Self-Discovery Books to Read This Year

Today, we’re sharing 37 self-discovery books to read this year!

If you’ve read any of our From the Front Porch posts, you’ve likely seen us share the self-discovery books my accountability partner and I read each month. 

But you may not know why we started reading those books in the first place though.

An Unexpected Aha Moment…

Several years ago, I was working at a home décor store that also offered design services. 

It was a long drive from my home but I learned a ton.

We’re talking about everything from the importance of scale, to what happens when you make an expensive design mistake, to how furniture is shipped in crates from France, to dealing with clients that have a variety of different budgets.

It was a fantastic experience.

But it was also incredibly draining at times because the company was relatively new and the stakes in this particular area of town were very high.

I thought I was handling the drive and demands of the job well. Until one day, I had a life-changing aha moment while cleaning up after a Christmas event.

The irony of this story is that I did not actually attend this party. It was held on the same night as my sister’s birthday.

I knew the event was a big deal though.

Every detail had been well thought out from the exquisitely catered food and desserts to the cases of bubbly lining the floor of the stock room.

A floral team had been brought in the day before to make sure the store was at its best, bathed in fresh greenery, twinkling lights, and festive Christmas cheer.

When I arrived at the store early the following morning, it looked like the party had been a success.

Cocktail napkins, bits of confetti, and glitter held court on the floor.

The floral arrangements, Christmas trees, tables, and chairs were still in place.

The linens were wrinkled from someone sliding trays of food across the top of the table in a late-night attempt to tidy up before deciding it was just too much to deal with.

And the bar was littered with half-empty bottles of top-shelf liquor and champagne.

With the store set to open in less than thirty minutes, I grabbed a big garbage bag and frantically started cleaning up the showroom.

Five minutes before I was set to turn the sign on the front door over from closed to open, I found myself broom in hand, completely panicked and rushed.

“Why am I sweeping the floors of someone else’s dream?” I wondered.

I would love to say that aha moment immediately woke me up. 

But the truth is that it quietly simmered on the back burner of my heart while I became an unexpected caregiver following S’s accident.

Thankfully, the dawn of a new decade also marked over a year of healing and recovery for S, which seemed like the perfect time to begin my own self-discovery journey.  

At the time, we had no idea the pandemic would all but force us to manage our expectations differently, and adapt to a new normal

Looking back though, I can’t imagine a better time to celebrate a year of true growth.

Here’s a list of 37 self-discovery books to consider if you’re on a growth journey too…

*This post was updated in January 2023 and includes 2020-2022 Book of the Month selections.

The Best Self Discovery Books of 2022

(Amazon affiliate links have been provided for your convenience. As an Amazon and Impact Media Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Any sales made through such links will support us with a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here)

Soundtracks…(A 2022 Self Discovery Favorite)

Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking by Jon Acuff

This book totally changed my life – not kidding!

As someone with an anxiety disorder, I frequently struggled with rumination and negative thought pattern cycles. Then I read this book and started using the techniques and it changed everything!

While this book is not meant to take the place of therapy or professional medical advice, I can honestly say it helped way more than I ever could have imagined. I continue to use the lessons l learned from this book nearly every day.

Master of One…

Master of One: Find and Focus on the Work You Were Created to Do by Jordan Raynor

I wanted to love this book so much but it just fell flat for me. I think if you already know your “one thing” it could be helpful. If you’re still searching though, it might leave you a little frustrated.

Declutter Like a Mother…

Declutter Like a Mother: A Guilt-Free No Stress Way Transform Your Home and Your Life by Allie Casazza 

Allie was one of the speakers of a mastermind group I was a part of so I knew her story and personality well.

Without a doubt, this book, helped me to see clutter in a completely different way. I’m literally able to stop it before it even comes into the house now!

The Gift of Home…

The Gift of Home: Beauty and Inspiration to Make Every Space a Special Place by Bre Doucette

Bre’s home and blog are both beautiful! I love how this book provided helpful tips and tricks for every room in the house.

