Tag Archives: Self-Improvement

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “For Better” by Tara Parker-Pope

I love a good journalist. Tara Parker-Pope is one of those. She’s done her research on the research, and now presents us with a thorough examination of the science of marriage. Here are my notes on For Better: How the Surprising Science of Happy Couples Can Help Your Marriage Succeed.

Key Takeaways:

  • Contrary to popular opinion, “. . . marital stability appears to be improving each decade.”
  • Modern marriage is sometimes called the “soul mate marriage,” and the expectations on it are high.
  • “. . . Strong marriages have at least a five-to-one daily ratio of positive to negative interactions.”
  • Scientists have found a genetic link for monogamous and non-monogamous behavior.
  • Hormonal contraceptives can cause women to choose the wrong partner, blunting her natural instincts.
  • Marriage is a protective factor for colds, cancer, heart attacks, dementia and more.
  • The longer a relationship continues, the less sex women crave. “Researchers from Hamburg-Eppendorf University in Germany interviewed 530 men and women about their relationships and interest in sex. They found that 60 percent of the thirty-year-old women studied wanted sex ‘often’ at the start of a relationship. But within four years this figure dropped to fewer than half, and by twenty years, only one in five women wanted regular sex. The sharp decline in sexual interest wasn’t seen among men in the study.”
  • Researchers found that the way a partner describes how they met their spouse–whether their story of the event is tinted with optimism or with negative or regretful overtones–predicts their future with that spouse. (Happy couples also say “we” or “us” more often than unhappy ones.)
  • Eye rolling is one of the most reliable body language indicators of troubled marriages.
  • “Marriage researchers say that 70 percent of the time, the conflicts that arise between couples are never resolved. In one study, couples who were tracked for a decade were still fighting about the same things they had been arguing about ten years earlier . . . The lesson, say a number of noted marriage researchers, is that compatibility is overrated.”
  • “Studies show that women tend to initiate about 80 percent of fights. This doesn’t mean women are to blame for causing all the trouble in marriages. It just means they are more willing to take the emotional risk of trying to resolve problems.”
  • Physiologically, women respond with greater calm to conflict than do men.
  • Successful arguments often start with a complaint. Unsuccessful ones often start with a criticism.
  • Successful arguers know how to de-escalate a fight using calm tones and non-hostile body language.
  • New parenthood lowers marital satisfaction greatly, though largely temporarily.
  • A fair division of household chores is one of the best ways to avoid marital tension.
  • Often, women chose to take on more responsibility at home because they don’t want to give up control. They also care more about and are better at deciphering details.
  • Arguments between same-sex couples seem to contain fewer verbal attacks and less controlling behavior.
  • Couples who stay married often marry after the age of twenty-five, are not college dropouts, wait ten years before deciding whether or not to divorce, marry someone with similar interests and background, and marry someone whose parents are still married.

About the Author

Tara Parker-Pope is a writer and journalist who specializes in health and wellness. She is best known for her work as a health columnist at The New York Times, where she has written about a wide range of health topics, from fitness and nutrition to medical treatments and public health policy. Parker-Pope is widely respected for her in-depth reporting, her ability to translate complex medical information into accessible language, and her commitment to helping people live healthier, happier lives.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “When Panic Attacks” by David Burns

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David Burns has been writing about depression, anxiety and one of the best-known treatments for it, cognitive therapy, for a long time. In my opinion, this is his best work. When Panic Attacks: A New Drug-free Therapy to Beat Chronic Shyness, Anxiety and Phobia provides surprising methods for combating these difficult mental health challenges, and his conversational–even humorous–tone will inspire you to try them (no matter how wacky they may seem).

Read this book to learn a variety of interesting techniques for coaching yourself through difficult moments.

Key Takeaways

There are many cognitive exercises you can use to self-calm during an acute episode of anxiety, panic or depression. Here are just a few:

  • The “what-if technique”: Write down the negative thought and ask questions to challenge them. Keep asking questions until you get to the core fear.
  • The experimental technique: Test negative thoughts like a scientist tests a theory, asking for and weighing the evidence.
  • The reattribution technique: Rather than talking yourself out of your negative thought or fear, simply take a more well-rounded perspective and reduce exaggeration. Look for the shades of grey.
  • The “process versus outcome” technique: When worried about your performance, think about both the effort you put in and the outcome. You can control your preparation and hard work, but external factors may affect the outcome. Focus on the effort you put in, like attending classes and preparing well, and accept the outcome.
  • The should-catching technique: Catch any “shoulds” that you find in your negative thought or fear. Realieze that “words that cause emotional distress often fall outside the categories of moral, legal, or laws-of-the-universe shoulds. For example, feeling shy is not immoral, illegal, or a law of the universe.”
  • The “be specific” technique: Don’t let overgeneralizations fool you. Be specific about your self-critiques so they will hold less weight. Performance anxiety can come from fear of failure and being labeled a failure as a person.
  • The “supervisor from hell” technique: Play the part of a grumpy supervisor (your inner critic) who is telling you the things that your brain is telling you in your negative moment. Then, gently talk to the supervisor, questioning them until you see how illogical your inner critic is.
  • The self-monitoring technique: Count your negative thoughts throughout the day. Continuously monitoring negative thoughts can lead to a significant decrease in them and a noticeable improvement in your mood. You can use a score counter, like the ones golfers use, to keep track of your negative thoughts.
  • The worry breaks technique: Schedule time to purposely allow negative thoughts and feelings to surface and not fight against them. During these scheduled times, you allow yourself to experience the negative thoughts fully. The rest of the day, you can focus on living positively and productively.
  • The paradoxical magnification technique: Instead of refuting your negative thoughts, buy in to them and exaggerate them until they become humorous and absurd. “For example, if you feel inferior, you could tell yourself, ‘Yes, it’s true. In fact, I’m probably the most inferior person in California at this time, and maybe in the entire United States.'”
  • The humor technique: Substitute a funny, absurd fantasy in place of the one that’s making you anxious.
  • The acceptance technique: Instead of defending against the negative thought, find some truth in it. Agree with it, and befriend the critic in your mind.
  • The cost-benefit analysis technique: Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of having a negative thought that is bothering you.
  • The “devil’s advocate” technique: To overcome tempting negative thoughts, make a list and give it to a friend or family member. Ask them to act as the devil and tempt you with the thoughts on the list. The other person should use seductive language and address you with “you.” Your goal is to resist the temptation and defeat the devil. It can be challenging to do this, especially if your list is honest. If you get stuck, reverse roles so your friend can demonstrate a more effective response.

Other techniques for effectively overcoming an acute anxiety or depression episode are behavioral rather than cognitive. Some of these are:

  • Shame-attacking exercises: In order to overcome a fear of embarrassment, intentionally do something foolish in public. “You’ll usually discover that most people don’t look down on you and the world doesn’t really come to an end. In fact, most of the time, everyone ends up having a lot of fun.”
  • Exercise: Bursts of intense exercise, like jumping jacks, can stop a panic attack and get you out of a negative spiral.
  • Exposure therapy: Instead of avoiding your fears, engage in them! This is one of the best ways to overcome the fear. Keep track of your progress in writing.

About the Author

David D. Burns is an American psychiatrist, author, and pioneer in the development of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). He received his medical degree from the Stanford University School of Medicine and is best known for his bestselling self-help book, “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy,” which has sold over 5 million copies worldwide and is widely regarded as a classic in the field of CBT. He has also written several other books on CBT and psychotherapy, and is a frequent speaker and trainer at professional conferences and workshops. Burns has received numerous awards for his contributions to the field of mental health, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Food Rules” by Michael Pollan

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You’ve probably already noticed that these days, figuring out what to eat isn’t a simple matter. Opinions are all over the place. Unlike most diet books, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan is objective—maybe the most objective, balanced diet book out there. Pollan is not a nutritionist, but a journalist seeking the answer to a seemingly simple question, namely: “What should I eat?” You’ll never sound gullible quoting from a book by Pollan.

Key Takeaways

Pollan offers sixty-four succinctly and divinely worded food truisms, including “Eat only foods that eventually will rot” and “It’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language. (Think Big Mac, Cheetos, or Pringles.)”

Says Pollan: “There have been, and can be, healthy high-fat and healthy low-fat diets, but they have always been diets built around whole foods.”

And: “I learned that in fact science knows a lot less about nutrition than you would expect—that in fact nutrition science is, to put it charitably, a very young science … Nutrition science … is today approximately where surgery was in the year 1650—very promising, and very interesting to watch, but are you ready to let them operate? I think I’ll wait a while.”

A wide variety of traditional diets are healthy; the modern diet is not. “What this suggests is that there is no single ideal human diet but that the human omnivore is exquisitely adapted to a wide range of different foods and a variety of different diets.”

The book’s bottom line is this: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

About the Author

Michael Pollan is an American author, journalist, and professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He is best known for his work on the intersection of food, agriculture, and culture, and has written several highly acclaimed books on these topics. Pollan is a strong advocate for sustainable agriculture and the importance of knowing where our food comes from. He has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and has won numerous awards for his writing, including the James Beard Award and the John Burroughs Medal. Pollan’s books, including “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food,” have had a significant impact on the way we think about food and the environment.

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Blink” by Malcom Gladwell

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Malcom Gladwell, y’all. He’s not just another writer. He’s a genius journalist, whose stories keep you on edge and intellectually stimulated at the same time–even his story about ketchup. (Yes, he’s written one, and it was awesome.)

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking is about what happens when we make crucial decisions in the tiny span of time between the external stimuli and the onset of logical thought. It takes you from a doctor’s office to a forest fire to a police shooting, recounting the ways that professionals applied split-second intuition (or missed their opportunity to do so) in vivid detail.

Read this book to better understand the inner workings of your mind, to better appreciate its powers of computation, and to learn when to listen to your intuition–and when not to.

