Nonfiction Audiobooks to Help You With Your Resolutions

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Kim Ukura

Staff Writer

Kim Ukura is a book lover, recovering journalist, library advocate, cat mom, and lover of a good gin cocktail. In addition to co-hosting Book Riot’s nonfiction podcast, For Real, and co-editing Book Riot’s nonfiction newsletter, True Story, Kim spends her days working in communications at a county library system in the Twin Cities area. Kim has a BA in English and journalism from a small liberal arts college in Minnesota, and a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. When not getting to bed before 10 p.m., Kim loves to read nonfiction, do needlework projects, drink tea, and watch the Great British Baking Show. Instagram: @kimthedork Twitter: @kimthedork

This list of nonfiction audiobooks is sponsored by Penguin Random House Audio.

HOLIDAYS ARE HAPPIER WITH AUDIOBOOKS. Make your holiday travels, errands, cooking sessions, and all the rest more enjoyable by listening to an audiobook. From bestsellers, to thrillers, to self-care, you can find the perfect listen for any moment. Give yourself the gift of audio this holiday season.

Setting out to write about audiobooks to help with New Year’s resolutions is a little intimidating—people can have so many different goals, how can one list of books possibly help with all of them?

To get around that fear factor, I tried to pick books that weren’t tied to specific resolutions, but rather books that can help you find the motivation and perspective to follow through on whatever resolutions you’ve made. And, in some case, books that offer permission to stop caring about what other people think and let go of the pressure we all put on ourselves.

Nonfiction audiobooks for setting and keeping resolutions. Get and keep those new habits you desire! audiobooks | nonfiction audiobooks | great audiobooks | audiobooks for self-improvement | self-improvement audiobooks

The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith

In this book, an instructor in positive psychology lays out four pillars of a meaningful life—belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence—to explore how to find personal meaning in a secular world. In addition to her researched-based arguments in favor of practices many other books suggest, Emily Esfahani Smith brings brings these concepts to life through real-world stories about people and places that have worked to build a culture of meaning despite significant challenges and loss.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

Brené Brown is a prolific writer who has newer books than this one, but I think Daring Greatly is one that can resonate with nearly everyone. In the book, Brown “dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and argues that it is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage.” She also explores how vulnerability is part of difficult emotions like grief and disappointment, as well as the place where we get to emotions like joy and empathy. This is a good one!

The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu

In 2015, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama spent a week together in India trying to answer one of life’s big questions: how do we find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering? This book collects their conversations during that week, as well as current research on the science of happiness and the daily practices that each one employs in their lives to help find joy and meaning.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Letting go of what other people think is a hot topic in nonfiction. In this book, Mark Mason argues that our lives don’t get better when we learn to make lemonade out of lemons. Rather, we need to learn to stomach the lemons—understand our limitations, embrace our faults and uncertainties, and learn to move on from there.

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris and Jeffrey Warren

In his first memoir,  10% Happier, Dan Harris wrote about how an on-air anxiety attack prompted him to focus on meditation as a way to tame the voices in his head. In this book, Harris and his friend Jeff Warren “embark on a cross-country quest to tackle the myths, misconceptions, and self-deceptions that stop people from meditating.”

Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang

After his first attempt to pursue his dream as an entrepreneur was rejected, Jia Jiang set out to get better at taking rejection. For 100 days, he “willfully sought rejection on a daily basis,” asking for ridiculous things just to see what might happen. In this book, he shares “secret of successful asking, how to pick targets, and how to tell when an initial no can be converted into something positive,” and how to survive rejection when it inevitably comes.

The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.

In this book, a Stanford University psychologist looks at the science of self-control and how we can use better self-control in all areas of life. The book includes research from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine to explore what willpower is and why it matters. And since the book is based Kelly McGonigal’s successful online course, the audiobook is sure to be excellent.

Deep Work by Cal Newport

In a world dominated by Twitter, email, and text messages, finding the space to think can feel like it comes at a premium. In this book, Cal Newport makes the argument that the ability do “deep work” is a talent to cultivate, then offers a “ rigorous training regimen … for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.”

Stunt Memoirs - Year of YesYear of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

After realizing that her full life still didn’t leave her satisfied, Shonda Rhimes resolved to spend a year saying yes to everything that scared her. While many of the yes activities Rhimes had to take on—delivering a commencement address or attending an awards gala—aren’t everyday activities, this memoir is still a joy. Rhimes is smart, encouraging, badass, and funny in the best possible way.

Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

The Charles Duhigg book that most often makes lists like this one is his first, The Power of Habit, but this one is great too. The book focuses on eight key concepts of productivity to understand how the most productive people and companies work. This book is less about why we do things, and more about how we can do those things better.

Still looking for more? These previous Book Riot posts may have suggestions more to your liking: