Here’s a list of the top 50 non-fiction books that have changed my life, informed my perspectives as a mindfulness teacher, and to this day, make my heart feel oh-so good!
I hope you find a book on this list that calls to you, uplifts you and encourages you on your path of self-love and discovery…
:: by Eckhart Tolle :: This is an easy read by one of today’s leading teachers on how to live in the present moment. I had the chance to hear him speak in-person in 2018, and I refer to his teachings often in my daily meditation and mindfulness practices.
:: by John O’Donohue :: This is a lovely book on friendship and love that was introduced to me by one of my dearest friends. It’s full of so much goodness!
:: by Maira Kalman :: A fun book full of Maira’s artwork and wise wisdom gleaned from daily living and self-awareness; mixed with loads of humanity and humor.
:: by Cheri Huber :: Cheri is one of my ALL TIME favorite authors. This book on being in relationships with others and how most of our issues are really about ourselves, is kind, insightful and easy to read. You’ll love it! I promise.
:: by Elizabeth Gilbert :: This is my favorite book by Elizabeth Gilbert. As a creative, she speaks so tenderly to my heart and helps me feel excited about my creative life, especially when it comes to finding inspiration (aka: when inspiration finds you).
:: by Elizabeth Lesser :: This is one of the first books I recommend to anyone on the path of growth, healing and awakening. She tells wonderfully relatable stories, full of wisdom and understanding. Read this!
:: by Rick Hanson :: I’ve read few books from a scientific perspective that held my attention enough to finish. Rick has a wonderful way of breaking down information and telling stories that helps you understand the science behind mindfulness.
:: by Sanaya Roman :: This is a channeled text that is wildly simple and full of encouragement, ah-ha moments and teachings that are in alignment with spirit. To me it’s not really about money but connecting with the abundance you already have.
:: by Danielle Krysa :: I’ve known Danielle since she first started her blog, The Jealous Curator, in 2013. She is amazingly attuned to the need for artists to know they are not alone in their creative blocks, negative self-talk and feelings of inadequacy. The projects in this book are also super fun, inspiring and help get you outside your creative box.
:: by Andrew Solomon :: This book is very thick and bit heavy to read with lots of words. However, I was drawn to it because it talks about how often children are not the same as their parents and they struggle to feel okay because of their differences. He addresses everything from different personalities and temperaments to sexual orientation and belief systems.
:: by Sue Johnson :: This book about attachment styles will help you understand what sort of healthy and unhealthy attachments you formed as a young person, empowering you to change how you relate.
:: by Thich Nhat Hanh :: So simple. So easy to read. Absolutely something you can go back to again and again to remind you how to show up in life and relationships from a deeply loving and kind place.
:: by Dawna Markova :: The title says it all. The content is beautiful and very helpful for anyone who is on the path of awakening and spiritual growth.
:: by Priscilla Warner :: I learned about this book from Priscilla herself when she contacted me a few years ago. She just wanted to tell me how much she enjoys my meditations and encouraged me to keep doing what I’m doing. Her book highlights further what a thoughtful, loving soul she is. You’ll love reading about her journey to bring Calm into her life!
:: by Sam Harris :: This book is about truth-telling and honesty and how it builds trust in relationships. It’s a quick read, full of profound truths that will inspire you to be more honest with yourself and others at all times. I HIGHLY recommend!
:: by Catherine MacCoun :: I honestly don’t know how to sum up my love of this book. Please, please read it! It’s about the magic of the unseen and the connection of our souls to all that IS. Truly, this is one of my MOST FAVORITE books!
:: by Catriona MacGregor ::For anyone who wants to connect more deeply with nature, presence and themselves, I can’t recommend this beautiful book enough!
:: by Thich Nhat Hanh :: This book is simple and easy to read with very relatable stories. You’ll feel calm, cared for and understood after you read it.
:: by Sandra Anne Taylor :: The definition of “success” has always eluded me. It means something different to everyone. Same things goes for what it means to be wealthy and happy. This book will help you connect with what success, wealth and happiness mean to you, deep in your soul.
