Returning to a Joy Habit Part 2: Notable Non-fiction

Good habits create joy, memories, and momentum. Last year, returning to a joy habit of reading more did just that. Last week, we discussed my fiction faves. But most of my reading is non-fiction (although I’m hoping for more balance this year.) It was more difficult to pare down this list, so let’s get to it! My notable non-fiction picks are: (Disclosure: If you purchase from links provided I may receive an affiliate commission, which helps support this site. I only promote products I personally use or recommend without hesitation. Thanks for your support.)

Do Over by Jon Acuff We all do things we don’t enjoy. Acuff’s humorous approach to why we do work we don’t enjoy and the tools to change this is a breath of fresh air. If you need a restart, read or listen to this book. I listened, laughed, and loved this book!

Finish by Jon Acuff After enjoying Do Over so much, I grabbed another one by Acuff and it was even better! If you’ve ever started a project and abandoned it, this is the book for you. It’s a habit learner’s playbook and I thoroughly enjoyed his funny approach to everyday issues that keep us from finishing. You will too.

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown By far, this is one of my all time favorites. I listened to this and kept trying to clip/save so many bits of wisdom. Afterwards, I concluded books I’ll want to reference later are better read (and marked up) in hard copy! However, I did enjoy listening to her funny, anecdotal style even with a couple curse words sprinkled in. Brown’s research based, authentic, gritty, approach to leading while vulnerable dares us to lead with greater conviction. We all lead others in some way. Read (or listen) to this and you’ll learn to lead better.

Atomic Habits by James Clear As a student of habits for years, I was eager to read this book. Clear’s approach based on other’s research, is adapted into his own system (or laws as he describes them). It’s a method many can use for making small, incremental change leading to large and lasting effects.  (An even better text on habits in my opinion is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, which Clear references in his book as well. This is the underlying research many habit based references use, myself included. It’s easy to understand and while more sciency, appealed to my left brain a bit more. I read it a number of years ago and still reference it.)

Quiet by Susan Cain This book took me a while to finish, but was well worth it to better understand the introvert’s world. Plus, I discovered I’m more introverted than I realized! This intelligent, well researched look into the quieter realm of an introvert was fascinating and deserving of my effort. If you are or know any introverts, this is a must read!

Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller This book is for anyone who has a message to share, which theoretically is all of us. Written from a business point of view, it can be adapted for anyone wanting to share a message and solution with others (parents, educators, pastors etc.) Practical and useful in many applications.

Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado Listening to Max Lucado is like sitting in a comfy chair. His peaceful style was a pleasure as he reminds us there’s nothing to be anxious about when we have Jesus. If you tend to worry like me, take a listen or a quick read to feel God’s love and let go of anxiety.

Moving Forward by Christa Hutchins I’ve been a fan of my friend Christa for years. She’s one of my go-to people to help sift through my visions and turn them into reality. Which is why I love how she gathered up her best ideas and put them into this book of devotional tips to help anyone move forward. If you need practical inspiration to move forward, this is your book.

The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman If decision fatigue ever has paralyzed you, this book provides the path to the next step. Emily Freeman’s style is completely different than mine, yet her wisdom is refreshing and just what I needed to hear while wondering what was next. If you are in the same boat, take a listen or read this to find the next right thing for you.

Crazy Love by Francis Chan I’m glad I finally read this best seller for a group study with my church last summer. What a refreshing reminder of how much God loves us! This line from the book puts life in perspective- “The point of your life is to point to Him.” Read this and refocus.

I’m all about shifting our minds and focus to what matters. Which is why I’m excited to add a recently finished book called Shift by Abby McDonald. I figured I’d enjoy it since the subtitle is “Changing our Focus to See the Presence of God.” And I didn’t just like it, I loved it! It was the right book at the right time for me. Maybe it is for you, too. This quote sums it up: “Faith is activated not by seeing but by doing, even when we don’t know what the result will be.” Yes, yes it is.

I hope these books inspire, inform, or entertain you this year. Please, let me know what books are inspiring you!  I’m always up for new ideas while returning to my joy habit of reading! If you’re looking for ways to begin (or keep going) on a joy habit in your life, let’s talk and learn how to get going or keep going on your best joy habits!

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4 thoughts on “Returning to a Joy Habit Part 2: Notable Non-fiction”

  1. I’m a die-hard nonfiction fan myself. Going through your list here, MANY are my favorites already! So I know I can trust your opinion on the ones that I haven’t read yet. Thanks for sharing this fantastic list. The first one I’ll add to my list is Shift. I’m far more of a thinker than a doer, so I constantly need a slight nudge in that direction and it sounds like Abby McDonald does that.

    • You’ll love Shift, Lisa! Abby writes from experience and shares the ups and downs on how to make this Shift. Very practical and applicable!


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