Welcome to my virtual book shelf! I can’t count the number of times someone has tipped me toward a book they thought I might like, only to read it and love it. I thought I’d offer these titles as some that have been a big help to me, just in case they may be of benefit to you, too.
The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) – A powerful and enchanting little novel about a shepherd boy named Santiago who leaves his homeland in pursuit of his Personal Legend. Along the way, he encounters a series of circumstances and individuals, all of which seem to ultimately fit together into shaping his journey exactly as it is meant to me. The passage toward the end of the story, when The Alchemist suggests to Santiago what would be likely to happen were he to settle and turn back, left me breathless and near tears. I highlighted that entire page. It’s a beautiful, soul-stirring gem of a book. I only wish I’d read it much sooner than I did.
The Art of Living (Bob Proctor) – This handy little volume seems to be a transcript of Bob speaking, perhaps from the stage or drawn from interviews. Wherever it was taken from, I don’t care. I just know that I really, really like it. Reading this book feels like you’re visiting with Bob. I can hear his voice coming off the pages and into my ears. I was smiling and laughing right from the start. I love how, by page 8, he is already reinforcing the idea that you don’t have to do anything; it’s all choice. It’s an easy read and a fabulous little book. I go back to it often.
The Big Leap (Gay Hendricks) – This book is where I first read about the idea of a ULP: an ‘Upper Limit Problem.” It was the first I remember about hearing the suggestion that we are subconsciously manifesting our own stumbling blocks. That’s a difficult thing to accept at first, but once you have tuned into it and become aware of it and even just got yourself willing to ask what patterns are continuing to repeat themselves in your life, it provides an incredible gateway to influencing your experience more toward how you hope it will be. The parts about living in your Zone of Genius is important as well. I have been trying to get there ever since I read this book, which I have since gone over several times and I highly recommend it.
Blink (Malcolm Gladwell) – Gladwell’s highly intriguing book illustrates pretty clearly that we don’t necessarily know what we think we know. I enjoyed every word of this book, and couldn’t possibly recall the number of times I’ve suggested a client give it a look. In my years as a marketing and advertising consultant, I would forever hear business owners explain how they knew what advertising works and what does not because they, “Ask every customer how they heard about us.” Has anyone ever asked you that? Ever? And second of all … people don’t know. They may think they know, but very likely, they don’t. “Blink” makes a great case for that and so much else. If you’re in business, read it. You won’t regret it.
Conscious Golf (Gay Hendricks) – It’s funny how life works out. This was the first book that I ever read by Gay Hendricks. Little did I know at the time that he would turn into one of my most trusted and valued advisors, even though he and I have not yet met, at least at the time of this writing. This book was recommended to me by one of the sales reps I dealt with in my time is the manager of a stock car track. He was, and probably still is, enthusiastic about golf. But he told me that this book had just as much to do about business and life as it did about golf. He was right. There are so many wonderful lessons in this book about being in a state of completion, being in rhythm with life, such as that golf swing is a very natural act and that nothing happens until there is some kind of action. In golf terms, the ball doesn’t go anywhere until it gets in the way of the swing (the natural, fluid act). I also love the idea that there is no such thing as a good shot or a bad shot. There is only the next shot. So there is no sense burning energy thinking about something that hasn’t happened yet or doing any thing more than taking care of what’s right in front of you. The next step will be revealed. What a fabulous little booked this is. Go get it! And if you like golf, more’s the better
Conscious Living (Gay Hendricks) – I can’t possibly say enough about this book. For me, it was the right book at the right time. I wrote an article about what this book meant to me at one of the most difficult times of my life. You can read that article here. The whole thing is just jammed with worthwhile information, but the passage I keep coming back to is the one that says, “Life teaches us with a sledgehammer if we refuse to pay attention. It administers the same lesson with a feather tickle if we show a willingness to learn.”
Five Wishes (Gay Hendricks) – This book changed my life. It came along at a time when I felt that everything I had worked toward to that point had fallen away. I asked myself the question that this book poses: If you imagine yourself at the end of your life and you’re looking back, ask yourself, was it a success or was it not? And if it was not, why not? I began to choose differently pretty much from that point forward. And when I look back at the handwritten notes that I made at that time which are still folded up and in the sleeve of that book, I am amazed at how my life has changed in the time since. Even if you don’t read this book, I hope that you will ask yourself the question that it poses and if you feel as if you will get to the end of your days with regrets if you stay on the trajectory that you are on now, that you will take some kind of step, any kind of step, to correct that now while you can. Good luck.
