PRP 281 | Personal Development Books


We always want to get our lives together and improve ourselves. That can be possible even with just reading books. In this episode, Juliet Clark shares her top five personal development books of 2023 that you must read to get your life together. These five books were company-produced in the last year and a half, which made an impact. Gretchen Hydo, Karie Cassell, Carrie Schell, Kevin Jones, and Sarah Carlson are the five authors of these personal development books. Find no excuses to tune in to this episode, and let’s join Juliet as she flips through this special episode for you.

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No More Excuses

Get Your Life Together with These Must-Read Personal Development Books of 2023

Hopefully, all of you guys got a lot of Amazon gift cards because I’m going to give you some ways to spend them. First, I want to get into author platform building and the new year 2024. It seems like we’re sliding a little bit into a recession, which, as a small business, I have dealt with before, so I do want to talk a little bit about that. Also, at the same time, 2024 is an election year. Small businesses always tend to struggle a little bit more in an election year because of the uncertainty in the marketplace. People aren’t willing to let go of their money until they know which direction it’s going.

With that said, the reason I want to address that in this episode is that means that your author platform-building tactics need to change in 2024. Everything needs to be more relationship-based instead of click-based. The reason I say that is because when it’s harder to get a sale or when it’s a little bit challenging to get people to let go of their money, that means you have to step up to the plate and build trust as you’ve never built it before.

Even though clicks, content, and all that build trust, what really builds trust is one-on-one relationships. It is people getting to know you, understanding that you’re going to care about the money that they’ve given you, and you’re going to care about them as individuals when they’re in your programs and when you sell them products and services. I want all of you guys to keep that in mind.

You have to do more in an economy like this, not less. Unfortunately, there’s that dichotomy of, “I have to do more, but I have less money to do it with.” It really does behoove you to rely on your platform, email list, appointment setting, lead generation, and getting out and meeting people like we probably haven’t done before in 2020.

People are not only aching for personal contact after we spent that time in lockdown but also want to know that you are a good person and a good fit. What used to be a smaller amount of money will become a big deal, so it’s going to be much harder. You’re going to have to work that much harder to get your clients. Think about how you’re going to work on that lead generation this year in 2024 and how you’re going to make it more relationship-based.

With that said, we do have Author Traffic School to help you get some of that set and going. If you haven’t already, you need that email list. You need an email copy. You need those landing pages. You need those lead magnets. You need those lead magnets to lead to something live where people can interact with more video content because that’s what people are getting into and also more live content.

You need those lead magnets to lead to something live where people can interact. Share on X

We find that every month, more people show up to our lives. They ask questions and get to know us. That’s really where it starts. It is finding that fine line between how many clicks, how much digital I need, and how I translate that into relationship building. This is no longer an area where those big, long funnels are going to work because you have to have enough digital to bring new people in but then have that way to transition. You cannot be the invisible author if you want to generate book sales and money.

Do you remember I said back at the beginning that I was going to give you a place to spend those Amazon gift cards you got for Christmas? I’m pretty committed to that. I’m going to talk about the five books that our company produced that made the most impact and recommend them to you. They’re all over the place when it comes to personal development, and that’s where I wanted to focus.

Break Free From Your Dirty Little Secret

I’m going to start out with Gretchen Hydo’s two books. She put two books together at the same time. The first one, the soft cover, is called Break Free from Your Dirty Little Secrets. The workbook companion is Tell Your Secret. When I get books in-house for publishing, I usually read the 1st or 2nd chapter. That’s mostly to recommend you to an editor and recommend what kind of edit so that I can talk to the editor in advance and say, “This needs a deep edit. The structure’s not great in the book.” Those are typically people who should have used a book developer upfront and didn’t. There are those others that need mild editing, like some grammar, some spelling, and some things mildly changed around.

I have to tell you. I knew Gretchen’s book was going to be good because of who she used for editing and book development. I knew it was going to be rock solid. When I got her book, I read the first chapter of Break Free of Your Dirty Little Secrets and was hooked. This is truly a manual where you go through and figure out those blocks that have been holding you back. Gretchen shares a lot of really transparent stories in this. Think about your childhood, those formative years, where someone told you a lot but you took it in as your own why.

PRP 281 | Personal Development Books

Personal Development Books: Break Free from Your Dirty Little Secret is a manual where you figure out those blocks holding you back. Think about it.

I’m going to give you guys a great example. Someone told me many years ago that I sucked at art, so I went to writing instead of drawing a painting. I have realized, because I’m selling paintings and took up painting, that somebody back in my childhood told me I wasn’t very good at something. It turns out I was, but I took on that lie forever. I have to tell you. Before I randomly took up my painting class because I wanted a new hobby, I drew stick people. I drew stick people because I thought I was really bad at this. It’s uncovering those little things. That’s not even a traumatic lie.

I’ll share another one with you that struck me until I grew up as well. When I was a child, my dad used to tell me I didn’t have common sense. He didn’t mean it to be mean. He meant it in the sense that his common sense wasn’t my common sense. As I grew older, I thought that I didn’t have any common sense. When I got into boardrooms, big meetings, and marketing meetings, I would come up with ideas. People would look at me and they’d go, “Why didn’t I think of that? Where did that come from?” That’s when I realized that there was a comment in my childhood that I took on as a lie, but I thought it was the truth.

