The most recommended books on self-perception

Who picked these books? Meet our 47 experts.

47 authors created a book list connected to self-perception, and here are their favorite self-perception books.
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Book cover of Painting the Black

Dan Largent Author Of Before We Ever Spoke

From my list on baseball is part of the theme.

Who am I?

Before he became a bestselling author with his debut novel, Before We Ever Spoke, Dan Largent spent the better part of two decades as a high school baseball coach. In 2010, he guided Olmsted Falls High School to its first-ever State Final Four and was subsequently named Greater Cleveland Division I Coach of the Year. Dan stepped away from his duties as a baseball coach in 2017 to spend more time with his wife, April, and their three children Brooke, Grace, and Luke. He has, however, remained close to the game he loves by turning doubles into singles as a member of Cleveland’s finest 35 and over baseball league.

Dan's book list on baseball is part of the theme

Dan Largent Why did Dan love this book?

There was no way that I could ever put a book list together and NOT recommend one of Carl Deuker’s books. This book is aimed at the Young Adult crowd, but I first read it as an adult because Carl was my favorite author as a kid and I also happen to teach students in the YA crowd. 

Carl is the master of weaving complex societal issues and internal conflicts into plots that revolve around athletics. In Painting the Black he does just that as the main character, Ryan Ward, is faced with a choice that I am sure many readers can relate to.

Whether you are looking for a quick and poignant read, or you have a YA student at home who loves sports, Painting the Black is a must-read. 

By Carl Deuker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Painting the Black as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

In his senior year of high school, late bloomer Ryan Ward has just begun to feel the magic of baseball—the thrill of catching a wicked slider, of throwing a runner out, of training hard and playing hard. His friend Josh, the star of the team, has helped Ryan push his limits. But when Josh clearly pushes the limits too far, Ryan is faced with a heartbreaking dilemma: he must choose between his love for the game and his sense of integrity.


Book cover of Immortality

Kiki Denis Author Of Life is Big: For Life’s sake, Death has to meet, Alma-Jane, the happiest girl alive!

From my list on philosophical novels from global writers.

Who am I?

In the small Greek village I grew up in, my father read poetry to me when I was too young to understand any of it, and likely because of this I was pulled to the sound of the words and to reading anything that came my way. In high school, I fell in love with Plato’s writings, and later, as an undergraduate, philosophy saved me from my official major: economics. I continued in my Psychology Master’s, with Paul Kline’s “exceptional abilities” course, a philosophy class about consciousness. I read tons of books and I am enticed by writers who search for life’s questions and self-awareness.

Kiki's book list on philosophical novels from global writers

Kiki Denis Why did Kiki love this book?

If you were to read one of Kundera’s novels, let it be this, Immortality! It’s the last of a trilogy (that includes The Book Of Laughter And Forgetting and The Unbearable Lightness Of Being), and Kundera’s masterful attempt to answer questions such as: What’s the meaning of life? And is immortality so unbearable as our brief existence?

Its plot is Kunderian, light, and poetical. The story initiates from a simple gesture by Agnes, one of the protagonists, but as it progresses the reader begins to feel the heaviness of mortality and the endless challenges of love. It’s a beautiful discussion on the nature of one’s legacy, and how one changes (or not) through the passage of time, and unfortunately can’t do much about it.

By Milan Kundera,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Immortality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This breathtaking, reverberating survey of human nature finds Kundera still attempting to work out the meaning of life without losing his acute sense of humour. It is one of those great unclassifiable masterpieces that appear once every twenty years or so.

'It will make you cleverer, maybe even a better lover. Not many novels can do that.' Nicholas Lezard, GQ


Book cover of It's Not About The Money: A Proven Path to Building Wealth and Living the Rich Life You Deserve

Lindsay Bryan-Podvin Author Of The Financial Anxiety Solution: A Step-by-Step Workbook to Stop Worrying about Money, Take Control of Your Finances, and Live a Happier Life

From my list on personal finance by people of color.

Who am I?

As a licensed social worker, it struck me as bizarre that none of my training equipped me to talk to my clients about money. In grad school, the opening line from every professor was, “You didn’t choose this field to make money.” Yet? It’s something every single one of us needs and interacts with daily. So I started checking out personal finance books by the armsful. These books are different than novels: they deserve to be updated and modernized. But the same handful of personal finance books have been published and republished for decades, and most of them sound boringly redundant once you get past the intro.

