I read with an appetite like that of an olympian athlete in training for competition. I hungrily lap up the words, savour the ideas, chew the knowledge and swallow the wisdom that is served by an author that has taken the time and energy to serve up their own particular delicacy in the form of words.
I will go on the record, and I can be quoted on this, to say that I firmly believe that comparing the work of artists, or even creations from the same artist, to another is an act of violence.
Writing is often not given the same artistic status as painters, sculptors, singers, dancers or designers because it’s such a mainstream and accessible art form – but it is an art form and each piece is unique and should stand alone in its creation.
Ten Life Changing Books!
There are so many books that are incredible and I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I have a habit of leaving books wherever I finish them, complete with my notes and scribbles. These ten life changing books are part of the select few that have had such a profound and life changing impact on my life that they have made it into my permanent library.
For the sake of clarity for this post these are life changing none fiction books and not fiction. I have written before about some of my favourite fiction books and would love to do a post about life changing fiction books, so let me know in the comments if this is something you’d like to see.
The Path Made Clear – Oprah Winfrey
Full disclosure; I listened to this on Audible because I couldn’t wait to get it delivered and I listened to it on a flight to Tel Aviv which certainly made that five and a half hour flight to Israel on EasyJet a more enjoyable experience. Oprahs voice sounds like warm caramel sliding off the dome of an upturned silver spoon into a rich hot chocolate drink and that, on an aeroplane, is my idea idea of a heavenly experience.
I have never actually gotten the physical book because I love the immersion of this and hearing the inflections, cadence and rhythm of Oprahs voice as she has a conversation with a different incredible person for each chapter is too good to pass up. I often listen to this when I’m getting ready to do something challenging or even when I’m struggling to clear my own path, this is a life changing treasure, for sure.
The Seat of The Soul – Gary Zukav
This book lives on my nightstand and is quite possibly the book that has had the most profound effect on my life, ability to love myself and desire to express love for the everything that I experience.
What is incredible about this book is that each part or chapter stands alone, and whilst sometimes it makes sense to read it in order, it’s not a requirement, The magic of this book reveals itself in layers, oftentimes when I have bought it for friends they find it quite hard to grasp and I think that it because Gary makes it clear in The Seat of The Soul that ultimately each one of us is accountable for our own life, and only we have the power to affect it.
That’s a tough pill for some to swallow, especially when looking for someone, or something, to blame for their unhappiness.
You are a Badass – Jess Sincero
This is a straight up powerhouse of a book that gives you a metaphorical slap whilst it also screams at you to buck up your ideas and get out of your own way. This is everything I needed, and I had no idea.
“…understand that you are on a journey that has no beginning, no middle and no end…” and “You are the only you there is and ever will be” are such decisive and declarative statements that theres no escaping the unsaid “so buck up, buttercup” that hangs in the air so heavily between the reader and the book that it feels like it should be written!
Essentialism – Greg McKeown
Before I read “You are a Badass” I would have described my finding Essentialism as a stroke of luck or a happy accident, but I can now confidently say that as soon as I accepted that I was completely overwhelmed by life by literally saying so out loud, this book presented itself to me.
It’s socially accepted, and often promoted, that we need to do more but this book told me that I could, in fact, give myself permission to do better.
As a direct result of this book I made the decision to ‘be a writer’ where before I had held the belief that it was impossible to do so because somewhere in my subconscious I held the belief that being a writer is not a ‘real’ occupation.
Such a simple, yet massively transformational, lesson that I had to learn in order to change what I had previously taught myself – just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I had the power all along.
You are not so smart – David McRaney
Even the title of this book had my hackles raised and my guard up but it also piqued my interest so Mr McRaney will forever have my respect because seeing those five words on a book cover provoked such an emotional response in me that wild horses couldn’t have stopped me from handing over my money in exchange for his book!
When I say that this book blew my mind, I’m not being glib. I had to take actual rests and then come back to it. Sure, I’d heard of cognitive biases and misfires of perception but this took things to a whole different level in clean language that demystifies the whole concept of active engagement with living.
This book actually changed my reality.
The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
I love Eckhart. I have watched so many YouTube videos on his channel that my ‘recommended’ section whenever I open the app on my Amazon Fire TV Stick is always full of Eckhart videos.
I have thumbed through this book so many times over the last few years and whilst I don’t subscribe to organised religion (which is my choice and I have the right to make that choice) if I am ever asked to complete the sentence “Life is…” then my answer will always be Life is Now.
Right now one of two things is true; either you are making your life happen or you are allowing it to happen to you. Either way, it happens.
It took me a while to ‘get’ this, because I was full of so many ideas, concepts, constructs, biases, rules and expectations that the simplicity of it seemed too, well, simple.
This book is the reason for my understanding that unfolding with life is my power.
12 Rules for life – Jordan Peterson
There’s nothing revolutionary in these rules for life but the way they are presented is a stroke of pure genius. Each rule is actually an idiom, or saying, that alludes to a larger concept of living.
There is nothing in this book that doesn’t ring true to any functioning Human Being, which is the genius of the book, I’m glad it was extended to twelve rules because ten would have made me break my own rule of not comparing creations, but the temptation to call it the new ten commandments would have been too powerful for me to resist!
Commandment or not, this is a book that has a well deserved space in my permanent library!
Becoming – Michelle Obama
What can I say about this lovely work of art that has not already been said? The short answer is, nothing. This has got to be one of the most talked about books of our generation, and for good reason – it’s brilliant.
I read this book and very quickly my habit of annotating the pages of a book when I have a thought or feeling about a particular sentence put me in danger of writing as many words as Michelle herself had written, so I stopped and allowed myself to absorb the book and live in and through my responses to it.
I then listened to the audiobook with Michelle reading it, there is something so magic about her voice, it has a similar effect on me to the one that Oprah’s voice has on me; energising, reassuring, soothing, challenging and real – like a lullaby with attitude.
The Wisdom of Sundays – Oprah Winfrey
This is a beautiful set of storied that come from the Super Soul Sundays conversations that Oprah has with some of the most incredible people to have lived a life, well.
There’s a really strong message of hope throughout all of this, the lovely thing about Super Soul conversations is that they never attribute the accumulation of material possessions as a measure of wealth, this is where the word abundance makes most sense because the conversations literally hammer the point home that resisting situations leads to persisting circumstances.
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
I read this for the first time in my early twenties when it was fashionable but the truth is that my young self had no idea how to process the metaphor that is the whole story. It went right over my head and for the best part of two decades I discounted The Alchemist as a nonsensical piece of pseudo-witchcraft. My belief is the complete opposite of that now.
This is a life story that needs the reader to have a bit of life experience before they attempt to access the wisdom encapsulated within.
The audiobook on Audible is read by Jeremy Irons and his voice is PERFECT for the story, it’s an absolute treat!
Have you read a book that has impacted the way you live your life?
If so, share it with me in the comments below.