Key Takeaways

  • Intuition is a powerful tool. Gladwell argues that our first impressions and gut feelings are often more accurate than we give them credit for. He explores the concept of “thin-slicing,” which is the ability of our unconscious mind to make snap judgments based on small amounts of information.
  • Sometimes, split-second decisions are more reliable and accurate than well-thought-out ones–but only when instinct has been cultivated over time with experience and expertise. These Gladwell calls “blink moments” – instances where people make split-second decisions that have significant consequences. He explores how experts in various fields, such as art, music, and medicine, use their intuition to make quick and accurate decisions.
  • When trying to decide if a painting was real or a fake, the split-second guess of three experts was more accurate than the well thought out decision of different experts.
  • Context matters too. Gladwell emphasizes that context is crucial in our snap judgments. He argues that we need to be aware of the factors that influence our gut reactions and take steps to eliminate biases and external factors.
  • We can improve our intuition over time. Some ideas that can help us do this are: practicing mindfulness, paying attention to our first impressions, and seeking out diverse perspectives. Gladwell also discusses the role that experience plays in developing expertise and intuition.
  • Intuition does have some drawbacks, however. Snap judgments can be influenced by factors such as stress, fatigue, and emotion, and how these factors can lead to errors in judgment.
  • Intuition doesn’t always work when fear short-circuits our instincts. An example is when cops shot an innocent kid while looking for a criminal (they were inexperienced and didn’t follow protocol).
  • Bias is also powerful and can affect our intuition negatively. Gladwell explores how our cultural backgrounds, experiences, and stereotypes can influence the way we perceive people and situations.

About the Author

Malcolm Gladwell is a Canadian journalist, author, and speaker. He is a staff writer for The New Yorker and has published several best-selling books, including The Tipping Point, Outliers and Blink. Gladwell is known for his ability to weave together complex ideas and research to create engaging narratives that challenge our assumptions and offer new insights.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Whatever Arises, Love That” by Matt Kahn

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Whatever Arises, Love That is one of my favorite book titles ever. When it comes to this book by spiritual teacher Matt Kahn, a self-proclaimed channel, this short phrase is pretty much the whole show. In it, the idea of acceptance of what is is expanded and expounded upon until (hopefully) it sticks.

Read this book as a way of getting the title’s message more deeply into your mind and to encourage you to start or continue a habit of mindfulness.

Key Takeaways

  • Whatever arises in your life, choose to love it. This practice is the gateway to feelings of well-being.
  • Honor your feelings. Give them permission to be. In this way, we avoid rumination during times of hardship, and instead gracefully accept the present moment.
  • No matter what life situation comes about, meet it with love and acceptance.
  • Repeat the words “I love you” over and over throughout the day in order to practice acceptance of what is.

Key Quotes

  • “No matter what seems to trigger you, each reaction represents the releasing of cellular debris collected from lifetimes of experiences.”
  • “Throughout this process, it is important to remember that a sensation only feels like a barrier for as long as you refuse to feel it. As it is invited to be felt, a willingness to experience each moment as an opportunity to heal clears out layers of cellular memory to make room for the emergence of heart-centered consciousness.”
  • “Instead of using this practice as a cosmic fire extinguisher to merely resolve the flames of personal despair, I invite you to treasure your heart on a regular basis, until the world you are viewing reflects back the light that your love reveals.”
  • “While moments of transcendence are incredible to behold, the true benchmark of spiritual maturity is how often your words and actions are aligned with love.”

About the Author

Matt Kahn is a spiritual teacher, author, and empathic healer. He is the author of several books on spirituality and personal growth, including Whatever Arises, Love That and The Universe Always Has a Plan. Kahn’s teachings emphasize the power of self-love and compassion to transform our lives and the world around us, and he has gained a large following through his YouTube channel and live events.


Can’t quite get to all the nonfiction and self-help books that interest you? Read Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday here.

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Nurture Shock” by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

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Parenting books based on research–particularly recent research–are a nice break from polemics based on anecdotes and opinion. Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman is particularly worthwhile since its focus is teaching children, not disciplining them.

Read it to be in the know about stuff your parents might’ve been clueless about.

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t praise kids for their smarts, or they might think of intelligence as a fixed feature and become afraid to try new things. Instead, praise them for effort and persistence, showing them that intelligence can be developed and motivating them to take on difficult challenges.
  • Kids who get even fifteen more minutes of sleep per night on average do much better in school.
  • Do talk to your kids about race. Kids are constantly looking for differences. They want to belong, so they often exclude others unless told not to.
  • All kids lie. See untruth telling as teachable moments, not moral failure.
  • Teach kids to interact with siblings in much the same way they interact with friends.

In addition, here are some tips for helping a baby learn how to speak:

  • Words should accompany interaction, especially facial cues. TV doesn’t help with this.
  • Follow the baby’s lead. Say the words for items they’re showing interest in, when the internal motivation to learn the word is already present.
  • For small babies, wiggle a toy or object to draw attention before naming it. 
  • Incorporate common sentences with new words.
  • Say the same idea in different words.
  • Respond to almost all vocalization in same way, teaching the child they’ll affect you in predictable ways by their sounds.

About the Authors

Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman are American journalists and authors, known for their work in popularizing research in social and behavioral sciences. They co-authored the books Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children and Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing, which explore topics such as parenting, education, and competition. Their writing has been featured in many media outlets, including The New York Times, Time, and Newsweek.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “The Feeling Good Handbook” by David Burns

Anger is natural. It’s a normal part of life. But we don’t want to experience it for longer than necessary. Fortunately, our emotions aren’t entirely out of our control; by examining our negative beliefs, our accompanying negative feelings become less persistent and less convincing. There are many methods for doing so, but the one with the most evidence behind it is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

In The Feeling Good Handbook, one of the most-read books on the subject, David Burns details the process. I highly recommend this and other CBT books, or working with a therapist who uses the method regularly. (There are also CBT worksheets and instructions online.)

In spite of the prodigious amount of literature devoted to the subject, CBT is a simple, intuitive process. Working either with a therapist, or alone with a journal, you identify your most anxious, fearful or hateful thoughts. Then you examine it objectively, asking yourself if the thought is entirely true, or if it’s untrue or just partly true–an exaggeration. By the time you’re done, you’ve found at least a few more positive thoughts to counteract the negative ones, and as a result, your depression or anxiety is lessened. In a perfect world, every child would be taught the technique in school, and every adult would practice it regularly.

As one of the early, and most thorough and textbook-like books on cognitive therapy, The Feeling Good Handbook has become a legit self-help classic. However, other books on cognitive therapy use the same basic principles and might be more concise. I recommend reading at least a few on this subject and using cognitive therapy weekly at least throughout your life.

Key Takeaways:

  • The way to change how you feel is to change how you think.
  • “If you say, ‘I just can’t help the way I feel,’ you will only make yourself a victim of your misery–and you’ll be fooling yourself, because you can change the way you feel.”
  • “I don’t believe you should try to be happy all the time, or in total control of your feelings. That would just be a perfectionistic trap. You cannot always be completely rational and objective.”
  • Beware of the ten most common forms of twisted thinking, namely: all-or-nothing thinking; overgeneralization; using a mental filter; discounting the positive; jumping to conclusions; magnification; emotional reasoning; ‘should’ statements; labeling/name calling; personalization; and blame.
  • The author suggests ten ways to question your negative thoughts: examining the evidence (like a judge would); using the experimental technique or the survey method (like a scientist would); thinking in shades of gray or using the semantic method (like a philosopher would); using the cost-benefit analysis method (like an economist would) and more.

About the Author

David D. Burns is a psychiatrist and author known for his work in the field of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and self-help literature. He gained prominence through his best-selling book “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy,” which was first published in 1980.

“Feeling Good” is a self-help book that focuses on CBT techniques to help readers understand and manage their emotions, alleviate depression, and improve their overall mental well-being. The book presents practical strategies and exercises to challenge negative thought patterns and develop healthier ways of thinking.

In addition to “Feeling Good,” David Burns has written several other books on related topics, such as anxiety, relationships, and communication. Some of his other notable works include:

  1. “The Feeling Good Handbook”
  2. “When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life”
  3. “Intimate Connections: The Clinically Proven Method for Making Close Friends and Finding a Loving Partner”
  4. “The Ten Days to Self-Esteem”

David Burns is known for his engaging writing style and his ability to translate complex psychological concepts into practical advice that readers can apply to their lives. He has also been involved in teaching and training mental health professionals in the techniques of cognitive-behavioral therapy.


Can't quite get to all the nonfiction and self-help books that interest you? Read Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday here.

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages” by Shaunti Feldhahn

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It’s another marriage book, but it’s not just another marriage book. It’s The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages: The Little Things That Make a Big Difference, and in it, researcher Shaunti Feldhahn throws all the researcher at us, giving us the closest thing we have to a scientific formula for a happy partnership.

Read this book to find out what happy couples do and don’t do and to begin to incorporate the helpful habits into your current life (married or not).

Key Takeaways

  • Highly happy couples feel deeply cared about. When asked whether they care deeply about their spouse in a survey, eight of ten said “yes, absolutely.” In fact, out of the 1,261 people officially surveyed, only nine people said, “not really.” However, more than four out of every ten coupled people said they believed their spouses didn’t care about them deeply. This might explain some of the problems between unhappy couples: they care about their partner, but don’t feel cared about in return. 
  • “Once you believe your spouse absolutely cares about you, those distancing feelings of hurt, anger and resentment arise a lot less often,” writes Feldhahn.
  • Highly happy couples always assume good intentions. “By expecting the best, you bring out the best.” 
  • Highly happy couples do go to bed mad. They take time to cool off before continuing difficult conversations.
  • Highly happy couples are not brutally honest. They know how to calm their partner and sometimes, tell white lies.
  • Highly happy couples hang out with each other. In doing so, their ratio of positive-to-negative interactions is tipped to the positive side.

About the Author

Shaunti Feldhahn is an American author and social researcher. She is best known for her books on relationships, personal finance, and work-life balance, including For Women Only and For Men Only. She has also written several fiction and non-fiction books on other topics such as leadership and success. Feldhahn holds a degree in public policy from Harvard University and has worked as an investment banker and a public policy analyst.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Wired for Love” by Stan Tatkin

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There’s really no way around it: In order to be a person in a partnership in the 21st century, you pretty much have to know about attachment styles. Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship by Stan Tatkin is one of many primers on the topic, but its a really good one.

