Best self development books I trashed last year

Why I had to stop reading personal development if I wanted to succeed as a freelance mum…


We have all at some point or another fell, stumbled or were pushed into the self development movement.

From around 2008 to 2017 I was a huge fan, and still am however as with anything in life, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

I will explain more after I take you through some of the best development books of all time and why I had to chuck them out!

The books on this list are not the extensive collection, in fact they really are only a few obvious golden oldies, maybe we can cover a few more in another post, but they are all books peers at one time or another screamed 'read this book' at me so it makes sense to start with the classics.

Think and grow rich, a great book by Napoleon Hill.

If you are reading this blog I am guessing you have a copy on your bookshelf?

First published in 1937, by the time of the authors death, Hill’s book had sold 20 million copies and for good reason!

Next, how can I not mention Tony Robbins?

Tony you were my main gateway into this self development journey with Awaken the Giant.

Read it!

Stephen Covey is up next with The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

I have teenagers, so do check out the edition aimed at teens also. If you are also a homeschooling mum with teens it’s worth grabbing a copy for your homeschool library.

How to win friends and influence people was the next obvious one to go, thank you Dale Carnegie.

*confession. I do still have this one on audio. Not sorry.

Lastly, Eckhart Tolle, isn't he great but I'm lost.

Enlightened but lost?! The power of now I must really embrace.

They are all men right? Notice that?

I will cover my favourite female authors soon.

So why toss them out?

My organic progression through self help exercises, mantras and journalling turned me into an over positive, quote regurgitating, often nauseating clone of the texts, audios and YouTube for breakfast videos, I played on repeat.

Les talked me through the funny side of bailiffs at my door, and Tony just had a knack for picking me off the ground when I was sick, exhausted or just plain defeated.

I was becoming a kick ass, no excuses, insanely productive machine and I had an insatiable appetite for any life and productivity hacks I stumbled upon.

As a mum to 6, 4 dogs and the stifled panic I was mid thirties and was still yet to make it, find my purpose and go ‘all in’ (enter eye rolls) I was on a mission.

I blame Brendon, damn you sweet, adorable Brendon.

As the months passed into 2018 my analytical brain would naturally find patterns and methods in what the underdog is told to do to succeed.

Except, with that label ‘success’, comes many different definitions and in an industry that is on repeat to what that looks like, the maverick in me wanted originality and variety.

Then the devil on my shoulder, or a self development audio on loop, I can’t remember which, would shout ‘but success leaves clues’, ‘don’t reinvent the wheel’, ‘copy the system!’.

Me and systems have never got along.

Tension bubbled below my positive affirmations and smiles in the mirror routine to trick my mind all was well (cringe).

Except my bank account, it was feeling poorly and I knew that despite all the positive affirmations and money meditations when you need to pay rent and feed your kids, you really gotta act.

So I stopped and focused on studying digital skills.

The emphasis being on content strategy, copywriting, user experience and SEO.

I had had enough of being promised marketing tips and funnel tutorials from social media gurus and wannabes that were just regurgitating what someone skimmed over on a webinar.

Had enough of piling my Amazon cart with the latest transformational treasures everyone else was reading.

FOMO is real apparently… Personally, I think it sounds like a feminine hygiene product…

The credit card crew who pose in front of fancy holiday destinations, splurge on a fluffy photo shoot and are very much self-centric, not reader-centric, despite telling their minions to give value and freebies and just sell sell sell without much data driven logic or knowledge, were switched off.

You do you ladies and gentlemen! *waves

Look, I ain’t bitter, everyone has a right to do as they please, but in the digital age, people really can do and sell what they please with the right imagery and some persuasive sales copy.

I just didn’t fit.

Not in a high and mighty kind of way, in a ‘single mum of 6 and I am not about that flashy consumerist life’.

Posts of mac books at airports, I car share to reduce my carbon footprint!

I just didn’t fit the avatar.

Womens’ circles didn’t work for me either, I am too hyperactive to sit for longer than 20 minutes, particularly in a circle full of strangers as I awkwardly try to hide the fact I have sweaty palms as we sway and chant, no offence but I don’t want to hold hands regardless.

The Universe is great, but it doesn’t walk the dog, I got to get home!

Now of course I am being tongue in cheek, and the majority of these movements are just sisters trying to make it in the world of laptop lifestyles and leadership ambitions, I get it.

Be that barefoot and selling manifestation programmes or high heels and even higher prices for some overused sales jargon and some Gary V thrown in for good measure!

I’ve tried both cloaks.

We can have it all right? We can do anything?

Then comes the conflict.

Plan A says do this.

Plan B do it this way, that way is so last season.

Book A states this works.

Book B clearly notes this works AND saves time.

So we go round and round listening to him, copying her, stopping, starting, changing, crying.

So I gathered all my books and donated them.

I loved them, well I liked them, but it was time to create, upskill and put my blinkers on.

Now as a book hoarder I didn’t stop buying books, my 2019 best reads is to follow.

For now though, take a moment…

Create, implement, reflect.

Observe your market and offer a solution.

Mostly, play to your strengths and digitally upskill, the new economy has so much opportunity for those willing to learn fast, stay current and carve out their own offerings.

Plus, everything is so accessible now.

I don’t see enough women embracing high tech skills.

To the mums in particular. who like me dream of a way to find a life and business on your terms, who want to embrace motherhood and a flexible work/lifestyle, we need to drown out the noise and focus on real skills in an oversaturated self development bubble.

Put the books down and take action.

Stand back.

Mums gone digital.

*please note this blog post contains some affiliate links surrounding books, do not buy them, instead go and carve out digital skills for a new economy! If however, you do choose to purchase via the links on this page, I earn a small commission as a result of your book obsession!