Our 10 Picks for Essential Learning

7 min read


September is often a month of fresh starts, a renewed energy, and a fresh dose of motivation. With that comes the opportunity for learning – whether it be through expanding our knowledge base, learning a new skill or honing in on an existing skill set, taking up a new hobby, or even practicing a different way of thinking.

We believe in working toward improving ourselves by pushing beyond our capabilities and limits to discover unrealized potential. It can be a little scary, but also quite exciting, and very fulfilling.

With that, we’ve rounded up ten great books we feel could benefit anyone looking to further their learning.

1. Learn how to make people like you:

How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie | BUY NOW

It’s no surprise this title has been named one of the most influential books. Author Dale Carnegie combined his age-old truisms, by way of anecdotes and insightful wisdoms, along with psychology to create a handbook in human relations. How to Win Friends and Influence People covers instruction in handling and dealing with people, winning friends, persuading others to your way of thinking, becoming a great leader, all while managing a personally successful home life. Sound like some pretty key learnings to us!

2. Learn how to build a well-lived, joyous life:

Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans | BUY NOW

Although Designing Your Life was written by a pair of designers, you don’t have to be one yourself to take away the valuable lessons from this book. Designers use specialized design thinking to both create and problem solve, and Bill Burnett and Dave Evans demonstrate how this methodology can be applied to building a career and creating a meaningful life with joy and fulfilment. Who doesn’t want to design a beautiful life?

3. Learn how to simplify and organize your spaces:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo | BUY NOW

We know life gets hectic and messy sometimes – including the spaces we live and work in. Author and organizational consultant, Marie Kondo, takes readers through her method of decluttering and tidying, promising that a proper simplification and organization of your home means you’ll never have to do it again. Kondo’s detailed guidance for determining which of your possessions “spark joy” helps you clear out the clutter so you can enjoy a neat and tidy home, along with the positive, calm, and inspired mindset it can bring with it. Count us in!

4. Learn how to embrace uneasiness and grow from it:

The Beauty of Discomfort: How What We Avoid Is What We Need by Amanda Lang | BUY NOW

Facing malaise and discomfort is certainly never enjoyable, per se, but it is often a fact of life. Instead of wallowing in the discomfort, author Amanda Lang seeks to teach readers how to not only embrace it, but also seek it out. Unease and discomfort is actually inherently good – it can test you and push you to your limits – and then past them. By learning to tolerate and embrace it, discomfort changes us to become more resilient and successful, as well as happier. The hard work holds some pretty great rewards.

5. Learn how to overcome obstacles:

Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles To Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential by Barbara Oakley | BUY NOW

Mindshift aims to alleviate fears and inspire possibility through recounting stories of individuals whom have hurdled learning barriers of all kinds, demonstrating how you can change perceived weaknesses into surefire strengths. Based off neuroscientific insights, Dr. Barbara Oakley reveals strategies for learning, beyond the simplistic notions of aptitude and ability, to realize the joy and benefits of learning something new. With practical exercises to apply in everyday life, Mindshift teaches how people can change and grow from tapping into hidden potentials to develop new opportunities. The power of persistence has us inspired!

6. Learn how to be more relaxed, focused, and kind:

The Miracle of Mindfulness : An Introduction to Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh | BUY NOW

Zen guru Thich Nhat Hanh shares his gentle musings and practical exercises in this manual on mediation. By treating our daily activities, from the mundane tasks of washing dishes to the more extraordinary, Hanh recommends treating your daily activities as an opportunity for being aware. That is, if you are breathing, you should be aware of our breathing; if you are walking, you should be aware of your walking, and so on. Hanh’s teachings on awareness move from the physical to the mental, emphasizing the importance of obersving and acknowledging our thoughts and feelings, without allowing them to impact us. If mindfulness gives us the chance to work toward greater self-awareness and understanding, along with peacefulness, we’re all for it!

7. Learn how to learn and retain your newfound knowledge:

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter Brown, Henry Reedier III, Mark McDaniel | BUY NOW

You may not have considered it, but learning how to learn is an important skill. Using cognitive psychology and other fields, the authors of Make It Stick offer techniques to become a more productive learner, and challenge old notions and study habits that have actually turned out to be counterproductive (who else is guilty of text underlining, rereading, cramming, etc.?) Make It Stick offers suggestions – based off new insights into how memory truly functions – for involved and dependable learning, intriguing anyone interested in the challenge of self-improvement and lifelong learning. We know we’re up for the challenge.

8. Learn how to lead a meaningful life:

The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters by Emily Esfahani-Smith | BUY NOW

The perpetual pursuit of happiness can be exhausting and frankly, discouraging. Author of The Power of Meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith debates that happiness is the wrong life pursuit, and rather, it is meaning that makes life worth living. Drawing on cognitive science research, insights from literature and philosophy, along with Smith’s own reporting, she strives to show that building a “meaning mindset” can help achieve a deeper satisfaction and a better route to a fulfilling life. With it’s story-driven and stirring prose, we’re ready to seek out the power.

9. Learn how to make and create, fearlessly:

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert | BUY NOW

Big Magic is a discussion about Gilbert’s own creative process and her wisdoms about creativity and insights into the nature of inspiration. She guides readers through how to take on what you love most with a casual tone of passionate pragmatism and sunny spirituality. Sharing her attitude, approach, and habits toward living a creative life, Gilbert shows how you too can discover new ways to address challenges, chase your dreams, and bring mindfulness and enthusiasm into your everyday life. Her perspective is inspiring and empowering and we’re ready to create some big magic of our own after reading her latest!

10. Learn how to increase your emotional intelligence:

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves | BUY NOW

When the Dalai Lama endorses a book, you know it’s going to be a big deal. Emotional intelligence is critical to success, but you must first understand not just what emotional intelligence is, but also how to use it in a manner to improve your life. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 seeks to help you identify your own personal emotional intelligence skills and build them into strengths, which can be applied consistently toward achieving your life’s objectives. With strategies honed from a decade-long effort of measuring emotional intelligence, you can follow the step-by-step program to increase your level, with four core skills that work to help you achieve your fullest potential. Getting in touch with our emotional side to increase our intelligence; we’re into it!


By Valerie Bennett

Girly Book Club

The concept is simple. We’re a global book club for likeminded women to discuss great books! All members of the book club read the same book over the same period; members then meet up in their respective cities at the end of each month to discuss the book and exchange views.
Girly Book Club


  1. H says:

    My top three are:
    1. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
    2. Designing Your Life
    3. Mindshift

    They all look great…looks like an almost years worth of self improvement! A side book club??

  2. Farheen says:

    Make It Stick is really a great book to read if you’re a student, teacher, or lifelong learner. It’s a bit dense but really quite helpful, and summarizes everything in the last chapter. Has definitely changed my study habits!

  3. I love what you guys are up too. This kind of clever work and exposure!

    Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve added you guys to my

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