Read this book to understand your own attachment style and to learn what to expect from the attachment of others.

Key Takeaways

  • There are three types of partnership styles: securely attached; islands; and waves. Islands prefer aloneness and are often uncommunicative. Waves are highly emotional, turbulent and have a great need for reassurance. Securely attached partners often give and receive assurance, but also trust their partners and don’t disconnect.
  • One way to securely attach to your partner and to provide for their needs is to learn what their triggers are. Often, people feel like they are “messed up” and have a lot wrong with them, but most people have only three or four major overarching triggers. These have often been wired in them from a young age and will likely be with them for the rest of their lives, to some degree. The loving partner’s goal should be to understand, recognize and calm these triggers as needed so that their partner feels safe and protected. No shame. No blame. Just helping them get through that situation. Then, when it’s your turn, they will do the same for you. 
  • Being on each other’s side, always, is the best way to engender feelings of security. Also, attachment requires full and complete honesty, especially regarding third parties (coworkers, friends, etc.). 

About the Author

Stan Tatkin is an American psychotherapist, author, and speaker. He is the founder and developer of the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), a research-based and innovative method of treating couples and families. Tatkin has written several books on relationships, including “Wired for Dating,” “Wired for Love,” and “Your Brain on Love.” He has also been featured in various media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Psychology Today. Tatkin has a private practice in Calabasas, California, where he provides therapy and training for individuals and couples.


Can’t quite get to all the nonfiction and self-help books that interest you? Read Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday here.

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “What Would Google Do?” by Jeff Jarvis

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I have a special affection for the book What Would Google Do?: Reverse-Engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World by Jeff Jarvis. It not only changed how I thought about business and marketing; it is the book that ignited my passion for nonfiction. Here, you’ll find good business strategies, but you’ll find something else, too: a new way of thinking about economics, creativity and society.

Read this book to get your mind blown in the way that the best nonfiction books are capable of doing.

Key Takeaways

We are in a new age of marketing and business, the author writes. The new rules of the new age are as follows:

  • Customers hold the power now–not marketers, managers or CEOs.
  • With social media, customers have the ability to have a major impact on large organizations in an instant. Be aware of the power of the crowd. People have easy access to information and can either support or harm a company based on their experiences.
  • The key to success is no longer just marketing, but having meaningful conversations with customers.
  • Trust and control have an inverse relationship. Trust your customers and let go of control.
  • Listen to your customers. Be honest, transparent, and collaborative. Encourage, enable, and protect innovation. Allow customers to feel like they are a part of the process and able to provide suggestions.
  • Life is always in a beta stage! Embrace changes and improvements.
  • Amazingly, “free” is a now viable business model! Many of the largest online companies (Facebook, Google) started by offering their services for free–and still do. The “tree” business model involves giving away value to expand your market base, then making money through alternative means.
  • The mass market has been replaced by a multiplicity of niche markets.
  • Don’t just be a product; be a platform! Help others build value on your site. Examples of platforms: Home Depot (for contractors) and Continental Airlines (for booking tours).
  • Ownership is no longer the key to success–openness is.
  • Google commodifies everything, especially knowledge. The economy is no longer based on scarcity, but on abundance. Control over products or distribution does not guarantee premium profits.
  • Focus on intangible solutions and rethinking physical products for an online presence.
  • Determine what business you are really in and protect it by offering solutions better than competitors.
  • Blunt honesty is more effective in marketing materials and blogs. When creating marketing materials, always use a natural and human tone.
  • Examples of Google-league marketers include: Facebook, Craigslist, Amazon, Flickr, WordPress and PayPal.

Google Laws:

  • Give control to customers and they will use it.
  • Your worst customer can be your best friend, providing valuable feedback about how to improve.
  • Your best customer is your partner. Incentivize them to spread the word.
  • Links are vital. Get linked to and talked about.
  • Focus on what you do best and link to the rest.
  • Join a network or, ideally, become a platform for others.
  • Think in a distributed manner.
  • Being searchable is essential for visibility.
  • Life and business are transparent.
  • Learn to handle mistakes well.
  • Rethink company structure for an “elegant organization.”
  • Small is the new big in a post-scarcity economy.

About the Author

Jeff Jarvis is a journalist, author, and professor. He is best known for his work as a media critic and commentator on the intersection of technology, media, and society. He is the author of several books, including “What Would Google Do?” and “Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live”. He is a professor at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, where he teaches courses on technology and entrepreneurship.


Can’t quite get to all the nonfiction and self-help books that interest you? Read Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday here.

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle

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Oprah loves Eckhart Tolle, and she’s almost never wrong. In her book of short essays, One Thing I Know for Sure, she says A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose is her favorite book of all time. I prefer The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, but both are pretty great.

Read these books for inspiration to try the evidence-based strategy of mindfulness (present moment awareness) for mental health.

Key Takeaways from The Power of Now

  • Realize that possessions, social status, relationships, beliefs, and other ego identifications are not truly who you are. The ego’s needs are endless and lead to a constant state of fear and want. Instead of exploring its manifestations, understand that the mind is not dysfunctional but becomes so when mistaken for self.
  • To end this delusion, focus on the present moment and body awareness to stay rooted in the now.
  • Experiment with closing your eyes and waiting for your next thought, realizing that intense presence frees you from thought. To deepen your connection with your inner body, focus your attention within and let all negativity flow through without reacting.
  • Focus your attention on the feeling inside of you, even if it is painful. Don’t judge or analyze the feeling, simply acknowledge its presence.
  • Be mindful of any defensiveness, as it is likely an attempt to protect an illusory identity or image in your mind.
  • There are many portals to the source, including the now, dreamless sleep, cessation of thinking, surrender, being in touch with the inner body energy field, disidentifying with the mind, and silence. You only need one portal to reach your inner being.
  • Love is not a portal, it is an inner feeling.
  • Space and silence are portals, as you cannot think and be aware of them at the same time.
  • The body is the way to reach your spirit or inner body.
  • Adjust your vision and look closely at what you thought was a stone statue. You might find that there was never a stone statue, but instead it was an angel all along.
  • Illness is not real in the present moment; rather, it is the belief, label, and past/future associations that give it continuity in time and make it seem real. Outside of time, it is nothing.

Key Takeaways from A New Earth

  • Humanity is ready for a major transformation in consciousness (enlightenment). This book discusses how to accelerate this process.
  • Get rid of ego. It’s just not helping. All that anger, defensiveness, arguing, making wrong, being right … all of that can safely go away. The death of your ego is not the death of you. Instead, it’s the start of your real life.
  • When you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as a field of conscious Presence. (I have a couple of friends who consciously follow this advice, and it shows.)

A Few Good Quotes from A New Earth

  • Shift “your attention from the external form of your body to the feeling of aliveness inside it.”
  • “Give up defining yourself—to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you.”
  • “An essential part of the awakening is the recognition of the unawakened you, the ego as it thinks, speaks, and acts as well as the recognition of the collectively conditioned mental processes that perpetrate the unawakened state.
  • The author tells of how he once saw a crazy woman talking to herself on a bus, then realized he was like her. Her constant angry chatter was the same as his constant anxious mental chatter. “If she was mad, then everyone was mad, including myself. There were differences in degree only.”
  • “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.”
  • “There are people who have renounced all possessions but have a bigger ego than some millionaires.” Take away one ego identity, and it will find another.

About the Author

Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual teacher, author and speaker. He was born in Germany in 1948 and later moved to England. Tolle’s teachings focus on helping individuals connect with their inner selves and find peace and happiness in the present moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. His books have been translated into over 40 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Tolle continues to offer teachings and workshops on mindfulness and spirituality to this day.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath

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This book sells itself. Who doesn’t want to break a bad habit or learn how to maintain healthier routines? It’s called Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, and it’s written by brothers Chip and Dan Heath.

Read this book to map out a plan for change, whether personally or professionally.

