Books I Read in 2019 That Changed My Life

Books I Read in 2019 That Changed My Life


In 2019 I was very depressed for the first few months. I didn’t know how to get help. As the year developed, I began to seek self-help through books. Lo and behold, a few of these books DID indeed allow me to grow and change the way that I saw relationships, money, confidence and much more. Here are 5 books that I would recommend you in growing when you feel stuck.
Before I get into it, a valuable word of advice from a friend said to me, “you can seek self-help as much as possible, but it will not get better without you learning how to ACTUALLY face your traumas.

Ikigai by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles

This was the first Non-fiction book I read in a long time. I think it may have been my first ever self-help book. It was honestly very difficult to read the first two chapters and I found them a little boring. The chapters felt boring because it began with mostly just statistics. This book took me 6 months to complete. A reason why is because I was trying to get back into the habit of reading. After the first six months it was easy, and I read a few minutes a day between 2-3 books.

Ikigai is a book about how Japanese people live such a long life and what they do to maintain their health and life balance. Some of the key points were about small things such as 10-minutes walks a day and getting enough sunlight. There were health tips and the book went over “the art of achieving flow”. Flow is finding creativity in tasks to make them more interesting and appealing for you.

Ikigai mentions how you should do what you love for a living. It’s common for Japanese. The book also encourages you to never retire. In America, we would perceive that as crazy. However, if you’re doing what you love for a living, it’s most definitely not a loss. There’s nothing wrong with making what you want and using it to support your lifestyle.

One of my favorite lessons in the book is to “always have a second income.” Which has been valuable to me. Imagine you lost your job out of nowhere… or you got sick and were not paid for a few days, you’d still be able to afford living. What some Japanese people do for side money is selling food at a farmer’s market.

For me, my second base of income are my t-shirt designs and Twitch streaming. What can you do on the side to make a little extra hustle money? Sometimes hobbies are key to this! Don’t over do it, though. Hobbies are great for decompressing and income can sometimes ruin that.

Although Ikigai took a minute to complete, the information was very valuable to me and it’s a book you want to keep reference to in the future.

Mars and Venus on a Date by John Gray PHD

Me? A cutie pie reading a DATING book? Yes. What a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’ve had many relationships (somewhere between 20 and 30). Many of which have failed entirely and very harshly. I got very tired of getting my heart broken and I began to question what was wrong with me… or even what I was doing wrong myself.

My best friend from my childhood hugged me in my frustration and suggested that I read this book. The first chapter had my jaw-dropped to the floor. I was doing a LOT wrong. A lot of people “unknowingly sabotage relationships.” With knowing this information, I have become more patient with others. The book talks about the 5 stages of dating and how differently men and women perceive the things we do and say.

The 5 stages of Dating are…

  1. Attraction- What draws you in
  2. Uncertainty- Are they right for us?
  3.  Exclusivity- Actual Commitment
  4. Intimacy- Showing your most vulnerable parts of oneself
  5. Engagement- The celebration of love and learning to dedicate to a promise.

Those steps MUST be taken in order. I’ve noticed that I and others will sometimes hop into stage 3 almost overnight because we get so excited. A few of my friends will be “in a relationship” almost overnight then end up breaking up just as quick. Some people even head into stage 4 immediately. This can include sex or being TOO vulnerable in what you discuss too quickly such as childhood trauma and emotional struggles/mental health. These are matters that should happen while a relationship forms, rather than forcing something too quickly.

The kicker for me was the fact that I’d treat a man how I wanted to be treated. Men psychologically will do a woman a favor, a woman will give back. It’s not reciprocated very well by a man. For example: If a man bought me dinner, I’d give him a gift in return. This confuses men and makes them feel their effort is unappreciated or their just perceived as a friend. Taking the romantic aspect out of the equation. This is where I made myself fall short most of the time. Now I do not do that and still can be myself! Just say, “Thank you.”

My favorite thing about the book is how men and women think and work differently. Women take a while to warm up to people… whereas men warm up to people almost immediately. Sometimes men overexplain themselves and women just want to hear the simplistic point of the explanation.

An important piece of the book explains that the couple needs to follow the stages in union. Sometimes we as humans end up in a different stage than our partner and that makes things more complex. Sometimes a person will think they’re in stage 5, but the other is still stuck in stage 2, causing doubt, confusion or even cheating.

Something that I found mostly irrelevant in the book was the “why men don’t call” section. It dates the book a bit because now, a lot of us base our relationships off text messages. The perk that I did find from this section was the explanation of ghosting. A lot of men ghost because they simply see it as a graceful way of departing. Women do not see it that way and end up holding grudges toward men for not calling them back. If a man DOES like a woman and he doesn’t text or call it’s because he’s sometimes nervous and doesn’t want to come off “too needy”.

In conclusion, this book is maybe like… a 80/100 for me. A lot of the ideas and values are a bit out-of-date. Most are SO important and quite fascinating, but some of it can be subjective. Women can be a bit more forward these days toward men since it’s more acceptable. My current boyfriend loves every random gift he receives since it’s my love language.

The book may not age well in the future. It is still relevant for straight people but may complicate perspectives of those in the LGBTQ variety. In the beginning of the book DOES note that, “not all of this will resonate.” The book is just meant to be a tool of romantic balance and allows a way to guide you to find your “soul mate.”