:: by Kristin Neff :: I don’t know a single person who doesn’t struggle with negative self-talk, guilt and feelings of not being good enough. This very simply written book takes you back to the basics and walks you through how to change your internal dialogues.
:: Essays by Joan Didion :: Joan’s cadence and perspective gives her away as a constant observer. Written in 1961, this book also gives you a window into the social and political climate of the time using lots of wit and awareness. My favorite essay in this book is called On Self-Respect.
:: by Elson M. Haas :: This is the best book I’ve read on the connection between our bodies and the natural rhythms of nature. It’s very easy to read and can be picked up as-needed, and referred to again and again. While reading this book I was inspired to further study herbology, though that’s just one tiny aspect of what this book offers.
:: by Austin Kleon :: This book is FUN and super easy to read. I highly recommend this book to any, and all, artists. You’ll feel your spirit expand with excitement at the ideas Austin shares.
:: by Carrie McCarthy & Danielle LaPorte :: This is another fun book that has lots of questions and workbook-style sections for you to write in. It’s based on the 80/20 rule of how we feel on the inside, and how we express ourselves outwardly. I read this book in 2012. My style statement is: Composed Bohemian. It’s still accurate after all these years.
:: by Margot Anand :: What a book! You can read this on your own or with a partner. It’s one of the MOST HEALING books I’ve ever read about sex. If you want to heal sexual wounds/trauma and open up to your own sensual energy (sexually and in life), this book will guide you lovingly through mindfulness practices and sexual exercises.
:: by Julia Cameron :: This book was first introduced to me through Danielle Krysa (aka: The Jealous Curator), during one of her art workshops in Portland, Oregon. Upon reading the first few pages, I started crying because someone had finally put words to everything I’d been feeling, and struggling with, as an artist. Julia Cameron single-handedly got me to start journaling every day. It has changed my life in more ways than I can count.
:: by Mark Nepo :: This book contains 365 meditative, thoughtful and soulful insights for you to read once a day. You’ll feel encouraged and grounded every time you pick up Mark’s book.
:: by Shefali Tsabary :: This is my all-time favorite parenting book ever! It’s for all parents, with children of any age. You will feel guided to parent from your heart, and will learn to support who your children are, in their souls. Truly amazing book!
:: by Oriah Mountain Dreamer :: Based on a poem by Oriah, called The Dance, each chapter of this book tells stories and gives insights based on each stanza of the poem. You’ll feel deeply connected to your soul self after reading this book.
:: by Harriet Lerner :: As a woman who has struggled with feeling it’s not okay to feel anger, this book was incredibly helpful and encouraging. I discovered anger is a healthy and normal emotion. It’s okay to feel angry and look deep into yourself as to why. You can listen to your anger, honor it and let it move through you in healthy, productive ways. Yes!
31. THE DANCE OF THE DISSIDENT DAUGHTER: Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine
:: by Sue Monk Kidd :: Sue has an amazing way of speaking directly to the heart in a way that’s comforting and connecting. Any woman who has been exposed to Christian conditioning, whether from family or society, this book helps bridge the gap between feelings of oppression and finding freedom while still honoring your spirituality.
:: by Cheri Huber :: This is another one of my favorite books by Cheri. It’s so simple and helps guide you to understand where fear and anxiety come from. Based on this understanding, Cheri guides you in how to release fear and create safety for yourself. I recommend this book to everyone!
:: by Lynne McTaggart :: While sitting in a bar with my sweetheart, we got to talking to the bartender. Somehow we stumbled on the subject of quantum physics and I mentioned one of my all-time favorite books on the subject – The Spectrum of Consciousness, – to which he enthusiastically said, “If you like that book, you’ll love this one!” Agreed.
:: by Miguel Ruiz :: First introduced to me by my aunt, the four agreements are: 1) Be Impeccable with Your Word, 2) Don’t Take Anything Personally, 3) Don’t Make Assumptions, 4) Always Do Your Best. This book is one of the most insightful books I’ve ever read. READ THIS BOOK! It will truly set you free!
35. THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
:: by Brené Brown :: You don’t need to be familiar with Shame Researcher, Brené Brown, to get everything the title promises out of this book. Check out her 2010 TEDxTalk to get a sense of all the goodness you’re in for.
