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  1.     You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

“You are perfect. To think anything less is as pointless as a river thinking that it’s got too many curves or that it moves too slowly or that its rapids are too rapid.”

If you’ve dipped your toe in the self-helpery, but never dove full-force into it because all the concepts seem too far-fetched, too voodoo-like, or too intangible, this one is for you. Or if you thrive off personal growth and want a simplified, actionable game plan to achieve your full potential, this is for you as well. Whether you are an amateur or a master, Sincero has a fantastic way of helping you
discover your inner superhero with a no-BS approach and a colorful lingo that us badasses can relate to.

Right off the bat, Sincero acknowledges the presence of a higher power which she calls “Source Energy.” My favorite aspect of the work is that she also lists all the different names that are interchangeable with Source Energy, such as God, the Divine, the Higher Self, etcetera, so the concepts are applicable regardless of your religious preference (or lack thereof). In 27 bite-sized chapters, she begins with explanations about what it is holding us back and ends with concrete action-steps to kick fear in the rear and start achieving greatness.

I personally listened to the audiobook which I downloaded after I heard that Sincero herself is the narrator. She writes in a humorous tone and gets her point across with a series of light-hearted, relatable stories, so listening to her is as uplifting and motivating as envisioning your own badass-ery. Receiving this no-nonsense manifesto is like taking on a punch that makes you slightly dizzy, only then you stand up straighter and see things clearer.


  1.     The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary D. Chapman

“Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct. I need to be loved by someone who chooses to love me, who sees in me something worth loving.”

Although this book puts emphasis on romantic relationships, the principles are applicable in any long-term personal or professional relationship. The desire to love and feel loved permeates society, but what we often overlook is that people simply speak different love languages. Each person gives and receives love differently and if we can understand what expression of love our partner, friend, or family member receives best we can easily shift our ways of being to keep their emotional love tank full.

Chapman does a phenomenal job of deciphering relationships, explaining the striking dichotomy between infatuation and true love, and identifying and explaining the five most prominent love languages. Towards the end, he walks through multiple procedures to help you identify your own love language and your partner’s love language and Chapman teaches you exactly what to say and how to act so that both love tanks in the relationship full. Implementing the concept of love languages and consistently speaking and acting in your partner’s love language keeps the “high” of love alive.

The most important thing to remember is that speaking someone else’s love language is like finding the bathroom in Mexico. It’s a lot more practical to ask where it is in Spanish and get what you want quickly than to fight in your native language and deal with the burden in your bladder.


  1.     Start with Why by Simon Sinek
“People don’t buy WHAT do you do, they buy WHY you do it.”

Have you ever tried to solve a Jigsaw puzzle and got so impatient and frustrated that you just force together the remaining pieces and pretend they fit? And then a few days later, as you’re dissembling your hard work and putting the puzzle back in the box, you find the missing piece you needed underneath the couch. Finding the missing puzzle piece is what it feels like to read Start With Why. That “darn-it-i-wish-i-had-this-before” feeling. But don’t worry, it’s never too late to implement a new strategy, especially one that will have you living on purpose with a celebratory fist in the air.

Every second of every day we are making decisions on how to live our life. Whether the task at hand is seemingly minor (e.g. what to eat for breakfast) or undoubtedly major (e.g. choosing a career), humans are decision-making machines. When we realize what truly drives human behavior, we can identify society’s true wants and needs, and lead our lives in an organic and effortless manner. And what truly drives us is the WHY. The WHY is simply the purpose, cause, or belief that engages us emotionally and makes us feel like we are a part of something more than ourselves.

Anyone can provide the logistics (the who, the what, the where, the when, the how), but only exceptional leaders are able to clearly articulate the WHY and project it with an enthusiasm of a 5-year-old who just heard the famous sound of the ice cream truck. Great leaders are visionaries who inspire organizations, movements, and people by enunciating the WHY and prioritizing the WHY before the who/what/where/when/how.

