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10 books to transform your life in 2021: Improve your life, be happier & get motivated

Whatever you want to change in 2021, there’s a book to help you do it

Katherine Robinson

We've seen the back of 2020 – Thank the universe! – and now 2021 brings the start of a new chapter. Lockdown 3.0 is a bit of a spanner in the works, but that doesn’t mean the start of the New Year has to be a total write off, don’t despair!

You can still set yourself achievable goals and work on yourself – what do you want to achieve in terms of personal growth in 2021? Whether you want to calm your anxiety, get a grip on your finances, increase your self-confidence or just change your way of thinking, there’s a book out there to help you do it.

These great reads have already helped thousands of people – including several members of our HELLO! Online team - and have glowing five-star reviews. Swap an hour a day of mindless scrolling of social media for an hour with your nose stuck in one of these great books and we promise you’ll soon see a difference in your mindset.

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F***k being Humble: Why Self-Promotion isn’t a Dirty Word by Stefanie Sword-Williams


Cover Blurb: "We are constantly told that being humble is essential to our professional success. It's often seen as distasteful or arrogant to shout about our achievements. But in a modern workplace this advice seems ever-more obsolete. It's time to f*ck being humble. With simple exercises, steps and real-life examples, learn how to: Know what you stand for. Stop hiding (even when you don't realise you are). Fully realise the power of networking. Know your self-worth. Play the money game and win. Manage your emotions at work. Take action and establish the right time to make the leap. Keep the momentum you've generated going and maintain that elusive work-life balance. Get ready to start taking charge of your own success."

Top review: "I devoured this book in three weeks, eagerly underlining take-aways and action points to go back to. This is a book that you’ll keep on your shelf for years and continuously go back to when in need of inspiration or reminding of the badass that you are. No matter what gender, race, age you are and no matter what industry you are in this book is for you. It was actually reading this book on holiday last month that gave us the driving power to finally launch my own side hustle . So go read this, be inspired, start that side hustle and live your purpose."



Get Your Sh*t Together (A No F**ks Given Guide) by Sarah Knight


Cover blurb: “A New York Times bestseller. From the author of the bestselling book everyone is talking about, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k. How to stop worrying about what you should do, so you can finish what you need to do and start doing what you want to do. Ever find yourself snowed under at the office - or even just glued to the sofa - when you really want to get out (for once), get to the gym (at last), and get started on that daunting dream project you're always putting off? Then it's time to get your sh*t together. In her first book, 'anti-guru' Sarah Knight introduced the joys of mental decluttering. This book takes you one stop further - organizing the f*cks you want and need to give to help you quit your day job and move abroad, balance work and fun - and save money while you're at it - or simply get out of the door for happy hour, every day.”

Top review: “I would recommend this book to everyone. I have used the advice in everyday life and work life. I have even coached my daughter who was having a complete meltdown about her final exams. I just said Get your sh*t together and make a plan of what you must do! Her tutors have noticed a difference. I love Sarah's writing style. Straight to the point. Just brilliant!”



Real Life Money: An Honest Guide to Taking Control of your Finances by Clare Seal


Cover blurb: “Part memoir, part guide, Real Life Money takes the reader on a journey that can be adapted to their own pace and circumstances. It will cover everything from how to negotiate repayment terms with creditors and setting realistic budgets without punishing yourself, to dealing with money anxiety. The goal is not to get rich overnight, or to pay off debt at the expense of all of life's pleasures, but rather to gain an understanding of why we feel the way we do about money, and how we can use that to change our mindset and our finances for good.”

Top review: "Loved this book! I ordered because I thought it would be useful in general, rather than because it was needed, but it gave such an insight into the 'whys and hows' of spending and I really did relate to so much that I didn't even consider previously. Clare has not only provided great tips and advice on how to get on top of debt, but also how to recognise unhealthy spending habits and the psychology that sits alongside. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about money... I've quoted the book and shared it with so many friends and they've found it really useful too!”



Big Magic: How to Live a Creative Life and Let Go of your Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert


Cover Blurb: "Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process – and showing us all just how easy it can be. By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear. Whether you long to write a book, create art, cope with challenges at work, embark on a long-held dream, or simply to make your everyday life more vivid and rewarding, Big Magic will take you on a journey of exploration filled with wonder and unexpected joys."

Top review: "Just brilliant. Inspiring, I couldn't put it down. A must-read to anyone out there who has ideas but is afraid of making them happen."


Why Social Media is Ruining Your Life, by Katherine Ormerod


Cover blurb: “Do you ever obsess about your body? Do you lie awake at night, fretting about the state of your career? Does everyone else's life seem better than yours? Does it feel as if you'll never be good enough? Why Social Media is Ruining Your Life tackles head on the pressure cooker of comparison and unreachable levels of perfection that social media has created in our modern world. In this book, Katherine Ormerod meets the experts involved in curating, building and combating the most addictive digital force humankind has ever created. From global influencers - who collectively have over 10 million followers - to clinical psychologists, plastic surgeons and professors, Katherine uncovers how our relationship with social media has rewired our behavioural patterns, destroyed our confidence and shattered our attention spans.”

