Skip the summer beach reads and improve yourself instead

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Life’s a beach.

Work is anything but.

This summer, here’s to hoping you find yourself on a literal sandy strip with ample time to contemplate your career, bettering yourself, what success means to you and yada yada yada.

And even if you don’t make it out East (lucky you) or down the shore (luckier you), swap the beach reads for these new self-improvement and professional development tomes.

As the waves lap along the coastline, you’ll close the final pages of these nine informative oeuvres excited, dare we say, to get back to the daily grind.

Maybe You Should Give Up by Byron Morrison (Morgan James Publishing)

Maybe You Should Give Up.
“You Should Give Up” offers techniques to achieve happiness, fulfill your dreams and stop self-sabotaging.

This book is billed as a “counterintuitive guide” to help you conquer seven mental barriers that are holding you back in life.

You’ll learn play-by-play techniques to achieve happiness, fulfill your dreams and stop self-sabotaging for good.

Spoiler alert: It takes a lot more than hard work to get ahead in this crazy world.

Creative Business Handbook: Follow Your Passions and Be Your Own Boss by Ekaterina Popova and Alicia Puig (Chronicle Books)

Creative Business Handbook.
“The Creative Business Handbook” is geared toward artists, designers, and makers.

This tome offers a wealth of practical knowledge from two self-made women who manage three six-figure businesses.

Geared toward artists, designers, and makers, the insights come from the authors’ actual experiences, so you can be sure what they suggest is actionable and road-tested.

Mind Over Batter: 75 Recipes for Baking as Therapy by Jack Hazan (Chronicle Books)

Mind Over Batter.
Jack Haxan delivers desserts with sugary, soul-soothing potential in “Mind Over Batter.”

This cookbook is like chicken soup for the soul, DIY dessert edition.

Basically, the baking wizard and licensed psychotherapist, Jack Hazan, founder of JackBakes, shares 75 recipes that incorporate therapeutic techniques like kneading to release stress (yield: Chocolate Babka Crunch) or fostering community (yield: Pesto Pull-Apart Bread).

Drawing on his Syrian roots as well as on classic Americana, he delivers desserts with sugary, soul-soothing potential.

Life Worth Living: A Guide to What Matters Most by Miroslav Volf, Matthew Croasmun and Ryan McAnnally-Linz (Open Field/Viking Books)

Life Worth Living.
“Life Worth Living” explores the age-old question of the meaning of life.

This instant New York Times best seller is based on Yale’s popular undergrad class on the age-old question of the meaning of life.

Here, the course’s teachers and book’s authors seek to show us the contours of a good life, with road maps for getting there.

Students have called the class life-changing, and readers who experience this book’s wisdom and new perspectives should feel the same way.

Touch Matters: Handshakes, Hugs, and the New Science on How Touch Can Enhance Your Well-Being by Michael Banissy (Chronicle Books)

Touch Matters.
Learn about the power of touch with “Touch Matters”

To one degree or another, we’ve all been in a sensory deprivation tank these past three years.

Break out of it with this enlightening read from a social neuroscientist determined to open our eyes (and sensory receptors) to the power of touch.

Given that Banissy, a professor, often lectures and writes about how touch enhances workplace morale and productivity, he has plenty of ideas for anyone in a career rut.

Now, go pat your son-in-law on the shoulder when he shares his latest victory in the chess arena with you.

The Search: Finding Meaningful Work in a Post-Career World by Bruce Feiler (Penguin Press)

The Search.
“The Search” helps readers secure meaningful work in a post-Great Resignation society.

With the Great Resignation as a cultural phenomenon, it’s clear that Americans are looking for a greater sense of balance and — gasp — joy in their careers.

Proof in the pudding: A 2022 Gallup poll revealed that 40% of Americans said their jobs negatively affect their mental health.

Feiler’s game-changing guide to thriving in this new landscape and securing meaningful work is grounded in the experiences of hundreds of Americans from all walks of life.

Find Yourself at Home: A Conscious Approach to Shaping Your Space and Your Life by Emily Grosvenor (Chronicle Books)

Find Yourself at Home.
Breathe new life into static space with “Find Yourself a Home.”

This is the book you didn’t know you needed.

(Or perhaps you secretly suspect you do.)

Feng Shui consultant Grosvenor will help you breathe new life into static space — no six-figure renovation budget required.

Inner Workout: Strengthening Self-Care Practices for Healing Body, Soul, and Mind by Taylor Elyse Morrison (Chronicle Books)

Inner Work Out.
“Inner Workout” follows Taylor Elyse Morrison’s self-care support system.

Mantra: We all need to be taking better care of ourselves.

Other mantra: None of us think we have any time to do so.

As a certified yoga and meditation and mindfulness teacher, Morrison, CEO of the Inner Workout self-care support system, certainly knows how to make you feel more Zen, grounded and powerful (sometimes all at once).

Throughout the book, you’ll be met with prompts, self-assessments and simple exercises designed to give your brain the reflective workout it deserves.

Choosing Greatness: An Evidence-Based Approach to Achieving Exceptional Outcomes by Christina Curtis (Worth Books)

Choosing Greatness.
“Choosing Greatness” features “habits that hold you back and the choices that move you forward.”

When the going gets tough, the tough choose greatness.

Consider this your blueprint for doing just that.

From its pages, you’ll glean intel on “habits that hold you back and the choices that move you forward,” all explained in easy-to-read prose from the founder of Curtis Leadership Consulting.

Bonus: Author Christina Curtis shares key takeaways from her conversations with leaders like Richard Branson, Lara Merriken, founder of Lärabar, and Jonathan Johnson, CEO of, among others.

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen (Penguin Books)

Difficult Conversations.
“Difficult Conversations” was originally published in 1999.

The third edition of this popular tome will be unveiled on August 22.

First published in 1999, it shares no-nonsense advice for navigating life’s more intimidating dialogues.

Imagine sitting down for a scary talk with poise and calm.

It’s within your grasp!

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