Books and blogs have been one of the best tools for me on the road to self-discovery. I just love staring at my bookcase looking back at all of the titles, reflecting on the ways in which they’ve helped me grow.
Reading great books have the ability to shape your life, how you see the world, and how you show up.
A few months ago I started to draft a list of my favourites but left it sitting on my desktop while I worked on writing other things. Over the past couple of weeks, though, I’ve been asked by a few friends and clients for book recommendations, so I thought what better time than the present to complete my list and make it available to everyone.
Here are my top 8 spiritual and personal development books, in no particular order;
- The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
This is a super insightful and easy to read book with ideas and stories about how to create simple habits that will help you create success and happiness in your life. While the concept may sound like every other personal development book out there, this one has a different feel to it and will make you feel accountable for your life, and question some of your daily behaviours. Looking back on my highlights and notes in this book I see many golden nuggets of information, but the best summary of what this book is about is this; “The most significant factors in your happiness are your actions. What do you do every day?”
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Personal Workbook by Stephen R. Covey
I assume that in today’s day and age, most people have heard of, if not read and completed, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This has been a tried and true method to personal development. I completed the 2-day program over 15 years ago (wow, where has the time gone?) when the company I worked for was putting it on. It was my first introduction to personal development. When I received the Personal Workbook as a gift a couple of years ago and started working through some of the exercises, I was quickly reminded of all of the practical lessons contained in the 7 Habits philosophies. The workbook walks you through all of the concepts, so even if it’s been a while since you first read the book or you haven’t read it yet, the workbook can still be a very useful tool. It helps you reach far beyond just what you want to do; into exploring who it is that you want to be. Super reflective and insightful!
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
Through this book I learned to question a lot of my beliefs around life and career, such as working hard until the age of 65 when you can finally retire and enjoy your life, or that we are supposed to work at least 40-hours per week. Not to say that it’s the right or wrong way to live, but it’s a good idea to question our thoughts from time to time. Tim also introduced me to the concept of Lifestyle Design and that it’s not only possible, but it’s more than doable to create the life you desire. This book will get you in the habit of exploring and questioning what is possible in your life and career, and also some excellent productivity and real-life tips.
- The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
This was by far one of the most powerful and profound books I have read as it relates to the quest of discovering my true self (caveat: this is still a work in progress, but this book helped tremendously in getting started). If you find yourself asking “who am I, really, at the core of it all?” then this book is for you. It helps to define the separation between thoughts and feelings from who you are and find some inner peace and happiness. One of my favourite quotes from this book is “The truth is, everything will be okay as soon as you are okay with everything. And that’s the only time that everything will be okay.” Boom! If that doesn’t send a shock of reality to your heart, I’m not sure what will.
- The Yamas & Niyamas by Deborah Adele
This book was on the list of suggested reading from my Yoga Teacher Training. The Yamas and Niyamas are yoga’s ethical and moral guidelines to living a more fulfilled and purposeful life. There are ten principles contained within the Yamas and Niyamas, such as truthfulness, non-excess, contentment, and surrender. Although these concepts were originally very spiritual in their context, the ideas are all very applicable, and this book incorporates real life stories and relevant content that helps apply it to our daily lives. It opened my eyes to question who I am being and how I am impacting the world.
- The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte
This book will challenge everything you thought you knew about goal setting. Instead of asking what you want to DO, it has you asking how do you want to FEEL. It left me digging into what my real inspiration and motivation was, plus the activities were enjoyable and insightful. Don’t plan to finish this in a couple of days, though; this one took a lot of thought and consideration over the course of a few weeks. My Desire Map is now posted on the wall in my office, and my core desire words include Love, Connection, Trust, Simple, and Proud. That will make more sense once you read the book, and I’d love to hear about your core desires too.
- The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
This book opened my mind to the personal responsibility I hold to my happiness. It’s a quick and straightforward read with very powerful words. The best way I can describe it was it had me let go of the role of victim. The four agreements are a great go-to for when things start feeling disempowered, or I begin spending too much time in my head.
- Secrets about Life Every Woman Should Know by Barbara DeAngelis
I bought this book over ten years ago after going through a bad breakup, and it sat on my nightstand for over a year before I filed it away on my bookshelf for another nine. I only read it last year, and even though I wished I had read it earlier, I knew that the timing is everything and there was a reason I didn’t read it until then. Despite the cheesy looking cover, this book was filled with some amazing lessons to help you through the tough stuff in life such as trust, fear, and obstacles. And it’s not just for women either.
I also want to mention a few other amazing and inspirational women who I follow and read from regularly via their blog and websites. If you’re not familiar with their work, I highly encourage you to check them out.
Byron Katie (thework.com)
Brené Brown (brenebrown.com)
Martha Beck (marthabeck.com)
So there you have it. Some of my best-kept secrets to personal development and empowerment. I guess they aren’t secrets anymore.
What’s your favourite book? I’d love to know! Share in the comments below.