Top review: “Terrifyingly true. Wow! She hits the nail on the head. Some of the facts in this book are quite mind boggling. When you really think about it, social media isn't always what it's cracked up to be. Enjoyed reading this and would recommend it to others.”


The Discomfort Zone: How to Get What You Want by Living Fearlessly by Farrah Storr


Cover blurb: "When you explore your discomfort zone, you'll find that anything is possible. While it is human nature to shy away from things that are outside of our comfort zone, it is only by spending time in our discomfort zone that we can grow, and improve, and realise our full potential. Whether it's putting yourself forward for a new challenge, asking for difficult feedback, nailing a presentation or getting a dream job, in this book Farrah Storr shows how you have to push through what she calls "brief moments of discomfort" in order to get to where you need to be. Farrah describes these brief moments of discomfort as "like HIIT training for your life" - and shows how the more you force yourself into them, the easier it will get. This book is full of advice, practical exercises and examples both from Farrah's own life and career and from all sorts of other successful people, from athletes to entrepreneurs.”

Top review: “I was supposed to be saving this book for my holiday but after reading the introduction I couldn't put it down. Farrah's writing speaks to you in a way that other 'self-help' books don't. I use that term lightly because I think this book shouldn't be optional, anyone who wants to make something of themselves needs to read this book. It has inspired me and I'm positive it will inspire a lot of others. This book has given me an inner confidence that I didn't realise I possessed. If I could give it 7 stars I would!”

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How to Own the Room: Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking by Viv Groskop


Cover blurb: “Most books about public speaking don't tell you what to do when you open your mouth and nothing comes out. And they don't tell you how to get over the anxiety about performance that most people naturally have. They don't tell you what to do in the moments when you are made, as a woman, to feel small. They don't tell you how to own the room. This book does. From the way Michelle Obama projects 'happy high status', and the power of J.K. Rowling's understated speaking style, to Virginia Woolf's leisurely pacing and Oprah Winfrey's mastery of inner conviction, what is it that our heroines do to make us sit up and listen - really listen - to their every word? And how can you achieve that impact in your own life? Here's how.”

Top review: “You might think that this book isn't relevant to you unless you regularly give speeches in public, but you would be wrong. This book explores why speeches that women throughout history have given are so relevant to our lives, and how we can use the same techniques. You might not ever think you need to "own a room" but what about when having a one to one with a tricky boss, when pitching an email to a new client, or when you are about to deliver a presentation to a board meeting... there are so many scenarios that you can put into practice what Viv talks about in this book.”


Think like a Monk by Jay Shetty


Cover blurb: “In this inspiring, empowering book, Shetty draws on his time as a monk in the Vedic tradition to show us how we can clear the roadblocks to our potential and power. Drawing on ancient wisdom and his own rich experiences in the ashram, Think Like a Monk reveals how to overcome negative thoughts and habits, and access the calm and purpose that lie within all of us. The lessons monks learn are profound but often abstract. Shetty transforms them into advice and exercises we can all apply to reduce stress, improve focus, improve relationships, identify our hidden abilities, increase self-discipline and give the gifts we find in ourselves to the world. Shetty proves that everyone can and should think like a monk.”

Top review: “Omg! The best life guide book one can own, written beautifully with practical exercises on how to have monk-like mindset without becoming a monk! Example exercise--Count for a week how many times you CCC the cancers of the mind - Complain, Criticise, Compare and mind blown with the insights and how to conquer it. This is just an example of many many positive life conquering strategies that you will find in the book! Must buy - bedside keep forever!”


The Midnight Library by Matt Haig


Cover blurb: "Between life and death there is a library. When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change. The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren't always what she imagined they'd be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger. Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?”

Top review: “This book for me was amazing, outstanding, life changing, powerful and thought provoking. Honestly have you ever felt so low you wanted to die? Then this book is for you. It will change your whole perspective on life. It has for me. It's taught me A LOT of life lessons and how I see my life. I actually have fallen in love with this book and I don't say that lightly. I don't want to ruin this for anyone but if you could view every possible outcome of your life would you? Would you ever be happy? Just wow. It's taught me to open my eyes, appreciate what I have not what I want. Life is life. Life is beautiful. I loved it all. I devoured it in a day.”


Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown


Cover blurb: "#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write the ending. Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability--the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome--is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall. It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. Walking into our stories of hurt can feel dangerous. But the process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. It's the process that teaches us the most about who we are."

Top review: “A brilliant book for anyone going through tough life changes or loss ... I've bought it for two friends and have read all her books. They have changed my approach to parenting and also leadership, as well as how I live my life. Read them all.”

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HELLO!'s selection is editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items our editors love and approve of. HELLO! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. To find out more visit our FAQ page.

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