When I turned 30, I thought that I would finally feel confident in who I am.
Life had thrown me some hard balls in my late twenties and had left me feeling worthless so I was looking forward to this new version of me. Joni 2.0. I was finally going to be confident in my skin.
Lies! I had been told that turning 30 meant a new age of enlightenment and self-discovery. You will have a new understanding of yourself, a confidence that no one could shake. Again, LIES! I’m not saying that you can’t be confident at 30 (or before 30). Just that it’s not like some sort of birthday magic. “You’re 30! GREAT! Here is the confidence you were meant to have all along with the knowledge of your life experiences! Enjoy!”
I wanted to be a strong woman. A woman who my future children would be able to look up to. More importantly, I wanted to be someone I was proud of. When my confidence fairy godmother didn’t show up, I decided to go looking for it. True to form, I went searching for books and I found strong, confident women who didn’t fit the normal mold and who had found out how to be unapologetic about who they are and what they wanted out of life.
Each book has a unique perspective of this life and how to embrace it. We are all unique and have our own talents. We just have to nurture them, unapologetically. Though not all (or any) of these books are your traditional inspirational book, each shaped my life for the better.
What books have you read that have inspired you? What would you add to the list? I would love to hear from you!
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
Goodreads: At seventeen, Sophia Amoruso decided to forgo continuing education to pursue a life of hitchhiking, dumpster diving, and petty thievery. Now, at twenty-nine, she is the Founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Nasty Gal, a $100+ million e-tailer that draws A-list publicity and rabid fans for its leading-edge fashion and provocative online persona. Her story is extraordinary—and only part of the appeal of #GIRLBOSS.
This aspirational book doesn’t patronize young women the way many business experts do. Amoruso shows readers how to channel their passion and hard work, while keeping their insecurities from getting in the way. She offers straight talk about making your voice heard and doing meaningful work.
She’s proof that you can be a huge success without giving up your spirit of adventure or distinctive style. As she writes, “I have three pieces of advice I want you to remember: Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t let The Man get to you. OK? Cool. Then let’s do this.”
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Goodreads: In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Goodreads: Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.
I Am That Girl by Alexis Jones
Goodreads:In a crazy, media distracted world the important questions often get lost like: What’s your passion? What’s your purpose? Who do you want to be? Alexis Jones has built a career listening to and helping girls around the world figure out those questions in order to inspire them to think for themselves, to speak their truth, to discover their purpose, and to dream HUGE! Alexis believes that you’re not broken nor do you need to be fixed. You already are that girl who creates magic wherever she goes, who lives fearlessly, who inspires those around her to dream bigger, and who will leave the world better, just for having been in it.
Stop listening to that voice inside your head that tells you you’re not good enough. Stop worrying that you don’t have the perfect body, perfect job, perfect relationship, or perfect anything for that matter. Stop letting other people draw boundaries and limits around your life. And start living the life that you truly want (now!), the one you didn’t think you had the courage to imagine, but the one that’s absolutely possible! Including stories from thirty incredible women, Alexis has compiled everything she’s learned into one complete guide to being That Girl, the best version of you.
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
Goodreads: Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible–like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you–writer and humorist Lindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but.
From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with Internet trolls, Lindy narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny and wring tears out of a story about diarrhea.
With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss–and walk away laughing. Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.