Personal Development Book Reviews and Wisdom

Whether you enjoy reading or not there’s no denying that books are an excellent way to learn and expand our knowledge on an endless number of subjects. Even if you’re not a bookworm like myself so many books are now available as audio books as well as in hard copy, there really are no excuses not to benefit from their invaluable content. Many authors also have social media accounts and/or channels and even share their work through other mediums such as podcasts. One genre for which all of the above is certainly true is that of personal development/self-help. The self-help industry has experienced huge growth in the past few years and is now undeniably more popular and accessible than ever before. Both our mental and physical health can benefit greatly from books and for those who may not know where to start, this blog gives an introduction to two of my favourite personal development books, who they might be for and how they can help.

James Smith – Not a Life Coach

Who is it for? This is one of my most recent personal development reads and I rate it very highly. I’d say this book is particularly suitable for anybody who isn’t interested in the ‘fluffy’ side of personal development. As if to prove my earlier point that the personal development genre is now accessible to more people than ever before, as the title suggests, this book is ideal for anybody who may be turned off by ideas such as ‘life coaches’ and/or have previously shied away from personal development work due to the often spiritual elements. This book could be applicable and beneficial to many areas of life including business, relationships and health/wellbeing. It’s a to-the-point, no excuses, motivational and confidence- building read that may well just refresh or even completely change your perspective on life. Definitely pick this up if you need some straightforward,  down-to-earth life advice and could use a genuine kick up the ass to stop playing small with your one and only life.

Personal development titles are more popular than ever

Best bits? This book is packed with genuinely life changing nuggets of information and ideas. I feel like I could read it again and pick up even more wisdom and motivation, however for my first read a couple of things stand out in my mind.

For anyone questioning what they want from their life and what makes them happy, this book gives a very thought-provoking discussion of individual values and priorities and how we are generally brought up to view one very specific blueprint as the pinnacle of success. Contrary to this popular belief, true ‘success’ and ‘happiness’ comes from defining them for yourself according to your own values. ‘We must not live our lives pursuing the values of the rest of the herd, because there is every chance that a large proportion of that herd are living a life of quiet misery and desperation in the mistaken belief that they’re broken, when actually it’s just that the blueprint isn’t suited to them.’

James’ discussion on meditation is another clear example of his no-frills, all-inclusive approach to mental health and personal development. Far from encouraging you to sit cross in silence unless that’s what you want), he briefly discusses the benefits of meditation and how they can be gained from listening to your favourite music or simply doing nothing for a few minutes a day.

When to avoid it? I’d avoid this book if you’re not a fan of tough love and especially if you find swearing offensive. I personally find a well-placed swear word to be very powerful and passionate, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Also from James Smith – Not a Diet Book.

Vex King -Good Vibes, Good Life

Who is it for? Having read a lot of personal development books in my time, this remains one of my favourites for reasons including the sheer amount of wisdom shared in the pages and the ease of readability. If you’ve ever read or been interested in reading ‘The Secret’ (one of the eternally classic and original self-help books), I’d say Good Vibes, Good Life is perfect for you. The Secret is one of the first personal development books that I read and discusses the power of the law of attraction in great detail. Whilst I found it incredibly inspirational, I also found it to be somewhat intense and repetitive at times.  Good Vibes, Good Life covers a huge range of topics including the law of attraction, visualisation and meditation in clear, concise and easily manageable chapters. It’s basically a one stop shop for all things personal development, spirituality and mental health without being overwhelming. It’s ideal if the thought of a huge, thick book with tiny writing sounds like a never-ending pursuit (shout out to all my fellow short-attention-span friends out there!)

Reading can benefit the body and mind

Best bits? Whilst I’ve read and researched the law of attraction a lot in the past, I feel like I never fully understood the idea of vibrational frequencies and ‘keeping your vibes high’ until I read this book. In chapters including the ‘The Law of Vibration’ and ‘Good Vibes Only’, Vex King applies these age-old terms to modern day life in a relatable and understandable way. He details how to raise your vibration and motivates with the idea that by showing yourself the love and care you deserve, ‘you’ll feel good and attract good. By taking positive actions and changing your mindset, you’ll manifest great things. By loving yourself, you live a life you love’.

For anyone who often finds themselves at the bottom of their list of things to care for, this book is a hugely motivational must-read. It urges you to ‘make yourself a priority’ and save energy for yourself and the most important relationship you will ever have – the one with yourself. There are insightful discussions on how your environment and who you surround yourself with affect your health and wellbeing as well as how to handle negative people and protecting your own energy. My favourite thing about this book and without a doubt the strongest message I received is that whilst there is so much in our lives that we cannot control, we can strongly affect our experience of life through keeping our thoughts positive and vibes high. Far from just being a meaningless quote or idea, this book truly shows us how to live in this way. ‘If you can’t change your situation, change your perception of it. That’s where your personal power is. Either be controlled – or be in control’.

When to avoid it? If you’re wanting to get super deep and spiritual, this book may feel a little basic for you. If you’re a loyal fan of the secret again this may feel more surface level. Other than that, I can’t find a bad word to say about this book. It would be the perfect introduction to holistic personal development or an easily accessible little handbook for anyone further in their journey.

Also by Vex King – Healing is the New High

Whilst this blog hopefully gives an introduction to some popular and potentially life changing personal development books and authors, one key thing I have learned from reading personal development books for many years now is that the keyword really is ‘personal’. When choosing a book to help with your own mental, physical and/or spiritual wellbeing and growth it is essential that you choose something that appeals to you at the current time. Take the subject of anxiety for example. This a popular topic for books, blogs, podcasts and much more and often features in the best-sellers lists. Whilst a book on anxiety may be life changing and incredibly fascinating for some, for those who don’t struggle with anxiety the book may feel boring and useless. Whilst this blog is meant to give details on books that many may find useful, I would strongly encourage you to consider areas of your mental and physical health and wellbeing you may need help with in particular and explore titles around that topic for maximum benefit and to fully experience the magic of this genre.

Feel free to let me know your favourite personal development resources or if you’ve read either of these titles. The next blog discuss some fiction books in the self-help genre for those who prefer a good story to none-fiction but would still like to benefit.

Bev Meakin – Personal Trainer/ Exercise Referral Officer and Complementary Therapist. Instagram @bevs_ life