I recommend the following resources with the obvious caveat that I don’t agree with everything these people have written nor all the things they might recommend. But in general, these are some fine resources related to the general mission of Scientific Goals that will get you thinking.
Blogs and Email Newsletters
Oliver Burkeman’s “This Column Will Change Your Life” is most excellent, and might indeed change your life, or at least your thinking about personal change.
Eric Barker’s “Barking up the Wrong Tree” blog regularly posts entertaining and fascinating psychological research applicable to personal change.
Annie Murphy Paul’s The Brilliant Report keeps me up to date on relevant research on learning and how to become smarter.
A “fortnightly email” research digest from the British Psychological Society provides much nutritious food for thought.
The unique blog B-boy Science from Tony Ingram shares a similar mission, although more oriented towards science-based approaches to fitness, healing from injury, and other applications that apply to dancers (b-boys are more commonly known as breakdancers).
I wrote quite a few popular articles critical of personal development and culture for the group blog Beyond Growth from about 2009-2013 and still occasionally write things there. The line of thinking I was developing at the time lead me to this project. Now I’m doing less cursing the darkness and more lighting of candles however.
Spend 10-20 hours reading Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development [Amazon affiliate link] by Carol Dweck. It will change your life. Skip her other, fluffier book Mindset and go straight for the hard stuff. Very readable.
A very difficult read (I had to completely skip some chapters and I’m still not done with it), but very important with regards to mental health, stress, and personal change is The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation [Amazon affiliate link] by Stephen Porges.
Dan Siegel’s Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology: An Integrative Handbook of the Mind [Amazon affiliate link] is a unique reference book that is much easier to read than Porges’ Polyvagal Theory but covers similar territory. Highly recommended for psychotherapists and other people in the field of personal change. This book doesn’t have references to studies to make it a slimmer, easier to read volume (which will still never be a NY Times bestseller), but Siegel’s other works make up for that. A very holistic approach to understanding human beings in a bio-psycho-social model based in interdisciplinary research.
A few of the articles (Chapters 38 and 39 in particular) in The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance [Amazon affiliate link] are very relevant to anyone interested in reaching expert levels in some domain. I recommend skipping pop psych books like Outliers and Talent is Overrated and reading this instead, since this is the primary source from which those other books were written. Unfortunately the handbook is very expensive, and the rest of the articles aren’t as relevant to the non-researcher.
Thomas Hurka’s The Best Things in Life: A Guide to What Really Matters [Amazon affiliate link] is a highly readable, enjoyable book on practical ethics and the good life.
NLP is a set of practical models and methods for effective personal change and communication. Not all trainings and trainers are equal however (and some are evil).
I’m obviously biased, but my #1 recommendation for NLP practitioner training is to train online with me through the iNLP Center.
If you want to learn some skills but don’t need a full practitioner training, you can get a few Mastery Mentoring sessions with me.
If you can get to Colorado, I’d recommend NLP of the Rockies for practitioner and master practitioner trainings.
I love the approach to fitness that Gold Medal Bodies [affiliate link] takes. GMB produces gymnastics-inspired programs for non-gymnasts, encouraging a growth mindset towards learning new movement skills for people of all ages. This provides an alternative to fitness as painful self-punishment or winning-at-all-costs competition, making training something you simply do for fun. Whether you do their programs or not, it’s worth getting on their email list to soak up their philosophy towards training.
The NLP Research and Recognition Project aims to get NLP methods studied and tested rigorously as well as bring about recognition for the effectiveness of such methods clinically (in psychotherapy and other change work). I am extremely enthusiastic about what these folks are doing.