Key Takeaways

  • Changing a habit or a culture is like forcing an elephant carrying a writer to change direction. One must not only convince the rider (the rational mind) but also the elephant (the emotions). In addition, one must make the path easier to follow. In this book, the writers describe these three main ways to encourage change: direct the rider; motivate the elephant; and shape the path.
  • To direct the rider: find the bright spots; script the critical moves; and point to the destination.
  • To motivate the elephant: find the feeling; shrink the change; and grow your people.
  • To shape the path: tweak the environment; build habits; rally the herd; and keep the switch going.
  • The Happiness Hypothesis study showed that our emotional side is like an dlephant and our rational side is its rider, with the rider holding the reins and seeming to be in control. However, the rider’s control is precarious as it is small compared to the elephant. When the elephant and the rider disagree, the rider always loses.
  • On finding the bright spots: The “bright spots” refers to the positive aspects of a situation or a person. To find the bright spots, one must avoid the “fundamental attribution error”, which is the tendency to attribute a person’s behavior to their inherent qualities instead of the circumstances they are in. This is why shows like “The Dog Whisperer” or “Super Nanny”, which depict the transformation of “bad” dogs or kids, captivate our attention. The fact that these dogs or kids can be reformed in a short intervention amazes us–but the truth is that they were never bad. They had bright spots already, but those spots had to be highlighted.
  • On scripting the critical moves: In Miner County, South Dakota, high school students conducted a survey to revive their dying community. They found that if residents spent just 10% more of their disposable income at home, the local economy would be boosted by $7 million. A year later, the amount of money spent in Miner County had increased by $15.6 million, showing that clarity is important for change to be successful.
  • Another way to script the critical moves is to preload decisions. Preloading a decision refers to making a decision in advance, such as deciding to go to the gym after dropping off the kids, to increase the likelihood of following through with it. This technique involves action triggers, which make the decision easier by reducing the mental effort required to make it later. By preloading the decision, there is less work involved in making it later on.
  • A research study conducted by Peter Golwitzer and Veronica Brandstatter tracked college students who had the opportunity to earn extra credit by writing a paper by December 26th. While most students had the intention of writing the paper, only 33% actually wrote and submitted it. However, for a different group of students in the study, the researchers required them to set action triggers–to note in advance when and where they intended to write the report. The results showed a significant improvement, with a whopping 75% of those students successfully writing the report.
  • On pointing to the destination: Crystal Jones was a teacher for Teach for America in 2003, teaching first grade in Atlanta, Georgia. The school lacked a kindergarten program, so she had to use language that motivated her students. Jones told her students, “By the end of this school year, you will be third graders,” and held a “graduation” ceremony when they reached second and third grade. She referred to her students as “scholars” and, by the end of the year, more than 90% of the kids were reading at or above a third-grade level.
  • For change to be effective, it must be clear and specific. A local media campaign was created to encourage people to switch to 1% milk and it was a success, increasing the market share of low-fat milk from 18% to 35%.
  • On finding the feeling: Robyn Waters, a “Trend Manager” at Target, played a crucial role in transforming the company from being similar to Walmart to the iconic “Tarzhay”. She achieved this by creatively incorporating displays of colorful M&Ms and the latest Apple iMac computers to demonstrate the importance of incorporating color in their offerings.
  • The rider wants to “analyze-think-change” but in reality we “see-feel-change.”
  • Change can be facilitated by visual and emotional cues. For example, a presentation on reducing spending on gloves was made more effective by laying out all the gloves with different prices on a table, rather than using spreadsheets.
  • On shrinking the change: In 2007, Alia Cru and Ellen Langer conducted a study on hotel maids and their exercise habits. The study divided the maids into two groups, with one group being told that they were already meeting the recommended exercise levels, while the other group was informed about the benefits of exercising. After 4 weeks, the results showed that the maids who were told that they were good exercisers lost an average of 1.8 pounds, which is equivalent to almost a half-pound per week, a significant weight loss. However, the other group of maids did not experience any weight loss.
  • On growing your people: Lovelace Hospital Systems in Albuquerque, NM was facing rapid turnover, a common issue in the healthcare industry. To address this, they hired Susan Wood of Appreciative Inquiry, a method of transforming organizations by focusing on their strengths rather than weaknesses. Wood discovered that the nurses who remained at the hospital longer believed in the noble nature of their profession. In response, the hospital created an orientation program that emphasized the admirable qualities of nursing and established mentorship programs to enhance the nurses’ skills and knowledge. Employee satisfaction surveys indicated that these measures were effective, and as a result, turnover decreased by 30% over the following year.
  • On tweaking the environment: In 2000, a study was conducted in a Chicago movie theater where free popcorn and soft drinks were offered to movie-goers. The popcorn was intentionally made to be unappetizing, but even so, the results were surprising. People with larger popcorn buckets ended up eating 53% more popcorn than those with smaller buckets, and most of them were not aware of this fact. The results showed that the environment can play a huge role in affecting behavior.
  • In another study, participants were given chocolates or radishes and then asked to solve puzzles. Those who had only eaten radishes gave up after 8 minutes, while those who had eaten cookies gave up after 19 minutes, showing that self-control is an exhaustible resource.
  • It was also noted that our mind works differently when we are supervised, such as when learning something new, compared to when we are not, such as when driving a car. This is why shopping can be tiring.
  • On rallying the herd: We look for environmental cues and examples of others to know how to act. Therefore, make your change feel like a norm that has already been established. For example: “In the 1980s, Jay Winsten, a public health professor at Harvard, got interested in the idea of a ‘designated driver’..” unknown in the US at that time. “Winsten and his team collaborated with producers, writers and actors from more than 160 prime-time TV programs, sprinkling designated-driver moments naturally into the plots.” Requested just “5 seconds” of dialogue featuring the idea. “In 1991, three years after the campaign launched, nine out of ten people were familiar with the term designated driver.”
  • On keeping the switch going: Punishment rarely works. Instead, change the environment. Take small steps. Praise all steps on right path. You will get there.

About the Author

Chip Heath and Dan Heath are American authors and speakers who specialize in the fields of business and psychology. They are brothers and co-authors of several popular books, including Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. In Switch, the Heath brothers use insights from psychology, sociology, and other disciplines to explain why change is difficult and to offer practical advice for making change easier. The book is widely regarded as a practical and accessible guide to overcoming resistance and making real, lasting change in both personal and organizational contexts. Chip Heath is a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, while Dan Heath is a senior fellow at Duke University’s CASE center. Together, they are known for their ability to make complex concepts accessible and actionable for a general audience.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Fringeology” by Steve Volk

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Ghosts! Telepathy! Magic! Is there a reader on Earth who doesn’t love the idea of a scientific inquiry regarding evidence for the paranormal? When it comes to nonfiction, Fringeology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable – And Couldn’t by Steve Volk is in a class of its own. Where do they even put it on the shelf at Barnes and Noble?

Read this book because, firstly, you know you’re curious and secondly, because it might open your mind.

Key Takeaways

  • Scientists can be dogmatic and irrational in their beliefs, just like anyone else. This is a natural human tendency. The debate should not be between paranormal believers and skeptics but rather what evidence is sufficient to support the paranormal. This perspective is referred to as “possibilianism.” It is the position that all truly open-minded people take to the paranormal.
  • Chapter One focuses on near-death experiences and presents evidence to suggest they are real. There are numerous accounts of these experiences with interesting similarities between them, and skeptics have not provided a satisfactory explanation.
  • Chapter Two focuses on telepathy and presents evidence for this paranormal phenomenon. A small effect has been proven when large enough samples are used; however, the effect is not large enough to serve practical purposes. The author als describes the ongoing debate between skeptics represented by CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) and the Parapsychological Association, whose findings are sometimes dismissed without good reason.
  • Chapter Three explores the concept of consciousness outside of the brain. It provides an overview of quantum physics, which suggests that the smallest units of matter have mind of their own. The author tells the story of Dr. Stuart Hameroff, who wrote about consciousness.
  • Chapter Four discusses the possibility of aliens and UFO sightings, including a convincing sighting in Stevensville, Texas. The author points out that UFOs are certainly real, since they are defined simply as “unidentified flying objects,” but that most sightings have Earth-based explanations.
  • Chapter Five focuses on ghosts and the author’s personal experience living in a haunted house. The reality of ghostly phenomena is debated.
  • Chapter Six explores the Overview Effect, a feeling of unity or oneness with all that is experienced by many astronauts who view the earth from space. Edgar Mitchell, who had this experience, is on a quest to understand the source of the unity he felt.
  • Chapter Seven discusses the positive effects of meditation and meditative prayer, as researched by Dr. Andrew Newberg.
  • Chapter Eight focuses on lucid dreaming and the experience of becoming aware one is dreaming while still dreaming. The findings of notable sleep and dream researcher, Dr. Stephen LaBerge, are explored.
  • Chapter Nine explores Induced After-Death Communication (IADC), a therapeutic technique for overcoming trauma, which involves recalling painful memories and moving the eyes from side to side. The story of Al Botkin, who discovered this therapy, is told. Although anecdotal evidence is promising, no large-scale studies have been conducted.
  • Chapters Ten and Eleven present the author’s conclusions. The author discusses the human desire for certainty, though intellectual curiosity is often a wiser perspective to take.

About the Author

Steve Volk is a journalist and author, best known for his book Fringeology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable–And Couldn’t. The book explores the topic of the paranormal and the boundaries of science and skepticism. Volk is a contributing editor at Philadelphia Magazine and has written for a number of other publications.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki

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Sometimes, you need some fatherly advice about money–from someone else’s father, of course. Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! combines good old-fashioned common sense with professional insights on financial success that apply to a wide range of investors (even–especially–the newbies).

Read this book to fill in your knowledge gaps regarding money and to get inspired to start an investment strategy today.

Key Takeaways

  • The definition of  the word “rich” is “able to live off the interest from one’s investments.” This is your goal.
  • Look where no one else is looking for business opportunities. Don’t follow the crowd; buy when stocks crash rather than selling, as others do.
  • Know the difference between an asset and a liability. An asset puts money into your income column and a liability takes it out. Everything else, including personal property that can’t be easily sold, is neutral. Many people see their home as an asset, but it is not an asset if you aren’t gaining income on it.
  • Pay yourself first, even before paying your bills. Put money into your investments first! You’ll be forced to use your creativity to get the rest taken care of, too.
  • Don’t fear risk. This is what keeps many people from investing in anything high yield and going with mutual funds and others safe investments instead.
  • Money is not real. It’s all just a game. Have fun with it!
  • If you don’t enjoy a certain type of investing, do something else. You’re unlikely to be successful at something you dislike. 
  • Hire people who are smarter than you.
  • Most rich people lose it all at some point but they usually make it back–and then some–because they know what they’re doing.
  • Create a corporation and wrap it around your largest assets.
  • Educate yourself about money. Read advice books and follow it.

About the Author

Robert Kiyosaki is an American author, entrepreneur, and investor. He is best known for his book Rich Dad Poor Dad, which has become a personal finance classic and has been translated into 51 languages. In the book, Kiyosaki shares lessons he learned about money and investing from his “rich dad,” and contrasts them with the financial advice he received from his own father. He has written several other books on personal finance, including Cashflow Quadrant and Retire Young Retire Rich. Kiyosaki is also the founder of the Rich Dad Company, which provides financial education and training.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Ten Percent Happier” by Dan Harris

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Meditation isn’t just for the woo-woo crowd. Written by agnostic journalist Dan Harris, Ten Percent Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story is a well-written memoir about an everyday workaholic who takes up meditation.

Read it to convince your skeptical self to try this evidence-based strategy for improving mental health.

Key Takeaways

  • Studies have shown the transformative effects of meditation, including evidence for the existence of enlightenment.
  • The purpose of meditation is not to feel something, but to simply try and build your meditation muscle, similar to practicing a sport or a musical instrument.
  • Meditation can help you improve your work relationships, as evidenced by the author’s own transformation from being a difficult colleague to being seen as “easy”.
  • To meditate, first choose a focal point for your breath, such as your mouth, chest, or belly. Whenever your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath. You can silently repeat “in-out” to help you focus.
  • After grounding yourself in your breath, practice “noting”–noticing and labeling thoughts or dominant feelings without judgment. This is called “choiceless awareness” and can lead to a real breakthrough in meditation.
  • Don’t worry too much about how you feel while meditating. The goal is to redirect your attention back to your breath whenever it wanders. That’s the whole game.
  • During a long meditation, it’s normal to experience both bliss and misery within the same hour. As you advance in your practice, the ups and downs will become less pronounced.
  • If focusing on your breath doesn’t work for you, try a body scan meditation, a compassion meditation, or a choiceless awareness meditation instead.

