7 Books Guaranteed to Make You a Better, Happier Human

Occasionally, I'll read a book and know without a doubt that if everyone in the world experienced what I just experienced, the world would absolutely be a better place. These 9 books top that list. Some I've only read once, some I reread as soon as I finish the last page, and some I've lent out so many times I can't remember which friend currently has it (At that point, I usually just end up buying another copy). Either way, these books are moving, inspirational, and definitely encourage me to be a better human being.

I've rarely been as moved by a book as I was by Scary Close, by Donald Miller. I always enjoy a book that challenges me and forces me to step outside of myself and re-evaluate how I relate to others. Donald Miller's honesty and candor about finding intimacy in relationships is inspiring, engaging, and yes, sometimes even painful. It reads like a conversation with a close friend, and has absolutely influenced my own quest for meaningful relationships.

There are some books that just resonate with you long after you've finished reading it. Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown, is absolutely one of those books. It's an essential read on courage, vulnerability, fear, wholeheartedness and the paradoxes surrounding these complex emotions. Brené's wisdom and girl-next-door relatability makes this an enjoyable read, despite the touch topics.

 I picked up and started Jon Acuff's Quitter on a whim. I'm already living and loving my dream job through my blog, what could I possibly get out of a book on moving from your day job to your dream job? Apparently, a lot. Quitter is a book that will inspire you to follow your passion in life, but in a hilarious and relatable way that's just plain fun to read.

Have you ever read a nonfiction book and thought to yourself, some of this must be made up? That was me while reading Bob Goff's Love Does. This guy is the real deal on how to take love from something you think about and talk about to something you DO. His stories are fantastically inspiring, he's incredibly likeable (how can you not like a guy who shares his personal phone number at the end of the book?), and I found myself rooting for him from the very beginning. More than that, this book challenges me to look for ways to fully and actively practice love in my own life. 

I recognized myself in almost every page of Melanie Shankle's Sparkly Green Earrings. It's a moving and hilarious memoir on motherhood, and I found myself nodding along, laughing and empathizing with Melanie throughout. The only conundrum you'll have after reading this is figuring out which mom-friend to share this with first.

We all want to live a more intentional, peaceful and happier life, and Arianna Huffington's Thrive  is one of the resources that will help you get there. Her stories are relatable and honest, and her wisdom will help you rethink traditional success and seek out a more balanced way to live and approach life.

I've been a fan of Gretchen Rubin's since reading her book, The Happiness Project (and then the follow-up, Happier at Home), but her latest, Better than Before, is probably my favorite. It's a smart and insightful read on how to build better habits. She shares plenty of personal stories and anecdotes on her own quest towards better habits, while encouraging her readers to powerfully transform their own lives.

What life-bettering books would you add to this list? Leave a comment; I'd love to hear about it!

Linda is the founder of burlap+blue, a space dedicated to helping women live life more creatively. She is inspired by creativity, good books and the everyday. She lives with her husband and kids in Richmond, VA. Read more at on her blog, and connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.