Books for Self Improvement

woman reading a book in bed with her dog

Naturally Tan: A Memoir

I found out about Tanveer Wasim Safdar, or commonly known as Tan, through Queer Eye on Netflix. I actually listened to multiple interviews and speaking engagements from Tan’s book tour before buying his book. His frank nature and captivating oral storytelling in those engagements made me want to learn about his story and I’m glad that I chose to read his book. (He also reads the audiobook too, which is great because he has such a lovely voice.) Behind his quick-wit and smart fashion sense, there is a story about how he came to his current lot in life with a loving husband as well as being a cast member on Queer Eye and Next in Fashion. In one word, Tan’s story is inspiring. That is to say that the word inspiring encapsulates the terms and ideas of heartbreak, grit, creativity, feeling like an outcast, and acceptance of self as well as acceptance from others. This man grew up being terrorized for being a brown person and top of that didn’t know how to process that he was attracted to guys in an environment/culture where he was expected to marry a woman. Yet, there was still a light that burned bright in him and there were lots of times when others pointed out Tan’s light, rather than him being aware of it. It is this nature of his story that makes it feel like witnessing Tan come to terms with his light unconsciously gives others permission to do the same.

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

Shonda is the reason why we say TGIT due to her creations of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. Shonda Rhimes’ book gives you a behind the scenes look into doing the dang thing and saying goodbye to FOMO. We’ve all (especially us introverts) said, “I’ll pass on that,” but Shonda Rhimes came to the realization that she has said ‘no’ to a large majority of opportunities, which sounds surprising since we view her as nothing but a creative powerhouse. However, she shows readers how she essentially denied herself of so many things due to fear, lack of self-love, and lack of confidence. Year of Yes teaches us about the opportunities that we can get involved in if we just say ‘yes’ and Shonda’s memoir also teaches us that we are worthy of saying ‘yes.’ In her year of saying yes to opportunities, she learned how to be honest with herself and love herself in the present so that she could grow.

Big Magic: How to Live a Creative Life, and Let Go of Your Fear

You may know Elizabeth Gilbert from her book “Eat, Pray, Love” which details how Elizabeth went on a journey after her divorce to find her way to appreciate life, pleasure, and joy again. Her book Big Magic is a guide and means of encouragement to encourage readers to live a more creative life. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to be professionally devoted to a traditionally artistic career like a dancer, sculptor, or anything of the like. Elizabeth simply wants people to be driven by curiosity rather than fear. She has the book divided into the sections: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity. In each section, she breaks down her advice with anecdotes, from her life and the lives of others, to help us understand how to be a little braver, how to lighten up, and take everything I ride. Her book provides advice in broad strokes so that you can find her thoughts helpful no matter if you’re a professional dancer or you build trains as a hobby.

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