About the Author

Dan Harris is an American journalist and author, best known for his book 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story. The book was published in 2014 and describes Harris’ journey from skepticism towards self-help and spirituality to a more balanced and mindful life. In it, he explains how he found inner peace through meditation, and how this practice helped him to be more productive, less stressed, and happier in his personal and professional life. The book was a New York Times bestseller and has been praised for its accessibility and practical approach to mindfulness and meditation. Harris is also a co-anchor of ABC News’ “Nightline” and the co-founder of the 10% Happier movement and app.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander

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In a word, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness is stunning. In it, author Michelle Alexander carefully walks the reader through the many legal and law enforcement practices that raise the statistical chances of people of color being incarcerated (most often for minor drug offenses), then, once branded felons, denied civil rights and social services.

Read it to gain a basic understanding of multi-systemic racism in America.

The Summary

African Americans and other people of color are brought into the U.S. criminal justice system at a much higher rate than White people. This mass incarceration can be considered the new Jim Crow–the new system for propagating racism and segregation.

The path to mass incarceration, Alexander writes, includes:

  • Government programs that (handsomely) incentivise local law enforcement agencies to increase drug-related arrests in any way necessary; 
  • Pinpointing poor neighborhoods for random searches and seizures, which should be illegal but through many legal loopholes, now are effectively entirely legal;
  • Using very minor driving offenses as an excuse to search and seize;
  • Inflating penalties for minor drug offenses (such as possession of a small amount of drugs or even being present when drug crimes take place) to frightening (and unconstitutional) levels in order to pressure people to take plea bargains–even people who are entirely innocent of any crime;
  • Removing civil rights, such as the right to vote, from people branded felons;
  • Removing social services, such as child care, food benefits and housing from people branded felons;
  • Allowing places of employment and housing to discriminate based on felon status;
  • and more.

For people of color, the U.S. criminal justice system is a nearly inescapable entrance to a parallel universe in which Constitutional and other rights are systematically removed and thriving is greatly hindered.

About the Author

Michelle Alexander is an American author, lawyer, and legal scholar. She is best known for her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, which was published in 2010. The book critiques the U.S. criminal justice system and argues that mass incarceration functions as a system of racial control, similar to the Jim Crow laws of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Alexander has also written for several prominent publications, including The New York Times, The Nation, and The Colorlines. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School and has taught at a number of universities, including Ohio State University, where she was an associate professor of law.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience is one of those nonfiction books I hear quoted most–and the love doesn’t seem to be subsiding. Written by one of the founders of the positive psychology movement, psychologist and researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, it makes a single point, and makes it well: if you want to enjoy what you do, seek flow.

Read this book because you want to figure out how to hack work in such a way that makes it feel like play.

Key Takeaways

  • Flow, says the author, is a state of focus during which a person loses self-consciousness and time-consciousness and is deeply engaged in the process at had.
  • Flow isn’t a mysterious condition, though; it comes when three specific, identifiable conditions are met. These are: an appropriate level of challenge; clear goals and feedback, and control/autonomy.
  • Autonomy can be achieved in even small ways, and the difference it makes to work satisfaction can hardly be overstated.
  • Flow can be achieved even during what some consider routine or menial tasks. The book tells the story of a farmer in the Italian Alps who enjoys all her various tasks, from dawn to dusk. When asked which task she enjoys most, she named them all, one by one. The book also features a self-taught welder who mastered every phase of his plant’s operation and, in his spare time, built a backyard garden (with rainbow features!). “It could be said that they work sixteen hours a day, but it could also be said that they never work,” the author writes of these workers.

About the Author

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a Hungarian psychologist and researcher. He is known for his work on the concept of “flow,” a state of complete engagement and enjoyment in an activity. He has written several books and articles on the subject, and his work has had a significant impact on the fields of psychology and positive psychology. Csikszentmihalyi has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to the field of psychology.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach

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Don’t worry: it’s not another book on spirituality, even though it might sound like it. Instead, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach is a primer on being a human being with feelings.

Read it to find out an exciting (but not new) way of accepting the ups and downs of life.

The Summary

  • Radical acceptance is the practice of accepting what is–even the bad stuff. Every aspect of your current experience is healthy, Brach writes. Radical acceptance is also the practice of unconditionally accepting yourself. 
  • Most of us have an internal story about our own acceptability and enoughness. We are not good enough, perfect enough, etc. At heart, we believe that something is fundamentally wrong with us–something that we need to fix.
  • Only when we first accept ourselves, can we change what we prefer to change.
  • To combat this, accept every emotional experience that comes. Doing so–saying “yes” to our experiences–doesn’t cause us to become apathetic. Instead, self-acceptance allows us to grow at a relaxed but consistent pace.
  • Human nature finds apathy and stagnation uncomfortable, disagreeble–almost impossible. We consistently desire to grow and improve, especially when we feel good about ourselves. 
  • One way to learn radical acceptance is to practice pauses. Pause, notice, sit with and accept whatever you are experiencing in the moment. Do this when emotionally flooded, and also make a habit of pausing throughout your day.
  • Offer unconditional friendliness to your pain, suffering, insecurities and all other feelings. Invite the feelings to tea, so to speak. 
  • Name these insecure and painful thoughts as a way of noticing them. 
  • Instead of resisting everything, agree with everything. Silently whisper, “yes” to it all. It will feel mechanical and insincere at first, but in time, it will feel more natural. 
  • Don’t blame yourself and criticize yourself for your pain, illogic, insecurities and other negativity. Simply notice and accept.

About the Author

Tara Brach is a psychologist, author, and teacher of mindfulness and Buddhist meditation. She is the founder and senior teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C. and a guiding teacher at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California. Tara is known for her work in the field of mindfulness and emotional healing, and has written several books, including the popular Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” and Others by John Gottman

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It’s been many, many years since John Gottman started bossing around the world of marriage counseling, and guess what? He’s still bossing it. As far as I can tell, no one’s ideas or research have influenced couples counseling practices more than those of this psychologist and researcher from way back.

There are some drawbacks to reading Gottman, though. To me, Gottman’s many books are highly repetitive in nature and lack a sophisticated edit. Clearly, Gottman is a researcher first and a writer second, but that’s okay. That’s why we have book summaries.

The Takeaways

  • Four bad communication habits are responsible for much of the world’s communication-related distress: criticism, contempt, stonewalling/withdrawal; and defensiveness. Anger and arguments are not likely to become a serious problem in a relationship if they are not accompanied by one of these behaviors. (That’s good news!)
  • Criticism is a form of complaint that points to a person’s attributes as the source of a problem rather than pointing to their behavior. Replace a person-focused criticism with a problem-focused complaint, Gottman recommends. Note that “I” statements are usually complaints and “you” statements are usually attacks/criticisms (though not always).
  • Use a “soft startup” to a disagreement by beginning with a complaint rather than a criticism.
  • Contempt is the worst of what Gottman calls the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In his research he found that the presence of this habit is most predictive of divorce. Replace mean-spirited contempt or condescension such as eye-rolling with compliments and nonverbal signs of respect.
  • Stonewalling sometimes occurs due to emotional flooding–a physical and psychological response to emotional stress. To effectively handle emotional flooding, take a break, then return to the discussion once your emotions have stabilized.
  • Defensiveness is one of the most common, if not the most common, communication difficulty. When someone is defensive, they are more likely to interpret others’ comments and actions as threats and respond with resistance, anger, or aggression. This type of response can escalate conflicts, create barriers to effective communication, and damage relationships. Additionally, being defensive often leads to a lack of self-awareness and a failure to see one’s own role in conflicts. This can prevent individuals from learning and growing and can result in repeated patterns of negative behavior. Replace defensiveness by discussing one topic at a time, not responding to personal attacks, and listening with open-mindedness and assumptions of good intention.
  • “Negative sentiment override” occurs when one or both partners assume the worst of the other person (negative intentions, etc.). This is another problem to avoid whenever possible, as it causes defensiveness.
  • There are three types of communication styles: conflict-avoiding, validating, and volatile. Conflict-avoiders argue infrequently and opt to agree to disagree while focusing on the positive aspects of a situation. Validators prioritize compromise and approach conflicts calmly and objectively. They are known for their kindness but may lack honesty and independence. Volatile couples are prone to frequent and passionate arguments, but also enjoy making up in similar fashion. They are candid and honest, but prone to being easily upset.
  • When both partners the same style, any style can be healthy.
  • Gottman believes that one of the most effective ways to improve marriages is to simply increase positive affect and decrease negative affect in both verbal and nonverbal ways. Even small gestures like looking up from your phone, smiling and physically turning toward your partner can make a significant difference.
  • For a relationship to be healthy, the ratio of positive to negative interactions should be at least 5:1. If negative interactions outweigh positive ones, the relationship is likely in trouble.
  • The failure to acknowledge repair attempts is the central predictor of divorce. As much as possible, turn toward your partner instead of turning away.
  • Recognize that some issues may be unsolvable at present, as 69% of conflicts often go unresolved.
  • Focus on creating a sense of understanding and connection by showing interest in each other’s lives and sharing personal dreams, with a commitment to supporting one another.
  • Establish a shared sense of meaning and purpose.
  • Whenever possible, de-escalate arguments through agreement and validation.
  • Practice good listening skills by doing the “speaker-listener exercise.” This involves one person (the speaker) expressing their thoughts and feelings about a specific issue, while the other person (the listener) focuses on understanding and validating the speaker’s perspective. The listener summarizes and reflects back what they have heard, avoiding interruptions and making the speaker feel heard and understood. The exercise is repeated with the roles reversed, allowing both partners to have a turn at speaking and listening. The goal of the exercise is to build trust, increase understanding, and reduce conflict.
  • Acknowledge the goal of the conversation: is it to be heard, or is it to solve a problem? Don’t rush to problem solve for or with your partner unless they ask you to.