Lindsay's book list on personal finance by people of color

Lindsay Bryan-Podvin Why did Lindsay love this book?

Scarlett believes that money is something to be to improve our lives now and that it's something to save for the future.

She, like me, found far too many people focusing on sacrificing in the short term for the hope that their future would be better. Instead, she defines money as "an essential tool for creating the life I wanted," through that lens, she writes about money. And a tool that can be used now and not only in retirement.

At the end of each chapter, Scarlett summarizes the chapter's topic and gives readers a list of action steps to take. I love that she offers readers actionable advice that they can apply in real-time. The action steps vary between journal-style questions and tactical try-it-out tips. 

By Scarlett Cochran,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It's Not About The Money as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new, holistic way to understand money and find your own path to financial freedom, from the wealth-building expert behind One Big Happy Life

    You deserve to live your dream life. Mastering your finances and learning how to use your money to create that life is a nonnegotiable, because let’s be honest: life costs money. The good news is that you can create a money plan that you actually enjoy sticking to—one that allows you to build wealth while spending guilt-free on a life that you love today.

Scarlett Cochran knows because she’s been there, from starting out as a…


Book cover of Mirror in the Sky

Katie Kennedy Author Of What Goes Up

From my list on with parallel worlds.

Who am I?

I’m a history instructor and often think about alternate historical outcomes, but you don’t get to choose those. Wish the Spanish Armada hadn’t sunk? Tough luck. But you can take a novel in any direction—kill a character, bring them back, let them fall in love, make them eat an egg salad sandwich… When the book itself is about parallel worlds, it increases those possibilities exponentially. In What Goes Up, Rosa and Eddie have very different backgrounds—Earth is two different worlds for them. What happens when there’s another world out there and they meet themselves in a different place? As one character asks, how much do you trust yourself?

Katie's book list on with parallel worlds

Katie Kennedy Why did Katie love this book?

Mirror in the Sky is about what happens to a girl who’s just trying to navigate through high school and family situations when a planet incredibly similar to Earth is discovered–and news spreads that people may have doubles on the new planet, called Terra Nova. (The main character’s name is Tara, so there’s a play on words, and a riff on the theme, here.) Mirror in the Sky is more about reactions on Earth to news of the new planet and less a sci-fi adventure.

Readers wanting hard sci-fi–tentacled aliens with ray guns–may be disappointed, but readers who want a contemporary with another world as a backdrop might take a look.

By Aditi Khorana,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mirror in the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Another Earth meets Perks of Being a Wallflower in this thoughtful, mesemerizing debut and subject of a TedX talk about the discovery of a mirror planet to Earth and how it dramatically changes the course of one Indian-American girl's junior year.

“[O]ne of the most powerful reads of the year. A novel about family, race, and discovering who you are, Mirror in the Sky promises a unique read that blends YA contemporary struggles with imaginative science fiction."
—Paste Magazine

For Tara Krishnan, navigating Brierly, the academically rigorous prep school she attends on scholarship, feels overwhelming and impossible. Her junior year…


Book cover of Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual

Gia De Cadenet Author Of Not the Plan

From my list on helping romance lovers remember who they are.

Who am I?

As a long-time expat in France, a creative and a Black woman, I get othered and rejected a lot. I’ve had to learn how to own my story – of starting over, of building something from nothing, of remembering where I’ve been, and reminding myself of where I’m going. I had to learn to reject the labels that others want to put on me and draft my own personal hype mantra then embellish it with a little bombshell sparkle. The books I’ve chosen are meant to entertain while giving you the chance to remind yourself of who you are and who you can choose to be.  

Gia's book list on helping romance lovers remember who they are

Gia De Cadenet Why did Gia love this book?

Sometimes things happen in life that bring us to our knees – illness, relationships fail, job losses.

And we may feel small, overwhelmed, incapable. In this awesome book about living audaciously, Jones advises the reader to write their own oriki, or personal hype mantra.

When we are at our lowest, we need to look back and see how far we’ve come, remind ourselves of who we were, who we are, and who we will be.

Just as we have the power to write our own orikis, we have the power to write our own next steps. That’s pretty bad-ass.

