9 books that changed my life for the better

9 must-read books that changed the way I view the world

If you hadn’t guessed by now, I’m an avid reader. I love nothing more than to fill up my library queue with 7 or 8 books at a time and then plow through them night after night. (Case in point.) I even love “live tweeting” what I’m reading and often share what has lovingly been dubbed as literary tweets.

When I think back on the books that have left an indelible mark on my life, there were 9 books that came to mind. Each of them were game changers for me; coming into my life at the exact right moment in time. Some created utter and complete paradigm shifts in the way I viewed and understood the world, others were the pep-talk from a girlfriend that I didn’t know I even needed, while others still have become the touchstone for how I operate in this world.

They are what keep me coming back time and again to the written world of books and libraries. And they are also what keeps me searching for that next story or study that will crack me open and teach me something new about myself and the world.

So, here are the 9 books on my must-read list that have changed my life for the better. Listed here in alphabetical order because HOW COULD I CHOOSE WHICH ONE I LOVE MOST?!

9 must-read books that have changed my life for the better

Note: the links below are affiliate links from Amazon (shown with an *). If you decide to purchase any of the books below using one of these links, I may get a commission at no charge to you. Thank you for your support!

1. Beyond Past Lives by Mira Kelley

I honestly can’t remember how or why this book showed up on my Kindle, so I’m going to say this was clearly something I was meant to read. I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of past lives and have heard about a few of mine in the course of healing my body from both food intolerances and infertility. (It’s amazing how many stories came up that covered both.) But I’ve not ever personally known how to access these memories myself or given it much thought outside the scope of that healing. Which is to say, when I read Beyond Past Lives* by Mira Kelley, I was entranced by the subject and her personal journey of accessing her own past lives and the way in which that knowledge transformed her. This book definitely expanded my perspective of what’s possible in this world and how there are things at play that are often outside the scope of our understanding and/or consciousness.

2. The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

This book came into my life through two different Facebook groups that I was a part of at the time, and HOO-EY am I glad that it did. The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks gave me the language to understand why I was constantly feeling like a hamster running in a wheel with my life and business. It also helped me to understand why I was constantly struggling and doing things — intentionally or not — to sabotage my happiness. Once I knew what I was up against and behaving the way I was behaving, I was able to cut it off at its knees. I’m not going to lie and say I was an overnight success, or that I have this all figured out (because I wasn’t and I don’t), but to have the awareness of what’s happening and why is absolutely invaluable.

3. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

There is something about Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing, and her quest for self-knowledge, that has been inspiring me from the beginning. So when I had the opportunity to hear Elizabeth Gilbert speak, I jumped on the chance. She had been on tour to talk about her book, The Signature of All Things*, a book I had yet to read. So imagine my surprise when she opened her talk by saying she was bored of talking about THAT book and wanted to talk about a new idea she had been researching on the time around creativity and inspiration. Over the next 2 hours of her talk, Elizabeth Gilbert shared story after story about inspiration and creativity that we later found out would be contained within the pages of Big Magic*. The book and the talk have stayed with me long after, and have become a touchstone for how I view creativity and inspiration in my life and the world.

4. Dancing With Life by Phillip Moffitt

Around the third year of trying to get pregnant with my daughter, and in my quest for healing, I felt the call to go deeper with meditation. So I began to explore what was out there, trying out different guided meditations, joining meditation groups, and going to Meet-Up’s around the topic of meditation. None seemed to be what I was looking for until I came across a meditation course from a local yogi friend that was based on the book, Dancing with Life by Phillip Moffitt. The book was a slow read, not because it wasn’t interesting but because I had to integrate everything that was being said about meditation. The course (and the book) helped me to carve out time for myself to meditate, which in turn brought me more in touch with myself and my intuition, which in turn brought about incredible healing and wholeness.

5. The Feminine Face of God by Sherry Ruth Anderson and Patricia Hopkins

This book came to me by way of my mother to help me explore my connection to God and spirituality. A ground-breaking book when it was written in the early 90’s, The Feminine Face of God* by Sherry Ruth Anderson and Patricia Hopkins is an exploration around how women experience the sacred in their lives. Drawn from workshops and interviews conducted across the country, the authors set out to understand the uniquely feminine aspects of faith through the intimacy of stories. The stories shared from the 100 women interviewed take you on a journey from childhood to leaving home, to relationships with ourselves, others, and the sacred. I highly recommend this book if you’ve been looking to explore your own beliefs and stories around the sacred or want to explore more deeply a more feminine side to God.

6. Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell

Continuing on with the spiritual theme, Light is the New Black* by Rebecca Campbell came to me at a time when I was starting to ask myself the big questions of who am I really, what am I here on this earth to do, and how can I be of service? When a friend raved about the book and shared how life-changing it had been for her, I knew that I needed to check it out for myself. I think the biggest takeaways I had from this book is a.) I’m not crazy or alone in my experiences, b.) there is nothing wrong or weird about anything I am doing or experiencing, and c.) there are a lot of really cool things out there to explore and I want to explore them all! Tl;dr the book was like one giant permission slip to be continue down the path I was (and am still) on.

7. Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

I read Miracle Morning* by Hal Elrod shortly after my daughter was born and was navigating the insane transition of going back to work for myself. I was feeling like a fish out of water with zero time to myself and a very rigid schedule. So when Hal outlined what made for a successful morning, and it included things like reading, meditating, and exercising, I was ALL IN. My husband and I each tried on the Miracle Morning Routine and loved how it made us feel. Sadly, it wasn’t sustainable long-term with an infant who preferred getting up at 3:30 AM. But it did give me an idea of what makes for a good morning (meditation, journaling, movement) and look forward to the day when I can revisit the idea of a morning routine that creates the space for me to do all of those things. Until then, I try my best to work in meditation, journaling, and movement when I can.

8. Thank & Grow Rich by Pam Grout

I know I said I couldn’t pick a favorite when it came to the books on this list, but I WILL say that Thank & Grow Rich* by Pam Grout was by far the most transformational book of the bunch for me. I initially picked this one up because of the title — it’s a play on the Napoleon Hill classic, Think & Grow Rich* (that I’ve also read and enjoyed). Once I realized that it was by Pam Grout, I was sold. I can’t really put my finger on why, exactly, the book was so powerful but it was as if gratitude went from a simple thought exercise to a full-body experience that I felt in every inch of my body. The shift was so profound that I wrote a post and recorded an episode about it for the podcast.

9. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Something I know about myself: if you include the word badass in the title of your book, I’m probably going to read it. Have a writing style that is equal parts snark and inspiration, and I’ll be hooked for life. That was the case with Jen Sincero’s book, You Are a Badass. I instantly fell in love with her writing style and how she extracted the wisdom from her own life and failings and turned it into one badass book. This was definitely the pep talk from a best girlfriend that I didn’t know I needed and am forever grateful to have received it. If you’re feeling like you’ve lost focused or aren’t really sure what to do with your one big life, this is the book for you.

Your must-read books

What books have had a big impact on your life or work? What books do you find yourself recommending over and over again because of how they changed you?

More about Emily Levenson

Emily Levenson is a therapist turned holistic health coach, podcaster, meditation encourager, and seeker of everyday magic. Emily recently kicked off her third #The100DayProject, focusing her efforts on daily meditation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.