The best books about personal resilience: taking risks, falling, and getting back up

The Books I Picked & Why

Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice

By Yusef Salaam

Book cover of Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice

Why this book?

Better, Not Bitter is the inspiring story of Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park Five (now Exonerated Five), who was arrested at fourteen and wrongfully incarcerated for seven years. While in prison, Yusef drew strength from his newfound faith—a faith that helped him survive the dangers he faced daily. In time, Yusef came to see that he was “born on purpose, with a purpose.” A powerful story of redemption and resilience, of one man’s mission to motivate others to make a difference in the world.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

No Cure for Being Human: (And Other Truths I Need to Hear)

By Kate Bowler

Book cover of No Cure for Being Human: (And Other Truths I Need to Hear)

Why this book?

Kate Bowler has everything going for her—dream career, family—until she is diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer at the age of thirty-five. In No Cure for Being Human, Kate gives us a close-up look into her tumultuous (and often humorous) journey. She challenges some of the go-to responses to our mortality and asks: When there just isn’t enough time, how does one spend it? Kate helps us feel our raw humanity, unfiltered. Her truth is painful, poignant, and, joyful. A call to living with eyes, and hearts, wide open.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Rising Strong: The Reckoning. the Rumble. the Revolution.

By Brené Brown

Book cover of Rising Strong: The Reckoning. the Rumble. the Revolution.

Why this book?

This book was life-changing for me. It is all about falling down (The Reckoning), staying face down long enough to wrestle with how you got there (The Rumble), and then getting back up and moving on with renewed wisdom and strength (The Revolution). “If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall.” Brené gives readers practical tools for overcoming the setbacks we all face in life. An invaluable guide for every human who longs to live more wholeheartedly.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Choice: Embrace the Possible

By Edith Eva Eger

Book cover of The Choice: Embrace the Possible

Why this book?

Imagine being sent to Auschwitz at the age of sixteen and surviving. In this riveting memoir, Dr. Edith Eva Eger shares the unimaginable atrocities she endured, the suffering and survivor’s guilt that followed, and how she found healing and hope when she returned to Auschwitz many years later. It was there that she finally faced her truth: “I was not a victim. I was victimized.” Now, she helps others who have experienced loss to find not just a way forward, but a way that’s full of deep gratitude for the gifts each moment holds.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

By Kate DiCamillo, Bagram Ibatoulline

Book cover of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Why this book?

I didn’t even know about this children’s book until I heard Ann Patchett say that it was one of her favorite books of all time. So I bought it and read it in one sitting because of its sheer beauty. Written in the spirit of The Velveteen Rabbit, Edward Tulane is the story of a beloved china rabbit who becomes lost (I once was), who wanders from place to place looking for love and belonging (I did), and finally finds it in the end (me, too). A poignant glimpse at what it means to keep believing in love against all odds.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Distantly Related Book Lists