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5 Books that Can Change your Outlook in 2021

2020 was an exceptionally unusual year. To say the least. And I think we are all glad to see it over.  But none of us has emerged unchanged.  Would be a shame to waste all that stretching and growing.

So as we face forward towards 2021, let’s implement our hard-earned lessons to make this a better year.

Here are five of the best books I know to help you do just that.

The ONE Thing

by Gary Keller

The last year really forced us to re-think what was important in life. Gary Keller’s book will help you fine tune how to capitalize on that focus.

The premise is pretty simple: you ask yourself ONE question and the answer determines how you do everything that comes next.

“Here’s what I found out: We overthink, overplan, and overanalyze our careers, our businesses, and our lives; that long hours are neither virtuous nor healthy; and that we usually succeed in spite of most of what we do, not because of it. I discovered that we can’t manage time, and that the key to success isn’t in all the things that we do but in the handful of things that we do well.”

The Next Right Thing

by Emily P. Freeman

Emily Freeman has such a gentle writing style you can’t help but feel that everything is going to be okay.  She guides you from being anxious and overwhelmed about life’s decision making to believing there is a way through even under the most difficult of circumstances.  Of all the books here, this one soothes and quiets the soul.

“Here is the truth: you can only make decisions based on what you know at the time. We live in an outcomes-based culture, where the correctness of our choice seems based (only) on the success of the result…but is that really how we want to live our lives?” (parentheses mine)

The Obstacle Is the Way

by Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday’s writing style is challenging and straighforward without being insulting. An impressive feat. 

This book tells us what we already suspected & 2020 confirmed with exclamation points: there is no obstacle-free life. BUT there is a way to reframe how we view our challenges and use them to fuel our opportunieis for growth.

“It’s not just How can I think this is not so bad? No, it is how to will yourself to see that this must be good–an opportunity to gain a new foothold, move forward, or go in a better direction.  Not ‘be positive’ but learn to be ceaselessly creative and opportunistic.  Not: This is not so bad. But: I can make this good.”

The Gifts of Imperfection

by Brené Brown

I wish I could assign this book to the whole world as required reading. Brené Brown’s book about living Wholeheartedly is brilliant and powerful.  And in the current climate of unrest and fear, it is so applicable.

This book is a 130 page journey into the heart that uncovers why we are struggling with connection and comparison and what we can do about it. It’s about uncovering a joyous life: not a safe or perfect one, but a joyous one. 

“We can talk about courage and love and compassion until we sound like a greeting card store, but unless we’re willing to have an honest conversation about what gets in the way of putting these into practice in our daily lives, we will never change. Never, ever.”

The Gratitude Diaries

by Janice Kaplan

After a year when it may have been extra difficult to see the good things, here is a great experiment that shows how powerful gratitude can be. 

Kaplan had a good life; she just wanted to appreciate it more. So she set out on a year’s journey to research and implement  practices of gratitude. I bet you can guess the ending.  Full of great information and reinforcement about how the filter through with we view the world can impact every area of our lives.

“I would never sign on to the idea that everything happens for the best. The tragic, sad, unexpected and irritating do take place…our only choice is how to respond. Instead of being masterful at misery, we can become experts at gratitude.”

I hope that one (or all!) of these go on your to-be-read pile for the new year. There is no doubt that you will be inspired!


  1. Mary Correa

    A few new ones to add to my reading list!


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