Books can make us smarter, refresh our perspectives and help us escape the minutiae of everyday life — but there is a lesser known benefit of reading that can be even more powerful.
"Reading is one of the most affordable personal growth tools we have at our disposal," Lucía García-Giurgiu, a life coach and holistic psychotherapist says. "There is so much valuable knowledge you can learn from books and put into practice in your own life … and eventually, that knowledge becomes wisdom, it becomes second-nature."
Some consider summer to be the best season for reading: Even if you're not taking a vacation, the slower pace and warmer weather create the perfect opportunity to dig into a new book.
Consider these three inspirational, non-fiction titles for your reading list, which were recommended by life coaches to CNBC Make It:
'The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself'
By Michael A. Singer
Recommended by Lucía García-Giurgiu, a life coach and holistic psychotherapist:
"This is a book I re-read every year, and I always gift it to friends. I love it. It's a great introduction to mindfulness for people who are new to that world, or skeptical about the practice. I realized, at a young age, that my mind could be my best friend or my worst enemy. I think that's true for all of us, and this book teaches you how to tune out our worst inner critic, how to not let negative thoughts take over. Instead, we can challenge them and meet them with compassion. Singer's writing always helps me reflect on what really matters in life, to not sweat the small stuff and to focus on the bigger picture — I think others will take that away from the book, too."
'The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling'
By Stephen Cope
Recommended by Courtney Clifford, a life/leadership coach and equine therapist
"I often work with people who are at a great point of transition in their life, and this book is perfect for people who are planning to take a leap, or gearing up for a new chapter of their life. It explores the concept of 'finding your dharma,' which, from a yoga perspective, is your soul's purpose, the reason you're here on Earth. It weaves in ancient texts, stories of how famous people like Walt Whitman have aligned their careers with their dharma, and how that changed that course of their lives. You might have a successful careers, but could still feel that something is missing, or unclear about the broader purpose you want to be living out. Cope offers a concrete guide for what it really means to discover your heart's passion and how that could connect to a career, or help you live a happier, more inspired life."
'Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole'
By Susan Cain
Recommended by Mica Diamond, an executive and life coach
"I recommend this book not only to all of my clients, but all of the humans in my life, just because it was that impactful for me. So often in our culture, especially in the U.S., we focus too much on the pursuit of happiness, and tie happiness to success. Susan Cain challenges that notion, arguing that joy can't exist without sorrow: the dance between happy and sad, the in-between space of getting what we want and losing what we hope for, lets us feel and be alive … and that's the key to the human experience. She teaches us to stop resisting negative feelings — grief, anger, pain, sadness — and instead embrace them as part of the human experience. Her writing takes away some of the stigma and exhaustion that comes from carrying those emotions, and shows you how to navigate these feelings in a healthier way. It really lifted a weight off my shoulders."