8 Nonfiction Books That Changed Me

About twice a month, I get together with an amazing group of ladies. These are women with whom I’ve walked through hard life stuff, and our time together is always encouraging, rejuvenating, and challenging.

Several weeks ago, one of the women led the group in an exercise where we look at our life through the lens of  story. We were instructed to reflect on events over the course of our life and identify moments of change. A person who is 30, she said in her email, should have about 12.

“Twelve!” I said to my husband. “How am I supposed to narrow this down to twelve events? I think I could list 12 books that changed my life.”

He said, “Okay, what would they be?”


As it turns out, I came up with so many that I had to break my list into categories. So here are eight nonfiction books that have changed my life:

  1. Boundaries by Henry Cloud: This was a life transforming book that I read in my early twenties, right after being deeply hurt by someone whom I had considered to be my closest friend. The idea of personal boundaries has made all my relationships much healthier and me a less resentful person.
  2. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp: I have friends who found Voskamp’s poetic style of writing too distracting, but I thought this book was beautiful. Because of it, I’m a more thankful and passionate person.
  3. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
  4. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  5. Rising Strong by Brene Brown: I read these three books this spring, and I could probably write an entire post about the ways they’ve changed how I view myself and others. These books taught me so much about the idea of showing up and being seen, the importance of vulnerability, the harm of perfectionism, and on and on.
  6. Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay: This book is all about empowering your children to make age-appropriate choices and letting the consequences do the teaching. I re-read parts of this book every month. And while I mostly just apply it to my children, I find the principles go hand-in-hand with the ideas in Boundaries, and that the concept of being both loving and logical have helped me with other relationships too.
  7. So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore: I read this book and never felt insecure ever again! (Ha!) While insecurity will be a lifelong battle for me, I’m sure, this book has helped me recognize insecurities that I have and gave me tools for dealing with them.
  8. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: I almost didn’t put this on the list, because it also goes on, “Writing Books That Changed My Life.” This was required reading in my English class, and it gets referenced in many of my circles, not just writing. This book taught me about the idea of creativity being messy and daunting work, and to just take it one day at a time.

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I would love to know what books have been life-changing to you, regardless of genre!

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