11 Books That Changed My Life
Today I thought I'd do something a bit different. I want to share with you some of the books that have had a profound influence on me and have truly changed how I view the world.
I am an avid reader; I'll read just about anything. But some books have had a profound impact on my life and worldview, so I thought I'd share them here. I can highly recommend each of them. Click on the image for the Amazon link.
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach
I first read Illusions when I was a teen. I attended church as a child; my family was fairly religious, and the stories I heard in church never made sense to me. So when I came across a copy of this book, it was like a balm for my soul. Finally, somebody wrote something about Spirit that somehow felt right.
I've read this book dozens of times over the years. It's the tale of Donald Shimodo, an everyday messiah who gives up on the job and decides to teach it to someone else.
There is much wisdom in this beautiful book, and every time I re-read it, I find something new.
I Need Your Love Is That True by Byron Katie
I recommend Byron Katie books to people a lot. She teaches about non-attachment and how to set aside the stories you tell yourself through a process of self-questioning she calls inquiry. You'll learn the process and see it in action as Katie walks you through examples from her own work.
This book fundamentally changed how I understood my own judgments about self and others. I have read it multiple times and still use the process of inquiry regularly when I'm struggling with a relationship or when I find myself fighting what is. I also highly recommend Loving What Is by Byron Katie, which is in the same vein. I've given copies of both of these books to many, many people.
Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping
I suspect we can all use a little help with forgiveness--both of self and others. In Radical Forgiveness, Colin Tipping explains why forgiveness is so important for peace and offers a 5-step process for forgiving anyone, including yourself.
Forgiveness of anyone is ultimately an act of self-love and self-care, as holding on to anger only hurts the person who is angry. If you struggle with forgiveness in your life, this book can help.
Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher
This is another book I've gifted to a lot of people. In Refuse to Choose, Barbara Sher identifies a group of people with a personality type she calls "scanners." Scanners are people who jump from interest to interest...everything interests them.
People with scanner personalities (me!) often have trouble focusing in on one thing, and thus often either experience a ton of FOMO or have trouble settling on and finding their path in life because it's hard for them to find their "one thing."
Sher offers strategies and points out rightly that there's nothing wrong with being that way, nor do you have to choose that one thing. She also offers strategies for living a purpose-filled life if you do have a scanner personality.
Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss
This was my introduction to medical intuition, energy healing, and the chakra system. I read it many years ago, and return to it again and again.
In the book Myss describes the energetic connection between body, mind, and spirit and offers a framework for identifying the roots of dis-ease in the body as well as providing insights into how to begin to heal by doing deep personal work to create harmony and balance in your life.
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
This powerful book is a must-read for every woman, person who identifies as female, or people who love a woman. So basically everyone.
It's a deep dive into the collective feminine subconscious. While it has been years since I read it, the book has stuck with me. It is a deeply powerful and empowering book that explores the feminine psyche and encourages women to be the bold, daring, profoundly powerful creatures we were born to be.
Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger
I actually read a lot about health and nutrition, how nutritional philosophy was formed, and the scientific studies that show our current food recommendations may not be all they are cracked up to be.
In this book, journalist Denise Minger explores the food pyramid, how it came to be, and where it goes wrong. It's an engaging and fascinating read that can help inform your food choices so you can live a healthier life. She also explains the current health crisis in the Western world and why, when we eat according to food pyramid recommendations, cases of obesity and type 2 diabetes soar.
Journey of Souls by Michael Newton, PhD
Michael Newton (retired) was a practicing therapist who used regression hypnotherapy with his clients to help them work through trauma. One day in a hypnotherapy session with a client, that person suddenly slipped into a past life, and then into a life between lives. This was the start of Newton's life between lives (LBL) hypnotherapy work.
In Journey of Souls (and his follow up book, Destiny of Souls), Newton offers case studies from his thousands of LBL sessions to paint a portrait of who we are as souls, why we embody, and what we do when we aren't in human bodies.
Jesus for the Non-Religious by John Shelby Spong
Bishop John Shelby Spong explores the historical life of Jesus in this powerful book. In it, he lays bare the many myths about Jesus, how they came to be, and where the Bible and traditional Christian teachings veer away from the actual man who was later became known as Jesus Christ.
In doing so, Spong argues that the man who walked the earth, Jeshua, wasn't born to greatness, but rather became great through acts of compassion throughout his life.
I was raised in the church and always felt like there was something wrong with me that I couldn't believe what everyone else seemed to believe so freely. Because of my early life in the church, for much of my adulthood I believed (and often said) that faith was the primary struggle of my life. Bishop Spong's book (and other books written by Biblical scholars) about the historical life of Jesus, helped me come to terms with my departure from the church and its beliefs. If you've struggled similarly, I recommend this book. Through Spong's work, I have come to admire the man around whose life and acts of compassion the church of my childhood was founded on.
Mistakes Were Made (but not by me) by Carol Tarvis & Elliot Aronson
Carol Tarvis and Elliot Aronson will take you on a journey into the human psychic. In Mistakes Were Made, the authors explain in clear language why humans can justify to themselves even their worst choices and behaviors in an attempt to eliminate the cognitive dissonance that arises when we do something that goes against the belief, "I'm a good person."
We all do it. So being aware that we do and why is important if we wish to change behaviors we don't like. The book is a fascinating read and can help you better understand yourself and others.
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
Yeah - it's another food and nutrition book, but hear me out. Gary Taubes, a medical journalist, has done extensive research into nutrition science. In this book, he explains how certain foods trigger insulin, a metabolic hormone that prompts fat storage.
Good Calories, Bad Calories completely changed the way I think about food. It also gave me clarity about my food choices, helping me to understand when I'm eating something that supports my health and when I'm not. That doesn't mean I make perfect food choices, but when I choose certain foods, I know what I'm in for and how my body will respond.