19 Books to Help you Reduce (through mindful and intentional living, minimalism, and zero waste living)
A couple of years ago I made a goal to read the number of books that matched the year. So, for example, in 2017, my goal was to read 17. In 2018, 18. And so on.
Well, I’m excited to share that I ended up reading 19 books in 2018! Most of the books all fall under the category of ‘reducing’ in your life through
I hope you enjoy the list!
A quick note: the library is a great resource for getting to read books for free, and it helps save on waste! I found almost all of these via my library.
Another budget and waste friendly option is through e-books (check if your library offers e-books to check out as well!)
Otherwise, buying second hand or borrowing from a friend/family member can be a great way to save money and waste.
If your resouces aren’t panning out to obtain a book via the methods above, I have provided a link to each book through Amazon.
Love Warrior: A Memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton
I heard many things about this book before I picked it up. Oprah raved about it. The story follows Glennon Doyle and her struggles growing up, many which stem from how she saw herself and her negative body image. It’s about how she came to realize this was not how she wanted to live, and how she broke free. It is an incredibly inspiring story.
Perfect for: some self-love inspiration, or for someone who needs to make a big change in their life.
Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver
This book goes beyond the typical minimalist-type book, where it talks about the benefits of minimalism BEYOND getting rid of clutter and not spending. Courtney Carver focuses a lot about how becoming a minimalist has taught her how to love. Carver provides great tips on how to incorporate mindfulness and minimalist mindsets into your daily life in order to achieve true peace and love.
Perfect for: anyone on their own minimalist and mindfulness journey.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
A fun page turner about a woman named Alice who received a head injury and forgot the past 10 years of her life. The book really makes you think about what you would do if you had the chance to go back and ‘do over’ who you are today.
Perfect for: anyone looking forward to an easy-going fiction read.
The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd
This book contains short stories from mothers about motherhood. The good, the bad, the funny, the sad, and everything in between. I found it super relatable, but admit it wasn’t one of my favorite books from the year.
Perfect for: someone who feels like they are alone on this motherhood journey, or just wants to connect with their own tribe.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
In this book, Elizabeth Gilbert goes into detail about the magic behind how we get our creative inspiration through the influence of the universe. She also hints at the correlation between anxiety and being creative, which I really enjoyed learning about. Additionally, she talks about how we can move forward living our most inspiring and creative lives.
There were some parts of the book that were a little out there for me, but I really enjoyed it overall. It was definitely a type of book I’ve never read before.
Perfect for: if you have an open mind around the influences of the universe, want to learn more about adopting a creative life, or feel stuck in your current season.
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
This story is (extremely) loosely based on Prince William and Princess Kate and the story of how they met. This book sucks you in quicker than you think, and it keeps you drawn in throughout the whole thing. I thoroughly enjoyed it as a fun, light read. Think of it as a rom-com, but in book form.
Perfect for: a light hearted read, on a vacation, or on the beach.
You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
This was a great book. Jen Sincero mixes humor with truth bombs page after page. I learned a lot from her wisdom. She also provides daily activities and journaling prompts to get into the mindset to realize you are a badass!
Perfect for: If you’re looking for tips on how to live an intentional life or living a life with purpose, this book is for you!
You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
I loved it so much I read it twice – kind of. Yes, there is a second Jen Sincero book and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to get my hands on it (and, she just released a third book!). This book applies the same principals of the first one but relates it to money. In this book she also includes activities and journaling prompts to get you into a positive money mindset. I enjoyed this book as much as I did the first one!
Perfect for: if you’re ready to change your relationship with money, if you want to learn how to have a positive mindset around money, and be intentional about making money!
Have you ever heard of the blue zones? Blue zones are areas on the earth that contain the highest number of centenarians (people who are in their 100s). The author, Dan Buettner (a fellow Minnesotan – shout out), has studied these areas extensively to try and find out WHY these areas hold the largest number of longest living individuals. There are many Blue Zone books (see below for another one), but this one talks in particular about the food the people in the Blue Zones eat. I found this book fascinating!
Perfect for: if you’re interested in learning more about the Blue Zones, or if you’re curious about how people who live a super long time eat!
THRIVE: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way by Dan Buettner
I loved the Blue Zone Meals book so much, I had to read more about the Blue Zones. This book talked a little bit about the diet of centenarians, but also talked about other aspects of their life: social, spiritual, movement, mindset, and more. It was very interesting, and I feel like I learned a lot, but I preferred the ‘Meals’ book over this one.
Perfect for: if you want an all-around overview of The Blue Zones and how the people who live in them live life.
The Universe has your Back: Transform Fear to Faith by
I took a pretty intense look at my spiritual life in 2018. Not necessarily by choice, but because I felt I had no other option. I was dealing with some health stuff the first half of the year, and my anxiety was at an all time high. I kept looking for ways to ‘fix it’, but finally surrendered to the fact that I couldn’t fix it. So how could I work with the anxiety instead of against it? I realized two things. First, I realized I needed to surrender. But I felt like I had nothing to fall back on, which leads me to the second thing: learn more about spirituality – what I believe, and how I can apply it to my life.
This book by Gabrielle Bernstein was really helpful in determining both of those things. I learned to look at my spirituality in a new light, and learned ways how I can work with it to help with my anxiety. Of course, it didn’t just benefit my anxiety, but at the time that was all I honestly cared about.
Bernstein includes lots of meditations, mantras, and journaling prompts to help you through the book and your spirituality journey.
Perfect for: anyone looking to learn about or deepen their spirituality.
