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10 Life-Changing Books (Beginner List)

The 'Beginner List' is so named for conceptual accessibility and applicability to everyone, not because they are necessarily 'easy reads', though some are. Shared with some humble notes from a personal growth junkie...

Making a commitment to reading regularly has been one of the key components of unimaginable growth in my life. I share because I believe that if more people chose to prioritize reading, (and experienced the reflection or introspection that it provokes), this world would see a massive shift away from the violence, hate, and intolerance we suffer from currently.

Reading is one of those important, but non-urgent habits that can be challenging to build if you're not used to it, but doing so worth the time and effort. I wanted to share some of the books that have significantly impacted my perspective in case you are looking for something to add to your list or to pick up the habit. There's lots more where this came from, so stay tuned.

Enjoy! And... ⚠️ Warning! LOTS of growth ahead. ⚠️

1. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

This one is a little dry compared to the juiciness that lies ahead, but it brings home a crucial point: the compound effect is either working for you or against you. Most of us are doing the cha cha in the domains we want to make strides in. I certainly was and still have to check myself. This one really helped things start to click with my physical and financial health. If we are consuming more calories than we are burning on a daily basis or spending more than we are earning regularly, we are living in a deficit that is counter to the abundance we wish to create. Basic, but a great place to start looking at our own patterns.

2. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Another one that outlines basics that many of take for granted like not taking things personally and always doing your best, but shared from a deep, spiritual place based in the ancient Toltec tradition. Short, easy to read and impactful.

3. Mastery of Self by Don Miguel Ruiz

Another powerful piece by Ruiz that reiterates surrender and the power of un-learning from a unique cultural perspective based in interconnection.

4. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

I nearly didn't include this book on the list because it's so obvious to me. Through conversation with others I'm learning that it is well known, but not necessarily well applied in our lives. Understandably, it can take a lifetime to understand the dialects of our loved ones' love languages and even our own, but it's well worth the effort.

5. Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend

This one does have some Christian undertones, which in full honesty threw me at first. While I'm highly spiritual, I don't prescribe to any religion. (Can the intersection of creativity, science, and human consciousness be a religion? I'll choose that one.) Nonetheless, this book is a recommended delineation of what boundaries are, what they are not, and how to strengthen them.

6. Intentional Living by John Maxwell

Several years after beginning my business (which felt unwieldy because I basically made up the idea of Conscious Creative Lifestyle Design in grad school amidst my thesis work) I stumbled across this book during a leadership seminar. The ideas resonated with a lot of the notions I hold to be true in my own life, particularly with the idea of starting small, but believing big.

7. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

This book is famous for a reason. It's also DENSE. I still refer to it as a productivity pick-me-up even after listening to it on CD twice and reading it cover to cover. Every time I return to it, I see it with fresh eyes. This is true of many of the books on the lists to come. This is also the beauty of a reading habit in general. Covey helped me forge the patience to prioritize "internal victories" and to trust that this slow internal work would lead to inevitable external wins.

8. Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck

This was a little dry for my tastes, however there are some major gold nuggets here and Dweck is the original doctor to pioneer studies in the field of mindset. An important game changer that opened the door for me to a deeper dive on neuroscience and neural plasticity.

9. The Gifts of Imperfection by Dr. Brené Brown

I love this book and Brené Brown in general. It's short, but packed with perspectives that need to be more mainstream in healthcare and education. An emphasis on cultivating compassion, play, rest, gratitude and joy while learning to relinquish comparison, perfectionism, anxiety, and doubt from empirically validated research?! What more could you want?

10. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I wanted to end with a fun book that still holds tremendous wonder that can inspire you to keep reading. If you're not a "big reader" these days (which kudos and thanks to you for reading this little old blog of mine), start here and have fun. Gilbert is a brilliant writer known for her Eat, Pray, Love memoir and also some great fiction. She wrote a beautiful novel called The Signature of All Things that I enjoyed immensely-- back when I read novels. Now, nearly all of my books are self-help becuase they help me and I hope sharing them can help you.

With love from this committed personal growth junkie,


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