2018: Books in Review


I know it’s only November, but I’m in deep reflection mode, and why not start review season with something that has become more prominent in my life this year: books!

Reading more is always on my list of resolutions, and this year, after freeing up all that time I spent on social media, I discovered I have all this extra time on my hands.

My goal was to read a book a month, but with long commute times on public transportation and 3-week limits on library books I found myself finishing them a lot faster. Here are some books I’ve read this year and some things I’ve learned about the world, myself, and life.

  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The book I started towards the end of 2017 and continued to read and actually do all the tasks Gretchen recommended doing. I created an accountability checklist that I worked at on and off with an accountability partner. I actually found and read the book on my own before discovering how big of a phenomenon it has become in the self-help world. Even though I can’t exactly live my life the way Gretchen does, this book really motivated me to view happiness as a step by step process that I need to put in effort to work towards.

  • Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Another banger. There’s a reason this book is so highly regarded decades later. It explains “love” through our partner’s actions, making us reflect on our own relationships through a different lens and understand love looks like how to love. It helped me realize relationships aren’t just fun and games - they need serious work. Even though it was a short read, I still think about this book all the time. Highly recommend.

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

It’s been a while since I read this, but I do remember that Mark Manson got his point across in the first third of the book. Failure is the way forward. Act despite pain. Freedom is found in commitment. And happiness comes from caring about something greater than yourself. (The next level of “happiness.”)

  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

The utterly amazing story of Trevor Noah’s life. Damn, what a riot and a delight. This autobiography is eye-opening, heartfelt, and memorable in every way. I cannot wait until they make it into a movie. Read it, if you haven’t already!

  • Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen

I gave fiction a shot and loved it! It was a new release and I bought it because my name is in the title. Although fictional, the story itself was mostly autobiographical and reading about Steve Jobs towards the end of his career brought me to tears.

  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Another popular book that talks speaks to the creative souls in the world. It had some great points about grabbing onto inspiration because when it hits, it’s magic. Great book for writers.

  • Goop Clean Beauty from the Editors of Goop

Don’t judge me and my celebrity beauty books. I learned the importance of putting quality ingredients into your body and your beauty products. Take care of your gut!

  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Okay I admit to being basic. But I had to give this book a shot. Marie Kondo had gave great advice that made me think about my hoarding ways in a past life. But I mean in the past few years I’ve moved so much so I’m forced to tidy all the time anyway.

  • Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

This book is all about planning your way to a life well-lived through a design process of introspective research, prototyping, life-mapping, creating actionable steps etc. It had a lot of self-reflection exercises that would have been good to do during college when I didn’t know which direction to go in life. I did enjoy thinking on a deeper level about what work and life mean to me. Figuring out what in life gives me energy and puts me in a state of “flow.” And learning that I need to balance work, play, love, and health.

  • Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary

Short little book and great reminder for me to slow down, declutter my mind, learn to be mindful, and go easy on myself because I’m human and I literally cannot juggle all the “balls” in life. Detaching from a full life into a simple, meaningful one where you do things that are important to you.

  • Pick Three by Randi Zuckerberg

The Zuckerberg sister who is a do-it-all phenomenon of her own tells us it’s okay to be lopsided and do a little less multitasking. The idea is summarized in chapter one but the rest of the book discussed examples of people who embrace or eliminate each of the five aspects to “pick” from: work, fitness, sleep, family, and friends. Basically, pick three things to focus on for the day and don’t be hard on yourself for not doing it all.

  • Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Even though it was labeled as a “Religious/Spirituality” section book, it was a great book for women where the author sincerely opened up about her struggles and offered tips to not fall into these ‘lies” you tell yourself. Always one to question overly preachy know-it-all sort of books, I actually found myself liking the religious aspect of this one. It’s interesting to see how faith ties into everyday life and beliefs you have about yourself. Also, learning about motherhood makes me sad to have seen my mother as an enemy for so many years of my childhood. She was trying to do it all and I fought back so hard. But I really did enjoy this book.

  • Quiet Girls Can Run the World by Rebecca Holman

I picked up this book to become more aware of who I am as a working professional. This book is all about the alpha versus beta continuum. There are women to are headstrong alphas and there are women are easygoing betas. This book is about your personality and its relationship in the workplace: how to work with your coworkers, recognize inequality, bring out the alpha or beta in yourself to be the best you and get to where you want to go. I’m definitely alpha with beta tendencies.

  • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The book of Silicon Valley, The Lean Startup discusses the MBA approach to tech startups. Full of serial entrepreneur energy, Eric Ries talks about how to start and run a company, not waste time building things until you’ve determined market fit, testing with metrics, pivoting, creating an efficient management system, etc. This book took so serious time and focus to get through, but I’m happy to be at a point in my career where I’m learning to understand business principles.


Looking back at this list of (mostly self-help) books, it’s amazing to see where my curiosity has led me and the things I’ve explored over the past year. From learning to prioritize my own happiness and working on my relationships to eating clean and balancing all of life’s things, these books have really lead me through 2018 and propelled me into the next level of “adult.” I’m thankful for authors willing to share their lives with the world, and public libraries for sharing their stories with us.


I can’t wait

for another year of life-changing reads.