By Ndukwu Chibundom Kaosisochukwu - July 19, 2022

This is coming a bit late, but here are the personal growth books that I read in the month of June. I did read other books of other genres, but I will be highlighting and talking about them in my next book lover journals blog post.

  1. Spiritual direction by Henri Nouwen

This has to be one of the best Christian books that I have read in a while. This particular book went to great lengths in explaining so many things that have been a source of concern to me as a growing Christian.

This was not a full book written by Henri Nouwen, but according to the publishers, a collection of the essays that he wrote during his lifetime.

According to the author, the goal of spiritual direction, which is essentially having a community of Christians to guide you along the way in your spiritual life, is spiritual formation, which is the ever-increasing capacity to live a spiritual life from the heart. 

And he states that three disciplines or spiritual practices are useful as one engages in the spiritual direction relationship. These things are what will help to create space for God in our hearts. They are:

  • The discipline of the heart: Consists of introspection and contemplative prayer.


  • The discipline of the book: in which we look to God through the sacred reading of the bible and other spiritual writings.


  • The discipline of the church or community of faith: Requires us to be in a relationship with the people of God, witnessing to the active presence of God in history and community.

The author spends the rest of the book elaborating on the above listed and he stated a few insights that particularly stuck with me as I read the book.

  • Our lives are not problems to be solved but journeys to be taken with Jesus as our friend and finest guide.

  • Living into a new way of self-understanding and spiritual depth is aided by having a sturdy spiritual companion or soul friend.

  • To be a witness means to offer your own faith experience and to make your doubts and hopes, failures and successes, loneliness and woundedness, available to others as a context in which they can struggle with their humanness and quest for meaning.

  • Community is not some sentimental ideal place or time where everybody lives together, loves each other, and always gets along. That is never going to happen. Rather, in living together, we come to realise that community doesn’t require or offer total emotional harmony. It offers us the context where we try to love one another and receive the love and care of others.

  • If we want other people to give us something that only God can give, we are guilty of idolatry.

  • Finding a spiritual director begins with prayer.

If you are a Christian that is currently struggling and trying to grow in his or her spiritual life, I believe that this is for you. In fact, the title of the book is a bit limiting when looking at the amount of information and spiritual knowledge that can be found inside it. It has taught me some great life lessons and I believe that it will do the same for you as well.

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2. 13 things mentally strong people don’t do by Amy Morin 

This is a book that was written by a therapist who wrote it on the brink of trying to cope with a plethora of losses in her life. In the book, she highlights some key attributes that people who have been able to develop their mental strength, which she states is about improving your ability to regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner, despite your circumstances.

She states some things to note about mental strength, saying that it is not about acting tough, not about ignoring emotions, not about having to be completely self-reliant, not about positive thinking, and not about chasing happiness. She even goes as far as to say that it is not synonymous with mental health but is instead more about building a sort of mental resilience over the storms of life.

The author then proceeds to list out the 13 things that mentally strong people do not do. Six out of the thirteen that were really interesting and inspiring to me were:

  1. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves.

  2. They do not shy away from change.

  3. They do not focus on things that they cannot control.

  4. They do not resent other people’s successes.

  5. They do not fear taking calculated risks.

  6. They do not worry about pleasing everybody.

With each of the chapters, the author narrates stories of her clients that have battled with the issues and how they were able to overcome their difficulties in a way that is very motivational and pushes one to begin to think of ways of changing one’s life.

So, I do think that it is a very nice book and one that is worth reading by all.


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 3. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

I believe that this book can be stated to be the worthy predecessor to the sensational bestselling book titled, “Atomic Habits by James Clear”. Now, this does not mean that they both basically say the same thing. Even though they deal with the same issue of habits, they do have approaches that are a bit distinct, and to be honest, I found out learning more from Atomic Habits but enjoying The Power of Habit more.

This book is not just filled with tips such as the importance of understanding cues when it comes to being able to maintain habits, and being able to understand the environmental factors that may cause one to develop a habit and find it very difficult to let go of that habit, but is also filled with a lot of research and examples of the ways that countrywide or personal habits were able to be transformed by using the rules of habit change.

Essentially, according to the book, new habits are created by putting together a cue, a routine, and a reward, and then cultivating a craving that drives the loop. And the golden rule of habit change is that if we keep the same cue and the same reward, a new routine can be inserted.

This, according to the writer, was what was able to make a former addict and smoker completely transform her life, was able to bring America into the habit of brushing their teeth, was able to get a majority of the country to begin to like a new song that was once hated and so on.

The author also touches different other subject matters, like the idea of keystone habits, which are the habits that, when they start to shift, dislodge and remake other patterns. He also touches on the topic of willpower and habits, the concept of priming of the environment, habit tracking, and so much more.

It is a great read, if you are a person that loves to dive, not only into practical lessons but research, studies, and stories that prove the effectiveness of the lessons being taught but if you want a book that goes more straight to the point in terms of habit change, I would suggest that you read ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear. Both books are wonderful and very effective either way.

So there you have it, the books that I read during the previous month. What about you? What books have you gotten around to reading these past few months?

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