Gottman Book Selections

Gottman’s most well-known books include:

  1. “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”: This book provides a framework for building a strong and healthy marriage, based on Gottman’s research on what makes relationships successful.
  2. “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail”: This book provides a scientific analysis of what makes marriages work and what causes them to fail.
  3. “And Baby Makes Three”: This book provides advice on how to maintain a strong relationship after having a baby and how to navigate the challenges of parenthood as a couple.
  4. “The Mathematics of Marriage”: This book offers a data-driven approach to improving relationships, and provides practical tools and techniques for building a stronger and more fulfilling partnership.

About the Author

John Gottman is a renowned American psychologist and relationship expert. He is a professor emeritus in psychology at the University of Washington and the co-founder of The Gottman Institute, which provides workshops and resources for couples and mental health professionals. Gottman is the author of numerous books on relationships and his research has been featured in many media outlets.


Can’t quite get to all the nonfiction and self-help books that interest you? Read Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday here.

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: A Self-improvement Self-education

assorted books on book shelves
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Make no mistake: Self-help reading isn’t just self-help books. Nonfiction of all kinds contributes to a person’s physical, intellectual, emotional, financial, spiritual, and relational well-being. For this reason, I’ve made use of my obsession with all kinds of nonfiction (and love of note-taking) to compile a comprehensive-as-possible recommended reading list for people looking to achieve their own feats of great strength. This list includes books on business, finance, psychology, sociology, history, spirituality and more. For each book listed, I provide a brief content summary, then offer practical takeaways from a self-help lens.

Does your next feat of great strength require research–more than you have time to do? Subscribe to the right for a comprehensive self-improvement self-education, featuring summaries and tips from over 400 works of psychology, sociology, biography, history, anthropology, spirituality, science, memoir, economics, self-help and more.


When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life, David Burns

The Feeling Good Handbook: The New Mood Therapy, David Burns

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcom Gladwell

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, Chip and Dan Heath

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment, Martin Seligman

Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, Martin Seligman

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, Martin Seligman

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, Brene Brown

I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t): Telling the Truth about Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power, Brene Brown

Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution., Brene Brown

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, Dan Ariely

The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home, Dan Ariely

Irrationally Yours: On Missing Socks, Pickup Lines, and Other Existential Puzzles, Dan Ariely

Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Jordan B. Peterson

This is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike, Augusten Burroughs

The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence, Gavin de Becker

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas Of Depression, Andrew Solomon

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why, Laurence Gonzales

The Hilarious World of Depression, John Moe

Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression–And the Unexpected Solutions, Hari Johann

Blissology: The Art and Science of Happiness, Andy Baggott

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, Joe Dispenza

Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice: A Revolutionary Program to Counter Negative Thoughts and Live Free from Imagined Limitations, Robert Firestone

Depression: How It Happens and How It’s Healed, John Medina

Depression Is Contagious: How the Most Common Mood Disorder Is Spreading Around the World and How to Stop It, Michael Yapko

Dibs: In Search of Self: Personality Development in Play Therapy, Virginia Axline

Don’t Shoot the Dog: The Art of Teaching and Training, Karen Pryor

Dressing Your Truth: Discover your Personal Beauty Profile, Carol Tuttle

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, Daniel Goleman

Engineering Happiness: A New Approach for Building a Joyful Life, Manel Baucells and Rakesh Sarin

Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Personalized Recovery Program for Living with Uncertainty, Jonathan Grayson

Happiness: Lessons from a New Science, Richard Layard

Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile, Daniel Nettle

Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener

How We Decide, Jonah Lehrer

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resistence and Finding Joy, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

Self-compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, Kristin Neff

Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, Bessel van der Kolk

The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good, David Linden

The Consuming Instinct: What Juicy Burgers, Ferraris, Pornography and Gift Giving Reveal About Human Nature, Gad Saad

The Dangerous Passion: Why Jealousy Is as Necessary as Love or Sex, David Buss

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now, Meg Jay

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, Shawn Achor

The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything, Neil Pasricha

The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives, Shankar Vedantarn

The How of the Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, Sonja Lyubomirsky

The Inner Game of Work: Focus, Learning, Pleasure, and Mobility in the Workplace, W. Timothy Gallway

The Magic of Thinking Big, David Joseph Schwartz

The Mindful Brain: The Neurobiology of Well-Being, Daniel Siegel

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change, Charles Duhigg

The Power of Negative Thinking: An Unconventional Approach to Achieving Positive Results, Bob Knight and Bob Hammel

The Power of Positive Thinking: A Practical Guide to Mastering the Problems of Everyday Living, Norman Vincent Peale

The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse, Gregg Easterbrook

The Science of Happiness: How Our Brains Make Us Happy-and What We Can Do to Get Happier, Stefan Klein and Stephen Lehmann

The Smart But Scattered Guide to Success: How to Use Your Brain’s Executive Skills to Keep Up, Stay Calm, and Get Organized at Work and at Home, Peg Dawson and Richard Guare

The Underachiever’s Manifesto: The Guide to Accomplishing Little and Feeling Great, Ray Bennett

Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill

Tinker Dabble Doodle Try Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind, Srinivasan S. Pillay 

Unchain Your Brain: 10 Steps to Breaking the Addictions That Steal Your Life, Daniel Amen and David Smith

What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite, David DiSalvo

Why We Feel: The Science of Human Emotion, Victor Johnston

You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself, David McRaney

You Need Help!: A Step-by-Step Plan to Convince a Loved One to Get Counseling, Mark Komrad and Rosalynn Carter

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, Lori Gottlieb
Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life, Christie Tate


David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, Malcom Gladwell

What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures, Malcom Gladwell

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, Barry Schwartz

Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, Andrew Solomon

A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals About Human Desire, Sai Goddam and Ogi Ogas

Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, Barbara Ehrenreich

Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Lives of Adolescent Girls, Mary Pipher

The Disappearance of Childhood, Neil Postman

The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation, Matt Ridley

The Plug-In Drug: Television, Computers and Family Life, Marie Winn

The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins

The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry, Lance Dodes and Zachary Dodes

The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies Are Harming Our Young Men, Christina Hoff Summers

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, Tim Wise

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, Neil Postman

The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race In America, Shelby Steele


For Better: How the Surprising Science of Happy Couples Can Help Your Marriage Succeed, Tara Parker-Pope

The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages: The Little Things That Make a Big Difference, Shaunti Feldhahn

Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship, Stan Tatkin

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, John Gottman

Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, John Gottman

His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage, Willard F. Harley, Jr.

Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice: Hormonal Balance, the Key to Life, Love and Energy, John Gray

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus: The Definitive Guide to Relationships, John Gray

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, Sue Johnson

Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships, Sue Johnson

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love, Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself, Melody Beattie

Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life, Emily Nagoski

Couples, Gender, and Power: Creating Change in Intimate Relationships, Carmen Knudson-Martin and ‎Anne Rankin Mahoney

How to Break Your Addiction to a Person: When–and Why–Love Doesn’t Work, Howard Halpern

Love Is Never Enough: How Couples Can Overcome Misunderstanding, Aaron Beck

Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, Lori Gottlieb

Mating in Captivity: Sex, Lies and Domestic Bliss, Esther Perell

Neale Donald Walsch on Relationships, Neale Donald Walsch

Nonviolent Communication: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values, Marshall Rosenberg

Not “Just Friends”: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity, Sheila Glass

The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, & Other Adventures, Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton

The Impossibility of Sex: Stories of the Intimate Relationship between Therapist and Client, Susie Orbach

The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships, John Gottman and Joan DeClaire

The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples, John Gottman

Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage: America’s Love Lab Experts Share Their Strategies for Strengthening Your Relationship, John Gottman

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert, John Gottman and Nan Silver

Why Marriages Succeed or Fail and How You Can Make Yours Last, John Gottman

Treating Out of Control Sexual Behavior: Rethinking Sex Addiction, Douglas Braun-Harvey

Economics and Business

Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!, Robert Kiyosaki

What Would Google Do?: Reverse-Engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World, Jeff Jarvis

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini

Grapevine: The New Art of Word-of-Mouth Marketing, Dave Balter and John Butman

Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcom Gladwell

Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers, Seth Godin

The Big Red Fez: How to Make Any Website Better, Seth Godin

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), Seth Godin

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, Tony Hsieh

Discover Your Inner Economist, Tyler Cowen

Life After the 30-Second Spot: Energize Your Brand with a Bold Mix of Alternatives to Traditional Advertising, Joseph Jaffe

Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination, Hugh MacLeod

Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists, Joel Best

More Damned Lies and Statistics: How Numbers Confuse Public Issues, Joel Best

The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, Chris Anderson

What Would Google Do?: Reverse-Engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World, Jeff Jarvis

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg

Get Slightly Famous: Become a Celebrity in Your Field and Attract More Business with Less Effort, Steven Van Yoder

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, Jim Collins

Mindsharing: The Art of Crowdsourcing Everything, Lior Zore

Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, Keith Ferrazzi

Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job, Jon Acuff

The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre and Every Business Is a Stage, Joseph Pine and James Gilmore

The Four-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, Timothy Ferriss

The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary, Mark Sanborn

The One-Minute Manager, Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential–in Business and in Life, Leo Babauta

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, Stephen R. Covey

The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business, Tara Hunt

Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today’s Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves, Adam Penenberg

What Color Is your Parachute?: A Practical Manual for Job-hunters and Career-changers, Richard Nelson Bolles

The Freedom Formula: How to Put Soul in Your Business and Money in Your Bank, Christine Kloser

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, Seth Godin

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, Seth Godin


Fringeology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable – And Couldn’t, Steve Volk

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality, Brian Greene

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande

Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe, Robert Lanza and Bob Berman

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Mary Roach

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, Mary Roach

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, Mary Roach

Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery, Scott Kelly

Genome: The Autobiography of A Species in 23 Chapters, Matt Ridley

Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe, Mike Massimino

The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think, Jennifer Ackerman

The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements, Sam Kean

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality, Brian Greene

The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of A Citizen Scientist, Richard Feynman

The Particle at the Edge of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World, Sean Carroll