I went through life thinking I didn’t have common sense, but when I look back, I realize that my father could pull anything apart. You give him a radio and say, “My radio’s not working.” He will pull that thing apart and it would work by the time you’re done. He could mechanically pull anything apart and put it back together.

Tell Your Secret Now

PRP 281 | Personal Development Books

Personal Development Books: Go back and identify those lies others may have accidentally or purposely told us that we took on as our truth.

The difference was I couldn’t mechanically do it. If you give me any sort of instructions for something mechanical, it’s like stereo instructions. I sit there and go, “Oh my God.” What I do is I can take part concepts in my head, organize them, and put them back out there in an organized fashion with ideas of how to proceed. That was my gift, and that is common sense. I don’t make things overcomplicated.

That’s what I loved about Gretchen’s book. It is going back and identifying those lies that others may have accidentally or on purpose told us that we took on as our truth. Once we start clearing those out, we become our more authentic selves. We become our more creative selves. That’s what I loved about Gretchen’s book. I also love that she had so many examples of really intimate things that we take on that hurt our relationships with ourselves and others.

Gretchen’s book is at the top of my list of those books you need in 2024. The companion, Tell Your Secret, is something that you can work through as you go along. Bridget’s books have exercises. They have ideas that really make you think. Gretchen’s book was probably the first book in a long time that I said, “Can you give me a week to look at this? I want to go through the entire book.” I thought it was one of the most helpful books I’ve ever encountered. On the top of my list are Gretchen Hydo’s Break Free of Your Dirty Little Secrets and Tell Your Secret.

Opening The Corporate Closet

Number two on my list is Kevin Jones’ Opening the Corporate Closet. Kevin is a leadership coach for the LGBTQ community and other communities as well. He doesn’t limit himself to that LGBTQ+ community. What he does share in his book is his journey as an executive at one of the top accounting firms in the world. Imagine being LGBTQ+ and walking into this very conservative business model.

He shares a lot of insight with leaders and HR people out there about not only how they can include the LGBTQ+ community into their leadership and growth positions but also help the LGBTQ+ community as a whole come out of that closet, embrace who you are authentically, run with it, and not have any fear that the corporate community is not going to hire you or not going to promote you.

PRP 281 | Personal Development Books

Personal Development Books: Come out of that closet. Embrace who you are authentically.

One of the really valuable things I learned from Kevin, and he has an upcoming webinar on this as well, is how many times the LGBTQ+ community has to come out. Let me give you an example. Someone comes out of the closet once. They come out to their family. They come out to their friends. They’re either accepted or not accepted. There is partiality there where they are and they aren’t. That’s not what truly happens when you’re in Corporate America. The first thing someone’s going to ask you is, “Are you married?” There’s that awkward, “Yes, and my husband is.”

That was one of the valuable things that I learned as a compassionate person that it is a little bit harder because there aren’t the norms. They have to come out every single day in a lot of different situations. Opening the Corporate Closet is a really valuable book for anybody who wants a better understanding of that community as well as what it’s like for them in Corporate America and life.

I love Kevin as a human being. I must admit that. If Kevin weren’t gay, we’d be a couple. Let’s put it that way. I adore him. What I love about it as well is there’s so much in the news that is angry about the LGBTQ+ community. They’re normal people like you and me. There isn’t all that anger there. They want to belong. That’s my number two pack.

Facing Financial Fear

My number three pack is Sarah Carlson’s book, Facing Financial Fears. Sarah is an investment advisor but also a coach for women, mostly tech women, in their 20s and 30s who haven’t thought about their objectives for retirement and who haven’t thought about their objectives on how they’re going to manage their money. This book has really great tips. Sarah has coaching that’s available.

I believe in this book enough that when my own 24-year-old daughter had questions about financing, rollovers, and, “Is this program the best program for me through my work at Whole Foods?” I sent her to Sarah. I truly believe that this is a book that every woman should read. Sarah has eight points that are things that are thoughtful.

PRP 281 | Personal Development Books

Personal Development Books: Facing Financial Fear is a book that every woman should read.

She’s getting people, especially women, who a lot of times don’t think about this stuff investing early and getting them thinking about that retirement late, like what they’re going to do with their life, how they’re going to use their money, how they’re going to use their impact later in life, and how they can do it. Fewer women are getting married. They have to think about their own investment choices versus the old days when husbands did that a lot. We’re a lot more independent than we used to be in that arena. Facing Financial Fears is number three on my list.

Number four is Karie Cassell’s book, The Domino Diet. If you guys are one of our Breakthrough Author Magazine subscribers, you know that Karie is one of our contributors. I brought Karie on because when you are an entrepreneur, there is a definite shift in work-life balance. You’re responsible for being, a lot of times, the revenue or that rainmaker in your own business. Owning your own business takes a lot more time and organization than a 9:00 to 5:00 job.

What Karie’s book does is highlight those areas where we’re not taking care of ourselves and we could do a better job. One of the things that I found valuable in her book when I was working with Karie is that every 120 days, our body rejuvenates. We have a whole new bunch of cells in our body. I took the challenge because I have to admit. I’m a total sugar whore. I will stand on a street corner for bonbons. Not really, but I feel like it some days.

The Domino Diet

PRP 281 | Personal Development Books

Personal Development Books: The Domino Diet highlights those areas where we’re not taking care of ourselves and where we could do a better job.

I took a four-month break from sugar. I had no sugar in my diet whatsoever. I have to tell you. When they say it’s a lot like heroin, I believe them because I had a really tough time about the first 10 to 15 days. I found some sugar spray on Amazon that was super helpful to get rid of those cravings. It was like withdrawals from a drug.

That’s what I love about Karie’s book. She talks about that. She talks about alcohol. She is a dietician so she knows all about this, but she makes it fun. It’s not like all of a sudden, you have to cut everything out of your life when you have a heart attack. Don’t wait. That’s the point of Karie’s book. Don’t wait until you have a medical emergency to get things going on the right track in your life.

When you are an entrepreneur, your exercise, eating, stress release, and everything is intertwined in that work-life balance as well. A lot of entrepreneurs struggle with work-life balance. I’m not one of them, I admit. Since COVID and Karie’s book, I have gotten a lot more intentional about what I put in my mouth and how I spend my time. That means that I take a day off every week and go golf, pickleball, or something really athletic that I love.

I’ve taken a painting because of it, too. If you’re thinking that you need a new diet in 2024, this book is amazing. You’ll probably see Karie’s contributing articles in our magazine to help you have that work-life balance a little bit more.   Most of our authors are entrepreneurs. That’s choice number four, Karie Cassel’s The Domino Diet.

The Grey Drinking Reset

Choice number five is so near and dear to my heart. I love this woman for what she’s doing. It’s Carrie Schell’s book. It is called The Grey Drinking Reset. If you find that you’re drinking a little too much, go by this book. Start on the program that she has in the book right away on the first of the year. On her website,, she also has a ten-day reset there as well. You’d be amazed in 10 days or 30 days how much taking a break from alcohol can change your life.

I did this years ago. I thought I had a drinking problem. That’s why this book is so near and dear to my heart. I see women drinking more and binge drinking. Especially with COVID, one of the things that happened was women in gray drinking. A lot of times, women will turn to wine or alcohol in general when they’re stressed. It starts out as that glass of wine with dinner and then it’s that bottle of wine for dinner time of mentality. That’s what I love about Carrie’s book. This reset is a way to get your mind clear and get some clarity.

PRP 281 | Personal Development Books

Personal Development Books: This reset is a way to get you some clarity.

I’m going to tell you some things that I experienced and why I supported this book so much. About 15 to 20 days into my gray drinking reset, I dropped 5 pounds. I woke up one morning five pounds lighter. The next week, I was five pounds lighter. The alcohol was holding the fat cells in my body in a way that I wasn’t losing weight. Think about it. A glass of wine is 100 calories. What if you’re drinking a bottle of wine a day? I mean the little bottle. I’m not talking about the box. I wasn’t the box of wine girl. All of a sudden, you are shedding 500 to 600 calories a day that you don’t need. That was the first thing.

The second thing was the clarity. All of a sudden, I had no hangover. My mind is clear. I’m functioning. I’m more productive. I’m more oriented towards my family. There are so many benefits when you give up drinking or even cutting back significantly. That’s what Carrie’s book does. For many of you who are going to wake up with a hangover on New Year’s Day, this could be a really valuable way. On her website,, you can grab the ten-day reset and start working. You can also follow her over on Instagram.

This is an amazing book that says that getting off drugs and alcohol will change your life. She knows that. She has worked with many different rehabs, so she knows the emotional problems. What’s even better about this is if you’re drinking for emotional reasons, once you get that clarity, you have no choice but to start healing those things that started you on the path to drinking, to begin with.

If you're drinking for emotional reasons, once you get that clarity, you have no choice but to start healing those things. Share on X

To recap, it is Gretchen Hydo’s Break Free of Your Dirty Little Secrets and Tell Your Secret. Number two is Kevin Jones’ Opening the Corporate Closet. Number three is Sarah Carlson’s Facing Financial Fears. Every woman should own this book. The Grey Drinking Reset was number four. Number five is Karie Cassell’s book, The Domino Diet. If you buy all of those books and start working on them, I guarantee your 2024 is going to be amazing. You won’t know. You’ll be tired of winning and doing great stuff. I can guarantee it.

For all of you, have an amazing, happy new year. Be safe and be really intentional about what your goals are for 2024. From the day 2024 hits, hit the ground running. Go to achieve those goals. Most of all, make sure your whole decorum is in alignment to get those goals achieved. You can’t be drinking. You can’t have a bad diet and achieve those goals. Most of the time, it’s not possible. You have to be in alignment with those intentions. Happy New Year. I’ll see you in 2024.


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