Top 10 Really Good Books That Changed My Life

I will have to say, that not only am I a complete and total book hoarder, but I am avid reader as well!  I read both fiction and non-fiction, and while some of the fiction I've read has stayed with me for long periods of time after the book was done, non-fiction is where it's at when you are in need of some real life changes.

There are different kinds of books we read in life: sucky books, okay books, good books, and really good books.  Today we're discussing the latter, as those are the ones that deserve to be showcased for what they mean in our lives.

So, what can a really good book do for you?

  • Changes your perspective on life as a whole
  • Changes your perspective on other people
  • Changes your perspective on who you are and who you want to become
  • Gives you purpose
  • Validates your own thoughts and ideas and opinions
  • Lights a fire under your ass
  • Makes you feel connected to everything and everyone
  • Shifts your beliefs to a new way of thinking
  • Deletes negative beliefs and replaces them with more healthy ones
  • Educates you on something you didn't know
  • Educates you on something you thought you knew, but realize now you didn't really know crap about it
  • Changes your mindset
  • Makes you a better person 
  • Makes you a mentally healthier person

It's true, a good book can hit you right in the emotions.  It can make you feel things and possibly even gives you some new ideas on things.  But a really good book can change your whole damn life.  And isn't that why you're here?  Now, while the books I suggest below may not all be your cup of tea (or something that you need right now in your life), I do recommend you make your own list of amazing books to share with the world (or just in your journal).  And if you haven't had a book change your life yet?  Then get out there!  Get to your library or go on Amazon and check out reviews to see what people are saying about them.  Follow your interests and see where they take you.  Mine can take me to all sorts of kooky places, but eventually, I find a book (or 10) that really speaks to me and changes me for the better.

So, without further adieu, here is my list of my top ten books that not only changed my life in the moment I read them, but have had lasting staying power in my life to invoke real change that still effects me today:

 (this blog post contains affiliate links to some BADASS books 😏)

