The last few weeks of a year can be a time for rest and relaxation, or it can be a time to regroup, reflect and re-position for your personal and professional goals in the year ahead. If you’re one who plans to spend your winter vacation time getting some mental fuel for the changes you’d like to make in 2013, here’s a hit list of development titles from this year that are certainly worth reading.

6. “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead,” by Brené Brown (Gotham Books, 2012). “Daring Greatly” is a manifesto about one of the most essential, most neglected, most human of qualities — vulnerability. It masterfully makes the case that truly living a great life is not possible without the courage and resilience that is possessed only by those who embrace the risks of being vulnerable.

5. “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength,” by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney (Penguin paperback, 2012). “Willpower” relates the explorations of research psychologist Roy Baumeister and New York Times science writer John Tierney into the world of willpower research and synthesizes them into entertaining, entirely usable insights we can all use to drive our own “productivity,” “fulfillment” and “happiness.”

4. “The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything and Living the Good Life,” by Timothy Ferriss (New Harvest, 2012). “The 4-Hour Chef” is Ferriss’ 700-page primer on how to learn to do anything you want to do at a world-class level, without the time, money or genes you might think it takes to truly excel at something.

3. “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business,” by Charles Duhigg (Random House, 2012). Renowned New York Times journalist Charles Duhigg takes a hybrid approach to illuminating the power of habit, and how we can all use that power to change our lives and our organizations. He breaks down the science of habits into the essential findings that hold the keys each of us can use to understand and systematically transform the habits that largely drive our lot in life, while offering a series of vivid stories from the business world and from the individual lives of relatable people to illustrate and inspire.

2. “Mastery,” by Robert Greene (Viking, 2012). Unlike the scads of writers and bloggers who have focused on short-circuiting the mastery process Gladwell first laid out, Greene’s “Mastery” seeks to expose a deeper flavor of mastery. “Mastery” is broken into six sections, all of which are both sprawling and deep, engrossing more than entertaining, latent as they are with the promise of inspiring and instructing every reader to become a master, too.

1. “Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life,” by Trevor Blake (BenBella Books, 2012). The elegant, yet exuberant, map to success that Blake draws in “Three Simple Steps” is prefaced by his own story of having watched his mother defy the doctors’ expectations for more than 14 years and through two different cancer diagnoses with little more than mental fortitude. After walking readers through  profound perspective shifts and actions they can take to reclaim and master their own mentalities to get and stay out of the emotional quicksands of defeat, depression and powerlessness, Blake shifts gears and spends the last third of the book instructing us on how to set intentions, rather than goals, and how to convert these intentions into reality.