From Anxiety to Love by Corinne Zupko
With my anxiety so bad in 2018, I also decided to start reading books about anxiety in general. I wanted to stop giving the anxiety so much power by trying to avoid it, so I took the plunge to try and understand it more. This was the first of a handful of anxiety books I checked out from the library. I’ll be 100% honest here, I found it to be pretty dang ‘out there’ or ‘woo woo’ at the time. After a few months of my spirituality/anxiety journey, I understand a little bit better as to what the author was talking about, but I still find it a little woo-woo (and I consider myself to be a little woo-woo).
That all being said, this book did have some interesting theories and methods for ‘getting rid of anxiety’ as the author says, so I wouldn’t say it was an overall dud. However, I wouldn’t recommend it as your very first anxiety book if you’re first starting to read about anxiety. See the next book if you’re looking for a good beginner one.
Perfect for: anyone who has been learning and reading about anxiety and spirituality for a while, and wants to take a deeper look at how the two can help manage your anxiety.
The Chemistry of Calm by Henry Emmons MD
After I read the above book, I asked my therapist for some recommendations. She recommended ‘The Chemistry of Calm’, written by a Minnesota professor and psychologist. This. Book. Was. Life. Changing. Seriously. I realize that’s a big claim, but for me, it’s true.
This book contains information about an all around holistic approach to managing your anxiety. The author goes into detail about foods to eat to support your body (including brain), key nutrients you need to make sure you’re giving yourself to support your body, the importance of exercise and movement, mindfulness, and more. He provides meditation and mindfulness activities to weave into your life. The tips were tangible and easy to implement, which was exactly what I needed as I was suffering through.
The author also weaves real life stories throughout the book which I appreciated.
I would highly, highly recommend this book if you have anxiety!
The author also has a book regarding the same information and tips for depression if that is a better fit for you.
Perfect for: if you have anxiety. Period. The end.
Daring Greatly by Brene’ Brown
I heard Brene’ Brown on the Oprah podcast ‘Super Soul Sunday’ and was hooked. Her approach to ‘shame’ resonated with me so much, that I knew I immediately had to run and check out her book, Daring Greatly. And it was as every bit good as I thought it would be!
Brown goes into in-depth detail about shame and feeling vulnerable (and the importance of it) and how it is one of the hardest but also most common things we go through as humans. She also talks about how you can learn to be vulnerable and eliminate shame from your life.
Perfect for: Anyone who wants to go out there and grab life by the you-know-what, learn to be vulnerable, and learn how to work through shame!
Waste Free Kitchen Handbook by Dana Gunders
This book was all about – well – a waste free kitchen. The kitchen is one of the hardest places to reduce waste (in my opinion), and this book had some great tips and recipes to help you do just that. Topics include: how to reduce food waste, how to store food to get the most life out of it, scientific facts to back up food preservation, recipes for using food scraps, and a huge list of food and how long it will last (safely) before you have to throw it away.
Perfect for: if you’re looking to lessen your kitchen (and food) waste.
Give a Sh*t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet by Ashlee Piper
Very possibly one of my favorite books from 2018, Give a Sh*t walks through all aspects of your life and how you can make it more eco-friendly. Every from diet, to clothing, to cosmetics, and more, Piper gives super easy to implement and convincing reasons why to make the changes. She even includes tons of food and other recipes to have on hand.
Perfect for: anyone who wants to incorporate more eco-friendly aspects into their life and wants an easy-to-follow guide to help them along the way.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
I found this book at a local free little library, and not knowing much about it, except that it was by Liane Moriarty (also author of What Alice Forgot from above), I grabbed it to bring home. Like What Alice Forgot, this book sucked you in and brought you on all sorts of twists and turns. This was a very entertaining, fun, and quick read. After this book, I decided I was an official Liane Moriarty fan, and have since requested more of her books from the library.
This book also spawned the short series on HBO by the same name with Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, and Nicole Kidman, which I also checked out from the library and found equally as entertaining.
Perfect for: when you’re looking for a fun fiction novel with interesting characters and a fun plot.
The Joy Plan by Kaia Roman
Earlier this year I started reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, but didn’t finish. I can’t 100% pinpoint why it didn’t strike my fancy, but it just wasn’t for me. When I heard about The Joy Plan, I thought it sounded similar to Rubin’s book, but additional components such as discussing in great detail how our brains work (and why certain ‘joy inducing’ activities work), incorporating mindfulness, and more. I loved all the data and facts that went along with the author’s work in her plan, and I resonated with this book a lot.
Perfect for: anyone looking for scientifically-sound methods for incorporating joy
Bossypants by Tina Fey
I love Tina Fey, so when I saw her book at the library, I knew I had to pick it up. It was over a good book, although a little slow at time. But Fey weaves in her humor into behind the scenes of her time at SNL and 30 Rock, and being a female comedy writer in a male dominated field.
Perfect for: if you’re a Tina Fey, 30 Rock, or SNL fan.
Started but didn’t finish
Once I started my goal of reading the same number of books as the year, any book that I pick up and start that’s not resonating with me, I don’t finish. It’s not necessarily that it is a book I’m not enjoying, it’s just that for whatever reason it’s not pulling me in at that time.
There have definitely been times when I’ve re-picked up a book to read at a later date (such as in the case of First, We Make the Beast Beautiful), and other times when the book just wasn’t for me (as in the case of The Happiness Project).
Nevertheless, here are the books I started but didn’t finish in 2018:
First, We Make the Beast Beautiful
Looking for more book recommendations? Check out the 17 inspiring, intentional, mindful and fun books I read in 2017.