How are your New Year’s resolutions holding up halfway through the first month of the New Year? Millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year, vowing to make wholesale or incremental changes in their lives. Some succeed but most don’t pan out. To help, even with the smallest of New Year’s resolutions, we gathered a list of New Year’s books to give you inspiration, advice or just a pat on the back for giving it your all in 2012.
The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
Author Gretchen Rubin spends a year trying to sing in the morning, clean her closets, read Aristotle and generally have more fun in life in this entertaining and inspiring New Year’s book. She tests conventional wisdom for improving her life and becoming happier by doing things like trying to get more sleep, singing to her children and imitating spiritual masters. Get inspired and read The Happiness Project.
Whateverland: Learning to Live Here – Alexis Stewart and Jennifer Koppelman
A hilarious and irreverent guide from the hosts of Whatever with Alexis and Jennifer Koppelman and Whatever, Martha. The duo shares their colorful commentary on every aspect of life from food and eating to fashion and grooming. They stress that it’s okay not to be perfect and once you level with yourself and lighten up, life will be happier and a whole lot more fun. Definitely not your typical self-help book.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future – Michael J. Fox
He left high school to pursue an acting career, but went on to receive honorary degrees from several universities and garner the highest accolades for his acting, as well as for his writing. In A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future, Michael J. Fox inspires and motivates graduates to recognize opportunities, maximize their abilities, and roll with the punches–all with his trademark optimism, warmth, and humor.
Fox draws on his own life experiences to make a case that real learning happens when “life goes skidding sideways.” He writes of coming to Los Angeles from Canada at age eighteen and attempting to make his way as an actor. Full of personal stories and hilarious anecdotes, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future will inspire you to roll with your own punches in the New Year and always look on the bright side.
7 Minute Solution: Creating a Life with Meaning 7 Minutes at a Time – Allyson Lewis
“You must choose to take tiny, positive strategic steps forward every day.” That’s the message of Allyson Lewis’ book The 7 Minute Solution. Lewis’ discusses the major factors in motivation – pain avoidance or moving forward to pleasure – and stresses the importance of devoting more of your attention on things that really matter to you. Even if you make one tiny step forward each day in the New Year, by the end of 2012 you’ll have progressed more than taking two steps forward and three steps back.
The A.J. Jacobs Omnibus – A.J. Jacobs
The A.J. Jacobs Omnibus includes three hilarious works by a master researcher and storyteller – The Year of Living Biblically, The Guinea Pig Diaries and The Know-It-All. Jacobs spends one year for each work devoting his life to a particular pursuit. In The Know-It-All his goal is to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. In The Year of Living Biblically, Jacobs documents his attempt to live one year in literal compliance with biblical rules. In The Guinea Pig Diaries, Jacobs spends one year trying to improve himself through life altering challenges like spending a month practicing radical honesty or submitting himself to cutting edge science. Insightful and hilarious, this New Year’s book will give you a lot of ideas of how to look at 2012.
How to Read a Book – Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren
Francis Bacon said, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” Everyone reads differently. Some read fast and skim the text and others read slow, digesting each word and sentence. How to Read a Book suggests ways to approach literary works, good and great, from every tradition. The authors break down the different levels of reading and offers an appendix with a list of recommended books and exercises at the four levels of reading. A great book for the New Year to help you re-evaluate how you read as well as some great suggestions on what to tackle next.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M. Pirsig
A summer road trip taken by a father and son – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a philosophical journey into the fundamental questions of how to live. The narrator’s relationship with his son leads to a powerful self-reckoning – the craft of motorcycle maintenance leads to a beautiful process for reconciling science, religion and humanism. It’s a classic inquiry into values and life that will have you rethinking your priorities for the New Year.
The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch
A computer science professor diagnosed with terminal cancer explores life and the lessons he’s learned and how he has worked to achieve his childhood dreams. The New York Times bestseller has been compared to Mitch Albom’s Tuesday’s With Morrie but Pausch’s view on mortality has inspired countless readers to take account of their own lives and work to do what makes them happy.
What’s your New Year’s resolution? Comment below!