3 books I wish I had read in my teens

As someone who loves to learn and is curious about a lot of things, I couldn’t tell you how many books I’ve gotten through (or at least, ahem, partially gotten through) in the past.

(I also recently succumbed to joining the Kindle brigade, after much resistance & deliberation.)

However, there have been a select few books that have really hit me, once I wished had existed whilst I was an angsty teenager. In fact, the 3 I have selected didn’t even exist when I had left school, nor even whilst I was at university.

Here they are:

1. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth (2016)

This is the one I have read most recently and wow did it hit me. Angela’s work actually came up whilst studying my Masters in Positive Psychology, she has become known as the eminent spokesperson on “grit”. Linked to the notion you might have heard of called the “growth mindset” (as opposed to a “fixed mindset), Grit displays Angela’s array of qualitative and quantitative research (interviews and data), which compellingly conclude that ‘talent’ is overrated at best and a myth at worst, and that hard work and perseverance go a lot, lot further than we have been led to believe. Reassuring, inspiring and potentially life-changing.

2. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain (2012)

This book is infamous, a cult classic amongst introverts all over the world. Many of us consider it our Bible, I’m surprised I don’t have a copy by my bedside. But no, on a serious note, both the book and TED Talk came from the legendary lady known as Susan Cain, who is single-handedly responsible for millions of us having our introvert “a-ha!” moment.

Introverts aside, I feel it’s a book everyone should read, and gosh I wish it had existed whilst I was at school and felt so utterly alien. Ahhh, if only I had known back then…

3. The $100 Startup, by Chris Guillebeau (2012)

Between 2013 and 2015, I migrated from self-help nooks to more of the entrepreneurship/freelancer/do work you care about-type books, as my dissatisfaction with my sales job in the City grew. A handful of these books sprouted up around this sort of time, but the one that stands out was that of Chris Guillebeau. As it happens, Chris is a self-confessed introvert who has shared in his email newsletter that he has also had his own mental health struggles in the past. He also runs an amazing conference in Portland, Oregon, called World Domination Summit, which I was fortunate to attend back in 2016.

This book introduced me to the whole notion of solopreneurship and being your own boss and, perhaps more importantly, helped to feel like it was more possible and accessible to regular, little me, through the many stories and interviews shared across its pages. It helped me realise what was possible, and set me on my way to the freelance/solopreneur that I am, today.

I would urge you to get your hands on these books, or the e-book/Audible versions, if you are able to.

If you have read any of these already, I’d love to know what you thoughts of them. It’d also be great to hear about other books you have read which have done a lot for you, or hit your soul like the above did mine 🙂


Jas, creator @ the INFP club