10 Must-Read Books About Letting Go and Moving On

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Why is it important to learn to let go? How can you put the pains of the past behind you? 

We all carry things that weigh us down—grudges, blame, painful memories, emotional burdens, or attachments to the things that are no more. The inability to let go of the things that don’t serve us traps us in a state of stagnation and prevents us from turning the page and moving on with our lives. 

If this sounds like you, check out our roundup of the best books about letting go and moving on.

The Power of Letting Go

Clinging is an unhealthy psychological tendency that harms no one but yourself. When we cling to the things that weigh us down, we become stuck, unable to fully move forward with our lives. 

By learning how to let go, you can significantly improve your emotional and psychological well-being. The following books about letting go can help you learn how to rid yourself of longing and clinging to anything that doesn’t serve you anymore. 

The Untethered Soul

In The Untethered Soul, spiritual teacher Michael A. Singer, founder of the Temple of the Universe meditation center and a pioneering figure in the world of medical software, teaches you how to use your direct self-knowledge as an intuitive tool for spiritual awakening. Combining powerful principles with practical techniques, he shows you how to let go of false identities and live an enlightened life of peace, joy, creativity, and divine love.

Loving What Is

In Loving What Is, best-selling author and spiritual teacher Byron Katie argues that you don’t have to resign yourself to living in a constant state of misery. She explains that life experiences don’t cause emotional pain, only resistant thoughts that judge experiences as somehow wrong or unwanted. Therefore, releasing resistant thoughts allows you to accept and feel at peace with life, no matter what happens.

Good Vibes, Good Life

In Good Vibes, Good Life, Vex King argues that the key to living your dream life is to have good vibrations or “good vibes.” When you put out good vibes like gratitude and joy, you attract good vibes back; however, when you put out bad vibes like resentment, regret, or impatience, you’ll attract bad vibes and consequently experience more hardships. The key to happiness, King argues, is letting go of the things that negatively impact your vibes. 

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is a parable centered on Julian, a hotshot-lawyer-turned-monk, and his former colleague John. Julian shares with John what he’s learned from studying with a near-mythological group of monks in India who know the secrets to enlightenment. His lessons teach how to live a simple, fulfilling, and happy life.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

In The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson argues that we are frustrated in life and feel like failures because we value and prioritize the wrong things, thanks in part to society’s emphasis on positive thinking, over-involved parents, and our susceptibility to superficial social media messages. Mark’s solutions are counterintuitive and include: be wrong, fail, tolerate feeling bad, accept pain, practice rejection. Because we can’t care equally about everything, we need to focus on what brings us happiness and meaning and let go of the rest. 

The Power of Now

The Power of Now proposes that the only way to reach true peace and fulfillment is through being completely present in each moment you experience. There is a part of our mind, called the ego, that derails us by ruminating on the past, speculating about the future, clinging to our painful experiences, and insisting that we will be happy and fulfilled if we can just achieve this goal.

Radical Acceptance

In Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach, a practicing psychologist and devout Buddhist, discusses how we can use the meditative practice of Radical Acceptance to live our lives more fully by always bringing our full attention to the present moment and accepting it for what it is. You’ll learn how we get trapped in the stories we tell ourselves, and how Radical Acceptance can bring us out of the trance.

The Gifts of Imperfection

Released in 2010, The Gifts of Imperfection is a New York Times bestseller by researcher, speaker, and author Brené Brown. The book explores the theory and practices behind “Wholehearted living”: a concept Brown devised after years of research into shame, vulnerability, and self-worth. According to Brown, living Wholeheartedly will help you let go of striving for perfection and cultivate worthiness: the conviction that you are good enough as you are and that you deserve to be loved.

It Didn’t Start With You

In It Didn’t Start With You, Mark Wolynn says the source of your suffering may lie hidden in your unconscious, where traumas from your past—and your family’s past—are stopping you from being truly happy and free. Wolynn shares the latest research to reveal how traumas get passed biologically from one generation to the next. He also describes how you can uncover and let go of deeply-rooted trauma by applying his unique therapeutic approach. By doing so, he says, you can reprogram your body, stop suffering, and start living a life you love.

What Happened to You

In What Happened to You?, Oprah Winfrey and renowned psychiatrist Bruce D. Perry discuss how childhood trauma can have a severe and lasting impact on the brain—and thus our worldview, health, and behavior—sometimes without us even realizing it. They discuss why the developing brain is so susceptible to trauma, why trauma survivors often experience flashbacks, and why it’s so important to let go of your trauma to live a healthy and happy life. They also describe how to begin the healing process with compassion for yourself and others.

Final Words

Holding on to things that don’t serve you anymore can wreak significant havoc on your well-being and close you off from new experiences. If you have a tendency to cling to unresolved issues and ruminate over memories, you need to learn to let go. If you want to learn how to let go in a healthy way, reading books about letting go is a good starting point. 

If any of these books piqued your interest, you are in luck because you are just a few clicks away from diving into their wisdom. Check out the summaries of the best books about letting go in the Shortform library.

10 Must-Read Books About Letting Go and Moving On

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Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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