5 Self-Development Books for 2024

The beginning of a new year tends to be when we think about fresh starts and bettering ourselves. Last year I set a goal for myself to read a new book each month. While I didn’t quite reach the goal of 12 books, I was able to dive into some great self-development books. This genre is usually my favorite as I tend to be a seeker of types. I’m always looking for more answers, tips, and ways to grow. Based on my journey into becoming a better reader, I’d like to share some of my new favorite self-development books. 

Lansing Mom is here to share our tried and true favorites. This post does contain affiliate links that help support our small business but every product is something we love! 

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

This book can be categorized into a few genres. It is a well-known and well-loved New York Times bestseller. For me, it was about healing from some of my personal trauma and the “memos”  that our world lays out for girls and women. Doyle asks us to join her on her journey to find, “Who I was before I became who the world told me to be.”

The reading experience left me feeling freed and fired up about how women are often held back by our traditional culturally-assigned roles. Every-other page in my copy of Untamed is dog-eared due to a mind-blowing thought or assertion, so a favorite is hard to pick. One of the quotes that rang the truest for me is, “I burned the memo presenting responsible motherhood as martyrdom. I decided that the call of motherhood is to become a model, not a martyr.” This, for me, was a reminder that my craving for a rewarding professional career and pursuit of my passions, alongside my role as a mother, makes me the most authentic mom I can be. For that validation, I will always be grateful to Glennon Doyle. If you like Untamed as a self-development book, you’re sure to love Wolfpack by Abby Wambach, who happens to be Doyle’s brilliant wife.

Fierce Self Compassion by Kristin Neff

At first glance, the title of this book could make one think you will learn how to love yourself. That isn’t exactly false, but for me, the point that had the biggest impact on me was learning to embrace the anger that lives inside of me. Anger can come from many places for women. Maybe it’s from how we’ve been treated, how others are being treated, or the helplessness that comes from the crazy dynamics our world brings us every day. Regardless, Neff honors women’s anger, and asks us to live in it and love ourselves compassionately, not despite our anger but because of it. She also challenges us to use that anger for good.

I have two favorite quotes from this book, the first being, “…the internal living flame of anger always illuminates what we belong to, what we wish to protect and what we are willing to hazard ourselves for.” This passage shines a light on how, “When love meets justice, it’s angry,” which is my second favorite quote. This self-development book was revolutionary for me because it normalizes the anger that many women harbor about things we often don’t feel we can change. 

Professional Troublemaker by Luvvie Ajayi Jones

Don’t be fooled by this title either, this is not generally a professional development book.  By “Professional Troublemaker,” the author is encouraging us to make truth-telling and norm-challenging our business. In this self-development book, she presents feminism as a way of bettering oneself and her community. She contrasts this to how it’s often portrayed by society as a way of gaining power. Luvvie believes in telling the truth. Truths about our society, truths about our workplace and family dynamics, and truths about ourselves. My favorite quotes here are, “Tell the truth, even when our voices shake,” and, “Even a whisper of truth makes a difference in an echo chamber of lies.” Both are powerful examples of Luvvie’s assertion that saying hard things can often set us free.

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

This book is definitely for female leaders in the workplace, which many of Brown’s books are. The themes of this Wall Street Journal bestseller include vulnerability, shame-resilience, empathy, power, corporate culture, and family dynamics. One of my favorite quotes from this book is, “Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love, belonging and connection.”  Many of us feel like we know what we believe and what we stand for. Brown challenges us to narrow all of those beliefs down to three core values. Don’t worry though,  she also supports us by expanding on how best we can “live into” those values. This practice was enlightening for me.but I also asked my team at work to identify our group’s core values and it turned out to be a wonderful team-building exercise. As always, these exercises and much of Brown’s writing is based on academic research and makes for wonderful self-development books.  

EmbodyKind: A Guide for Authentic Living by Kristi Trader

In this compilation book, Kristi Trader asks the other authors to tell tales of how they embody kindness in the world every day. Each author does this in a unique, one-chapter format that includes a personal story and a practical behavior that you can adopt. Chapter titles include, “Self-Forgiveness,” “The Gifts in our Triggers,” “Patriarchy-Free Parenting,” and the chapter I authored, “Parenting with Purpose.”  The book includes many diverse takes on what kindness can mean. The topics come from authors ranging from average moms like me to Spiritual Activists to Ph.D.s. There is something for everyone in this book, especially when it comes to the practices.  

If you are looking to start 2024, I highly recommend these books. They encourage self-reflection and thinking about how you can better yourself and the world around you. They’ve offered me some real validation and challenged me to think differently. Above all, they’ve given me practical ways to adjust my life for the better. I hope they can do the same for you.

Looking for more great nonfiction reads? Check out this post with even more titles.

Kristin Ray
Kristin is a children’s author, blogger, and public speaker. She is the proud mother of one amazing daughter and wife to a supremely supportive husband. She is dedicated to intentionally equipping women and girls with the knowledge and power to move through life with confidence. Kristin is a native of Lansing, Michigan, and a graduate of Michigan State University.


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