Eight books that will help you ask yourself braver questions ‹ Literary Hub

“What are you holding back?” My massage therapist gently pushed against my hips, noticing how tense my whole body was. It was a rare moment of calm that allowed me to honestly reflect on what exactly I was running from.

We live in a noisy world. The one that tells us that we have to adapt our body to the limiting expectations of society. The one that forces us to divide ourselves into categories and to classify ourselves in certain roles. A world where we overlook the beauty of a human soul and sell it for the price of dying earth, a 30-second commercial and a trend rather than a truth.

In the midst of chaos, how can we really know who we are? How are you, really? is my shameless request for a quiet space so that we can answer the questions that have kindly tugged at our sleeves for our entire lives.

Of course, there are inspiring voices worth listening to. It will come as no surprise if I say that I could never have arrived at the work that I do without the support of a community. Each of these writers helped me ask better questions about myself. Let this list be a celebration of powerful, talented, and successful women who live within the beautiful thickness of their own truth — and an invitation for you to do the same.


Jamie Kern Lima, Believe it

Jamie updated my take on the “IT girl” from the moment I heard about her! From the ground up, her work to tell the stories and create a space of visibility for all kinds of women has been a necessary and breathtaking movement that has spread from the space of beauty to so many others. I loved learning how she built a billion dollar company in such a unique and seemingly backward way that people are still scratching their heads. Jamie has overcome impossible odds, so let her show you how to do it for yourself!

the top 5 habit_mel robbins

Mel Robin, Habit High-5
(hay house)

As someone who has spent much of her life writing and listening to other people’s stories, Mel is actually the one you want to listen to. She encourages us to focus on the history we have ignored: our own. Much more than just a method of self-amplification, Mel has charted a course in this book with an incredibly unique perspective on how to rewire your brain bit by bit, starting with a high-five.

getting good with money_tiffany aliche

Tiffany Aliché, Get good with money
(Rodale Books)

While I think many of us read the word “budget” and feel like it’s smart and impossible, Tiffany flips the script on the limits of a budget. She has created a path to financial freedom that doesn’t require you to spend so many years of your life waiting for retirement. Life can be rewarding, stable and adventurous along the way. Read this if you finally want to have fun while learning how to conquer your financial goals!


Glennon Doyle, Savage
(Press the dial)

Lily. This. Book. Or listen to it; essentially, consume Glennon’s stories however you can. I will learn from the ferocity of chapter one alone for the rest of my life. That warm, spicy Glennon spirit, bravery, humility, and willingness to “do the hardest thing” shattered every excuse I made for already to be someone I’m not.

Speak_Tunde Oyeneyin

Tunde Oyeneyin, TALK
(Avid ReaderPress)

If you’ve ever pressed play during a Peloton race with Tunde, then you know exactly what it’s like to feel his words propel you forward. It may be a spinning class, but she’s anything but stationary. Tunde’s mantras truly carry people, and the powerful words she has embedded in this book will inspire movement in your life like no other. So when Tunde speaks, the best thing we can do is listen.

great magic elizabeth gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert, great magic

We’re not always there for when our favorite authors lean over the dining table and whisper the tale behind the story. But in great magic, we do, and it is definitely life changing. Elizabeth Gilbert is no stranger to impressing us with her experiences, but this book takes us a step further in her process for drawing out those stories, these truthsout of its ether.

Chasing Slow_Erin Loechner

Erin Loechner, proceed slowly

Erin has a knack for pulling you into the page without you even knowing she’s doing it. In the blink of an eye, you’re still a few chapters deep in Erin’s stories about getting naked until she finds the right stuff. The real stuff. This is a frank and incredibly important conversation about what we might have to “give up”, risk or get uncomfortable with in order to find out what really matters to us. Erin did it first, so let her guide you!

marie forleo_everything is understandable

Marie Forleo, Everything is imaginable

This book is classic Marie: you can’t read it and walk away as the same person. Marie changes people with little nudges and moves with her remarkable combination of experience-based strategy and pure confidence. Believe me, this is the kind of person you want to teach yourself to figure it all out, because if anyone has the keys, it’s Marie. One of the things I’ve learned is that we’re all constantly improving, so it’s a “I’m going to read this over and over again for the rest of my life” kind of book.


how are you really_jenna kutcher

How are you, really? by Jenna Kutcher is available from Dey Street Books

Colin L. Johnson