Sinek begins by establishing a striking contrast between what great leaders do to inspire and what amateurs do to manipulate. Then he answers the following questions:

  1. Why are some companies more memorable, innovative, and profitable than others?
  2. Why do some companies have die-hard fans and lucrative models while others quickly get butted out or bought out?
  3. Why can some people duplicate their success over and over again, and even in different industries or various areas of their life?

Whether you’re a (future) entrepreneur or a human who refuses to settle for anything less than a meaningful life, see if starting with WHY stimulates your inner drive and compels others to follow suit.


  1.     Queen’s Code by Alison Armstrong

“Everything about women can overwhelm men. Because of how sensitive they are to women. Because of how fascinated and nurtured and enlivened and inspired they are by women. Because of how men need women.”

Empowering women and cherishing men at the same time is an achievement that is quite rarely portrayed in the media these days due to a drastic change of gender roles (or lack thereof) within the last few decades. Usually it’s one or the other, but Armstrong transforms the entire notion of female empowerment and creates a beautiful approach to partnership.

Through impactful story-telling, Armstrong teaches the reader about the beautiful dance between men and women and shows what kind of fairy-tale relationship is truly possible when approached from love and understanding. The main character in the story, Kimberlee, is under the mentorship of her grandmother, Claudia, who has compiled a series of lessons for her granddaughter to learn, apply, and thus bring out the best in the men around her. Claudia focuses on what she refers to as “the five hero words,” which are crucial to use when communicating with men, in addition to a gracious intention.

All the lessons from Claudia are valuable, but what makes the book even more engaging is the other characters like Karen and Mike, a married couple who are fighting to keep their love alive, Burt, Claudia’s husband who after 50 years of marriage still adores his queen as much as he did half a century ago, and Jack, the man from the office that is crushing on Kimberlee. The reader gets to absorb Claudia’s worthwhile lessons while inside the mind of all these characters which solidifies the idea that true partnership is possible in any relationship when at least one party decides to take the step forward and lead the waltz.


  1.     The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

“Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do.”

If you have at least a single creative bone in your body (and all of us do), then this book is for you. If you procrastinate in any area of your life (and all of us do), then this book is for you. If you experience fear, self-doubt, and insecurity (and all of us do), then this book is especially for you.

The aspect that sticks out in this work is Pressfield’s tone and the ability to mix spirituality with blatant motivation. Through his word choice, storytelling, and relatability, Pressfield portrays an impeccable balance between explaining how we function naturally from the subconscious and what magical capabilities we have to overpower, what he calls, “Resistance.” When we learn to conquer this invisible force that prevents us from accomplishing our goals, life becomes easy. The catch is that the battle is never-ending, meaning we must always combat Resistance if we want to move forward, but it does get easier.

Resistance is fueled by fear. Resistance is what keeps us from living our purpose. Everything that elicits Resistance, fuels Resistance, embodies Resistance, and maintains Resistance is explained thoroughly in the book, and it’s almost scary to know (yet crucial to be aware) of every shape Resistance takes on. It comes as self-doubt, judgement, procrastination, drama, drugs, victimhood, isolation, rationalization, and pretty much anything that is a distraction from our gifts and our purpose. Side note: if you’re thinking “I don’t have a gift or purpose,” consider this: nobody was placed on this earth to just suck air.

The book is a pretty short read, but quite dense in its content, especially the last section, which contains poetic (sometimes abstract) wisdom that uncovers the nature of the “enemy” for future strifes. It’s straight and to-the-point, yet filled with examples, analogies, and foresight to beat Resistance and win your inner creative battles.

Hi, I’m Mary and after recovering from an eating disorder and healing my body, mind, and spirit, I started my online platform Mary’s Cup of Tea, to inspire women to find their own inner peace and unconditional self-love. Now, I travel to beautiful places and eat yummy foods while sharing my heart with you through my writings, videos, and online courses. Welcome!

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