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The Best Self-Help Books I Read in 2020 (Part II)

While this blog post feels like it's been a long time coming, I also feel as though it couldn't come at a more perfect time. It's January, and you know what that means - Goal Setting Month! That's right, New Year, New Me and all that jazz.

January can often feel weighted down with the pressure of a new year and starting fresh with this clean slate we've been gifted - especially after the year we had last year - but I challenge you to look at it with a positive, open-mindset before all else. It's like I always say how each new month represents a fresh start and an opportunity to make the next 30 or 31 days your best yet, a new year is the same concept just amplified. New Year new promise of hope, opportunity, and chasing your wildest dreams. Let's do this!

Personally, I still haven't gotten around to physically writing out my goals for the year (I know, I know I'm working on it) but I have created my vision board and looking at that every morning when I wake up reminds me of the goals both big and small that I've set for myself in 2021. One of the goals on all of my annual vision boards involves my reading list. After surpassing my goal of 50 books last year (I finished the year reading 82), I've decided to keep my annual reading goal at 50 books now that I know without a doubt I can do it.

Hopefully by now you've read my blog post "The Best Self-Help Books I Read in 2020 (Part 1)," but if not I encourage you to go back and check out some of my favorite reads from one of my favorite categories. From the point at which I wrote that blog post, I read about 15 books after that to finish out the year, many of which were actually fiction or autobiographical. That being said, I only have a few additional recommendations in Part 2 of The Best Self-Help Books I Read in 2020 but they are certainly worthy of mentioning. Enjoy!

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs

AlmostFabMe Review: CANNOT recommend this book enough. It's gut wrenching, it's emotional, heart breaking, heavy, but oh, so very important. Life changing even. In a book about dying, one is truly reminded to live. By far one of my favorite books I read in 2020.

Summary: We are breathless but we love the days. They are promises. They are the only way to walk from one night to the other.

Poet and essayist Nina Riggs was just thirty-seven years old when initially diagnosed with breast cancer—one small spot. Within a year, she received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal.

How does a dying person learn to live each day “unattached to outcome”? How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty? How does a young mother and wife prepare her two young children and adored husband for a loss that will shape the rest of their lives? How do we want to be remembered?

Exploring motherhood, marriage, friendship, and memory, Nina asks: What makes a meaningful life when one has limited time? “Profound and poignant” (O, The Oprah Magazine), The Bright Hour is about how to make the most of all the days, even the painful ones. It’s about the way literature, especially Nina’s direct ancestor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and her other muse, Montaigne, can be a balm and a form of prayer.

Brilliantly written and exceptionally moving, it’s a “deeply affecting memoir, a simultaneously heartbreaking and funny account of living with loss and the specter of death. As Riggs lyrically, unflinchingly details her reality, she finds beauty and truth that comfort even amid the crushing sadness” (People, Book of the Week).

Tender and heartwarming, The Bright Hour “is a gentle reminder to cherish each day” (Entertainment Weekly, Best New Books) and offers us this important perspective: “You can read a multitude books about how to die, but Riggs, a dying woman, will show you how to live” (The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice).

Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises our Achievement, Happiness and Well-Being by Shawn Achor.

AlmostFabMe Review: Achor has become a favorite of mine in the self-help department thanks to my Mom for introducing me to his other hit The Happiness Advantage. Big Potential is an important reminder to those of us who remain "small" by trying to "go it alone." During a time when most of us feel extremely isolated, Big Potential highlights the power and possibility that comes from leaning on and working with others.

Summary: Bestselling author Shawn Achor shows how to unlock hidden sources of potential in ourselves and others.

In a world that thrives on competition and individual achievement, we are measuring and pursuing potential all wrong. By pursuing success in isolation - pushing others away as we push ourselves too hard - we are not just limiting our potential, we are becoming more stressed and disconnected than ever.

In his highly anticipated follow-up to The Happiness Advantage, Achor reveals a better approach. Drawing on his work in 50 countries, he shows that success and happiness are not competitive sports. Rather, they depend almost entirely on how well we connect with, relate to, and learn from each other.

Just as happiness is contagious, every dimension of human potential - performance, intelligence, creativity, leadership ability and health - is influenced by those around us. So when we help others become better, we reach new levels of potential, as well. Rather than fighting over scraps of the pie, we can expand the pie instead.

Small Potential is the limited success we can attain alone. BIG Potential is what we can achieve together. Here, Achor offers five strategies - the SEEDS of Big Potential--for lifting the ceiling on what we can achieve while returning happiness and meaning to our lives.

The dramatic shifts in how we approach work today demand an equally dramatic shift in our approach to success. Big Potential offers a new path to thriving in the modern world.

More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth

AlmostFabMe Review: Okay, while there were only 4 additional books to add to the list in Part 2 of this blog post - they were some pretty powerful adds! Welteroth's book is one that I'd had on my reading list for quite some time and had been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to dive in. There are so many moments throughout the book when I could picture myself in Elaine's shoes. As a woman who's always dreamed of being in the fashion industry, I appreciated not only the peek behind the curtain but the raw, emotional story of getting there. Welteroth worked extremely hard to get to where she is today and I so enjoyed learning from her and her journey.

Summary: Throughout her life, Elaine Welteroth has climbed the ranks of media and fashion, shattering ceilings along the way. In this riveting and timely memoir, the groundbreaking journalist unpacks lessons on race, identity, and success through her own journey, from navigating her way as the unstoppable child of an unlikely interracial marriage in small-town California to finding herself on the frontlines of a modern movement for the next generation of change makers.

Welteroth moves beyond the headlines and highlight reels to share the profound lessons and struggles of being a barrier-breaker across so many intersections. As a young boss and often the only Black woman in the room, she's had enough of the world telling her--and all women--they're not enough. As she learns to rely on herself by looking both inward and upward, we're ultimately reminded that we're more than enough.

The Power of Starting Something Stupid: How to Crush Fear, Make Dreams Happen, and Live Without Regret by Richie Norton and Natalie Norton

AlmostFabMe Review: This book was the perfect one to end the year on. Norton encourages the reader to take a chance and try something stupid because you never know what may come of it. As someone who considers herself to be quite risk averse and scared of failure to be honest, I really connected with this book and message and hope to take it forward into my own life.

Summary: What if the smartest people in the world understand something that the rest of us don't? (They do.) What if they know that in order to achieve success, they will sometimes have to do things that others may initially perceive as stupid? The fact of the matter is that the smartest people in the world don't run from stupid, they "lean" into it (in a smart way).

Richie Norton redefines stupid as we know it, demonstrating that life-changing ideas are often tragically mislabeled stupid. What if the key to success, creativity, and fulfillment in your life lies in the potential of those stupid ideas?

"No more excuses." Learn how to start something stupid - the smartest thing you can do. Drawing on years of research, including hundreds of face-to-face interviews and some of the world's greatest success stories past and present, Richie shows you how stupid is the New Smart - the common denominator for success, creativity, and innovation in business and life.

There you have it - my favorite self-help books of 2020! Being that self-help is one of my favorite subject matters, there will be a lot more where that came from in 2021. I can't wait to share it with you!

In the meantime, don't forget to check out my other blog post "I Read 50 Books in 5 Months. Here's What I Liked and Didn't Like," in addition to my personal profile on BookShop.Org. You'll notice that all the books mentioned above are linked to BookShop in order to support your local bookstore should you decide to make a purchase. Visit to view my book lists and get some additional recommendations. Happy Reading!

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