If you want to make 2020 your best year ever, a great way to start is by exposing yourself to new ideas—and to help I’ve put together this list of intentional living books for you!
In this list, you’ll find stories of transformation. These are everyday people (just like you and I) who decided that enough was enough. Instead of settling for a life half-lived, they chose to walk their own path with meaning and purpose.
You’ll also find advice from experts and researchers from a variety of fields but with one thing in common: a desire to help you get unstuck so you can start living an intentional life you love.
Happy reading and wishing you all the best in the new year!
10 Must-Read Intentional Living Books
Please note that I’ve included an affiliate link below each of the intentional living books mentioned below—but of course, as a minimalist, I encourage you to borrow books if you prefer to do so. (Click here for my full affiliate disclosure statement.)
Personally, I like to listen to audiobooks and then I buy hard copies of my favourites because I love to scribble notes in the margins!
Emotional Agility by Susan David
Emotional Agility is the result of 20 years of research by Dr Susan David, a psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School. She argues that learning to navigate our inner world (things like our thoughts and feelings) is the key to thriving in work and life.
I discovered this book after watching her TED talk about emotional courage and since then, I refer to it constantly for inspiration, guidance and practical advice.
If you want to embrace intentional living in 2020, then this is my top recommendation—a must-read for anyone who wants to live true to their self!
Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner
After rising to what some would consider the epitome of success in life before the age of 30, Erin found that despite her accomplishments, she felt lost.
In Chasing Slow, she takes you on her journey of intense struggle from her husband’s brain tumour to bankruptcy and a public judgement. All of which led her to discover what really matters and makes a difference in life.
When Less Becomes More by Emily Ley
When Less Becomes More presents the idea that we have more good in our lives when we let go of what doesn’t fulfil us. Emily guides her readers through discovering what “more” means for them—an essential but often overlooked question!
I haven’t had a chance to read this yet but it’s been highly recommended to me by another mum with young children.
Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo
If you don’t know where to begin with your big goals and dreams, then this is the book for you. Marie (who you probably know from Marie TV) has put together an inspiring and practical step-by-step guide that will show you how everything really is “figureoutable”.
It’s a perfect balance of entertainment, inspiration and practical advice. Highly recommended for anyone who needs a motivation boost!
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
I’ve always believed that perfectionism is a natural enemy of simple and intentional living—which is why Iove this book. Shauna shares personal stories of her own transformation and encourages you to face the world as your most authentic self.
If you struggle with the need to find perfection in life, this book will inspire you to separate the things you “should do” from the things that matter most.
Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman
In her book, Simply Tuesday, Emily presents a series of essays exploring how to be present in today’s fast-paced world. Despite the expectations and outside pressures that are alive and abundant in our culture, she suggests that “real life happens in the small moments, the kind we find on Tuesdays.”
This idea really resonates with me because I believe that intentional living is less about big, sweeping changes and more about the small things we do every day. If you’re looking for an invitation to step back and appreciate the little things, then give this book a try.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
Essentialism is a wonderful guide on how to live an intentional life. The author reminds us that everything is a choice and every choice has trade-offs. So many important lessons on choosing the “essential” over the non-essential.
Note that this book is slightly more “business-y” than the others on the list but I still highly recommend it for everyone. The core concepts can be applied to all areas of your life, even if you’re not working in a corporate environment.
The Joy of Missing Out by Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton is a productivity expert and CEO of her own company which focuses on helping women be more productive. In her book, she teaches you how to reject the social pressure to do it all and instead, figure out what to say yes to and how to create a system that’s best for you to handle it.
Read this if you are looking for practical and applicable advice about setting priorities.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
The Happiness Project was written after the author had a sudden realization that life goes by quickly and we often spend our days just trying to get by. She dedicated an entire year to true intentionality in a search for the things that brought happiness to her life.
I first picked this up in an airport years ago and it was an eye-opener to me. As silly as this might sound now, at the time it was a shock to realise how much control I had over my own joy. A thoroughly entertaining and enlightening read.
(If you’re not sure if you’ll enjoy this book, you might want to check out the author’s podcast first.)
The Art of Making Memories by Miek Wiking
They say the only thing we’ll leave this life with is our memories but how often are we intentional about making ones we can cherish? Wiking writes all about how having positive memories serves us in life and can bring us more joy. The book contains plenty of data-rich info and stories on how to be intentional about making memories that will last a lifetime!
More Intentional Living Resources
Want to learn more about intentional living? Here are a few more blog posts and resources you might enjoy.
- An Intro to Intentional Living: 7 Things You Need to Know
- 7 Questions to Inspire Intentional Living
- 4 Practical Steps To Creating An Intentional Life
- 9 Ways To Be Intentional Every Day
- With Intention: A Free Intentional Living Challenge
What’s on your reading list? Do you have a favourite intentional living book? Leave a recommendation in the comments below or tell us about what you’re most excited to read next! X