The Power to Bless…

The Power to Bless – Speaking Life into Those You Love by Alan Right   

This faith-based book help me change the way I encourage and speak to the people that have been placed on my path.

Lessons From Madame Chic…

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L Scott 

This was such a fun series of books! I loved the stories Jennifer shared so much that I started watching her YouTube channel as well.

I love how she finds little ways to elevate the everyday!

How Are You Really?…

How Are You, Really? by Jenna Kutcher  

Full disclosure I’ve listened to Jenna’s podcast, taken some of her classes, and read her blog for a long time.

Last year was the first time I made an intentional effort to check with myself in the most basic ways though.

As you can imagine, it was lifegiving and this book inspired me to continue the practice this year too.

Minimalista…

Minimalista: Your Step-by-Step Guide to a Better Home, Wardrobe, and Life by Shira Gill  

This book is filled with helpful tips on how to lead a more sustainable/minimalistic life at a pace that feels doable.

Since reading this book I’ve started questioning everything that comes into the house from dishes to beauty products.

I’ve also started thinking about what we’re leaving behind for our loved ones to go through after we’re gone. Sobering, yes, but also empowering because we know we can leave a quality over quantity legacy.

A More Beautiful Life…

A More Beautiful Life: A Simple Five-Step Approach to Living Balanced Goals with HEART by Whitney English  

If you’re tired of living a reactive life and long to live a more proactive one, this book is for you.

Celebrating Home…

Celebrating Home by James T Farmer, III

This book is not only a fabulous coffee table book, but it’s also a great gift idea. My Mom and aunts loved it and I find myself looking through it whenever I need tablescape or garden inspiration.

We also all appreciated that most of the flowers featured within the pages were flowers found and celebrated in the South. I fall in love with flowers that cannot be grown in my zone all the time, so it was nice to see flowers I can actually grow!

How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind…

How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K White

The book was SO relatable!

We immediately adopted her “4 non-negotiable” daily strategy and found ways to make doing chores more fun.

This book also reinforced the notion cleaning and decluttering are not a “one-and-done” experience. It’s something we have to do every day so we may as well adopt simple systems that will make our lives easier.

The Power of One More…

The Power of One More by Ed Mylett

I’m still working my way through this one but I love it so far. Even the audible version is getting amazing reviews!

One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “Self-confident people share one habit in common, and that is the ability to keep the promises they make to themselves,” I think about those words all the time!

The Best Self Discovery Books of 2021-The Crowned Goat

The Best Self-Discovery Books of 2021

(Amazon affiliate links have been provided for your convenience. As an Amazon and Impact Media Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Any sales made through such links will support us with a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here)

The Home Edit Life…

The Home Edit Life: The No-Guilt Guide to Owning What You Want and Organizing Everything by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin

This is the second book by the ladies of The Home Edit and while I didn’t think it was quite as relatable as their first book, there are still fabulous nuggets of organizing wisdom and home care system management ideas to try.

Dirt…

Dirt: Growing Strong Roots in What Makes the Broken Beautiful by Mary Marantz

Mary Marantz is an amazing writer, speaker, and podcaster. I’ve learned so much from the online conferences she’s been a part of.

That said, this was a really, really tough book to get through because the subject matter is intense. This book should have come with a content warning sticker for SA and trauma.

Big Magic…

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

This book was recommended by so many fellow creatives. While there were parts of it that were totally woo-woo learning how to “follow the breadcrumbs” is one of her techniques I still use today.

The Four Agreements…

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

This book also borders on woo-woo yet it was short and impactful. I remind myself at least once a week of one of the four agreements!

Sacred Rest…(A 2021 Self Discovery Book Favorite)

Sacred Rest by Dr. Saundra Dalton Smith

I found Dr. Saundra Dalton Smith via her TedxAtlanta Talk called The Real Reason We Are Tired and What To Do About It when I was searching for answers to help explain my poor sleep patterns.

The words in this book are encouraging and completely relatable. They caused me to reevaluate my schedule on more than one occasion and taught me the true value of sleep and rest.

