There are so many ways to start your resolution journey – sign up for a gym membership, if you are trying to lose weight; talk to a financial advisor to get on the path to fiscal wellness or enroll in a class to better educate yourself, if you want to be smarter in 2014. One of these options may be in your future, but if you want to get started with no investment, you can look no further than your local library. See below on what you can read to jump start your new self in the New Year.

By Nicole Loughan

Get your financial house in order

The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Clason. This book has some of the best money saving advice around, and you have probably heard it before, but something about the way in which this book gives it to you is truly memorable. Clason does not just tell you to save money, ala Suze Orman, he teaches you about what it means to save through a series of delightful short stories set in ancient Babylon. The stories are educational and talk to you about saving your gold pieces, leather and goats, but the quaint setting resonated and translated well to current money saving problems. Though the advice in Babylon was originally written almost 100 years ago it still rings true today. The general idea is to save 10% of your money, give away 10% of your money, reduce your debt by 10% and live on the other 70%. How can you have more money and give 10%? You will have to read it to find out.

Feel smarter next year

Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. Reading Malcolm Gladwell books make me feel smarter. They certainly give me smart sounding talking points at dinner parties. This book is about what it takes to be an outstanding person. It explores those people in our society who have made it big and what it took for them to get there. Bill Gates is one of the case studies and it was fascinating to learn Gates was smart but he was also in the right place at the right time. Outliers gives quick punchy bits of information, such as, ” it takes 10,000 hours of practice at anything to be truly great”. You also learn that even if you see somebody who appears to have a natural talent and aptitude for something, it was likely shaped by where they were born or possibly the month in which they were born. It was an interesting book, which I hear quoted frequently now that I have read it.

Shed a few pounds

The Digest Diet, by Liz Vaccariello. I had good luck with this book. It was heavy on soups and shakes to kick-off your weight loss. It worked wonders, helping me drop 12 pounds right away and included easy recipes for tasty soups, like the chicken and pumpkin seed. It also introduced me to the wonders of kale. I would recommend it for people without kids though; my kids refused to eat kale soup. They didn’t even want to be in the same room as it. I did the kick-off period in the book, which helped me attain my short-term goal, though I did have to make separate meals.

Do what you love next year

Five Minute Business, by Mark Middo. This book gives advice on how to plan and start a web based business. Not just any business but a business you are passionate about. It starts with an exploration into the nature of work and how people are getting bogged down in debt and fear keeping them from following their dream. The book gives sound and actionable advice for how to find contractors to help you create your business with very little capital. I used much of the advice when starting my own website and it did the trick. Give this book a try if you want to follow your passion in 2014.

Nicole Loughan is a professional writer and author. She loves mystery, humor and a little romance. Her books are packed with what she loves and are available through her website