In the past year, I’ve been connected to some wonderful young women — either through someone I know or in many cases, they’ve reached out to me cold. I mostly say yes to these meetings because I can remember vividly what it felt like to be that age (25–30). I can remember feeling this sense of eagerness for the future and optimism about the possibilities that lay before me but also a deep sense of fear of the unknown and a lack of confidence in myself and my capabilities. While I had so many older adults that I respected and looked up to, I didn’t have someone who I felt modeled who and what I wanted to be.
Books became the deepest source of wisdom for me. And funny enough, one of the most common questions I get asked is, what books would you recommend? There have been so many books at different times in my life that have made an impact on me.
These five books in particular are the ones that are dog-eared and have entire pages underlined because they rang so true to me:
1. The Untethered Soul, Michael A. Singer
I read this book soon after my late husband passed away. It has probably had the most impact on me than any other book I’ve ever read. So much so that I gave it to my best girlfriends for MY 39th birthday.
This book helped me to gain perspective on my life, step outside of a rut emotions and empowered me with the knowing that I have the power to feel free and content regardless of my life situation. This book taught me to feel all the emotions that come but to be aware that they are guided by my thoughts and that I can release them.
Even today this book reminds me that I always have the power to let emotions pass through me (and not get stuck there) so I can feel free. My favourite line from this book is this:
“Remember, if you love life, nothing is worth closing over. Nothing, ever, is worth closing over.”
I took this line to heart and it is still one of my mantras today.
2. You Are Your Choices, Alexandra Stoddard
This book was my companion through my late husbands’ hospitalization over ten years ago in Tucson, Arizona. I happened across it while on a rare trip to a shopping center and it somehow simultaneously became my refuge and my escape. Alexandra Stoddard is an interior designer who was also a student of ancient philosophy and religion so had a unique, beautiful perspective of the world that I related to.
This book taught me to see that at any given moment I had the choice to make life more beautiful (even when my life revolved around the intensive care unit in a hospital in a town where I knew no one). It helped me to see, at a time when I desperately needed to, that I had the power to choose to make life better for myself and for those around me. That I could learn to accept what I couldn’t control and with grace, see the beauty and light in life regardless. Over ten years later, this is a book I still pull off my shelf and read in moments when I need inspiration. It is divided into fifty short chapters that you can read in any order making it an easy book to read over time.
3. Crush It!, Gary Vaynerchuk
After two very spiritual and philosophical oriented books, even I’m laughing at this! But Gary Vaynerchuk came into my life at a time when I was ready to step into my potential and really hustle (one of his favourite words which has become ubiquitous!). I saw Gary speak at a conference almost ten years ago and I was inspired by his energy, his forward-thinking ideas about career and entrepreneurship and his belief that anyone could create a life around doing what they love. I pulled this book off the shelf while writing this post and found that I’d underlined this:
“My feeling is that no matter how much you like your job, you should aim to leave it and grow your own brand and business or partner with someone to do so because as long as you’re working for someone else you will never be living true to yourself and your passion.”
4. Diane: A Signature Life, Diane Von Furstenberg
I found this book in the bargain bin at a Borders in Palo Alto, California over fifteen years ago! There are so many valuable nuggets I took away from this book on entrepreneurship, self-care, love, and family. Read it to be mesmerized and inspired.
“I don’t think anyone should underestimate the power and strength we all have within ourselves”
5. A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle
Similarly to The Untethered Soul (#1), this book is one that I’ve reread several times and each time I have underlined different passages. This book led me down the path to acceptance to what it is (vs the path of resistance), which ironically results in greater empowerment, not less. When you can accept what is, you are open to life. And that openness creates a doorway for opportunity, love, gratitude, kindness, and support. I have certainly experienced the following first hand:
“Whatever action you take in a state of inner resistance will create more outer resistance, and the universe will not be on your side; life will not be helpful. If the shutters are closed, the sunlight cannot come in. When you yield internally, a new dimension of consciousness opens up. Circumstances and people then become helpful and cooperative.”
I am so grateful to the people who put aside their own fears and vulnerabilities and poured their souls into writing the books that have impacted me throughout my life. They are a model for all of us to give the best of ourselves to the world.
But while books and mentors can provide guidance throughout our lives, the truth is that there is no roadmap for what is best for you. No book can give you all the answers and no parent, mentor or spiritual advisor can tell you what is right for you. I believe that the best choices come from a combination of listening closely to your heart and soul, knowing to ask for help when you need it, always seeking to learn and grow and most of all loving yourself enough to know that the answers are within you. That not-so-secret combination brought and continues to bring the right books (and so much more) to me at the right time.
What books changed your life? I’d love to hear (and read!).