I often tell the story that my journey down the personal development path (which for me is also about the quest to experience self actualisation) began around Easter 1999. One of the things I chose to do at that point, as a result of the right shove (it was definitely a shove and not a nudge I was given) was to start reading non-fiction books.
I had been an avid reader of fiction as a kid, and in early adulthood I would occasionally read a fiction book, but my life change significantly when I started reading and digesting good quality non-fiction books in my 30’s and beyond.
I have since read hundred’s of books, and now I have set myself the not-so-easy task of deciding which 6 of them I think are the ‘best’ or have had the most profound impact on my personal growth and understanding.
So let me have a shot at this and see how I go.
My TOP 6 (Life Changing ) Books
These are not in priority order by the way and there is a chance I have missed a book or two in my review of the last 20 years.
Biology of Belief by Dr Bruce Lipton
This book, written by a cellular biologist, who is very prominent in the personal development space these days, opened my mind up to the idea of the importance of our beliefs and thoughts, on the physical biology of our bodies. Up to this point I didn’t fully understand how impactful our beliefs and thoughts are on our physical and mental health (plus results in life in general).
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
The simplicity of these four agreements, or statements, or manifesto’s on how to live a quality life are truly profound. If you just did these four things with your life, and nothing else, your life would be more easeful and joyful than most people. A sample of one of the agreements is: ‘Don’t Take Things Personally’. Profoundly simple, but completely life changing if you choose to make this a priority, a habit, and a practice.
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
I read this over 15 years ago for the first time and recently re-read it a bunch of weeks ago. This is not for everyone, as it requires you to have a very open mind. Yogananda experiences and observes some amazing ‘miracles’ during his life, which definitely challenge some paradigms and possibilities. This is where I opened up to the idea that I don’t know everything there is to know in the seen and unseen universe; I only know what I know; and who am I to say that what he witnessed was not real or possible. A great read for all aspiring yogi’s, who want to go deeper than sets of downward dogs.
Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself by Dr Joe Dispenza
This was actually the second book I read of Dispenza’s and since then I have read his next two, which are equally epic (Your Are The Placebo and Becoming Supernatural). Joe Dispenza, as well as being an author, is a neuroscientist, and has been seminal in bridging the gap between metaphysics and science (through the findings and revelations of quantum physics). For the last decade plus he has had 1000’s of his students connected up to EEG machines, fMRI machines, plus apparatus to measure heart rate variability and blood work. He has been recording brain activity, while someone does deep guided meditations, and recorded results that are so far off the ‘normal’ chart (hundred’s of standard deviations from normal), that he started introducing the concept of doing the super-natural.
Loving What Is by Byron Katie
This was a pretty amazing read for me, because it introduced me to the idea (again) of how our thoughts influence our emotions, in such a way that they ‘create’ the results we get in life. I guess at this point, I was starting to understand the idea that we are not our thoughts and just because we had a ‘thought’ does not mean the thought is true, relevant, or even belonging to us. In her book she teaches 4 profound questions to ask ourselves, in order to challenge the ‘truth’ of your thoughts.
Power Versus Force by Dr David Hawkins
This article is actually inspired by my reading this book for the 3rd time, which I am about 75% through. It is pure genius and is a profoundly insightful exploration of ‘consciousness’ and the scales of consciousness, and their alignment with different emotional states. For instance the lowest level of consciousness is ‘shame’, which most therapists will agree is one of the hardest psychological aspects to work through. At the higher end of the scale of consciousness are emotions like joy and peace. He introduces the scientific method of kinesiology, to measure and calibrate levels of conscious. I find the subject fascinating and I use his teachings in all areas of my life, especially to discern truth from falsehood or when something is beneficial for life, or harmful to life at a biological level. His other books are awesome too (e.g. Letting Go).
Other AMAZING Books I Have Read Over The Years
That was REALLY hard trying to narrow down my most impactful reads to six books (which originally was meant to be a list of five), as there have been lots of amazing books, teachers and authors over the years I have learned remarkable insights, lessons, and knowledge from.
So let me share some others I have got a great deal from:
- The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (all about ‘resistance’)
- The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho (I read this every year)
- Dare to Lead by Brene Brown (and any of her other 3 books)
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (on creativity and acting on ideas)
- Scaling Up by Verne Harnish (my favourite business book)
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk (as the name suggests)
- Stillness Is The Key by Ryan Holiday (also wrote The Obstacle is the Way)
- Mindset by Carol Dweck (looks at a growth versus a fixed mindset)
- Succeed by Heidi Grant Halvorson (the research around goal setting)
- Atomic Habits by James Clear (habits are where the magic is at)
- An Untethered Soul by Michael Singer (an inner journey)
- Deep Work by Cal Newport (how to go deeper in a distracted world)
Other authors that I have enjoyed their work include: Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Steven Covey, Napoleon Hill, Robert Kiyosaki, Dr Thomas Cowan, Dr Colin Campbell, Dr Dean Ornish, Tal Ben-Sharer, Kelly McGonigal, etc.
Plus you can check out one of my five books at this link (as I also think they are very useful and practical reads). I have always been most interested in writing ‘useful’ books as opposed to clever or self-congratulatory books. 😉
I am a fan of reading (obviously) over other forms of content immersion, as I like to sit deeply with a topic and author for several hours, so the information can percolate in my mind, and as a result, mix with the other stuff I have learned over the years.
I don’t want to just understand the final outcome, or finding, or result, a person has come to understand; I want to understand how they got there. Knowing how they got there is also broadening and deepening my knowledge base and therefore my overall potential wisdom.
If you are not a typical reader of non-fiction, I challenge you to choose a book from the lists I have offered and read it. See what happens. See what you learn. See how your perspective is influenced.
And then step 2 – make it a ‘habit’.
Have a great day and happy reading.
Take care and much love,