Fear Is Not the Boss of You…(A 2021 Self Discovery Book Favorite)

Fear Is Not the Boss of You: How to Get Out of Your Own Head and Live The Life You Were Made For by Jennifer Allwood

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this faith-based book! It will probably go down as one of my all-time favorites and every time I need a pep talk, I’m going to reach for my copy.

If I learned one thing from this book, it’s the importance of taking action and stepping into your purpose even when it seems scary and you’ve spent YEARS believing assumptions and lies that aren’t true.

The Magic of Thinking Big…

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

I’ve read this book several times and every time I read it I learn something new. The chapters and topics are easily digestible and cover everything from work scenarios to relationships to finances.

We also have the Audible version of this book!

Living the Simply Luxurious Life…

Living the Simply Luxurious Life by Shannon Ables

This was my accountability partner’s favorite book of the year and I totally agree!

I wish I had read this book in my 20s because it’s a fabulous guidebook that covers many different topics on how to live a simple yet luxurious life.

While the book doesn’t have any pictures, it is filled with great advice.

The Joy of Missing Out…

The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less by Tanya Dalton

This book helped me get rid of the guilt I’d been carrying around for not pushing myself to say yes to every out-of-town family function, friend dinner, and work invitation I was offered so I could show up fully focused on those relationships I deeply value.

It’s a great book for people-pleasers.

On Purpose…

On Purpose by Tanya Dalton

Full disclosure, I was on the launch team for this book and we had a great time. I also really LOVED this book!

On Purpose gives you fundamental and applicable ways to live an extraordinary life in nearly every chapter.

I think we’ve all read books with similar topics, that talk about how to live a life on purpose. But this one is like a guidebook – it literally walks you through how to do it.

Feels Like Home…

Feels Like Home by Marian Parsons

I was also on the launch team for this book! I’ve followed Marian on her blog, Miss Mustard Seed for years so it was fun to be able to give back and support her in this way.

While this book features Miss Mustard Seed’s signature style and stunning photographs, it’s also filled with stories and encouragement, practical tips, and DIY ideas, on how to truly create a warm and inviting home.

I go back to this book all the time!

Cozy White Cottage Seasons…

Cozy White Cottage Seasons: 100 Ways to Be Cozy All Year Long by Liz Marie Galvan

Every time I read Liz Marie’s blog, I’m reminded that creating a cozy home is truly the art of slowing down.

I have no idea how she does it all with a busy family, farm, brick-and-mortar store, best-selling books, and collaborations with big-time brands. But she makes it look seamless.

This was another great book!

Best Self Discovery Books of 2020-The Crowned Goat

The Best Self-Discovery Books of 2020

(Amazon affiliate links have been provided for your convenience. As an Amazon and Impact Media Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Any sales made through such links will support us with a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here)

You Are the Girl for the Job…(A 2020 Self Discovery Book Favorite)

You Are the Girl for the Job: Daring to Believe the God Who Calls You by Jess Connolly

If you’ve ever struggled with self-doubt, comparison-itis, or weren’t sure you were on the right path, this book gently reminds readers we’ve already been equipped with the gifts we need to fulfill our purpose.

It’s still a favorite! 

The Compound Effect…

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

I don’t know why it never dawned on me that every single decision we make collectively compounds throughout our lives in a positive or negative way until I read this book. 

If you wrestle with an “all or nothing” mentality, The Compound Effect will show you how smart choices and persistent progress lead to a transformational life even on the days you feel off track.

The Next Right Thing…(A 2020 Self Discovery Book Favorite)

The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions by Emily P Freeman

Hand down one of my favorite self-discovery books of 2020!

This book offers practical tips and techniques you can use in a variety of situations from deciding what to say no to, choosing between two things you really enjoy, looking for arrows, finding clarity, and why you should buy the bigger pants already just to name a few.

