For a while now, I’ve been wanting to share with you guys 5 books that changed my life.
I LOVE reading but I
didn’t always like used to hate it. I started to enjoy reading when I got out of school and could actually choose to read something that wasn’t assigned and later tested on. With the anxiety of “I-need-to-retain-every-word-of-this-info” gone, I ended up absorbing and getting more out of books than ever I did when I was in school. I began to enjoy and see the value in reading. So, my love affair with books began.
& why has this affair been so gratifying and long lasting?
Reading is the ultimate form of healthy escapism.
Reading allows you to feel as though you’ve escaped, when in actuality, a really good book will do nothing more than hold a mirror up to you until you see the potential, strength, resilience and beauty that the universe sees in you. You feel less alone in your feelings and experiences because you’ve established a connection.
THAT’S what a good book does.
There are SO many books that I want to recommend to you guys, but few books that changed my life to the extent that these have. These are books that I can literally open to any random page and learn something new; books that I find myself constantly going back to and books that have taught me to think, feel and connect on a new level. The impact that these books have had on me not only continues to translate in my own life, luck, business and emotional connectivity, but they have enriched the relationships – both with myself and others – more than anything has.
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
– Stephen King
What do these 5 books that changed my life all have in common?
They all create a unique movement in hopeless stagnation and allow you to feel less alone and more understood. Also, they do not read like “don’t jump!” boringly texty textbooks (snore). They read like “WTF?!-it’s-2am-and-I-have-to-be-up-in-4-hours-where-did-the-time-go?!” 🙂
Here are 5 books that changed my life:
The Truth by: Neil Strauss
You won’t be able to put this one down. Besides the classics, this is my favorite book of all time. It reads like a thriller, but is the most effective book on relationships and self help that I’ve ever read. I’m lucky to call Neil and his wife, Ingrid friends and I’m actually glad that when I met Neil, I hadn’t yet read The Truth. If I had, I would have been a nervous, star-struck wreck (I actually WAS a nervous wreck when I met Neil and Ingrid and unbeknownst to them, had an anxiety attack in the bathroom of their home in Malibu but that’s a whole different post for a different time). When I met Neil, I knew of him as the guy that had written the New York Times bestseller, The Game, which was the go-to
book bible on pickup artistry; how any man could pickup any woman he wanted. The book pioneered the international “seduction community,” and made Strauss a household name among single men and women alike.
The Truth doesn’t just give you invaluable insight into men and your exes, it gets you to better understand YOURSELF – your triggers, your pain, your programming, your family, your addiction to “pain shopping,” and why you keep encountering the same relationsh*t patterns. The Truth allowed me to honor and ultimately OWN my own truth, instead of continuing to run from it (and conceal it in the form of people pleasing, validation and perfection-seeking madness). I’ve recommended The Truth to countless people that I coach and continually find myself going back to it. Before I read it, I thought I knew what The Truth was about. It’s not about some pickup artist seeking forgiveness, validation, understanding; making amends for his old ways or having some emotional jackoff session with the pages. It’s about someone honestly trying to figure out who they are and why they think and behave the way they do. Neil makes no excuses and never attempts to deflect or project any blame. It’s just the raw, magnificent, painful and ultimately liberating Truth. Neil is the embodiment of “the truth shall set you free,” and omg, how beautiful that freedom is.
You Can Heal Your Heart by: David Kessler & Louise Hay
Another person I am lucky enough to know, share a friendship with and learn from is David Kessler. David is an angel in my life. The love that David emanates and his ability to create meaning and connection, while allowing you direct access to your own innate tools to heal, has enabled me to overcome grief that I never thought I’d get past. Through this book, David had helped me more than he will ever know before I had pleasure of meeting him and becoming friends. There’s a reason David has had the honor of sharing his gifts with Mother Teresa, Oprah, Elizabeth Kubler Ross, Paul Denniston (just to name a few), and here with the amazing Louise Hay in You Can Heal Your Heart. The best way that I can describe this book is that it’s like getting a big, loving and understanding hug that not only gets you, but heals you. It’s the empathy that we all desire. Louise and David feel with you, not just for you. You Can Heal Your Heart does what I love most – it uncomplicates one of the most complex and layered emotions: Grief. You Can Heal Your Heart doesn’t erase your grief, it allows you to face it, feel it, and ultimately heal and reach acceptance while still being able to honor the loss in an environment of profound love, safety and security.
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by: Don Miguel Ruiz
I quote this book often and personally refer to it as “the Toltec book of ‘AHA’S!!'” lol. Seriously, as far as books that changed my life, The Four Agreements changes your life immediately because it just makes too much sense to ignore. Ruiz commands the reader’s understanding and knowingness by keeping it simple and recognizing that once you have that knowingness, you can never again claim that you don’t know. It’s one thing to act in ignorance and truly not know, it’s another thing to act in ignorance and know better. This book creates such a deep knowingness that it disempowers your ineffective and destructive patterns as you read. You are literally 4 Agreements away from emotional freedom.
The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by: Bob Burg & John David Mann
I finished this book in one sitting. It’s a quick and powerful story (yes! it’s a story), with profound wisdom. I never thought that such a small book could make such a meaningful impact on my attitude, self limiting beliefs and life. There is such grace in the simplicity of this story, a story that gives a whole new meaning to the old proverb “Give and you shall receive.” The Go-Giver not only allowed me to see that the world is nothing more than a reflection of myself, but it made me retire the “I’m a boss/go-getter” mentality. It wasn’t until I became a go-GIVER, that I started to achieve what my former go-getting self was so desperate to actualize.
East of Eden by: John Steinbeck
There’s a reason that Oprah picked East of Eden as the comeback book for her Book Club. I know you’re probably wondering why this is one of the books that changed my life, a book that was likely assigned to you in high school and that you probably just read the Cliffs Notes on. When I was in college, I majored in English and for my senior seminar thesis, I wrote about the man that I am to this day, convinced was my friend/lover/teacher/soul mate in a past life: Mr. John Steinbeck. “In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden “the first book,” and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.” How can this book help you with yourself, your relationships or your breakup? There is not one character or emotion in this book that you can’t relate to your own life. East of Eden is timeless and taught me the most important lesson I’ll ever learn: the Hebrew word timshel – ‘Thou mayest’ – which gives us a choice and reminds us that we are the makers of our own story – not our parents or their shortcomings. East of Eden is the richest book I’ve ever read and as a result of reading and listening it to countless times on audio (I highly recommend listening to it on audio too), I’ve come out emotionally richer than I ever thought possible. This book has allowed me to understand and accept my past, my family and has challenged my fears and beliefs. It also allowed me to finally view myself as connected to but ultimately independent of my family’s successes and failures because I always had/have choice.
And there you have it. 5 books that changed my life. Unconventional? Ya, a little but what’s new?
What are some of your favorite, life-changing “aha!” books? I would love some recommendations to add to the list of books that changed my life.
To all of my US friends – Happy Labor Day! Enjoy your day off today and find some time to read and relax!
To everyone else in this beautiful tribe, let me know what you think of these books that changed my life.