4 Books That Will Give You Clarity, Focus—and a Little Empowerment

Things we all want to do: Get rid of the unnecessary, embrace the essential, and just feel…more productive. A good start can be found on these pages. (Not ours, theirs.)

  • <em>Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less</em> by Greg McKeown

    Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

    Greg McKeown is a writer, teacher, and consultant—and has become sort of a beacon for us goop staffers. He just gets it. “It” being what’s really important. McKeown rids us of the ridiculous idea that success is having and doing it all. Instead, he defines success as identifying what is truly important to you and making empowered choices so there’s room for it in your life. This is “essentialism”—and without overstating things, we can promise that it’s life-changing. In his bestselling book, McKeown gives us strategies to help identify the essential and gain more fulfillment and happiness. Every person will find herself on his pages. And while it’s a good read—and reread—any time of year, it’s particularly poignant during times of doubt, stress (hello, holidays!), or impending change. McKeown recently visited us on The goop Podcast and left us rapt with this one statement: “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”

  • <em>The Feminine Revolution</em> by Amy Stanton and Catherine Connors

    The Feminine Revolution by Amy Stanton and Catherine Connors

    Honest, bold, incendiary. Authors Amy Stanton and Catherine Connors take a hard look at how feminism has long been misrepresented in history. They call bull on the infuriating and obsolete idea that softness and femininity should fall second to hardness and masculinity. Leaning on an impressive amount of research, interviews, and personal career experience, Stanton and Connors prove how “femininity is power” and show us ways to embrace it—work it—to our advantage. The book is motivating and fun. But given the career forces behind it—a founder of the respected PR firm Stanton & Company and the president of Women Rising—it’s also a manifesto.

  • <em>You Are a Badass</em> by Jen Sincero

    You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

    Motivational coach Jen Sincero identifies what it is you really want—in life and in work. And then she gives you the tools to get there, killing any self-doubt along the way. Her approach is comical—and blunt. (Two of our favorite chapters are “How to Get Over Your B.S. Already” and “Your Brain Is Your Bitch.”) But Sincero goes deep. She writes about self-perception and our mired relationships with money, spirituality, and sense of purpose, and she weaves in exercises for working through painful, confusing times. Her lessons aren’t always easy, but her advice is accessible and effective. Reading it is like working with a hilarious career coach whom you respect and don’t want to let down. The book will challenge you, but the reward—living how you actually want to—is so very worth it.

  • <em>The Art of the Good Life</em> by Rolf Dobelli

    The Art of the Good Life by Rolf Dobelli

    Rolf Dobelli’s follow-up to his first book, The Art of Thinking Clearly, is just as packed with easy advice on how to give energy to only the essential. In this book, he takes it several steps further and focuses on how to up your satisfaction and live a life that is good for you, not according to society’s expectations. It’s a tool kit that’s broken into fifty-two ways to make this happen. Home in on what’s enjoyable, ignore the outside chatter, embrace modesty…his advice isn’t radical, but it is thoughtful and well researched. These are reminders that we can all benefit from hearing—and reading—over and over again. And Dobelli makes it enjoyable to read, with his conversational and resonant voice. To borrow from one of his chapters, the book is like “a box of mental tools” that “you can turn to again and again.”