New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken, but that’s not to say that you can’t find new wisdom, balance, and purpose in 2018. There have never been as many lifestyle options (or books about them) as now, with the old “self-help” genre having been largely replaced by a more down-to-earth, vocational breed of inspirational books. We’ve rounded up 13 of the best below.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
As simple and straightforward as it gets, Mary Kondo relates her own approach to zen, simply by cleaning up one room at a time. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up shows that tidying up need not be a chore, but can be the first step in a more fulfilled and conscientious lifestyle.
The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery (Toltec Wisdom) by Don Miguel Ruiz
A sequel to Don Miguel Ruiz’s popular The Four Agreements, The Fifth Agreement looks at regaining the knowledge we are born with, but gradually sacrifice through socialization. Co-written with Ruiz’s son Don Jose Ruiz, the book is a surprisingly conversational guide to becoming who we always were.
What Color Is Your Parachute? 2018: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers by Richard N. Bolles
An invaluable manual for recent grads and people seeking a fresh start, Richard N. Bolles’ acclaimed What Color Is Your Parachute? makes the job-search process approachable through its comprehensive guide to finding and attaining your dream job, despite your educational background or prior experience in a different field.
Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown
The cheeky, congenial Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown (based on her popular blog) streamlines the universal process of becoming a capable, well-adjusted adult. With simple instructions for learning to cook, clean, and fix your toilet, as well as balancing business and pleasure, it’s a perfect book for recent college grads trying to figure out life.
Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits — to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin
Perhaps the best of the new breed of self-help books, the consummately un-cheesy Better Than Before is Gretchen Rubin’s guide to changing our habits, and thereby finding a happier life. The book offers simple guidance on everything from finishing what we begin, minimalizing social media dependency, eating healthier, and getting a good night’s sleep.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
In many ways the anti-self-help book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is blogger Mark Manson’s frank primer for living in a world where perfection is impossible and “shit is f**cked and we have to live with it.” Free from sugarcoating, Manson shows us how to choose what we prioritize and embrace our faults as we look for greater sensitivity and self-actualization.
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
A memoir of living with depression that is surprisingly funny and wry, Furiously Happy is Jenny Lawson’s best-selling book about triumphing over medical depression. With approachable, offbeat strategies from Lawson’s own experience, this is an invaluable guide to living life to its fullest, even when stability and productivity seem impossible.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
A memoir that finds the intersection between athletics and intellectual pursuit, Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running follows the renowned Japanese writer as he trains for the New York Marathon, dispensing wisdom and advice on running and writing along the way.
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
Adapted from a talk given by Austin Kleon to college students, Steal Like an Artist is a 10-part primer for finding inspiration and ideas in whatever you happen to be doing. The book is a hip, amiable guide to using the Internet creatively, mining influences, and following your inclinations wherever they lead.
The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life by Twyla Tharp
World-famous dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp shares her strategies for harnessing the creative impulse through ingrained habit in The Creative Habit. These short essays will teach you how to free your mind of troubles, unite mind and body, and capture the world around you on paper.
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking
Danish people are statistically among the happiest in the world and in The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking demonstrates why. Through the Danish art of “Hygge,” we can find comfort and well-being by making home where we find it and taking pleasure in mindfulness and everyday beauty.
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life is comedian Samantha Irby’s collection of essays detailing disastrous episodes from her own life and how she gradually found direction and confidence. Funny, often outrageous, and ultimately inspiring, Irby’s memoir of childhood humiliations and awkward sex will be resonant for 20-and-30-somethings looking for greater self-acceptance.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Beloved scientist and television personality Neil deGrasse Tyson makes the universal personal in Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Tyson’s observations regarding our place in the universe, the nature of space and time, and simple explanations of the cosmos are incredibly inspiring and will inject a little more wonder into your commute, lunch break, or layover.