I did my best to take some of the book lightly, but through the reading material I can say proudly that I have successfully passed the level 2 stage for the first time in years. I would recommend this book for a person who is looking to improve their perspective of the opposite biological sex and understand the different ways of thinking so we aren’t so hard on others and ourselves.

The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is You
by Lydia Fennett

When I first read this book, I thought it was just about the author and her line of work. She’s an Auctioneer for Christie’s. The funny part is, as I was reading this book I was also reading China Rich Girlfriend, which mentioned Christie’s a few times. I wouldn’t have understood unless I read this book. That was ironic to me.

It took me five months to read this book. I found this book at the University of DePaul in Chicago. My Game Design collaborators and I were thinking it was a great book for me. Turns out, the book was PERFECT. Lydia Fennet talks about her life lessons about how people used to look at her with disdain or without respect as she began her career. Her story is about she didn’t give up on her education and spent extra hours on her career every day. She then spoke about amazing key points that include:

  • How to handle stage fright
  • Don’t let them see you sweat
  • Don’t forget to bring the bread and honey for your hard workers
  • Daily roadmaps

When I got into the core of the book I was auditioning for “the Voice” at the local events center. A lot of this book allowed me to gain the courage to even try. I did not make it, but I’m proud of myself for doing it. Lydia advised that, “when you are nervous, use the nervousness as energy.” Another lesson that I found very important is that “The most Powerful woman in the room exudes confidence.” In the book, Lydia goes through a scenario where she dealt with Matt Damon as a person to help rally a crowd in her Auctions. Matt Damon got Lydia’s name wrong and she took it in stride. Instead of allowing a Celebrity to step on her reputation she told herself, “I am the professional in the auction world. He is the professional in the acting world. So, Lydia retaliated and said to her audience, “My name is actually Lydia. I would like everyone to give a round of applause to my junior auctioneer, Michael Diamond.” It immediately made everyone in the crowd respect her, including Matt Damon. Hold your ground. Don’t form to what others say you are, no matter their power. Be the most authentic you. Also, network or die. Seriously. Everyone is your ally.

#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

Sophia is the founder of the clothing line Girlboss and has a show about her business story on Netflix. The show’s a little different from her actual story, but it’s still super impressive. The show tells more of the personal aspect vs. the professional aspect. Sophia used to be a thief. She stole from stores and one day got caught by an individual who worked at a grocery store. With the confrontation, Sophia turned around, apologized and moved back to California to re-establish herself. Sophia comes into her own power through the Myspace Era of free models and advertisement. She took advantage of Ebay and “flipped” clothing. Amoruso went to estate sales where she found super expensive designer clothes for cheap and made them her own style.

She then busted her butt for her brand. She’d only reward herself with Starbucks when she completed orders. She had found so much passion in her work that she forgot about how much money she had in the bank from her business and just worked, because she had something to prove. “Money looks better in the bank than it does on your feet.”

Some of the material that this book includes business wise are tips of being a manager/employer. Not every worker is going to value what you do. Some people never show up to their interviews.  Others will work their butts off just like you. Every avenue of creativity should be explored, and that you need to own yourself. Admit mistakes and take credit for your success. Be a true #Girlboss.

Sophia would have not been successful if she didn’t realize the importance of her mundane small jobs, either. There are SO many life lessons you can learn from becoming a sandwich artist at Subway. You can learn a lot working at a bank. College or not, your jobs matter in your experience of becoming an entrepreneur… or even just a hardworking manager or an individual with a job that you deserve. Get into your own power.

Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity: How To Manage Emotions as a Highly Sensitive Person
by Imi Lo

Okay so this book is crucial for me. I’m still in the process of reading it, but it’s a book that needs to be processed and read over slowly. It’s a book that talks about how 10% of people in this world are quite sensitive compared to the rest of the world. This is a book about how sensitive people easily get brushed to the side or misdiagnosed with a mental illness they DO NOT have.

I grew up feeling like a victim of the world. A person who could never be understood because the thought of crying would make me bawl uncontrollably. As years pass and lack of knowledge, sensitive humans end up shutting down or have a difficult time functioning in daily life because of how sensitive we can be.

The first few chapters of the book talks about how sensitive souls end up having to parent their own parents and become “the responsible one” at too young of an age. Or how when you were young, something at school would really hurt you and your parent wouldn’t understand why something so small was so trivial to a child. I remember my first ever heartbreak in 4th grade. My parental figures were very bewildered and didn’t understand me on an emotional level.

But with this book it guides you through meditations or written work to help you release and face your childhood traumas. The book teaches you how to face pains from 12 years ago you just could not let go of. Letting go of one friend was devastating… and 15 years later, still is. Imo Lo talks you through how to become yourself, and an adult at the same time to let go of those old traumas, which in turn, allow you to move on with your life and no longer feel weighed-down!

All of these books were extremely important pieces of literature for me. I can now comfortably go after my dreams without fear or excused from my past to block my perspective. It’s time to take one’s power and truly own it!

All of these books are very important to my personal progress in the last 12 months. Thank you for reading this and stay cute, stay prickly.

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