A little over seven years ago I decided that I wanted to change my life.
I wanted to be happy.
I didn’t know how to go about it exactly—because I’d spent so much of my life catering to other people’s expectations—but I figured a good place to start would be by doing more of the things I loved.
One of those things, was reading.
Looking back, this desire—this want to move into experiencing more joy—shifted the course of my life.
It all started with the first book on the list below and, like most of the other things that have brought me great revelations over the years, it just sort of fell into my hands.
It was my dad’s, and it had probably been sitting on his bookshelf for about 12 years—since he’d finished reading it not long after it had been published.
While there are certainly many other books and authors that have influenced the journey of self-awareness I’ve been treading since that summer day all those years ago, these books below radically, immediately changed the way I live my life.
They each brought me sudden, powerful insights that made me realize the potential I had within myself to determine the kind of life I wanted to live.
Through these books, I discovered the power I had within myself to shape the way I experience the world.
Here are five books that radically changed my life:
1) The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by His Holiness the Dalai Lama & Howard C. Cutler, M.D.
This book made me understand that we have the power to control our thoughts, actions, and reactions. It was the first time this concept had ever crossed my eyes. Up until this point, I’d felt stuck—bound to certain habitual patterns that left me feeling unsatisfied, and usually with a lingering sense of guilt—like when I’d automatically snap back at my loved ones when they said something that irritated me.
But through reading these words, I discovered that we can separate from the thoughts we think and the feelings we feel. And it is through this separation that we have the ability to choose, moment by moment, how we want to live our lives.
2) The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
This book continued to enhance my understanding of how we can change our lives simply by paying attention to our thoughts and our patterned, seemingly automatic, knee-jerk reactions.
It showed me how to step back from the immediacy of my experiences and seek to understand the bigger, fuller picture.
Because there always is a broader picture that resides outside of our limited viewpoint.
We experience everything through our own particular perspective, which is something that we often forget. We are so involved in the way we experience everything around us, that we forget that there are people who do not have the same interpretations. We believe that our perceptions are correct, and we don’t entertain the possibility that our experience is but our own.
We tend to believe that everyone around us experiences the world, or should experience the world, exactly as we do. But they don’t. And they never could. Because their perceptions are shaped by their own individual life experiences.
*Ruiz’s The Fifth Agreement is just as good as this one.
3) You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
Sincero’s, You are a Badass, was the first thing that ever made me realize I was capable of achieving whatever I want in life—and, not only that I was able to do it, but that it was basically my duty to pursue it.
Everything she writes feels so true and so obvious, and she relates her stories with such great humor and light-heartedness that I could not help but laugh out loud.
*Her book You Are a Badass at Making Money is just as wonderful.
4) The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
This book requires you to keep a bit of an open mind, because it explains our life experience in a way that is different from the logical, rational way most of us have been taught to do.
It talks about the law of attraction (like the book below), and it made me understand precisely why I was attracting every experience into my life.
This book is so energizing and inspiring, because it shows us that we have the power to literally create the life we want to live.
It also demonstrates the importance of both noticing our limiting thoughts and tendencies, and then intentionally working to shift our energy.
5) The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham by Esther & Jerry Hicks
This book also explains the law of attraction (obviously!), and it gives even more insights into how our thoughts and beliefs shape the world we experience.
The words on these pages helped me to understand the ability we have to change and alter our thoughts and beliefs—by paying attention to our emotions, and by learning to redirect our attention and deliberately shift our energetic vibration.
* Jerry and Esther Hicks have several books and all of them make me feel similarly inspired, energized, and excited about this whole process of life.
1. Have you read any of the books on this list? What did you think of them?
2. What are some books or authors that have changed your life?
3. Do you re-read books that inspire you too?
Leave a comment and share your thoughts, ideas, or any questions you may have!