The best books to help you ditch the 9 to 5 and create your dream life

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated with living life on my own terms since I was a child and drew pictures with inspirational quotes such as ‘go your own way!’ and ‘aim for the moon!’ Fast forward to my thirties and I quit my 9-5 career to embrace what it means to live out my wildest dreams. I was terrified but, aren’t we all? I can’t get enough of inspiring books that teach me how to live big, believe in myself, and push far beyond what society tells us we should do. All of which helped me to build my dream life and live it. Now get out there and make your dream life happen!

I wrote...

No Damage: An adventure in courage, survival and the pursuit of dreams

By Kathryn Curzon,

Book cover of No Damage: An adventure in courage, survival and the pursuit of dreams

What is my book about?

No Damage is an inspiring and uplifting look at one woman's journey to survive two runaway grooms, cancer in her family, the loss of her career, and more. Kathryn's optimistic tale of hope and adventure travel explores how a single 30-something woman with just one suitcase and a head full of emotional baggage, conquered her fears and left the 9-5 to pursue her passions.

This memoir is both a hilarious true story of the power of positive thinking and a self-help guide to overcoming loss, following your heart, and creating the life you want.

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The books I picked & why

Driving Over Lemons

By Chris Stewart,

Book cover of Driving Over Lemons

Why did I love this book?

Driving Over Lemons is a quintessential travel book that inspired me to throw away my regular life and start exploring the world.

This classic tale takes you to far-flung shores bathed in sunshine, filled with misadventures, and bursting with glorious food. What more could you need to start dreaming, take a leap, and make your perfect life a reality? 

This is my go-to for the start of any big project and always gives me the courage to go for it and laugh in the face of adversity on the way.

By Chris Stewart,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Driving Over Lemons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A special anniversary edition with an updated chapter set 25 years on by Chris Stewart.

Over two decades ago we set up Sort of Books to help our friend, the some-time Genesis drummer Chris Stewart, bring his sunlit stories of life on a Spanish mountain farm to print. Ever the optimist, Chris hoped to earn enough money to buy a second-hand tractor for his farm. He got his tractor, as the book spent a year on the Sunday Times Top 10 charts and went on to sell a million and a half copies.

His story is a classic. A dreamer…

Eat Pray Love

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Book cover of Eat Pray Love

Why did I love this book?

Everyone has a story to tell, and most peoples’ stories contain some kind of heartache, loss, or moment when life smacked them in the face and left them reeling.

This is a book about what it takes to get back up and how to do it in style. 

I loved how this book struck the balance between the frailty of humanity and the inner knowing that you can transform your life and make it work for you. 

If you want to learn how to turn your life’s lemons into lemonade, grab and copy and dive in. You will be immersed in a world of gorgeous characters, beautiful settings, and snippets of wisdom you’ll want to return to again and again.

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Eat Pray Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_________________ OVER 15 MILLION COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE _________________ 'Eat, Pray, Love has been passed from woman to woman like the secret of life' - Sunday Times 'A defining work of memoir' - Sunday Telegraph 'Engaging, intelligent, and highly entertaining' - Time _________________ It's 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She's in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they're trying for a baby - and she doesn't want any of it. A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own…

Book cover of Be A Free Range Human: Escape the 9-5, Create a Life You Love and Still Pay the Bills

Why did I love this book?

In amongst the inspiring tales of world travel and lives made magnificent, you need a practical handbook to get you started and guide you along the way. Be a Free Range Human fits the bill perfectly.

The author is one of the pioneers of quitting the 9-5 and knows her stuff. This book is full of guidance and exercises to help you work out what you really want and how your dream life looks.

I was so impressed with the range of topics the book contains and how it gave me the ultimate freedom to dream without constraint – even when I was working in a grey, corporate office.

By Marianne Cantwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Be A Free Range Human as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

DISTINGUISHED FAVORITE: NYC Big Book Award 2020 - Career Trapped in a job or business that's "just not you"? Always dreaming of your next vacation or living for the weekend? Marianne Cantwell's straight-talking bestseller will help you break out of that career cage and Be A Free Range Human. It's about much more than just quitting your job and becoming your own boss. It's about life on your terms, working when, where and how you want - so you don't have to fit yourself into someone else's box to make a great income. This second edition won't just inspire you,…


By Glennon Doyle,

Book cover of Untamed

Why did I love this book?

This book has zero to do with quitting the 9-5 and creating your dream life, but don’t let that put you off.

With more sass and sparkle than most books out there, Untamed is an unmissable addition to your future dream life.

From the get-go, I couldn’t put this book down and came away from it thoroughly inspired to shake off society’s expectations, wake up to what I really want, and live big. It gave me the shove I needed to realign my dreams and keep on working towards them.

This is a fabulous confident-boosting book; teeming with vulnerability, laughter, and uplifting moments you will carry long after you finish the final page.

By Glennon Doyle,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Untamed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OVER TWO MILLION COPIES SOLD! “Packed with incredible insight about what it means to be a woman today.”—Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club Pick)

In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the activist, speaker, bestselling author, and “patron saint of female empowerment” (People) explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others’ expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY O: The Oprah Magazine • The Washington Post • Cosmopolitan • Marie Claire • Bloomberg • Parade •…

Book cover of Everything Is Figureoutable

Why did I love this book?

Okay, so you’ve started living your dream life and you find yourself stuck.

No drama, it happens to us all when we pursue our biggest goals. This book will help you get unstuck fast.

Everything is Figureoutable is perfect for once you’ve started to put your plans into action and need that older sibling vibe to say you’ve got this, keep going. Whatever the problem, however you’re stuck, this book has your back and will guide you through.

I love how this book is a mix of practical advice and uplifting stories that helped me to dig deep and supported me through the process with tips and ideas. The author is right, everything is figureoutable – so keep dreaming and go for it!

By Marie Forleo,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Everything Is Figureoutable as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


"This book will change lives."
--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

From the host of the award-winning MarieTV and The Marie Forleo Podcast, an indispensable handbook for becoming the creative force of your own life.

While most self-help books offer quick fixes, Everything is Figureoutable will retrain your brain to think more creatively and positively in the face of setbacks. In the words of Cheryl Strayed, it's "a must-read for anyone who wants to face their fears, fulfill their dreams, and find a better way forward."

If you're having trouble solving a problem…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in self-actualization, Spain, and career development?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about self-actualization, Spain, and career development.

Self-Actualization Explore 159 books about self-actualization
Spain Explore 160 books about Spain
Career Development Explore 23 books about career development

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Spanish for Dummies, Buying a Home in Spain, and Into the Wild if you like this list.