The Four Agreements (Don Miguel Ruiz) – This book was given to me by a friend and colleague at work late in 2014. It is a quick, simple but impactful book that helped me to feel as if I had finally turned on a light switch after sitting in a dark room for most of my life. I have become, I believe, a much better human being and I’m certainly enjoying my life much more than ever before in the time since I read this fabulous little volume. I would like to see it be required reading and understanding in every school, everywhere. I believe the result would be a much more emotionally mature society after a few more generations.
Good to Great (Jim Collins) – If I were running a business, I would want to know what it was that made certain businesses perform well above the average for a sustained period of time. This book is a great place to start. It’s a treasure-trove of experience and ideas about business success that fly in the face, somewhat, of the popular notion of blustery bosses and CEOs and power-hungry, bottom-line-driven companies. The Hedgehog Concept, Level 5 Leaders, the Plow Horse … These are all things that are just wound into my entrepreneurial DNA thanks to this wonderful book.
The Healing Code (Dr. Alexander Lloyd) – I confess I can’t remember where I first heard of this book, but it absolutely fascinated me once I had my hands on it. Though it speaks about a specific process to undertake, I have found it to be an extension of the idea of the mind’s influence and effect on the physical body and the power of the images that are impressed upon our subconscious mind. Whether you carry out the act of performing the actual “code” on yourself or not, I believe the willingness to recognize that you are holding certain pictures in your mind that may be hurting you more than helping you is an enormous, important step in helping people claim and manifest the health and fulfillment they desire.
Hold Me Tight (Dr. Sue Johnson) – I think everyone who is going to interact with other humans should absolutely have to read and show that they understand the contents of two books. One is “The Four Agreements.” “Hold Me Tight” is the other. Sadly, it did not occur to me to turn to material like this until after my marriage was already slipping away. But even before the divorce took place, Sue Johnson’s book and teachings on emotional Focused Therapy absolutely changed the way I view myself and how I communicate with other people. Every sort of personal communication got easier after I read this book. Family, friends, co-workers and even how I talk to myself, it all began to improve after I read, understood, and it began to apply what Sue Johnson includes in this fabulous book.
The Magic of Thinking Big (David J Schwartz) – Well now, this book is always going to hold a special place in my heart. I discussed it extensively with Kevin O’Hara of Alcohol Mastery in Episode 11 of my podcast, which would not even exist if it were not for this book which I first learned about from O’Hara. Put side-by-side with any of the other books listed here and, no doubt, countless others, I would respectfully say that there isn’t even necessarily anything exceptionally special or revolutionary about this book, but for me, it was what I needed see exactly when I needed to see it. I was still very down and not feeling much of a spark at all. I was more existing than really living. I literally used this as a handbook for a while and did everything that is suggested to do. Almost immediately, everything in my life began to shift and change as if by Magic. The Magic of Thinking Big.
Radical Acceptance (Tara Brach) – My older sister first tipped me toward Tara Brach’s podcast of her weekly talks. It’s the first I recall of exploring anything related to mindfulness. I began to absorb her content at a time when I was still fairly raw after divorce and was really questioning my place in the world. The idea of Radical Acceptance is an amazing, empowering concept that could benefit anyone. I really should pick up and read this book again.
Russell Rules (Bill Russell) – “The game’s on the schedule. We have to play it. We may as well win it.” That’s one of many quotes in this fabulous book by one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century, Bill Russell. I love his thoughts on curiosity and Celtic Pride. I don’t even like the Boston Celtics, but I certainly respect the accomplishments of Bill Russell and very much appreciate this book.
Sacred Hoops (Phil Jackson) – Phil Jackson’s book is the first where I recall recognizing and pondering the acceptance of impermanence. I also found it ironic, given his long-time occupation of being tasked with winning as many basketball games as possible, to read from him passages that said things like, “Our whole social structure is built around rewarding winners, at the perilous expense of forsaking community and compassion.” Ever since I read his analogy about a glass already being broken (as opposed to half-full for half-empty), therefore making every moment with it precious, it helped me to look at things a different way. My copy of this book is dog-eared and highlighted in all kinds of places.
