I’m not much of a re-reader. This applies to both fiction and non-fiction. I’m not sure why this is. Part of it is that I tend to have a scarcity mindset. If I read a book too much, I’m afraid it’ll lose its magic. Maybe I’ll get bored with it, or maybe it won’t be as good as I thought it was. Another reason is because there are so many books in the world. I know I can’t read all of them, so reading the same ones over again seems like a waste. Nevertheless, there are a handful of non-fiction books that I’ve read more than once. In some of them the information was just that good. In others, I find their ideas helpful and thought-provoking. A few of them have helped me to understand myself better, unlocking doors to parts of myself that I didn’t realize existed.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
I adore Gretchen Rubin. She has such a unique way of investigating the world and I find her insights so enlightening. In this book she recounts her year-long happiness experiment in which she focused on building new habits and trying new things each month for an entire year, all with the end goal of making her happier. At first I was turned off by the book. The idea of focusing on one’s own happiness felt selfish and self-absorbed to me. But after giving the book a shot, I realized that happiness is about much more than making yourself feel good. Her lessons can be applied to making those around you happier, developing your spiritual life, and overall self-improvement too. I’m not sure I’ll ever have the self-discipline to do a year-long project like hers, but I think it’s fascinating to read about.
Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin
This second book by Gretchen Rubin felt like a really natural progression. The Happiness Project was all about what she could do to be happier, much of which involved developing new habits or getting rid of bad ones. Better than Before is all about habits. There are so many wonderful insights in this book. I’ve already read it twice and I know I’ll probably keep coming back to it again and again as I grow and change.
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
This book completely revolutionized how I thought about time management. The main premise of the book is that we should look at our lives in weeks built up of 168 hours. If you:
sleep 8 hours/night = 56 hours
work = 45 hours
chores 1 hour/day = 7 hours
meals 2 hours/day = 14 hours
remainder = 46 hours
That leaves you with 46 hours each week to spend with our family, work on our hobbies, start a side-hustle, or whatever else it is that’s important to you. There’s so much freedom in realizing how much time we have that we can put toward the things we care about, as long as we’re intentional. There is lots more practical advice in the book. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Make it Happen by Lara Casey
Lara seems like one of those magical people that can get an inordinate amount of impressive stuff done and still look good doing it. What I love about this book is her vulnerability in her honest and unflinching story. She provides some great questions so that you can dig deep and get a better idea of who you are and what your dreams are. Once you’ve started figuring that out, she helps you set goals to go after those dreams. For me, the best part about the book is the spiritual side. I don’t see a lot of people examine the spiritual side of productivity and goal-setting, so this was a fresh perspective that I really enjoyed.
The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron
In this book, Elaine Aron shares her research on more highly sensitive people. This can be sensitivity emotionally and physically. This was such a fascinating book for several reasons. First of all, it made me more aware of all the ways I’m unusually sensitive, especially physically. Previously, I would try to ignore when I was overstimulated, like in a really loud, busy room for a long period of time. Now that I know to look for it, I realize how those situations are making me feel and can either change my circumstances or at least be a little more understanding with myself. Another thing I loved about the book is that it opened my eyes to how others might be sensitive in ways that I’m not. I’ve shared this book with several other people and it’s let to some really great conversations and deep insights.
Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore
In this book, Adina talks about how a person’s lifestyle as a whole affects their skin. She also gives recommendations and recipes for how to have a more natural approach to skincare. To be honest, I don’t know whether or not the science behind this is good. But the concepts were interesting enough to me to come back a second time. I definitely noticed a major improvement in my skin when I started eating more vegetables, as she recommends. I’m also impressed that she gave out the recipes for all the products that her company sells.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of this book (no judgments if you haven’t. I too like to occupy dwellings under rocks.) Marie Kondo is famous for her advice about decluttering. I started reading this book the first time because I wanted motivation to declutter my own life. I continued reading it because she’s so extreme and it’s fascinating to me. After finishing, I couldn’t bring myself to find the time to follow most of her advice, though perhaps I will the next time we move.
Susan Cain is an absolute genius. In this book, she shares lots of research, stories of successful introverts, and invaluable advice for navigating the world as an introvert. Introverts and extroverts alike need to read this book. As an introvert, it will help you understand yourself more and do a better job of setting yourself up for success. As an extrovert, this book will help you understand all those mysterious quiet people in your life.
Are you a re-reader? What non-fiction books have you gone back to again and again?