Book Recommendations

If you are looking for some books that will inspire you to learn something new, challenge your assumptions, and expand your horizons, you have come to the right place. I personally have been inspired to share more of what I’ve been reading and learning, thanks to Austin Kleon’s book, Show Your Work! As Kleon writes, “The act of sharing is one of generosity—you’re putting something out there because you think it might be helpful or entertaining or worthwhile to someone on the other side of the screen.”

In the past four years I have enjoyed reading over 200 books on various topics such as education, psychology, science, astrophysics, neurology, language learning, linguistics, ASL, philosophy, and autobiographies. Out of all these books, I have selected five that I think are the most impactful, insightful, and enjoyable for anyone who wants to grow as a learner and as a person.

These are the books that have changed my perspective, taught me valuable lessons, and sparked my curiosity. Whether you are a student, a teacher, a parent, or someone who just wants to get better at a skill, these books will help you achieve your goals and enrich your life.

#1 Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits is a book that teaches you how to create good habits and break bad ones by applying the principles of behavior change. The author, James Clear, explains that habits are the compound interest of self-improvement: small changes that seem insignificant at first can lead to remarkable results over time. He also shows that you don’t need to rely on motivation or willpower to change your habits, but rather on a simple four-step system that makes them obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying.

One quote from the book that I love is:

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

– James Clear

This quote reminds me that setting goals is not enough to achieve success. I need to focus on the processes and habits that will lead me to my desired outcomes.

One reason why you should read this book is that it offers practical and actionable advice on how to improve any aspect of your life, whether it’s your health, productivity, relationships, or happiness. The book is based on plenty of scientific research and makes it presentable in a way that is engaging and interesting.

I enjoyed this book so much that I’ve read it twice and has been a huge help in establishing good habits that have benefited my health. For example, I’ve found the four laws of behavioral change especially effective in establishing good habits like getting more exercise and eating better by making it easy, obvious, attractive, and satisfying.

If you’re looking for a book that will help you change your habits for the better, I highly recommend Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s one of the best books I’ve read so far on personal development and behavior change.

Amazon link: Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

#2 Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

The author, Angela Duckworth, is a psychologist who has studied grit for over a decade and has found that it predicts success in various domains, such as education, sports, business, and the military. Gritty people have a clear vision of their long-term goals and are willing to work hard and overcome challenges to achieve them. They also have four psychological assets that help them cultivate grit: interest, practice, purpose, and hope.

“Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.”

– Angela Duckworth PhD

One reason why I really enjoyed this book is because it offers practical advice on how to discover and develop one’s own grit, as well as how to foster it in others, especially children. The book also challenges the common belief that talent is the most important factor for success and shows how effort and perseverance can make a difference. The book is based on scientific research, personal stories, and interviews with high achievers from various fields, making it both informative and inspiring.

Amazon link: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

#3 Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

In this book, Dweck explains the difference between the fixed mindset, the belief that your qualities are fixed and unchangeable, and the growth mindset, the belief that you can develop your talents through hard work and learning. She shows how having a growth mindset can help you overcome challenges, learn from feedback, cope with failure, and reach your full potential. If you are currently trying to learn a new language, skill, or hobby… learning how to have a more growth mindset is vital.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is:

“The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.

– Carol Dweck PhD

I enjoyed this book because it helped me both as an educator and as a parent to foster a growth mindset in others. I learned how to create a culture of learning and growth. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about how their mindset can have a positive effect on themselves and others.

Amazon link: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

#4 The Motivated Brain

If you’re an educator or anyone interested in understanding how to motivate learners, then you definitely need to check out “The Motivated Brain” by Gayle Gregory. This book is a great resource for anyone looking to create an environment that encourages students to engage more deeply in their learning.

One quote from the book that really resonated with me is:

“Motivation is not something that can be given or taken away from a student; it is something that can be nurtured, developed, and strengthened over time”

– Gayle Gregory

This quote is so encouraging because it highlights the idea that motivation is not fixed and can be cultivated through intentional efforts.

As a teacher or a parent you can use the practical strategies outlined in this book to create a more motivating learning environment for your students (or your own kids). These strategies include things like providing meaningful and challenging tasks, using feedback effectively, and fostering a growth mindset. By doing so, you can help your students develop a deeper sense of engagement and enjoyment in their learning, leading to improved academic outcomes.

Overall, “The Motivated Brain” is a friendly and helpful book that offers insights and practical strategies for anyone looking to motivate learners. It provides a solid foundation for creating a positive and motivating learning environment that supports student success.

Amazon link: The Motivated Brain: Improving Student Attention, Engagement, and Perseverance

#5 Visible Learning for Literacy

Written by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie, this book draws on extensive research to identify the most effective instructional practices for improving literacy skills.

One thing I really appreciated about this book is how it ranks a wide variety of teaching methodologies according to effect size. As the authors explain, “Effect size measures the impact that an intervention has on student learning.” This ranking system provides a helpful tool for educators to evaluate the effectiveness of different teaching strategies and make informed decisions about what will work best for their students.

The book is organized around six key areas of literacy instruction, and for each of these areas, the authors provide an overview of the research on effective instruction, along with practical advice for implementing these strategies in the classroom. One direct quote from the book that stood out to me is…

“Explicit instruction in comprehension strategies has a powerful effect on reading comprehension.”

Visible Learning for Literacy

Overall, I found Visible Learning for Literacy to be a valuable resource for any teacher or educator looking to improve their instruction. Whether you’re new to teaching or a seasoned pro, this book provides evidence-based strategies that you can implement right away in your classroom. The ranking system based on effect size is particularly helpful, allowing you to make informed decisions about what will work best for your students.

Amazon link: Visible Learning for Literacy: Grades K-12: Implementing the Practices That Work Best to Accelerate Student Learning

Wrap Up

I hope you found some titles that interest you and inspire you to read more. If you are looking for more books to read, I invite you to check out my Goodreads page where you can see what I am currently reading. I also welcome your book suggestions, so feel free to share them with me in the comment section at the bottom of this page. I love getting recommendations from other readers and I have discovered many amazing books that way.

For your convenience, here is a quick list of all five book recommendations with links.

  1. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
  2. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
  3. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
  4. The Motivated Brain: Improving Student Attention, Engagement, and Perseverance
  5. Visible Learning for Literacy: Grades K-12: Implementing the Practices That Work Best to Accelerate Student Learning

If you ready for more, I went ahead and included a longer list of books that I’ve enjoyed in the fields of education, personal development, sign language, language learning, and entrepreneurship. Feel free to check them out below!


Personal Development

Sign Language

Language Learning


Entrepreneurship, Business, and Money


Psychology and Neuroscience

Health and Wellness


Physics & Astronomy

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