Rhythms of Renewal…

Rhythms of Renewal: Stress and Anxiety for a Life of Peace and Purpose by Rebekah Lyons

This book made me realize slowing down was a necessity, not a luxury. It reveals how our seasons of life are interrelated, the pitfalls to avoid, and how taking care of ourselves is a gift we can choose daily.

The Lifegiving Home…

The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally and Sarah Clarkson.

I read a lot of home décor and DIY books, but none have explained the art of hospitality and the simple act of welcoming someone into your home quite as this faith-based one does.

It made me realize the heart of hospitality has more to do with how you serve those gathered around the table than Pinterest-worthy menu items and Instagram-able table decor.

Get Out Of Your Head…

Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts by Jennie Allen

I’ll be honest this book was hard for me to digest but my accountability partner enjoyed it.

As someone who has struggled with an anxiety disorder, the text felt dismissive at times and made the idea of taking your thoughts captive seem far easier to achieve than it actually is.

The Art of Showing Up…

The Art of Showing Up: How to be There for Yourself and Your People by Rachel Wilkerson Miller.

This book helped me define my own boundaries, made me see the importance of non-verbal communication, and made me more aware of how I’m spending my time, money, energy, and resources.

There is a ton of salty language in this book that I could have absolutely done without. But if you can get through the bad language, it’s a good one.

Love Does…

Love Does by Bob Goff

The stories in this book are relatively short. But the lessons are ones that stay with you long after the last chapter is finished.

While I can’t even imagine a life as adventurous as Bob Goff’s, this book, is a reminder to show up each day with courage and faith.

Eat That Frog…(A 2020 Self Discovery Book Favorite)

Eat That Frog: 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy 

This book is filled with so many practical tips and tricks. It showed me how to prioritize my to-do list, work more efficiently, prepare for success through thoughtful planning, and finally take action on ideas I’ve been putting off for months.

Welcome Home…

Welcome Home: A Cozy Minimalist Guide to Decorating and Hosting All Year Round by Myquillyn Smith

This book is an easy read filled with insightful ways to celebrate your home throughout the year. 

From season to season, the author invites readers to consider how they use the items and spaces in their homes while encouraging them to declutter and simplify along the way.

Present Over Perfect…

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist

My best takeaway is truly how important it is to keep the Sabbath sacred, how we need to show up for ourselves so we can show up for others and how taking time to get away and refocus will always be a great investment even if it feels at times, inconvenient.

Year of Yes…

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

When I asked my accountability partner what she thought of the book, she said, “This book was a good one because it was so relatable.  I really appreciate how the author overcame obstacles with laughter and courage.”

Self Discovery Books to Read This Year-The Crowned Goat

My Favorite Self-Discovery Book of 2020…

Admittedly, The Powerful Purpose of Introverts by Holley Gerth never made the original Self-Discovery Book of the Month list. 

And for that, I apologize.

It’s been a life-changing read for me and if you’re an introvert or love an introvert, I suspect, it will be for you too.

The Powerful Purpose of Introverts does a fantastic job explaining everything from the special gifts and skills introverts possess to the physical changes that come with being overstimulated.

It made me appreciate hard-won resilience, understand being sensitive is not something to be ashamed of, the risks of burnout, what it means to have intentional energy, and the sacred importance of self-care.

This book made me feel so validated, I devoured it in a single day. I can’t recommend it highly enough! 

At the beginning of a new year, it seems we’re all setting fresh goals and making sure we have a crystal-clear path to achieving our dreams.

I know the past few years have been such a wild ride though some of you might not feel like setting goals, daring to dream, choosing a word of the month, or even a word of the year. 

I completely understand where you’re coming from.

The thing is, the days are going to pass anyway.

So, you may as well spend them doing the things you love. 

If you’re on the fence about starting a self-discovery journey of your own, I’d encourage you to start with just one book and see how it goes.

You never know the kind of perfectly imperfect gems are waiting to be uncovered.

