Tag Archives: personal development

Books for Personal Development

On this website, you will find a plethora of book reviews. These are all books I’ve read and provided my opinions and takeaways on. Below you will find books that I recommend if you are interested in learning more about yourself and growing.

Katie’s Bookshelf: StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath

strengthsfinderStrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath is more of an assessment than a book you read cover to cover.  Those interested can take the online assessment then utilize the book to find out more in depth about their strengths.  The mentality behind developing this tool is that we operate better by knowing our strengths than trying to improve our weaknesses.  If we, as the reader, can narrow down our top qualities and focus on fostering them in our lives or work environment, we will be more productive.  If we can understand the strengths of those around us, we can better utilize what they have to offer.

The online tool takes about 45-minutes to complete and is not about answering questions based on opposite ends of the continuum.  The two phrases you have to choose from sometimes have no correlation.  It’s also important to choose quickly.  This assessment was not created for us to over-analyze ourselves, but to choose which statement resonates with who we believe we are by using our instinct.

Buy the book if you want access to all of the strengths and an access code to the online assessment.  You can also simply purchase access to the test without buying the book for $15.  By taking the assessment, you will receive a download that includes your top 5 strengths as well as information about each.  For each strength, the book will provide a brief synopsis, an example of what that strength “sounds like” in someone, ideas for action, and working with someone with that strength.

I recommend this for anyone who is looking to determine and develop their strengths, those who work with a team, or anyone in a leadership position to provide to those people they work with.  Through their website portal, you will have access to ways to analyze a group of people to find out their strengths together.

Read this book if:

  • You are interested in learning more about yourself
  • Engaging in personal development
  • In a leadership position at work or with a group

Buy it here.

Rath, T. (2007). Strengths finder 2.0. New York: Gallup Press.



Katie’s Bookshelf: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

fouragreementsThe Four Agreements written by Don Miguel Ruiz is a personal-growth book that outlines 4 principals to guide your life by.  This book was written to help the reader pull themselves out of their own limiting beliefs that create suffering.  Oftentimes, we become stuck in our own beliefs about a situation.  The Four Agreements that Ruiz outlines can serve as an inner guidebook to transform our lives.

The Four Agreements(taken from the cover):

Be Impeccable With Your Word – Speak with integrity.  Say only what you mean.  Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.  Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Don’t Take Anything Personally – Nothing others do is because of you.  What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.  When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Don’t Make Assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.  Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.  With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Always Do Your Best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.  Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”

I found this to be a quick but powerful read.  The agreements are helpful to remember in certain situations and above all, “always do your best.”  If the other 3 are difficult to follow, do your best.  I think it’s a nice reminder that others are doing their best as well.

Read this book if:

You are looking for self-improvement

Self-compassion is difficult at times

You have a desire for a simple set of guidelines to live by in challenging times

Buy it here

Ruiz, M. (1997). The four agreements: A practical guide to personal freedom. San Rafael, CA: Amber-Allen Pub.

Katie’s Bookshelf – Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

outlierspicThe 2008 book Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell takes a look at highly successful individuals or groups of people and explains the life events and circumstances that helped them achieve greatness.  Gladwell showcases Canadian hockey players, Jewish attorneys, The Beatles, and Bill Gates to name a few.  The book discusses a set of circumstances that occurred uniquely to that person or group of people that gave them a leg up on the “competition.”  He speculates for example that the professional hockey players from Canada are born in the first few months of the year therefore making them older when picked for junior teams that play many more games and travel which in turn gives them more playing time and practice to ultimately become professional.  Or in the case of Bill Gates being born in a certain time frame and having much more interactions with computers at a young age by a series of random occurrences.  Therefore having lots of “practice” on computers by the time he entered college and more experienced than his professors and classmates which ultimately led him to drop out of college and create Microsoft.

Gladwell also speculates the “10,000 hour” rule in which any person or group of people must engage in 10,000 hours of their talent to be truly successful and “great.”  This was explained through the story of The Beatles in their quest to be great they spent many nights playing all night in Hamburg to get experience on stage.

In reading this information, it forces the reader to reflect on his/her own life.  “Am I not ‘great’ because I have not practiced my skill for 10,000 hours?”  “Could I have done something truely amazing if I had been born in a different year/city/family?”  “Do I still have time to be successful?”

Is this book a positive read or one to make others wonder why they have not achieved “greatness?”

Read this book if:

  • Looking for inspiration.
  • You want validation in your aspirations/goals.
  • Interested in how to be successful.

Buy it here.


Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: The story of success. New York: Little, Brown and Company.