10 Books That Have Changed My Life

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10 Books That Have Changed My Life

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If you want your life to be different… READ.

Books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. We always had walls of book shelves in my house as a kid and I would immerse myself in series after series. I think reading became an outlet for me. I was able to step into other worlds and let go of mine for as long as I was turning the pages.

I still to this day read multiple books each week, and even though I am indeed busy and love to DO, I always find time for books.

For fiction, I read a lot of thrillers. Yep. Love em’.  I buy them from op shops because it only takes me two-three hours to get through one and buying new or even online is a total waste of cash.

Where I get the most value though is from personal and professional development books. These are the one’s I spend more time on. I am not precious with my books, I write in them, fold pages over, high-light and underline and pretty much use every page as a notation zone.

Edmund Wilson said: ‘No two persons ever read the same book’. And this goes for you when you read your books over. Here’s my top pics for books that have changed my life and will no doubt change yours too. (if you read them).

I get asked ALL the time what books I recommend and so I thought I would create an up-to-date list of those personal development books that are facing ‘out’ on my book-shelves at the moment.

All of the books I reference here are linked to Book Depository. I am not an affiliate for them and I do not make a commission out of sending you there, however they send globally for free and offer lower rates (so you can buy more books).

Creativity + Inspiration (+ Professional)

Big Magic – Liz Gilbert.

I actually listened to the audio version of this book and as well as the text I was able to sink into the lessons within through Liz Gilbert’s own voice, which was lovely.

There are so many places for notations and folded pages through, I really need to purchase a paper copy. (Sometimes I wonder if a book exists only in audio is it really there?).

Liz asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us.

The Big Leap – Gay Hendricks.

‘Scared’ of taking that step forward? ‘Anxious’ about the future? ‘Worried’ about all the things that could go wrong? Have a dream you ‘wish’ you could achieve?

The Big Leap is a book about how to eliminate barriers to success by overcoming false fears and beliefs. Which can be reflective in all areas of our lives. I was recommended this book by tens of people before I read it, both on The Blog To Profit Show podcast and in person. I am so glad I finally picked it up. ‘

The War Of Art – Steven Pressfield

Where does Steven succeed with this book? Just about everywhere. Many people consider his writing style to be a ‘take-no-prisoners’ approach in that he is clear and concise about the difference between fluffy ‘gently-stroking’ advice and his no-bullshit, ‘this is what needs to be done, and responsibility is up to you’.

His advice on creativity and art and work can apply to all areas of our lives and leaves no room for feeling or acting like a victim. I dig that because I am well aware of all of our infinite possibility and I too which more would recognise that.

The Four-Hour Workweek – Tim Ferriss.

The title is deceiving. It not specifically a book about how to only work four hours a week, rather readers will be exposed to alternative critical thinking that will require them to question the status quo (business, social interaction, etc.) Tim also focuses on mindset, fear-based thinking and the alternatives and has a logical view on what it takes to make your life work for you instead of being stuck on the Hamster wheel.

The Go-Giver – Bob Burg & John David Mann

Serve to deserve. Give and you will receive. Give away what you most want to have to have it returned in spades. This is the beautiful focus of The Go-Giver. This message resonates so much with me as I step further into serving my audience and the world at large and see my own life expand as a result. I love this book because I know it to be true, and I also like anchoring into those reminders on a regular basis. Changing focus from getting to giving—putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to their lives—ultimately leads to unexpected returns for ourselves.

Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich provides a very solid foundation with the most fundamental building blocks for success in any area of your life. It’s the very most fundamental stuff of achieving success that no list filled with shiny tips can really replace.

The beauty in ‘Think and Grow Rich’ is that the simple repetition of the same concept over and over again helps to create a pattern of thinking and belief  in what it really takes to create that success you’re looking for.


“All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.”

“You might well remember that nothing can bring you success but yourself.”

“If you are ready for the secret, you already possess one half of it.”

~ Napoleon Hill

Emotional & Physical Wellbeing

Women, Food and God – Geneen Roth 

I have written extensively about the disordered eating I had in my past, here and here and here. Women, Food and God was the first book on diet and eating that I cracked open and thought ‘me too’ on nearly every single page. Geneen believes way you eat is inseparable from our core beliefs about being alive. No matter how sophisticated or wise or enlightened we believe we are, how we eat tells all.

Geneen’s anecdotes from her own life are both hauntingly funny and for me, very close to home. This book helped heal my relationship with food and myself.

You Can Heal Your Life – Lousie Hay

This is one of the most well-known and well-read self-help books that have ever been written, by Australian Louise Hay. You can heal your life came at me during a metamorphosis between me blaming external forces for my own negativity and wounds and my beginning to change my beliefs over my own emotional and physical health.

The Power of Vulnerability – Dr. Brene Brown (Lecture series – Audio Only)

Oh my gosh I love this audio teaching series so much and I recommend it out every week to at least one person. Brene is a wonderfully funny true-story-teller, which makes these lessons all the more impactful. With my background in software and data and also emotional coaching, Brene’s mix of self-attained data – gained through years of work at the University of Texas – proving the emotional result is very powerful.

“We too often lose sight of the fact that vulnerability is also the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love.” If we dare to drop the armour that protects us from feeling vulnerable, we open ourselves to the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives. Perfect for listening in the car or on your daily walk.

A Return To Love – Marianne Williamson

Quite simply, I believe that every woman should own read this book. A Return To Love is the book I have most gifted to other women and my own most dog-eared and marked with notations. A lot of women do not enjoy reading this book at first and so put it down.

Marianne refers to God through the book, though as in Geneen’s ‘Women, Food and God’, the God she refers to is whichever higher power you resonate with. Because a lot of women are sitting in external blame and in our own wounds like victims, the idea of responsibility for our own beliefs and behavior can trigger some. I always recommend that if this book does not resonate with you today, then pick it up in a month and try again and so on.

Marianne is an incredible teacher and shares that we each can become a miracle worker by accepting God and by the expression of love in our daily lives. Whether psychic pain is in the area of relationships, career, or health, she shows us how love is a potent force, the key to inner peace, and how by practicing love we can make our own lives more fulfilling while creating a more peaceful and loving world for our children.

The book you don’t read won’t help. – Jim Rohn

Now, I need to hear from you. Which is your favourite personal development book and why? Leave a comment below.

10 Books That Have Changed My Life was last modified: June 30th, 2016 by Alice Nicholls

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