Let us know what self-discovery books you’re reading this year and how your journey is going! Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,

CoCo

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24 Comments

  1. Great post CoCo. So many of us start a New Year’s goal and end up failing. I think everyone should read this blog post. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I really appreciate your sweet words, Terrie, thank you so much. Hope your 2021 is off to a great start so far. Hugs, CoCo

  2. I was very encouraged by reading about each book. It really does pay to slow down and take some time to understand ourselves and others better!

    1. That is so true, Heidi! It’s hard to make time for intentional rest but the efforts are always worth it. Hugs and Happy New Year, CoCo

    2. I love this list of books. I don’t seem to have time to read anymore

      Miss Mustard Seed is definitely on my list

      Adorable picture again

  3. Thanks so much for the terrific post! I love self-discovery books, and this is a great selection. I especially appreciate your annotations, to help me decide which to delve into next! Now I’m eager to read your post on favorite decorating books!

    1. I really appreciate it, Karen Mary, thank you! We had such a great time picking out a book each month and we learned so much along the way too. Hope you find some that help you as well. Happy New Year, CoCo

  4. Highly recommend Tama Kieves “Thriving Through Uncertainty” – has lots of encouraging thoughts and done with gentle humor. Love her style of writing, just makes one feel better.

    1. I’m writing that one down right now, Linda, thank you so much for the recommendation. I really appreciate it! I hope your weekend has been a relaxing one. Hugs, CoCo

  5. I have followed the Clarksons since I first started homeschooling years ago. I’ve been to two of Sally’s conventions that used to be held here in So Cal. They were my ‘mentors’ for homeschooling and so many other things for ‘home’. I’m interested to know what was ‘hard’ about getting through the Scriptures and quotes, if you feel like expounding. I haven’t read this book, so it’s always interesting to know other perspectives. (I also see Beholding and Becoming… another of my fave and on my nightstand right now!)
    My daughter is definitely introverted, and has had similar experiences to you. As I get older, I feel more like an introvert and according to personality tests, I’m right on the fence. 😉 So I get the noise and many other things you expressed. 😉 Thanks for the book list… great post!

    1. Thanks so much, Julie! I’m glad to hear the Clarksons have ‘mentored’ and meant so much to you over the years. They definitely have many positive and helpful things to say about family life and raising strong children which I know lots of people find helpful. I absolutely appreciate how dedicated they are to transforming families across the globe. I read a completely different translation of the Bible than was used in the passages of the book. So, I had to sit with the translation they reference most plus my own Bible while I was reading this book. Beholding and Becoming was AMAZING! I loved that book so much and used it as a morning devotional. Super excited to hear your daughter is an introvert too! If she hasn’t checked out Holley Gerth she definitely should. I’ve also heard Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain is a good one for introverts but I haven’t read it yet. It’s on my list though 🙂 Hope your weekend was a happy one, CoCo

  6. I think we all could use a little self-discovery after the year we’ve had – and still seem to be having! Thank you for sharing at Party In Your PJ’s, CoCo.

    1. Speak to my heart, Ann, I couldn’t agree more! I know last week was a rough one but I’m hoping little by little things will get better. Sending you hugs, CoCo

  7. I think the first one on your list is the one for me. I hope to read more this year! One of my daughters suffers from anxiety on top of sometimes debilitating IBS and it’s been a long road of self-realization and acceptance. But today she’s doing better than ever:) Here’s to a greater year for all of us. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen

    1. That is so exciting to hear about your daughter, Kathleen! I know firsthand this journey is not an easy one but taking the first step is so important. It took me a long time to realize I was worth the effort and I’m thankful your daughter is doing so well. Sending you big hugs for a peace-filled and exciting year ahead, CoCo

  8. I really enjoyed reading “Lessons From Madame Chic” this past year. It was such a fabulous read! I definitely need to check out more of these books on your list this year.

  9. Thanks for this wonderful list! I used to read books all the time, but when I started blogging that’s something that has gone by the wayside! Now I spend that time reading other people’s blogs instead of books! I need to check out some of the choices you listed! Thanks for always inspiring me! Blessings, Donna

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