Best Work And Leadership Books For 2021
Just like that, it’s 2021.
We’ve crossed the threshold into a brand new year. 2020 is finally over. Of course, things didn’t magically go back to “normal” once the clock struck midnight on December 31. While the initial rounds of the Covid-19 vaccine have thankfully been distributed, the pandemic is still raging nationwide, and the effects of everything that happened last year will remain with us for a very long time.
However, while you should by no means ignore what’s going on in the world, you can’t let it hold you back from making positive steps forward. I’ve rounded up 21 books that’ll help you improve several different areas of your life—from finding happiness, to achieving career success, to building a better relationship with your significant other, your friends, your money, and yourself. Happy reading!
1. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
Contrary to popular belief, external rewards are not the best way to motivate people. Sure, this carrot-and-stick approach may work short-term, but once the shine of the prize wears off, the drive will simply fizzle out. Leveraging 40 years’ worth of research, Pink brings to light the three elements that are absolutely key to human motivation.
2. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
If you’re suffering from a major creative block, this book’s for you. Gilbert, author of bestselling books City of Girls and Eat, Pray, Love, shares her secrets on how to find inspiration and follow through on creative dreams. So, whether you want to write a book, make some type of artwork, or find an innovative way to tackle a work challenge, read Big Magic to unlock and unleash your hidden creativity.
3. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
The secret to true career happiness? Achieving a state of consciousness called flow, which is when you’re fully immersed in an experience and it brings you deep joy. But these situations don’t have to happen by chance. As Csikszentmihalyi explains, you can control when this positive state occurs (and use it as a data point to find your personal Genius). His book will teach you how.
4. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
According to award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg, in order to successfully build habits and harness your true potential, you must understand the science behind habits. In his books, Duhigg shows us how this extra knowledge can help you change your life for the better—and for good.
5. Not Nice: Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty… And Start Speaking Up, Saying No, Asking Boldly, And Unapologetically Being Yourself by Aziz Gazipura
A world-renowned confidence expert, Gazipura wants to make sure you don’t suffer from an affliction that plagues many of us: being way too nice. By the time you’re done reading Not Nice, you’ll be better equipped to say no, ask for what you want, and make your voice be heard loud and clear—all without feeling guilty or anxious.
6. Wisdom from a Humble Jellyfish: And Other Self-Care Rituals from Nature by Rani Shah
Other than staying away from them while in the water, what do you know about jellyfish? I’m willing to bet you weren’t aware that, when it comes to spending their energy, they’re quite efficient, often taking breaks to rest. This is just one example of how nature is showing us the importance of slowing down and living more thoughtfully. Shah’s book is jam-packed with more of this insightful wisdom and other self-care tips.
7. The Alter Ego Effect: The Power of Secret Identities to Transform Your Life by Todd Herman
Are you stuck in a rut? Feeling like you’re going nowhere? Herman, an expert on peak performance and personal leadership, can help. By reading his book, you’ll learn how to find your “Alter Ego”—the key to unlocking your true potential, which Herman calls your “Heroic Self.”
8. Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life, from Someone Who’s Been There by Tara Schuster
Schuster’s life looked perfect. Her career as a TV executive was on the rise. But on the inside, she was an absolute mess, plagued with anxiety, depression, and shame. After drunkenly reaching out to her therapist for help, she began the journey of becoming a “ninja of self-love.” In her book, she shares how you can do the same.
9. The Little Book of Big Lies: A Journey into Inner Fitness by Tina Lifford
No matter who you are, life is hard. It comes along with a whole lot of drama, fear, and pain. But you must continue pressing forward, even through the toughest of times. Tina Lifford—actress and founder of The Inner Fitness Project, a personal development network—shares practical, meaningful insights about facing life’s curve balls head on.
10. Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Julie Schwartz Gottman, John Gottman, Doug Abrams, and Rachel Carlton Abrams
Marriage—or any long-term relationship, really—is far from easy. Why do you think the traditional vows stress for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer? But just because committing to your soulmate isn’t a walk in the park, doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to strengthen and deepen your love. In this book, the authors provide a step-by-step guide to developing healthier communication habits with your partner.
11. Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt
You deserve to be in a happy, healthy, fulfilling relationship. But this won’t happen with a simple twitch of your nose—it takes work. Harville and Hunt’s guide, which leverages behavioral science, psychology, social learning theory, and neuroscience, will help you (and your partner) get the love you want.
12. How to Be Single and Happy: Science-Based Strategies for Keeping Your Sanity While Looking for a Soul Mate by Jennifer Taitz
The truth is, you don’t need a romantic partner to complete you. But if you’re hoping for a relationship, being around your coupled up friends and co-workers is, well, not that fun. A clinical psychologist, Taitz leverages her experience, current research, patient interviews, and positive psychology principles to help you live your happiest life possible, even when you’re unattached to someone else.
13. The Enneagram in Love: A Roadmap for Building and Strengthening Romantic Relationships by Stephanie Barron Hall
Discovering your Enneagram type is a fantastic way to learn more about the way you tick—and it can be an incredible tool for your romantic relationship. This guide is full of actionable advice on how to forge a more fulfilling connection with your significant other, identify the strengths and weaknesses within a relationship, tackle any challenges you and your partner may face, and more. Achieve a deeper love with Hall’s romantic Enneagram analysis.
14. The Art of Showing Up: How to Be There for Yourself and Your People by Rachel Wilkerson Miller
Many of us struggle with juggling our career, romantic partnership, parenting, and our own personal health. Oftentimes, there’s one area that really gets neglected: our friendships. If you want to maintain deep connections with people outside of your immediate family, you must continuously show up for them. In this book, learn how to take care of friendships—and yourself.
15. Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness by Shasta Nelson
These days, the internet makes meeting new people a piece of cake. Just turn your computer on and the world is at your fingertips. But forming meaningful relationships? That’s a different story. Luckily, Nelson is here to show you how to turn simple connections into deeply fulfilling friendships that’ll stand the test of time.
16. Super Human: The Bulletproof Plan to Age Backward and Maybe Even Live Forever by Dave Asprey
Aging doesn’t have to be scary. At least, that’s what Asprey strongly believes. For more than two decades, he’s explored countless science-backed methods to help humans live better with every moment that passes. By studying—and avoiding—Asprey’s Seven Pillars of Age and implementing simple interventions, you’ll gain more energy, brain power, and a longer life span.
17. The Healing Self: A Revolutionary New Plan to Supercharge Your Immunity and Stay Well for Life by Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E. Tanzi
Humans have to put in a lot of effort to stay healthy, and it can be hard to know where to start. Chopra, a doctor and integrative medicine expert, and Tanzi, the pioneering neuroscientist who discovered the genes that cause Alzheimer’s, want to help you make the decisions that’ll allow you to build a holistic and lifelong health plan.
18. Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin
If you don’t fully understand your finances, they can be overwhelming and hold you back. Robin’s nine-step program—which has successfully helped people for more than two decades—will enable you to better understand investing, managing multiple revenue streams, developing the very best money habits, and more.
19. I Will Teach You to Be Rich: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works by Ramit Sethi
If you’ve ever been told to stop buying fancy coffee in order to accumulate wealth, I’m here to break the good news to you: That advice is just plain wrong. “Wealth wizard” Ramit Sethi’s six-week program will teach you how to automate your finances, avoid (and get out of) late fees, conquer your debt, build a rockstar savings account, and so much more—all while still buying the things you like (like that five-dollar seasonal latte).
20. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
Hard work equals more success, which leads to happiness, right? Actually, that’s quite wrong. Society may have told you this for your entire life, but the truth is, this way of thinking is backward. In order to achieve the success you truly desire, you must find happiness first—because positivity unlocks a treasure trove of creativity, excitement, resiliency, productivity, and more. So, how do we find true happiness? With Achor’s tried-and-true principles.
21. Radically Happy: A User’s Guide to the Mind by Phakchok Rinpoche and Erric Solomon
Authors Solomon and Rinpoche believe there are three different types of happiness: basic, interconnected, and—finally—radical. They combine modern science and ancient wisdom to create a comprehensive program that’ll help readers with their journey to becoming radically happy.
Bonus: Check out the author’s book, The Genius Habit: How One Habit Can Radically Change Your Work and Your Life, by Laura Garnett.
Best Work And Leadership Books For 2021