Top 5 Book Recommendations For Self-Improvement Gurus

As an avid reader, I am often asked by many of my peers or community of followers on my top recommended books. Over the past two years, I have dived into various books, with a strong focus on self-improvement and improving the mindset for everyday life. I share my updated top 5 book recommendations from the accumulated readings thus far.

  1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson – this book is full of ironic and truthful statements about how the general society thinks and how many of us cave into the validation of others–whether that is on social media, in-person from our peers/friends, family members, and etc. This book ultimately taught me to let go of giving a shit about what other people think and to focus on not only myself, but my opinion of myself.  
  2. The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday – this book is a little different than the typical one. It’s not one you just pick up and binge read for an hour…although you certainly can. But it is more ideal as something to read on a daily basis, 1-2 pages a day. Technically, as stated in the title, it’s a “daily” read, so each page has a specific date on it. But of course, you’re most likely not going to start it at the date page of when you purchase it, but rather, the first page. This book has taught me how to be more mindful of my thoughts and emotions, how to manage them in times of stress of anxiety, and most importantly, to take a step back on each situation in order to not take it personally.
  3. Principles by Ray Dalio – I first learned about Ray Dalio through business thought leader, Tony Robbins. As I got to know a bit more about Ray Dalio, I came to admire his way of thinking, not only in his approach and start to the renowned hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, but how he applies the same business principles in his everyday life–relationships, family, building habits, etc. My favorite part of this book is in the life principles section; he ties in these principles with each area of life and how it all correlates between his business work and personal life. 
  4. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg – I picked up this book during a solo trip to Portland and wanted to learn more about the psychology of building and breaking habits. As many of us know, habits play a key role in how we live our lives, as our everyday habits are the foundation to not only our success, but the trajectory of our lives. If you are seeking new tactics and strategies on refining your habits–maybe getting to the gym on a more consistent basis or waking up by 7am every morning, then this book will be useful for you. Even if you are not looking to refine or improve your habits, this book provides the reader with deep insight on how habits work and how our brain conceptualizes information to make it a repeated habit.
  5. Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss with Tahl Raz – the title of this book caught my eye when I was in the Amazon bookstore in Pacific Palisades, CA. The title kinda says it all, but what I love most about this book is the key skills and tactics I’ve learned that I can be applied in any situation, but most importantly, in negotiation. From using a specific tone of voice, repeating certain information back to the person we are speaking to, and etc…this book is extremely useful for any individual who wants to “get what they want/deserve” in life (as selfish and weird as that sounds). The lessons learned in this book can be applied to not only everyday life, but quite frankly, any profession. Because if you think about it, you’re always negotiating. Something I live by–you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.

During this interesting self-quarantine time with COVID-19, I am certain many of us are more prone and willing to pick up a new book. And maybe if you weren’t planning on it, because you rather binge watch a show like Law & Order: SVU or Black Mirror, then maybe it’s time to re-consider how you can utilize this quarantine time to actually come out with a win after it’s all over (which I hope is soon).

Wishing you all good health.


Emily Duong

Born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania, but currently residing in Orange County, California. Emily Elizabeth is an entrepreneur, athlete, and lifestyle blogger sharing her everyday lifestyle and healthy mindset.



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