The Science of Getting Rich (Wallace D. Wattles) – Wallace D. Wattles is to be commended if for nothing else in this terrific book than his thought on creativity versus competition. We have created a world full of noise, might, and comparison. If we could just put the weapons away and dance a more creative dance, how much better the world would be. We would be competing not with each other, but with ourselves, to stretch, to do better, and to grow into our very essence and then reap the abundant rewards accordingly. Stepping on, or over, another is no way to accumulate wealth. I highly recommend this terrific book.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Dr. Stephen Covey) – What can you really say about this one that hasn’t already been said? One of the key takeaways I gained from this book was the idea of love as a verb. And that’s not what I was expecting to take from it going in. This one is a classic for a reason. As Coveu would say, begin with the end in mind. Where are you going? Where do you hope to get to? Have you even pondered the thought, or are you just existing?
And good place to begin would be reading the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
Tao Te Ching (English Translation by Stephen Mitchell) – An elegant, powerful little book. Lyrical, inspirational, introspective … it’s just an incredible thing to read. The “Book of the Way” opened my mind and heart to so many things that had been sitting right in front of me for all of my life. I was constantly missing them as I was too busy striving, reaching, pushing, advancing … and although I am still a very motivated and energetic person, I began to investigate true presence only after reading through this book several times. I visit with it often.
10% Happier (Dan Harris) – Every one in a while, something comes along with the exact message you need to hear at the exact time you need to hear it. “10% Happier” was one of those books for me. At a time when I was working myself too hard (and knew it) and probably leaning my expectations too far into a future that doesn’t exist yet, I could tell that I was allowing myself to be pulled away from presence. So I was very much interested to read about Harris’ journey into mindfulness and meditation, especially given the environment he inhabits: the fast-paced, ego-driven and often cut-throat world of TV network news. The way he describes his personal journey is easy to relate to, up to and including his many skepticisms, some of which held true but many of which proved false. He was forthcoming in either case. If you’ve ever thought about exploring mindfulness or meditation but have wondered, as I had, what it might do to you, read Harris’s book.
Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill) – It’s difficult to imagine being interested in personal development and not having this one in your personal library somewhere. I knew about this book long before I actually read it. I eventually picked it up and consumed it more because of Bob Proctor’s insistence on how much influence it’s had on his life than anything else.
Tribes (Seth Godin) – Another terrific effort from Seth Godin, this time on leadership, creativity and the changing landscape of how we live and work. I found this book got better as I went through it, almost as if it had a sense of momentum to it. A must-read for any slow-moving, factory-like corporate executive who may think they’re running an agile, relevant organization. This book will be a much-needed wake-up call. Then again, many of those kinds of organizations are the way they are because they don’t heed keen observations like this. But for those who consider and digest work like Godin’s, they know the rules of work/life opportunity and engagement aren’t changing: they’ve already changed.
Warrior of the Light (Paulo Coelho) – Described as “Short notes on accepting failure, embracing life, and rising to your destiny,” this book is a terrific companion to The Alchemist, also by Coelho. Each page a new entry, every passage packs a wallop of thought-provoking perspective. To me, it reads in a similar fashion to the version of Tao Te Ching I’ve also listed on this page: one thread per page and a very high value-to-words ratio. A terrific book.
You Are a Badass (Jen Sincero) – Among all of the authors represented on this page, Sincero’s voice is certainly the most unique. Direct, humorous and valuable, her writing comes galloping out of the gate at full speed and never lets up. Each chapter is just long enough to give it the space it needs, but quick enough to make it feel as if the book is moving along quickly and packing a high impact-per-sentence wallop. I really enjoyed this book. In ways, if felt as if she’d curated many of the ideas contained in all the other books on this page, but had done so in a way that was uniquely hers and in a manner only she could present it. I highly recommend you give Badass a whirl. Oh, and … love yourself.
You2 (Price Pritchett) – I first heard about this book through Bob Proctor. It’s almost more of a pamphlet than a book, but almost every single line packs and enormous wallop if your mind is open to it. For the last while, I have been reading two pages of this book every morning without fail and making notes on what I’ve read. Every page has highlights, underlines, and notes of my own. But I will not stop going back to this book until it’s message is absolutely seared into my consciousness and reflected in my behavior every single day.
Zero Limits (Joe Vitale) – This one strikes me as not dissimilar to what I took from Graham Lloyd’s “The Healing Code.” This one uses the Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono as its backdrop. And I truly enjoyed. To me, it speaks to the larger issue of manifesting what we believe and sharing in and energy to which we all contribute. And the stories and perspective related to Dr. Hew Len were fascinating.
More to come, I’m sure!