow up to her Amazon bestseller, Mortgage Free, Budget is the first of her six-book series where she hopes to educate more readers on how to relieve debt, save more, spend, invest and retire with success.

Something Beautiful

Every now and again, it’s nice to have a feel good book that will tuck you into bed and give your dreams a little boost. Such is the case with Courtney Roberts, Something Beautiful; Create your happiest, healthiest self, and find the key to unlock an extraordinary life. If it sounds like a big promise for a book title, you may be right. But it’s something this preschool teacher by day and writer by night has managed to pull off beautifully. The key to her method is all about making small changes. Doing this, she argues, will “have an extraordinary impact upon your life and will free you to live a happier and healthier life than you ever thought possible.”

She explores this theme with a bit of expertise, as self-reflection and the surprising death of someone she barely knew inspired her to look at her life and begin the process of simplifying the minutia. Something Beautiful applies the small changes philosophy and helps you look at themes like rejuvenation, continual growth, how to keep moving, staying positive and more.  It’s a quick, light must-read for anyone looking to connect the dots between where you are and how to get to the happier place you truly long to be.

Big Magic

I’m on my second go-round with this book, and I can’t get over how insightful Elizabeth Gilbert is to the soul once again. If you have been stuck behind an ambition without a clue how to move yourself towards your dreams, Big Magic is the book you need to own within the next 12 months. (or less)

Gilbert cleverly opens the vault to all of our insecurities and finds shared examples of those who have been there and done that. She debunks the notion of our need to be perfect before pursuing our passions, and gives chapter after chapter of honest experiences and examples of how the universe really does want you to bring your dreams to life. She also points out how unhelpful it is to berate ourselves and not embrace the intate creative process within us all. It’s almost impossible to judge yourself for any reason after reading Big Magic and even more impossible to not pick up your skirts of courage and charge forward to your next big win.

Circling The Sun

Get this: there’s a history fiction story about a woman in the 1920s who flew planes, trained horses, and was in an epic love triangle with the man who wrote Out of Africa. NPR has already claimed it as one of the best books of the year. We say Yes, Please to Paula McLain’s follow up to her bestseller The Paris Wife. Circling The Sun perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Beryl Markham a record setting aviator who was truly a woman before her time.

If you had trouble putting down Girl on A Train, you aren’t going to do much better here. McLain is exceptional at whisking us to colonial Kenya, where we circle extravagant love affairs, high stake horse races, and the cost of one woman’s journey to pursue her dreams as she saw fit. Where the self-help books above may give you the confidence to make your mark, this book will be the kick in the pants you need to get out and never think of quitting until you succeed.

We know, it’s hard to choose which one to read first, and truly put aside the time to read, listen, or immerse yourself in the words of inspiration. We say add them to your audible account and get down to business. You won’t be disappointed, it’s worth the time to decompress and return to your daily life filled with inspiration, drive and direction. Read on, ladies!

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