7 must-read books about personal growth, relationships, and "making it" to add to your reading list
Updated: May 9
Have you ever found yourself struggling to play the cards that you’ve been dealt, either professionally or personally? If so, welcome to the joys of being human—I haven’t met a single person who hasn’t felt frustrated or overwhelmed with their circumstances at some point or another.
Luckily the world is full of people who have put pen to paper and discussed their struggles in ways that help us gain new perspectives and strategies for navigating our lives. It is for this reason that reading has always and will always be a major part of my life—nearly everything I’ve done and overcome can be traced back to something I learned within the pages of a book.
With that being said, here are seven books that have helped me get crystal clear about the life I want to live, the connections I want to have, and the person I want to be:
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
This beautiful memoir tells the story of Paul Kalanithi, a brilliant surgeon who, after a routine doctor's visit, learns he only has months to live. Kalanithi blends his medical knowledge with his passion for writing to offer a heartbreaking reflection on life, dreams deferred, and hope in the face of the inevitable pain. Sure, we all know that life is a gift and that we should live each day like it’s our last, but Kalanithi provides an example of what to do when it actually is.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
My mentors gifted this book to me while I was in high school and it’s one that I revisit often. Viktor Frankl offers a firsthand account of living in concentration camps during the Holocaust and offers insight into the power of the human mind in the face of human monstrosities. Given the topic, the book runs the risk of falling into the honky-dory “everything will be okay if you just believe” trap, but Frankl offers realistic takeaways that can be applied to virtually any situation by virtually everyone.
How We Love: Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage by Milan and Kay Yerkovich
Milan and Kay Yerkovich offer a fascinating look into the ways our childhoods set the stage for how we experience and create love in our adult lives. The book was like holding up a mirror to myself that forced me to see some uncomfortable Truths about the stories I’ve been told by others and the stories I’ve told myself. The biggest takeaway? You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control what you do with it. Oh, and you don’t need to be married, or even in a romantic relationship, to reap the benefits of this one.
Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger by Soraya Chemaly
How often have you held back your emotions to make other people feel comfortable? How often have you asked other people to hold back theirs so you do? Using anecdotal tales and quantifiable research, Soraya Chemaly explores all the ways in which anger is a powerful tool to living authentic lives, regardless of what those around us would like us to think.
The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life by Dr. Robin Stern
You know when you know for a fact that someone has done or said something, but they try to convince you otherwise? That’s called gaslighting and the therapist who coined the term, Robin Stern, provides concrete ways to recognize and combat the tactic. This is critical reading to help you navigate the personal and professional relationships in your life.
Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott
For as much as we like to talk, doing so effectively takes work and Susan Scott offers some ways to make it easier. Grounded on seven principles including "Master the Courage to Interrogate Reality,” "Obey Your Instincts," and my personal favorite, "Let Silence Do the Heavy Lifting," Scott provides concrete strategies to improve the relationships in your life one conversation at a time.
The Ultimate Must Read:
Lachesis' Allotment: A Short Collection of Notes, Observations, Questions, and Thoughts by Diana Morris
If you haven't read my debut book yet, what are you waiting for??
Lachesis' Allotment will give you an opportunity to reflect on the people who have come into your life so far, the experiences you've had, and all the potential that stands in front of you. Whether you're lamenting the end of a relationship, hoping to form a deeper connection with the people in your life, or trying to figure out how to make your mark on the work, Lachesis' Allotment will provide the push and grounding you need.
Now I'd love to hear from you:
What book has made a huge impact on your life so far and why?
Tell me everything—I'm always looking to add a good book to my list!
Stay connected with me on Instagram @dianaramorris for more resources and support.
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