The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size, Tor Norretranders

Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers

Lucid Dreaming: A Concise Guide to Awakening in Your Dreams and in Your Life, Stephen LaBerge

A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Mastering the Art of Oneironautics, Dylan Tuccillo, Jared Zeizel and Thomas Peisel


The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander

Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography, Peter Green

An American Childhood, Annie Dillard

A Short History of Financial Euphoria, John Kenneth Galbraith

Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon, Steve Sheinkin

Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, Stephen E. Ambrose

Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier, Katie Hafner

Don’t Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned, Kenneth Davis

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansong

How the Web Was Won: How Bill Gates and His Internet Idealists Transformed the Microsoft Empire, Paul Andrews

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote

Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs, Albert Speer

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, James W. Loewen

Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention, May to September 1787, Catherine Drinker Bower

Mythology, Edith Hamilton

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, Isabel Wilkerson

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, Michael Pollan

The Fasting Girl: A True Victorian Medical Mystery, Michelle Stacy

The Hundred Year Diet: America’s Voracious Appetite for Losing Weight, Susan Yager

The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times, Susan Wise Bauer

The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 2: The Middle Ages, Susan Wise Bauer

The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 3: Early Modern Times, Susan Wise Bauer

The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 4: The Modern Age, Susan Wise Bauer

Education and Parenting

The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence, Josh Waitzkin

Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Learning All the Time: How Small Children Begin to Read, Write, Count, and Investigate the World, Without Being Taught, John Holt

Instead of Education: Ways to Help People Do Things Better, John Holt

Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World, Ben Hewitt

The Nourishing Homestead: One Back-to-the-Land Family’s Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills, and Spirit, Ben Hewitt

No Contest: The Case Against Competition, Alfie Kohn

The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing, Alfie Kohn

Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes, Alfie Kohn

In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child’s Multiple Intelligences, Thomas Armstrong

Seven Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences, Thomas Armstrong

Einstein Never Used Flash Cards: How Our Children Really Learn–And Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek

Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Howard Gardner

Free-Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything, Laura Grace Weldon

Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-class Performers From Everybody Else, Geoffrey Colvin

The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould

The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had, Susan Wise Bauer

The Well-trained Mind: A Guide to a Classical Education at Home, Susan Wise Bauer

What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Kindergarten Education, E.D. Hirsch

What Your First Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good First-Grade Education, E.D. Hirsch

What Your Second Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Second-Grade Education, E.D. Hirsch

What Your Third Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Third-Grade Education, E.D. Hirsch

What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Fourth-Grade Education, E.D. Hirsch

What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Fifth-Grade Education, E.D. Hirsch

What Your Sixth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Sixth-Grade Education, E.D. Hirsch

Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child, Katie Allison Granju and Betsy Kennedy

Between Parents and Child, Haim G. Ginott

Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five, John Medina

How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen: From Toddlers to Teenagers; Connecting with Your Children at Every Age, H. Norman Wright

If I Have to Tell You One More Time …: The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding, or Yelling, Amy McCready

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, Richard Louv

Liberated Parents, Liberated Children: Your Guide to a Happier Family, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too, Adele Faber andd Elaine Mazlish

Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right, Jamie Glowacki

Parenting with Dignity: Getting Beyond Crisis Management–A Five-Point Plan for Raising Responsible, Independent Kids, Mac Bledsoe

Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility, Foster Cline and Jim Fay

Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting, John Gottman and Joan DeClaire

The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby From Birth to Age Two, Barry Sears

The Case for Make-Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World, Susan Linn

The Trouble with Perfect: How Parents Can Avoid the Overachievement Trap and Still Raise Successful Children, Elisabeth Guthrie and Kathy Matthews

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason, Alfie Kohn

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being A Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think, Bryan Douglas Caplan

The Child Whisperer: The Ultimate Handbook for Raising Happy, Successful and Cooperative Children, Carol Tuttle


Ten Percent Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story, Dan Harris

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, Eckhart Tolle

Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha, Tara Brach

Whatever Arises, Love That: A Love Revolution That Begins with You, Matt Kahn

Loving What Is: How Four Questions Can Change Your Life, Byron Katie

A Mind at Home with Itself: How Asking Four Questions Can Free Your Mind, Open Your Heart, and Turn Your World Around, Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell

Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book One, Neale Donald Walsch

Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book Two, Neale Donald Walsch

Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book Three, Neale Donald Walsch

Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing, Anita Moorjani

Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

I Need Your Love–Is That True?: How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation and Start Finding Them Instead, Byron Katie

Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, Sharon Salzberg

Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives, Brian Weiss

Meditation Without Gurus: A Guide to the Heart of Practice, Clark Strand

Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, Thich Nhat Hanh

Living Buddha, Living Christ, Thich Nhat Hanh

Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity, Bruce Bawer

The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery, Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz

The Quantum Doctor: A Quantum Physicist Explains the Healing Power of Integrative Medicine, Amit Goswami

The Search For Grace: A Documented Case of Murder and Reincarnation, Bruce Goldberg

The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity, William Young

Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life, Jon Kabat-Zinn

You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter, Joe Dispenza

How God Changes your Brain: Breakthrough Findings From A Leading Neuroscientist, Andrew Newberg

Life After Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon–Survival of Bodily Death, Raymond A. Moody, Jr.

Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d, Candace Pert

Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel, Candace Pert

Science and the Near-Death Experience: How Consciousness Survives Death, Chris Carter

Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms, David Kessler

The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving Kindness, Pema Chodron

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, Pema Chodron

Food & Nutrition

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, Michael Pollan

Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It, Gary Taubes

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Eric Schlosser

The Food Therapist: Break Bad Habits, Eat with Intention, and Indulge Without Worry, Shira Lenhewski

Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food, Jan Chozen Bays

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, Brian Wansink

Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop, Cynthia Bulik

Eat Fat Get Thin: Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health, Mark Hyman

Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor’s Proram for Conquering Disease, Joel Fuhrman

How to Make Almost Any Diet Work, Anne Katherine

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach, Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch

Neanderthin: A Cave Man’s Guide to Nutrition, Ray Audette and Tony Gilchrist

Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss–and the Myths and Realities of Dieting, Gina Kolata

The Diet Cure: The 8-Step Program to Rebalance Your Body and End Food Cravings, Weight Gain and Mood Swings-Naturally, Julia Ross

Love Hunger: Breaking Free from Food Addiction, Frank Minirth, Paul Meier, Robert Hemfelt and Sharon Sweed and Don Hawkins

The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet, Robb Wolf

The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability, Liere Keith

Trick and Treat: How “Healthy Eating” Is Making Us Ill, Barry Groves

Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything, Geneen Roth

When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair: 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), Geneen Roth

Breaking Free from Emotional Eating, Geneen Roth

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, Michael Pollan

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, Michael Pollan

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease, Gary Taubes

Writing and Creativity

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert

Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity, Hugh MacLeod

Aspects of the Novel, E.M. Forster

A Whack On the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative, Roger von Oech

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott

Don’t Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, Steve Krug

Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction, Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd

Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads, Luke Sullivan

Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go, Leslie Edgerton
How Fiction Works, James Wood

How to Be Funny: The One and Only Practical Guide for Every Occasion, Situation, and Disaster (No Kidding), Jon Macks

Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore, Elizabeth Lyon
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Steven King

Plot and Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish, James Scott Bell

Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, Blake Snyder

Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter’s Guide to Every Story Ever Told, Blake Snyder

Sick in the Head: Conversations about Life and Comedy, Judd Apatow

Spunk and Bite: A Writer’s Guide to Punchier, More Engaging Language and Style, Arthur Plotnik

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Lester Kaufman and Jane Straus

The Elements of Style, William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White

The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose, and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great, Donald Maass

The Non-Designer’s Design Book, Robin Williams

The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master, Martha Alderson

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battle, Steven Pressfield

The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Commercial Freelancer in Six Months or Less, Peter Bowerman

The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, Christopher Vogler

Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers, Mary Cole

Writing the Breakout Novel: Insider Advice for Taking Your Fiction to the Next Level, Donald Maas

Your Life Is A Book: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir, Brenda Peterson and Sarah Jane Freymann


When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi

Educated: A Memoir, Tara Westover

Go Ask Alice, Anonymous

A Stolen Life: A Memoir, Jaycee Dugard

A House in the Sky, Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett

Into the Wild, John Krakauer

Untamed, Glennon Doyle

Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis

The Cross and the Switchblade, David Wilkerson

A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken

A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis

Classic Nonfiction

The Holy Bible
The writings of Buddha (500s–300s BCE)
The Analects, Confucius (500s BCE)
Tao Te Ching, Lao Tze (500s BCE)
The Art of War, Sun Tzu (500s BCE)
The Magna Carta (1200s)
The Declaration of Independence (1700s)
The Constitution of the United States (1700s)
The Bill of Rights (1700s)
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Olaudah Equiano (1700s)
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Thomas de Quincey (1800s)
The Gettysburg Address (1800s)
Narrative of Sojourner Truth, Sojourner Truth (1800s)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1800s)
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs (1800s)
Walden, Henry David Thoreau (1800s)
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Frederick Douglass (1800s)
The Souls of Black Folks, W. E. B. DuBois (1900s)
Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, James Weldon Johnson (1900s)
I Have a Dream, Martin Luther King, Jr. (1900s)
The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank (1900s)
The Story of My Life, Helen Keller (1900s)
Roots, Alex Haley (1900s)
Autobiography of Malcom X, Malcom X (1900s)
The Jungle, Upton Sinclair (1900s)
Black Boy, Richard Wright (1900s)
Native Son, Richard Wright (1900s)
Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin (1900s)
The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom (1900s)
A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking (1900s)
The Meaning of It All, Richard Feynman (1900s)

Advanced Classic Nonfiction

The Histories, Herodotus (400s BCE)
The Republic, Plato (400s BCE)
History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides (400s BCE)
Rhetoric, Aristotle (300s BCE)
Apology, Plato (300s BCE)
Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle (300s BCE)
On the Nature of Things, Lucretius (60s BCE)
De Republica, Cicero (50s BCE)
The Early History of Rome, Livy (20s BCE)
Wars of the Jews, Josephus (70s CE)
Annals, Tacitus (100s CE)
The Twelve Caesars, Suetonius (100s CE)
Anabasis of Alexander, Arrian (100s CE)
Meditations, Marcus Aurelius (100s CE)
Lives of Noble Greeks and Romans, Plutarch (100s CE)
Enchiridion, Epictetus (100s CE)
The Confessions, Saint Augustine (300s)
The City of God, St. Augustine (400s)
The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius (500s)
The Quran (600s)
The Ecclesiastical History, Adam Bede (700s)
The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, Peter and Heolise Abelard (1100s)
Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas (1200s)
The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis (1400s)
In Praise of Folly, Erasmus (1500s)
The Education of a Christian Prince, Erasmus (1500s)
The Freedom of a Christian, Martin Luther (1500s)
Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin (1500s)
History of the Reformation, John Knox (1500s)
The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila, Teresa of Avila (1500s)
The Interior Castle, St. Teresa of Avila (1500s)
Dark Night of the Soul, St. John of the Cross (1500s)
The Defense of Poesy, Sir Philip Sidney (1500s)
Novum Organum, Frances Bacon (1600s)
The Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes (1600s)
Meditations on First Philosophy, Rene Descartes (1600s)
Discourse on Method, Rene Descartes (1600s)
Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke (1600s)
The Second Treatise of Government, John Locke (1600s)
The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Samuel Pepys (1600s)
Wonders of the Invisible World, Cotton Mather (1600s)
An Essay on Criticism, Alexander Pope (1700s)
An Essay on Man, Alexander Pope (1700s)
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin (1700s)
The Rights of Man, Thomas Paine (1700s)
Common Sense, Thomas Paine (1700s)
On Liberty, John Stuart Mill (1800s)
The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1700s)
The Journal of John Woolman, John Woolman (1700s)
The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith (1700s)
A Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant (1700s)
On American Taxation, Edmund Burke (1700s)
Life of Johnson, James Boswell (1700s)
The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton (1700s)
Memoir, Correspondence and Misc., Thomas Jefferson (1800s)
The Memoirs of Victor Hugo, Victor Hugo (1800s)
Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville (1800s)
A Child’s History of England, Charles Dickens (1800s)
For Self-Examination, Soren Kierkegaard (1800s)
On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin (1800s)
The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams (1800s)
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Frederich Nietzsche (1800s)
Beyond Good and Evil, Frederich Nietzsche (1800s)
An Autobiography, Annie Besant (1800s)
Notes on Nursing, Florence Nightingale (1800s)
Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler (1900s)
Civilization and Its Discontents, Sigmund Freud (1900s)
The Ego and the Id, Sigmund Freud (1900s)
The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud (1900s)

Other Recommended Books

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A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan About Living, Loving, and Waking Up, Linda Leaming
Aku-Aku: The Secret of Easter Island, Thor Heyerdahl
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, Elizabeth McCracken
Angry Fat Girls/Eating Ice Cream with My Dog, Frances Kuffel
A Queer and Pleasant Danger, Kate Bornstein
As a Man Thinketh: Classic Wisdom for Proper Thought, Strong Character, and Right Actions, James Allen
Running with Scissors: A Memoir, Augusten Burroughs
Dry: A Memoir, Augusten Burroughs
Lust and Wonder, Augusten Burroughs
A Wolf at the Table, Augusten Burroughs
Toil and Trouble: A Memoir, Augusten Burroughs
Autobiography of A Face, Lucy Grealy
A Way of Being, Carl Rogers
A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman, Joan Anderson
Basic Counseling Techniques: A Beginning Therapist’s Toolkit, Wayne Perry
Becoming Myself: A Psychiatrist’s Memoir, Irvin Yalom
Beyond Order, Jordan B. Peterson
Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America, Daniel Flynn
Bossypants, Tina Fey
Boy Erased, Garrard Conley
Chelsea Handler
Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
Committed, Elizabeth Gilbert
Cult Child, Vennie Kocsis
Cult Insanity: A Memoir of Polygamy, Prophets, and Blood Atonement
Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, William Styron
David Sedaris
Devotion: A Memoir, Dani Shapiro
Disaster Preparedness, Heather Harrilesky
Dying: A Memoir, Cory Taylor
Eating the Dinosaur, Chuck Klosterman
Escape from Babel: Toward a Unifying Language for Psychotherapy Practice, Scott Miller, Barry Duncan and Mark Hubble
Excavation: A Memoir, Wendy Ortiz
Fall to Pieces: A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Mental Illness, Mary Forsberg Weiland
Fargo Rock City, Chuck Klosterman
Favorite Wife: Escape From Polygamy, Susan Schmidt
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Five Men Who Broke My Heart: A Memoir, Susan Shapiro
Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir, Jennifer McGaha
Found: A Memoir, Jennifer Lauck
Full: How I Learned to Satisfy My Insatiable Hunger and Feed My Soul, Kimber Simpkins
Girl in a Band: A Memoir, Kim Gordon
Girl in the Woods: A Memoir, Aspen Matis
Girl Walks Out of A Bar: A Memoir, Lisa Smith
Give Me Everything You Have, James Lesdun
God Hunger, Desiree Ayres
Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith, Anne Lamott
Growing Up Amish: A Memoir
Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, Anne Lamott
Hidden Valley Road, Robert Kolker
Holy Hunger: A Memoir of Desire, Margaret Bulitt-Jonas
How I Gave Up My Low-Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds-And How You Can, Too!, Dana Carpender
How Starbucks Saved My Life, Michael Gill
How To Stay Married: The Adventures of a Woman Who Learnt to Travel Light in Life, Love and Relationships, Mary-Lou Stephens
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, Roxanne Gay
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir, Carrie Brownstein
Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh
In Memory of Bread: A Memoir, Paul Graham
In Small Doses, Marc Pollard
In Therapy: The Unfolding Story, Susie Orbach
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Gabor Matt
Into the Magic Shop, James Doyt
It Was Me All Along: A Memoir, Andie Mitchell
Jennifer, Gwyneth and Me, Rachel Bersche
Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins, Kathy Griffin
Killing Yourself to Live, Chuck Klosterman
Klostermann II, Chuck Klostermann
Lab Girl, Hope Jahren
Learning to Eat Along the Way: A Memoir, Margaret Bendet
Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
Letters to a Young Therapist, Mary Pipher
Lights On, Rats Out: A Memoir, Cree LeFavour
Lit, Mary Karr
Locked Up for Eating Too Much, Debbie Danowski
Lost and Found, Geneen Roth
Love in a Time of Homeschooling, Laura Brodie
Love Warrior: A Memoir, Glennon Doyle
Lucky Man: A Memoir, Michael J. Fox
Madness: A Bipolar Life, Marya Hornbacher
Manic, Terri Cheney
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home, Rhoda Janzen
Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing My Mind, Jaime Lowe
MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend, Rachel Bertsche
My Glory Was I Had Such Friends, Amy Silverstein
My Two Moms, Zach Wahls
Nightmare in Wichita: The Hunt for the BTK Strangler, Robert Beattie
Obsessed, Allison Britz
Official Book Club Selection, Kathy Griffin
On Becoming a Better Therapist: Evidence-based Practice One Client at a Time, Barry Duncan
On Becoming a Person, Carl Rogers
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year, Anne Lamott
Orange Is the New Black: My Year in A Women’s Prison, Piper Kerman
Ordinary Light: A Memoir, Tracy K. Smith
Out of Orange: A Memoir, Cleary Wolters
Pajama School: Stories From the Life of a Homeschool Graduate, Natalie Wicham
Passage, Connie Willis
Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint
Plan B, Anne Lamott
Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir, Wednesday Martin
Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Afterlife, Eben Alexander
Proudly Serving My Corporate Masters, Adam Bau
Purge: Rehab Diaries, Nicole Johns
Red, Hot and Holy: A Heretic’s Love Story
Same Kind of Different as Me, Ron Hall
Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream, Adam Shepard
Seasons of a Mother’s Heart, Sally Clarkson
Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, Chuck Klostermann
Sex, Drugs and Meditation: How One Woman Changed Her Life, Saved Her Job and Found a Husband by Mary-Lou Stephens
Sex Object: A Memoir, Jessica Valenti
Sin Bravely: A Memoir of Spiritual Disobedience, Maggie Rowe
Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life, Jason Hanson
Stephen Fry in America: Fifty States and the Man Who Set Out to See Them All, Stephen Fry
Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair, Anne Lamott
Straight Pepper Diet: A Memoir, Joseph W. Naus
The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do, Jeff Goins
The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee, Sarah Silverman
The Boston Strangler, Gerold Frank
The Chicken Chronicles, Alice Walker
The Child Bride, Cathy Glass
The Chronology of Water, Lidia Yuknavitch
The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success, Darren Hardy
The Craggy Hole in My Heart and the Cat Who Fixed It, Geneen Roth
The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life, Wendy Shanker
The Gift of Therapy, Irvin Yalom
The Good Eater, Ron Saxen
The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin
The Janus Point, Julian Barbour
The Making of a Therapist, Louis Cozolino
The Man with the Candy, Jack Olsen
The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance: A Memoir, Elna Baker
The Night of the Grizzlies, Jack Olsen
The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain, Bill Bryson
The Rules Do Not Apply, Ariel Levy
The Secrets of Exceptional Counselors, Jeffrey A. Kottler
The Seven Good Years: A Memoir, Etgar Keret
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, Elisabeth Tova Bailey
The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy, Ann Rule
The Two Kinds of Decay, Sarah Manguso
The Wishing Year: A House, a Man, My Soul: A Memoir of Fulfilled Desire, Noelle Oxenhandler
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This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression, Daphne Merkin
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Triumph: Life After the Cult–A Survivor’s Lessons
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Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress, Debra Ginsberg
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Year of No Sugar: A Memoir, Eve O. Schaub
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Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Paul Theroux
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The Bridge at Chappaquiddick, Jack Olsen
The Devil’s Triangle, Richard Winer
The War Magician, David Fisher
Treblinka, Jean-Francois Steiner
Twelve Great Philosophers, Wayne Pomerleau
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The Unschooling Handbook, Mary Griffith
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Unschooling Rules, