Throughout the last year as I have moved physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I have had the pleasure of reading and listening to a great many books, blogs, and podcasts that inspired me to be a better person inside and out. However, I wanted to share the eight most influential books I’ve read since I’ve been on this journey or self-renewal and revitalization. (For your convenience I’ve linked them all to Amazon via the image!) Before, I felt like a lot of the time my life was on autopilot, and as I made it a mission to live intentionally, I found great wisdom and guidance in each and every one of these books. As you will see, these titles span topics from love to money to organization. Each played a part in clarifying the murky vision I had of “becoming better” into the much clearer over arching theme of “optimizing my life.”
1. The Miracle Morning
I first heard of The Miracle Morning through a women’s inspiration/fitness group that I am a part of on facebook. I was intrigued that our fearless leader (who had two small children) would get up an hour before she had to… So I downloaded the first two chapters free from Hal’s site (www.miraclemorning.com) and I was hooked. I was lucky enough to have a friend who personally knows the author and he actually sent me a signed copy! After reading and digesting what Hal had to say about his morning routine, which incorporates the most impactful practices for positive self growth and living, I was inspired to follow along. This practice has been transformative for me… Highly recommended.
2. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo has changed the way I look at my possessions. Changed, people. It’s not just a catchy title. It’s true. I have had, shall we say, issues, in the past with holding on to things in my life that I might use in the future. I made excuses for keeping things that I no longer used, or that no longer fit because they were sooooooo expensive… Let me tell you, when you finish reading this book- there will be so many trips to The Salvation Army in your future, it’s not even funny. Hellllllllo tax deduction!
3. One Year to an Organized Life
This book, by Regina Leeds, is basically a “how to” organize your life for dummies. Regina walks through not only the physical act of organizing your space, things, processes, and budgets, but she artfully delves into some of the psychology that keeps us disorganized and stressed out. I have followed many of the weekly imperatives so far, and will be showcasing a few of my more interesting successes here on the blog in the future 🙂
4. The Five Love Languages
I actually read this book shortly after Tony & I got engaged. Having seen first hand through friends and family how many people struggle with divorce and brokenness in their marriages- I wanted to take a proactive approach to my marriage. Now please understand I am no saint. I mess up. I mess up A LOT. In fact, I don’t know why the marriage vows say for better or worse. Let’s be real, it should be for better AND worse, because I definitely have a worse side to me (sorry honey.) I digress, this book really helped me to understand that there are several different ways people communicate and receive love. Do yourself a favor if you are in a relationship and give this one a read.
5: 7:An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess
This book was just a whole bundle of insight and conviction as author, Jen Hatmaker, stared down Seven areas in her life that she felt were out of control and feeding the new “American dream” of excess. She walks through brutal cut backs in the areas of food, clothing, possessions, media, spending, waste, and stress. Her challenges and realizations forced me to take a look at the areas in my own life where I was “feeding the consumerist machine” mindlessly and unintentionally. It helped me put a voice to the nagging feeling that I had about being a good steward of the Earth as not just a moral and ethical obligation, but a spiritual one as well. Hatmaker does all this with sarcasm, wit, and unmatched candor for a “Women’s Christian” author. That said, this book is not to be pigeon-holed- it is for everyone!
6: Zen and The Art of Happiness
For such a little book, this one sure packed a punch! Chris Prentis, leads you on a journey of reflection, science, and spirit that explores our oneness with the universe and how we can think ourselves happy. It was a quick, joyful read, and I pulled so many nuggets of wisdom out of it that I could scarcely believe that it was only 145 pages. This book proselytizes the idea that sometimes the answers to our life’s most challenging trials can be so incredibly simple: be happy.
7: Rich Dad, Poor Dad
When it comes to personal finance, there are a million books out there promising to show you the ways to get rich quick, become an overnight millionaire and the like. This book is not one of them. Robert Kiyosaki shares the life lessons he learned from his real father, and a surrogate father, who both had strongly held beliefs about money and wealth. He discusses deep “common sense” myths that abound in our culture and paints a picture of the road to financial success that is paved with hard work, education and making your money work for you. He spins entertaining tales to drive each point home and truly makes you think about your own financial paradigms.
8: It Starts With Food
Dallas and Melissa Hartwig are the co-creators of the popular Whole30 nutritional reset program. For 30 days you eat all the real, delicious whole foods you want and watch your life transform. This book gives all the behind the scenes details about our modern “Standard American Diet” and really opened my eyes to my relationship with certain foods, the psychology and physiology of many of the “food-like” products I was eating every day, and my true physical health. After following the program post appendix surgery and strictly following doctor’s orders of no to light physical exercise- I dropped 8 pounds, had great energy and most importantly felt better about my health and body than I had in years. All without ever feeling hungry or deprived. That’s not to say it was easy by any means, it took great planning, preparation and determination- but was absolutely worth it.
All said and done, I truly believe that learning is a life-long pursuit and these amazing reads helped propel me toward a renaissance of the soul in which I realized that I was meant for more than paying taxes and dying. It’s time to live with intention and be the best me I can be.