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New year, new you: Best self-improvement books

Lisa Steinke, with Liz Fenton, is the co-author of the debut chick lit novel l'll Have Who She's Having and the popular Chick Lit blog chicklitisnotdead.com.

Books for a better you in 2013

New Year's is just days away. And if you're like most, you have at least one resolution. So we've found the best books that will motivate you to up your game in 2013.

Grace, Gold and Glory by Gabrielle Douglas

Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith
by Gabrielle Douglas

If this 16-year-old Olympic gold medalist isn't motivating, I don't know what is. At the 2012 games, Gabrielle Douglas won not just a medal but also a spot in the hearts of Americans as she proved herself to be a crucial member of the women gymnastics team.

In her autobiography, Douglas shares her personal story of how her determination helped her reach her dreams of Olympic gold. This is a book for anyone (adults and kids alike) who wants to take a leap of faith or a risk or to step out of their comfort zone and reach new heights in their life. It's one of the most inspiring books I've read and will definitely motivate anyone to stick to their resolutions this year.


Pocket Your Dollars by Carrie Rocha

Pocket Your Dollars: 5 Attitude Changes That Will Help You Pay Down Debt, Avoid Financial Stress, and Keep More of What You Make
by Carrie Rocha

The statistic is startling. Over 60 percent of households live paycheck to paycheck. Why is this? Popular financial blogger Carrie Rocha, founder and owner of PocketYourDollars.com who personally overcame her own debt, explores this question and gives you step-by-step advice for how to save money in 2013.

In each of her chapters, she uses a real-life example of how to overcome major financial pitfalls. So anyone with the goal of tightening her wallet in the new year willl find Pocket Your Dollars incredibly helpful (and let's face it, that's pretty much everyone, right?)

Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes
Mastermind by Maria Konnikovaby Maria Konnikova

Have you ever thought about how your mind organizes information? Have you ever wished you could access that data more quickly? Could recollect it easier? Or have you simply wanted to think more clearly at key moments?

Well, this fascinating book by psychologist and journalist Maria Konnikova is the perfect read for you. She starts with the concept of "brain attic" — her metaphor for how we organize our mental information — and then provides you with tools for clearer thinking (what a wonderful thing that would be!) and deeper insights.

She touches on methods for making astute observations and logical deductions, as well as on how being self-aware can enhance these same methods, sharpening your perceptions and assisting with solving difficult problems.

Throughout her book, while drawing on 21st-century neuroscience and psychology, Konnikova uses the world's most famous detective as a touchstone for upgrading the mind. This book is an absolute must if you're in the market for training yourself to think more like Sherlock Holmes.

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