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The Best Books of 2017 to Boost Your Success and Happiness

Today I’m sharing a handful of great titles that earned a spot at the top of my list this year. While it’s hard to pick just a few favorites, these books stand above the rest because (1) the ideas were deeply thought-provoking, or (2) because the concepts transformed some part of my life and business. I limited my selection to books published in 2017.

The topics are broad, including career and business advice, psychology, productivity and self-improvement. So my hope is there’s something for everyone no matter where you’re at in your life right now.

Now in no particular order, my favorite books of 2017.

The Best Books of 2017

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin, a habits and human behavior writer and Psych Central contributor, is one of my favorite authors. Her latest book shares an indispensable personality framework that’s really impacted my life. Are you an Upholder, Obliger, Rebel, or Questioner? The answer to that question will tell you a lot about how you react to both internal and external expectations — and the insights can be life-changing.

Finding out I’m an Upholder has helped me know my strengths and weaknesses better, including how to deal with change, criticism, and even setting goals more productively. You can take a quiz here to find out your tendency. The book goes into great detail about each tendency, providing specific advice about how to optimize your life, work, and relationships in a way that suits your style.

The Net and the Butterfly: The Art and Practice of Breakthrough Thinking by Olivia Fox Cabane and Judah Pollack

Breakthrough thinking isn’t magic, it’s a science. This book will arm you with plenty of tactics to generate great ideas and creative epiphanies (even when you’re tired). While there’s no guarantee the methods shared will transform you into the next Elon Musk, they do provide helpful frameworks for getting out of a mental rut.

How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up by Emilie Wapnick

Are you multi-passionate or someone who feels lost and confused about what to do with your life? I hear from a lot of people who say they struggle to tie their many passions together into a cohesive career path. Based on her popular TED talk about why some of us don’t have one true calling, author Emilie Wapnick explores how to thrive as a multipotentialite and why it could be your greatest strength. I loved that the book is equal parts inspiration and application. Emilie breaks down how to deal with common insecurities such as Impostor Syndrome, and also provides practical frameworks to help you design a life and work structure based around your many interests.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

This is perfect if you’re someone who is into personal development, but hates the sappiness and empty positivity of typical self-help advice. Mark Manson gives it to you straight, sharing timeless advice about how to stop caring about what other people think and how to deliberately choose happiness every day. I found his take on overcoming fear and developing confidence to be utterly refreshing.

Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive by Dorie Clark

For anyone looking to start a business or side hustle, Dorie Clark gives you a roadmap to becoming an entrepreneur today. This covers everything from how to find an idea that’ll make you money to advanced strategies for landing speaking gigs and client referrals. I’m grateful to have learned from Dorie directly, and even I ended up with pages and pages of notes after reading Entrepreneurial You. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, I highly recommend it.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong by Eric Barker

Valedictorians are less successful later in life. Trying to increase confidence backfires. These are just a few of the surprising insights Eric Barker shares in Barking Up The Wrong Tree. He explores the counterintuitive ways successful people achieve results with captivating, well-researched stories.

Remember, filling your brain with ideas and implementing them are two different things. Develop a system to take action on what you read. Start small, but choose catalyzing and creating over passive consumption.

Happy holidays, and happy reading!

The Best Books of 2017 to Boost Your Success and Happiness

Melody Wilding, LMSW

Melody Wilding, LMSW is a performance coach, licensed social worker, and has a Masters from Columbia. She helps established and rising managers and executives advance in their careers. Her clients work at companies like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, HP, and Deloitte. She also helps entrepreneurs take bold steps to grow their businesses. Melody has helped over 10,000 smart, self-aware people like you. Her coaching gives you actionable strategies to reach your goals. You get concrete steps to overcome the complex struggles of success. Melody loves arming ambitious people with tools and tactics to boost their confidence. She can teach you skills for assertiveness and influence. Her specialties include better managing your emotions at work. Melody also teaches Human Behavior at CUNY Hunter College in NYC. She writes about psychology and careers for Inc., Forbes, Fast Company, and more. Click here and grab the FREE COURSE to go from insecure to unstoppable confidence 5 DAYS TO FREEDOM FROM SELF-DOUBT..

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APA Reference
Wilding, M. (2018). The Best Books of 2017 to Boost Your Success and Happiness. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 25 Dec 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.