My Top Five Favorite Parenting and Personal Development Books of 2016


I am a library junkie. When I go into our local public library, I rarely leave with less than a dozen books. Granted, some of those are for my kids. But there are always three or four that I stash next to my bed. I long for the days to be over so that I can put on my pajamas, crawl under my down comforter and dive into my little pile. I also usually have three or four titles on my Kindle as well. I’ll read cookbooks or books on parenting, current events, psychology – whatever catches my eye; ends up by my bed.

Monogamy is not my reading habit, for better or for worse. I will admit that at times I over-commit to too many titles and return them unfinished or overdue. I make regular financial contributions to the library in the form of late fines…but to have the delicious stack waiting for me at the end of the day is a luxury I don’t think I will ever give up!


As I peruse my list of past borrowed books, here are the five titles that stand out from 2016

  • NurtureShock by Po Bronson (author of What Should I do With My Life) and Ashley Merryman || I picked up this book to thumb through it and was so captured by the content that I immediately checked it out and devoured it. While it is not a parenting book per se, it is a wonderful combination of parenting perceptions and current research. Each chapter tackles a different topic, delving into the psychology of things like why praising children often has surprising effects, why kids lie, and the science of teenage rebellion. A fascinating read that helped me to look at some of my parenting habits quite differently.
  • From Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion and Pluck Take You From Ordinary to Extraordinary by Linda Kaplan and Robin Koval || The authors began the Kaplan Thayer group, an ad agency run and owned by women. They detail their path to building a multi-million dollar firm (hard work, perseverance and tenacity) and suggest that developing the character trait of grit in yourself and in children is one of the building blocks of being a success in life. This is also not really a parenting book, but it gave me a lot to think about in regards to how I can challenge myself and my children to develop grit.
  • The Entitlement Trap: How to Rescue Your Child with a New Family System of Choosing, Earning and Ownership by Richard and Linda Eyre || A wonderful guide from parents of NINE children who speak all over the world to parents about all kinds of topics. The goal of parenting is to raise responsible adults, and this book gives tools for creating a family culture and system that encourages the kind of emotional growth in children that will help them to become great grown-ups. Straight shooting (kids catch “entitlement-itis” from their parents), it gives concrete tools for shaping children’s character.  
  • The More of Less by Joshua Becker || The minimalism movement is taking hold across our very cluttered nation, and Joshua Becker writes an introspective, helpful book about the why behind making more life with less stuff. I find myself often overwhelmed by the “stuff” in my life, and this was a welcome read to help me start to wheedle away at my clutter. This book is honest, and offers direct wisdom to make sense of the mess.
  • Rising Strong by Brene Brown ||  Being brave isn’t easy, but Brene Brown writes about her research on going through difficulty and how it is an opportunity to live wholeheartedly in our own life and in our relationships with others.  This book was a guide for me on how to be braver and to be kinder to myself and others.

If you are looking for a stack of books to put beside your own bed, maybe one or two of these will make it into your pile. Happy reading!