:: by Elaine N. Aron :: For most of my life I felt like there was something wrong with me for feeling easily overwhelmed. Within the first few pages of reading this book, I felt seen, understood and validated for who I am as a highly sensitive person. Everyone should read this book no matter your sensitivity level!
:: by Marti Olsen Laney :: Until reading this book I had no idea I was an introvert. I just thought there was something wrong with me for not wanting to be social all the time or getting tired after too much social interaction. Being an introvert doesn’t mean you’re shy, quite or anti-social. It means you recharge best by spending time alone, whereas extroverts recharge by being around other people.
:: by Donald Altman :: I refer to this book again and again for it’s simple way of communicating deep ideas. This book will resonate with your heart, and the stories Donald tells will stick with you as encouraging reminders about what’s possible.
:: by Pema Chödrön :: I first leaned about this book from a clerk at my local used bookshop. I was there buying a book by Thich Nhat Hanh and she asked if I ever read Pema Chödrön, a female Zen Buddhist monk. I said, “No, but now I will!” Pema will make you laugh, cry and sigh with every word!
:: by Eckhart Tolle :: Holy wow! This is the best book I’ve ever read on how to live in the Present Moment. Eckhart is a truly enlightened teacher, full of so much love and kindness. You will LOVE this book!
41. THE SECOND SHIFT
:: by Arlie Russel Hochschild :: After writing a paper on how few female artists are represented in art galleries, despite how more women go to art school than men, my community college writing teacher suggested I read this book. It talks about how when the women’s movement stalled out, women were not only still doing everything they always did at home, they were also working full-time jobs. Essentially, creating twice the amount of work for women. This is an educational and poignant book that everyone would benefit from reading.
:: by Ken Wilber :: It took me over a year to read this book because every sentence was so mind blowing. I could only read a page or two at a time before needing to sit in contemplation for an hour. This book speaks about great unknowns with so much wisdom and clarity. It brought me great peace and calm to read it. It’s worth reading every word.
:: by David Abram :: This is the only book on my list I haven’t read yet. It was introduced to me by my sweetheart with the agreement that I will read this book while he reads The Spectrum of Consciousness (see #42) – our two favorite books. From what I understand, this book is life-altering. I can’t wait to read it!
44. THE TAO OF POOH
:: by Benjamin Hoff :: Who doesn’t love Winnie the Pooh and all his forest friends? This book explores the character of Pooh and the lessons he teaches us about presence, acceptance, non-judgement and joy.
:: by Eve Ensler :: From profound love and deep appreciation, his book changed my relationship with my vagina for the better. This book is beautiful, empowering and comprised of real stories from real women.
:: by Cheri Huber :: I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO EVERYONE. Read it now. Read it today. Then read it 20, 50, 100 more times. Find out how truly good, loved and okay you are, just as you are. Please, read this book!
:: by David J. Linden :: This book changed how I relate to the world through my skin and touch sensations. Our skin is our body’s largest organ, and touch is arguably the most essential sense of all the senses. How I touch and love has changed in really beautiful ways since reading these profound ideas.
:: by Anne Lamott :: When I first read this book, I wasn’t sure if I liked the author or not. She was so real, abrupt and unapologetically honest. Anne writes in such a raw, human voice it can sometimes feel like she’s exposing you. However, what she’s really doing is putting words to what it is to be human and live with grace for ourselves.
:: by Paul Arden :: This book is curious and fun. You will delight in the contradictions and stories Paul tells because he shows you that there’s no good or bad ideas. There’s no right or wrong. There’s just creative people being inspired and learning to follow their joys, quirks and curiosities!
:: by Sue Monk Kidd :: This book tells the story of Sue’s awakening… or, perhaps her journey from sleep to awakening – the moments before fully waking up spiritually. I found this book to be incredibly soothing and comforting. It helped me feel okay with the mix of joy and sorrow, pain and healing I experienced during my own awakening.
:: by Clarissa Pinkola Estés :: I’ve heard this book called The Bible for Women. I couldn’t agree more. It’s deep, full and rich like the soul of a woman. The archetypes that Clarissa writes about will speak to women of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities.