Studious Sunday: Books To Learn And Grow


It's Sunday, often a day of contemplation, relaxation, and anticipation (dread?) of what's to come in the week ahead.

While there is always too much to do/catch up on during the weekend and not enough time, I always try to reserve some "study time" to learn and grow. The to-do lists get even longer during this time of year; gift-giving season is in full swing and we've made it through Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday—you get the gist of it! So how about adding "Studious Sunday" (or Thoughtful Thursday or [insert best day for your schedule]) to the mix? Reserve a pocket of time to read something that expands your knowledge, and give yourself the gift of growth as a way of staying centered and making the most of this season.

Once you've decided you want to read something that will help you grow, the next challenge is picking from the vast fields of literature ready for reaping. To help you out, I am sharing a list of a dozen books 1) written by women 2) in 2015 3) that help me tap into some of my mottos, "Making it Work and Loving the Journey" and "My Difference is My Strength."

Why did I select books from 2015? Because books usually get a lot of press right when they come out, then quickly fade away in the fast cycle of media consumption. Books from 2015 still offer fresh content but they may not be fresh in our minds or may not be featured prominently in a book store or in online searches anymore.

So browse through the list below, see if there are any you haven't read but spark your interest, and take action:

- Pick one as an addition to your Studious Sunday

-Choose one as a gift for a family member/colleague/friend

- Go big and read one a month during the next year!

  1. The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work by Christine Carter (Jan. 2015). Dr. Carter distills the latest research related to happiness, productivity, and elite performance to help the reader shift daily life "from overwhelmed and exhausting to joyful, relaxed, and productive."
  2. Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin (Mar. 2015). The latest book from the best-selling author of The Happiness Project, the subtitle says it all: "What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits--to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life."
  3. I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time by Laura Vanderkam (June 2015). Learning from the lives of real women; from the bio: "Based on a time diary study of 1,001 days in the lives of professional women and their families, this book takes a practical approach to the question of how people combine work and family while enjoying their own sweet time, too."
  4. Rising Strong by Brené Brown (Aug. 2015). My only regret is that I didn't discover her work earlier in life; I came across Dr. Brown on Elizabeth Gilbert's "Magic Lessons" podcast. She is an expert on vulnerability, shame, and worthiness, and her latest book tackles how to get back up after stumbling over adversity.
  5. Unfinished Business by Anne-Marie Slaughter (Sept. 2015). Building off of her widely-read article for the Atlantic, Slaughter explores the systemic failures that keep both men and women from being able to "have it all" and how we need a societal shift toward valuing care. My copy is covered in highlighting and notes and "YES!" moments.
  6. Beyond Happy: Women, Work, and Well-Being by Beth Cabrera (Sept. 2015). Dr. Cabrera is an expert in positive psychology and a senior scholar at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University [sidebar: Coolest University Center ever?]. Thesis: We need to tackle both Feeling Good and Doing Good to experience well-being as women balancing career and family responsibilities.
  7. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (Sept. 2015). The creator and star of The Mindy Project provides insight into making it in Hollywood as a South Asian woman of color, using humor and intelligence to deliver some deep truths and role modeling.
  8. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (Sept. 2015). You're likely familiar with this author and her blockbuster book; in Big Magic you can learn from and be inspired by her creative process without having to drop everything and travel the globe. Gilbert argues we all have "jewels" of creativity to uncover; while most directly relevant to those engaged in the arts, this book and the associated podcast (see #4) argue for the value of creativity in all of our lives and professions.
  9. Disrupt Yourself by Whitney Johnson (Oct. 2015). An expert in the business world and a thought leader in Management, Johnson brings the theory of disruptive innovation for markets and companies to personal development. In the present landscape of shifting career fields and job opportunities, you need to know how to navigate your "S-curve."
  10. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (Oct. 2015). No matter your politics, you can learn from a woman who has seen and been at the center of major shifts in the experience of women at home and in the workplace. Literally and figuratively, Steinem explores how her time on the road shaped her views and her journey as a writer and activist.
  11. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes (Nov. 2015). Who knew the creator of the fantastical stories in Grey's Anatomy and Scandal is an introvert at heart? With honesty and wit, Rhimes offers her take on balancing parenting, dating, friendship, work, self, and the life of the mind, and how her perspective shifted during the year she challenged herself to say "Yes" to new opportunities. A quick and worthwhile read.
  12. Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy (Dec. 2015). This engaging professor and researcher from Harvard Business School builds from her hit TED Talk on the power of nonverbal behavior (and her amazing personal story) to deliver the science behind "power poses" and how our bodies influence and shape our mindset.

Do you have suggestions of other books that helped you learn and grow? I'd love to hear your feedback in the Comments or on social media @inclusivecareer!