Over the last 20 years, each of us has read at least one self-help, success, financial freedom or empowerment books. It seems that each year there is a breakout theme or idea that dominates the bestseller lists. Here are 20 key success topics or themes that have been extremely popular over the last two decades. These types of research and publications may help you reevaluate and reinvigorate your life so that you can take yourself to the next level.
I hope that, by musing over this list, you set goals to attain health, happiness and prosperity in 2022.
1.) Get out of your comfort zone – This was a huge theme for about three years. To this end, numerous books have recently been published explaining that we need to learn new things, achieve new skills, try new experiences or adventures, and get past fear.
Try a new sport, drive and visit a new place, run a race, clean out the house, call an old or new friend. Do these types of actions to open your life up to new and exciting possibilities. Many of these books focus on getting fit, exercise & diet, yoga, Pilates, martial arts, and Tai Ch’i types of skills.
2.) Self Care – This theme sounds a bit "New Age" to many, but the theme in many books attempts to convey balance in life: between body, family, mind, work and spirit. Also, this genre of writing teaches folks to surround themselves with nourishing people, places and things. Other facets of this variety include letting go of bad relationships, letting go of addictions, and seizing upon a healthy lifestyle.
3.) Gratitude and Thankfulness – While this theme has been around since Buddha, Marcus Aurelius and Jesus, these newer books on this topic typically emphasize: exercises, examples, prayers and affirmations to help people shift to a consciousness of wholeness.
4.) Manifesting your destiny – This theme is about psychological project management. Brining your desires into reality using mind power, intention, purpose, planning, action, prayer, mindfulness, and task management. This aspect of self help demands a rigorous self-appraisal so that one can find out what isn’t working and seize upon principles that do work.
5.) Financial freedom, prosperity or wealth consciousness – Many books have used this type of title to explain topics regarding the mindset of super healthy people and high achievers.
Similarly, many best-selling books about attaining wealth area have a rudimentary focus on debt management and other financial-planning issues while other books teach skills in wealth management related to investing, passive income, taxation, retirement, and asset management. This theme also covers the areas of karma, the law of attraction, reaping and sowing, and how to cultivate healthy, winning beliefs.
6.) Habits of high performance – With Tim Ferriss’s new books, and with athletes like Tom Brady and Roger Federer and other high-performing older professionals, we live in an age where people are performing at higher levels for longer periods in life. Many professional sports stars are top ranked in their 30s and 40s. After Stephen Covey’s "7 Habits of Successful People" was rooted deply in character traits, it seems there has been a broader focus on habits that produce physical and brain performance in recent years.
7.) Rules for life – Besides mega-selling integrity-based books like: "12 Rules for Life" and "The Four Agreements," there are many other books in this category that have sold millions. If you look at the book “Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill” written in the 1930s and up to the present day, there has been a continuous focus on excellence and character.
8.) Being a 'BadAss' with Money, Work, Relationships, etc. – The books with spicy names like "Rich B****: A Simple Plan for Getting Your Financial Life Together ... Finally" started around 2013. Many, like the aforementioned, have curse words with an asterisk in the letters. There are lots of great badass-type books, but some just have titles that jump out at us. Some books have a voice that is from a feminine point of view, which I enjoy even more than the typical male author because of the perspective.
9.) Avoid and Ignore Idiots – These books are about avoiding people who constantly don’t support your dreams, family or other important aspects of your life. There are many books in this category. It is about getting free of "nega-holics" and bad energy.
10.) Psychological Intelligence – These books are about the different types of personalities and inner qualities that we all have. Some of us are more prepared emotionally to deal with different types of jobs, work, creativity, or relationships. These authors are dedicated to teaching people to make use of all parts of the mind -- to teach more people to learn persistence, resilience, fortitude, poise and enthusiasm.
11.) Power of Individuals, Hidden Talents, Introverts and Empaths – Many books expose that certain people have greater powers but may not be built for the typical business organization. Some of us work better with teams, groups, and large enterprises while others are born to work alone or in careers where there is just one key player. Even Dr. Peter Drucker said that you will know if you are built for big organizations within 2 to 3 years in the workforce. As such, small business is the backbone of the business world these days. Also many of these books have information about tapping into our prescience, intuition, and discernment abilities.
12.) Minimal-ization, Tidying Up, and Life Efficiency – Most people know that we can improve our lives if let go of a lot of junk, obligations, waste and bad habits. The art of streamlining our personal lives has been a big topic for decades. Further, there are many who can learn to live off of much less with a plan and budget while having more free time for joyful living.
13.) Diet, Gut Health, Micro Biome, Nootropics, Psychedelics, and Supplementation – There is vast new research on the mechanics of health. How what we feed our bodies affects the brain, physical attributes, and function. This theme is an ever-expanding field where there are many new diets and supplements that are used for focus, performance, health, and stress management.
14.) 2% Better & 'Hacking' – Many new books are about hacking the brain, hacking life or related topics. These publications are about getting an improvement of: performance, work, sleep, technology, and also secrets to outperform average people every day.
15.) Faith, God and Spiritual Techniques – These books are chiefly focused on helping people build a greater and more harmonious relationship with themselves and enabling a cooperative relationship with the “Energy and Spirit of the Universe” which many people typically call God.
16.) Life Lessons – These books are mainly about how to overcome obstacles, get past grief and hurts, put the past behind. This type of manuscript is also designed to facilitate a reboot or rebirth in: our lives, relationships, and careers.
17.) Creativity –These books teach us how to discover our purpose and express our creativity. In the end, we all want to do things which make us fell alive, but the tough part is finding or committing to that part of our lives.
18.) Mindfulness and Awareness – Everyone remembers when books like the "Power of Now" were released. There have been countless books published over the last 20 years about the art of contemplation, mindfulness, meditation, and awareness. This genre of writing also has examples, exercises, and even communities to join. Some of these books talk about diet, exercise, sleep, and related issues.
19.) Getting Past Ego and Fear - There have also been an untold number of books with an Eastern Philosophical twist of detachment and authenticity. These books discuss what Buddha and Meister Eckhart taught about minimizing attachment and minimizing our ego’s power while learning to put our authentic personality and spiritual life first.
20.) Brain Training and Consciousness - Many books teach people to raise their consciousness. Other books teach seekers how to train their brain, their consciousness, and their sub-consciousness. These teachings are to help people with better beliefs, better health, and better performance. There are also thousands of books, exercises and even software applications that help people in these areas.
In conclusion, this list of hot topics over the last 20 years is designed to be an inspirational guide to help people find great books or great new goals for themselves for the coming year 2022.
(Please note: This list does not include major themes before year 2000 as this set of bullet points focuses on the major themes of the 21st Century.)
George Mentz is an IBA (International Bar Association) award-winning author and law professor who has authored over 50 books and audio books in the areas of: management, philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, spirituality, leadership, economics and diplomacy. Amazon.com: George Mentz: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle
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