9 Books To Help You Discover Your Personal Core Values

"A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people." — Will Rogers

I don't know about you, but I don't have access to a lot of the people with whom I want to spend time and from whom I want to learn.

Whether it's due to geography, scheduling conflicts, or the fact that they're super-famous (or even relatively famous), I've found that when it comes to learning specific skills or developing specific mindsets, my preferred teachers and mentors are not immediately accessible.

That's why I'm so grateful for reading: with a single click of a button or visit to my local library, I have at my fingertips all of the knowledge that they wish to impart on the world.

For the last few years, the books I've read have primarily been about values-based living: how to discover what you value, how to live according to what you value, and how to orient your life around what you deem important. Suffice to say, I've been borderline obsessed.

I recently distilled what I've spent the last five years absorbing into the Personal Core Values Discovery workbook, a 100%, no-email-required free download for women who are ready to start living their lives according to their own unique code. It's the foundational building block for everything in my repertory; call it required reading.

I'm biased; I'd love for you to download and complete the PCV Discovery workbook. And then I'd love for you to share it with your friends.

Barring that, here are 9 of the books that provided the knowledge that went into the Personal Core Values Discovery workbook.

9 Books to Help You Discover Your Personal Core Values

Sacred Success: A Course in Financial Miracles, Barbara Stanny: Chapter 5

On the surface, Barbara Stanny's Sacred Success looks like it's about money and wealth. In reality, it's a deeply spirit-based book on how to create a life of affluence based on what you truly value.

Notice I didn't say "wealth": while Stanny does focus on women who are earning six or seven figures, the overarching message is that a life worth living is rooted in intentional work based on what you value. Damn society's definition of success; you get to define it for yourself.

The Desire map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul, Danielle LaPorte

Desires, values ... for the purposes of this reading list, we're treating them as the same thing.

Less of a book and more of a full-spectrum program, The Desire Map is a series of exercises to help you discover your desired feelings and orient your goals and dreams around them. The bonus with The Desire Map is that there are licensed facilitators all over the world that run programs & workshops to help you dive deep into your desires. I recommend Katie Tassone's workshop, which is currently filling its waitlist.

The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, Jack Canfield: Chapter 2

The Success Principles doesn't focus on values, per se. It does, however, devote a chapter to discovering your life's purpose, the singular reason why you're here on this earth.

And a lot of your purpose is rooted in—yep, you guessed it—your values. What you believe in, what you want to bring to the world, your Big Why—they're all related to the qualities that you deem to be non-negotiably important.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown

If you're interested in theory, McKeown's Essentialism is right up your alley. The entire book focuses on distinguishing between what is important and what isn't—and the value of figuring out what is and isn't important to you.

French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure, Mireille Guiliano: Chapter 3

Now, why is a dieting book relevant to discovering your Personal Core Values?

Because the French recognize—or, at least, Mireille Guiliano recognizes—that one's weight and figure aren't necessarily about adhering to society's standards*. They're more about finding your own reasons for wanting to be slimmer, which are often rooted in your values.

*I say this with the full understanding that yes, the French do have strong societal standards of beauty that many women feel pressured to adhere to. Guiliano's philosophy disregards the social pressure and focuses on the inner reasons why one wants to lose weight, be slim, etc.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, Gary Chapman

The 5 Love Languages Chapman identifies in The 5 Love Languages—Acts of Service, Quality Time, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, and Receiving Gifts—are a powerful way to determine what you value. The book is both a diagnostic tool and an explanation of how to use this knowledge to orient your life around what you value; you can access the diagnostic tool at 5lovelanguages.com.

Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do, Chris Guillebeau: Chapter 2

Purveyor of Unconventional Living Chris Guillebeau is back with another book about work, this time about finding the specific work that you were meant to do in the world.

Chapter 2 of Born for This introduces the Joy-Money-Flow concept of finding your meaningful work; the Joy piece of this puzzle relates to those things that you enjoy, desire, and/or value. Guillebeau includes a short exercise on page 50 to help you discover your Joy, Money, AND Flow in one fell swoop.

The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood

Like the desires in The Desire Map, the passions in The Passion Test are being treated similarly to values.

The Passion Test focuses on helping you discover that which you are fully passionate about and aligning your life and your work around your passions.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Marie Kondo

Much like having a diet book on this list, it may seem a bit unrelated to have a book on organization in the mix, no matter how popular it is.

The thing is, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up isn't just about getting organized; it's about using organization as a way to determine what you truly value in life.

Over to you

Do you have any books that have helped you discover your Personal Core Values that you think should be on this list? Share them in the comments section below!

Are you ready to discover your Personal Core Values?

Download the Personal Core Values Discovery workbook for free. No email address required.

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Lynn Daue


Hi, I'm Lynn, and I firmly believe in living ON PURPOSE. Because truth moment? We always act in accordance to what we really want (whether we know it or not), so why not get aware and start choosing our own adventures?