  1.  The Voice of Knowledge: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace  Toltecs sure know what the fuck they are talking about!  This book is THE go-to book I give as a reference to everyone I know and talk to for learning to how to let go of other people's bullshit.  If someone treats you like crap?  Then this book will help you learn how to take their crap and transform it into compassion and understanding.  And I am the type of person who gets annoyed easily by other human beings!  But after reading this?  I finally understood the plight of the human existence, and why we treat each other the way we do.  Eye-opening isn't the word for this book, it's more like soul-opening.  I may not love particular human beings in my life, but I have learned how to view them with compassion instead of irritation and annoyance.  This book transformed me into a better person.  
  2. Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything  This book is fariggin' awesome!  Even my kids loved it.  This book is not only for super smart people (cause even I understood it!), it's actually interesting and opens your eyes to possibilities that you've never thought of before.  Like exploring how incentives don't really work for people to do better in life (especially not for the long term).  This book changed my view on many things, incentives only being one of them.  And, if you'd prefer to watch a video on it, I am pretty sure Netflix still has it available (the movie is just as good!).  
  3. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong  We went through this book as a homeschool subject with my oldest son, and now I am using this with my youngest.  This book will CHANGE YOUR entire belief about American history.  It's truly amazing, 100% factual (while some history textbooks are not), and comes straight from the source (all of which he cites).  My eyes were totally opened and my entire being was changed after reading this! 
  4. Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life  Do you read about "mindfulness" everywhere you look but struggle how to actually implement it in everyday life?  Because I sure did.  And, as you can you can see from the title, this book is just exactly what I needed.  This is the first book I read by Thich Nhat Hanh, and because of that, I fell in love with his work.  The one story that sticks out is the one where he talks about using mindfulness as a child to eat a chocolate chip cookie, and how it took him all afternoon!  HA!  I can't imagine eating a cookie that slow, but when I read that passage (this is a book of short essays), I was like "Wow...that makes total sense..."  Can't say I take that long to eat a cookie today (maybe a whole BOX of cookies LOL), but I do enjoy them a hell of a lot more than I used to.  And that's exactly what mindfulness is all about: enjoying these small moments so you can remember them later (rather than just running through life on autopilot, then wondering one day where all that damn time went!).  So let's all slow down, take that first sip of your coffee, truly taste it, and just relax into the moment, rather than worry about what's coming next.  Because we can't get these moments back, they are one-of-a-kind.  This book taught me how to take these small moments in life and experience them fully.  And while I don't use it as regularly as I should, when I do remember to use mindfulness, it's really awesome :)
  5. Transformation Soup: Healing for the Splendidly Imperfect  When I was going through hell in my first marriage and then decided to get a divorce, this book kept my head above water.  I had tried to leave him 50 times during the 6 years we were together, but always chickened out and went back to him.  He never knew I tried to leave him, I would just leave, he'd call, and I'd get a horrible stomachache about telling him I was leaving him, and then I'd just go back without saying a word.  It was this book that helped me stay afloat and keep my word to myself that this time was going to be different, that this time was for real.  I did a LOT of introspection during that period, which also led to me finding my artistic voice again (which did not include singing LOL), among many other things.  And because of reading this book, which helped me to stay strong to end my marriage for good and not chicken out again, I ended up finding my new husband, who I've been married to for eleven years as of this writing (not that everyone's goal is to find a spouse in life--that was just my own life path).  And I have to say, thank goodness (or thank SARK) I picked up this book that ended up giving me a new direction in life 💗
  6. The Red Book: A Deliciously Unorthodox Approach to Igniting Your Divine Spark  Whooee!!  This book, um, is...exciting to say the least.  I will say it's very much for women.  But I am sure there are books out there that are similar for men?  I will do some searching and see if I can find some.  First of all, I need to let you know that I am coming from a place in my life of non-religion.  And luckily for me, this book is not really about religion, it's taking different things from various religions and applying them in a wholly spiritual way (not to mention a sexy way!).  When I read this book, I finally felt like I had found a spiritual home.  I felt connected to the world, to everything and everyone around me.  I found an inner peace, that armed with Don Miguel Ruiz's book above, moved me in a deeply peaceful way.  In this book you learn that we can have our cake and eat it too.  We can celebrate our true femininity within Sera's version of spirituality even though we've been taught as women growing up in any sort of organized religion is that a) we don't matter as much as men and b) we should hide our sexuality because ewwwww, girls are gross!  I do not identify as a feminist, but I will say I can totally relate to feeling that way (which is partially what led me on my spiritual path away from organized religion).  Here is a great quote from the book "You have to pray from such an honest and open and raw place in yourself that the Divine eagerly wants to kneel at the altar of you."  Yeah.  That's pretty fucking awesome if you ask me.
  7. Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers  Holy.  Freaking.  Crap.  This book changed my life (to put it mildly).  I grew up always wondering "What the hell am I doing so wrong that my mother acts like she cares about me one second and the next that she'd throw me under a bus if it meant saving herself?"  And now I know why.  And that wasn't the only issue I had with her, I could make a list but then this blog post would become a book on it's own (I actually have another blog where I have documented my life with her).  And not only did this book change my life by changing how I viewed my relationship with my mother, it also taught me how to recognize the other narcissists in my life, which eventually led me to walking away from my family as whole.  If you're a daughter of a mother you suspect suffers from NPD?  Then this book will most definitely help you.  I cannot recommend it enough.  If I had to pick the one on this list that changed me the most?  It will be this book.  It will always be this book.
  8. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing  I am what I call a CC personality (creative chaotic), rather than a type A or anything else.  I hoard books and creative supplies...and sometimes my art "stuff" overflows into my house.  And I've read OODLES of books that talk about decluttering and organizing, but this the ONLY one that stuck.  And now I even use her techniques when I am in a store and want to buy more than I should.  If it doesn't bring me joy (or my bank account can't handle it), that crap goes back on the shelf! LOL  I use this along with FlyLadys' techniques and it keeps my home nice and tidy (most days! haha just call if you come over first....hee hee).
  9. Parenting Your Out-of-Control Teenager: 7 Steps to Reestablish Authority and Reclaim Love  I will admit it: my son has ODD.  He was born with aspergers, which went undiagnosed until he was 17.  And the whole time he had ODD and we had no idea what was going on.  His obstinate (and abusive) behavior eventually got so bad, I'd just give in to make it stop--which reinforced his obstinate (and abusive) behavior.  It eventually got so bad I had to have his father let him move in for awhile or else we were going to end up in a situation where he was going to get arrested.  While he was gone, I did tons and tons of research to figure out how to fix this (as his therapist was NOT helping at all--she was actually making it worse--did I mention public aid mental help in our town is a HUGE joke?  Especially for children).  So through my searching, I saw this book getting RAVE reviews on Amazon, and then I realized something--OMG!  I own this book!  So I fished it out, cracked it open, and got to work.  When it was time to bring him home, he was open to anything just so he could come back, so I gave him the contract--which he wholeheartedly agreed to adhering to (it's in the book) and just like that....he slowly got better (it wasn't just the contract--but that helped IMMENSELY).  Now he's almost 19 and doing amazingly great :)  When I say this book changed our lives, I feel like I am doing an injustice with such weak words.  I want to hug this author for giving us our son back!  While he's not perfect (and neither am I), at least he tries (as do I, as does my husband).  And it's all because of this book!  And there's not been ONE violent outburst since implementing this program.  Which right there is worth it's weight in gold!
  10. Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing  I don't care if the author's account actually happened or not.  It seems legit, but that's not what matters.  What matters is that this book led me to forgive my father twelve years after this death.  Living with his abuse growing up really hit me hard when he died when I was 23 years old.  The first year I was completely in shock (I was being abused by my mother severely that year, which didn't help).  The second year turned into absolute hatred.  I was so happy he was dead...I could have danced on his grave!  And the third year on I was just numb.  I would shut down when I talked about him.  I couldn't think of him without total anger.  I lived with being angry and feeling resentment constantly.  Then I picked up this book based upon Wayne Dyer's recommendation...and my life seemed to change in an instant.  The idea that if my father would had done better if he was capable of doing better really rocked my world.  Granted, the book put it way better than that (and in a way that made total sense to me).  And it spoke to the whole "psychology/sociology" part of my brain (I am always constantly learning as much I can in this arena).  And now?  I can think about my dad, know he did wrong, but forgive him completely for what he did.  It doesn't make his abuse right or okay, it just makes it so that I don't have to suffer from it anymore.  And hopefully one day I can feel the same way about my mother (I am getting there, slowly).  I can speak and think about my dad with compassion and love, and finally remember the good times (when I was angry and hurting, I had blocked them all out).  I still remember the bad times.  But I am objective about them now, and there is no pain attached to the bad memories.  I now hurt for him, not because of him.  And just like so many authors on this list, I don't know I could ever thank her for changing my life.  I am a better person (and a happier person) because of this book. 

And that's why these are my top 10 really good books that changed my life.  I would be so worse off right now without having read them.  And what excites me is to think about what I will read next that will change my life even more??  There are SO many really good books out there, I need to devour them all!

What about you?  What really good books changed your life?  How did they change you? Share your experiences below and maybe I'll grab a copy of a book you suggest to read for myself! 

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