By Luvvie Ajayi Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Professional Troublemaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
From the New York Times bestselling author of I'm Judging You, a hilarious and transformational book about how to tackle fear--that everlasting hater--and audaciously step into lives, careers, and legacies that go beyond even our wildest dreams

Luvvie Ajayi Jones is known for her trademark wit, warmth, and perpetual truth-telling. But even she's been challenged by the enemy of progress known as fear. She was once afraid to call herself a writer, and nearly skipped out on doing a TED talk that changed her life because of imposter syndrome. As she shares in Professional Troublemaker,…


Book cover of Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai

Jennifer Richard Jacobson Author Of Crashing in Love

From my list on middle grade about first love.

Who am I?

Although I was an avid reader of romance when I was a tween, the middle grade novels I wrote prior to Crashing in Love were about more “serious” topics. Yet, much of the mail I received from kids had pressing questions about the future of potential love interests. That’s when I realized that I’d been guilty (like many) of considering romance to be “light” fiction. What could be more important, more serious, than discovering ourselves while making genuine connections with others? Those letters changed my mind. Learning to love is essential and not to be taken lightly at all.

Jennifer's book list on middle grade about first love

Jennifer Richard Jacobson Why did Jennifer love this book?

This sweet story brings me back to the rush of heady (albeit sometimes fleeting) infatuations and reminds me that simple friendship rules such as “Don’t let guys come between us” are not always as simple as they seem. The best part? Although Keiko ends up with the right romantic interest (there’s a scene that will melt your heart), she learns that self-love is paramount.

By Debbi Michiko Florence,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Fans of Judy Blume and Jenny Han are sure to fall head-over-heels
for this funny, sweet story of crushes, competition,
and the confusing reality of middle school.
"Heartbreak is for suckers."

When Jenna Sakai gets dumped over winter break, it confirms what
she learned from her parents' messy divorce: Relationships
are risky and only lead to disappointment.
So even though she still has to see her ex-boyfriend Elliott
at newspaper club, Jenna is going to be totally heartless this
semester - no boys, just books.

But keeping her cool isn't always easy.

Jenna's chief competition for a big journalism
scholarship…


Book cover of The Nature of Personal Reality: A Seth Book

Barbara Wainwright Author Of The Power of Life Coaching Volume 3: Manifesting Transformation in Financial, Professional, Emotional, Spiritual, Wellness and Relationship Aspects

From my list on your journey to spiritual enlightenment.

Who am I?

Certified Master Life Coach and CEO of Wainwright Global, Barbara Wainwright is known as the most sought-after teacher in the coaching industry. She is famous for training and certifying over 6,500 professional coaches worldwide since 2006 and for empowering individuals to actualize their life purpose, live inspired lives, and connect with their true passion. Barbara is an international speaker, author, and educator with 3 books available on Amazon.com. I have been seeking spiritual enlightenment and personal growth all of my adult life. Now I am sharing some of my strengths through my podcast and video series Show Up For God and God Will Show Up For You in Miraculous Ways.

Barbara's book list on your journey to spiritual enlightenment

Barbara Wainwright Why did Barbara love this book?

This book was the beginning of my spiritual journey. 

Accepting that we are responsible for every aspect of our lives was a hard pill to swallow. Life happens for us, not to us. What is the purpose? The purpose (I believe) is to learn unconditional love and acceptance. 

Does that mean we have to be around people that hurt us? No. It means to accept people for who they are and move on.  

This book challenged me and my way of thinking. “Your thoughts create your reality” is explained in detail in this book. I’m grateful that this book was written.

By Jane Roberts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Nature of Personal Reality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Late in 1963, Jane Roberts and her husband were experimenting with a Ouija board when a personality calling himself 'Seth' began forming messages. Soon, Miss Roberts began passing easily into trance - her gestures, her eyes, her voice 'borrowed' by Seth himself. Now for those who want to put his theories to use, Seth has dictated this new book, The Nature of Personal Reality explains how unquestioned belief structure your experience - and how simply listing them can help remove barriers you have uknowingly thrown in your way. Along with other specific exercises for transforming your personal reality, Seth spells…


Book cover of Thank You, Mr. Falker

Lori Fettner Author Of No Place Like Earth

From my list on that teach without being teachy.

Who am I?

When I was little, I knew I would work with books in some way, and I did, for many years working for one of the major children’s book publishers. But it wasn’t rewarding in the way I had hoped. Some kids know they want to be a teacher when they grow up. I definitely did not, yet I became one. I love finding ways to make learning fun. In my teaching days I found ways to get the most reluctant students to find something they could enjoy about learning. And now as an author, I find myself doing the same, and as a parent, seeking out books like the ones I recommend here that teach without teaching.

Lori's book list on that teach without being teachy

Lori Fettner Why did Lori love this book?

This is one of the few books that no matter how many times I read, I still get choked up. A family has a tradition they keep whenever the children are going to learn to read. They do it for their little girl when she’s headed to kindergarten, but she doesn’t learn to read there. She doesn’t learn in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade either. In 5th grade, Trisha still can’t read, and she feels “dumb” and “different.” One teacher finally realizes Trisha’s problem and through hard work and creative methods teaches her to read. This is based on the true story of the author, Patricia Polacco, who overcame her reading struggles so well that she became an author! This book beautifully teaches that one can overcome difficulties to achieve greatness.

By Patricia Polacco,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thank You, Mr. Falker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

The real-life classic story of a dyslexic girl and the teacher who would not let her fail. A perfect gift for teachers and for students of any age.

Patricia Polacco is now one of America's most loved children's book creators, but once upon a time she was a little girl named Trisha starting school. Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha's dyslexia: Mr. Falker, who encouraged her to overcome her reading disability. Patricia Polacco will never…


Book cover of Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive

Stephanie Dueger Author Of Preparing for Parenthood: 55 Essential Conversations for Couples Becoming Families

From my list on to feel more prepared for parenthood.

Who am I?

As a trained therapist, educator, and coach for expectant and new parents, I understand on a deep level the importance of creating a strong foundation in building a family. I also was personally humbled at how difficult the transition to parenthood was for me and the challenges it presented in my relationship with my husband. While we’ve grown exponentially, I wanted to make it a little easier for other expectant parents to avoid some of the pitfalls that aren’t spoken about as much in becoming parents. I also wanted to help the new little beings arriving in the world to have more resourced, present parents. It’s a win-win.

Stephanie's book list on to feel more prepared for parenthood

Stephanie Dueger Why did Stephanie love this book?

Siegel is a child psychiatrist who deeply understands the importance of attachment theory and neurobiology. This book, written with child development specialist and parent educator Hartzell, invites parents to deeply examine their own childhood experiences and how they have shaped us. It provides clear exercises for making sense of our past in an effort to provide the best, emotionally, for our children. As a therapist, I believe there is no greater gift to ourselves and our children than working towards our own healing, which helps prevent the transmission of “generational trauma” to our children. This book also focuses on the importance of “repair” after there have been ruptures in the relationship with our children. This in itself is invaluable.

By Daniel J. Siegel, Mary Hartzell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Parenting from the Inside Out as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An updated edition—with a new preface—of the bestselling parenting classic by the author of "BRAINSTORM: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain"

In Parenting from the Inside Out, child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and early childhood expert Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., explore the extent to which our childhood experiences shape the way we parent. Drawing on stunning new findings in neurobiology and attachment research, they explain how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and…


Book cover of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Shannon Takaoka Author Of The Totally True Story of Gracie Byrne

From my list on totally awesome stories set in the 80s.

Who am I?

My soul still possesses a little of my teenage self, which is why I set my latest book in 1987. Whitney Houston had one of the biggest songs, Dirty Dancing was released, and a little girl nicknamed Baby Jessica was rescued from a well. I’m told this makes The Totally True Story of Gracie Byrne “historical fiction” which, honestly, is a little alarming, because sometimes 1987 doesn’t seem like that long ago. Other times it feels ancient. I picked a few of these books because they’re full of nostalgia for a slower, analog time. But mainly I chose them for the voice, characters, and great writing.

Shannon's book list on totally awesome stories set in the 80s

Shannon Takaoka Why did Shannon love this book?

Set in 1987 Texas, this sweet coming-of-age story has so many of my favorite things: A slow-burn romance, opposites attracting, and characters so beautifully drawn that you won’t want to let them go when you get to the final page.

Dante is artistic, sensitive and wears his heart on his sleeve. Ari is fiercely loyal, tough on the outside but on the inside is still finding his way. When an accident changes the dynamic of their summer friendship, they both need to come to terms with what they really mean to each other.

I love that this story unfolds at a pace that breathes –  Sáenz takes his time letting his characters get to know one another, through swim lessons and summertime meandering, through letters, and deep conversations. 

By Benjamin Alire Sáenz,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 11, 12, 13, and 14.

What is this book about?

This Printz Honor Book is a "tender, honest exploration of identity" (Publishers Weekly) that distills lyrical truths about family and friendship.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When they meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the two loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special kind of friendship--the kind of friendship that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through their friendship that Ari and Dante will learn…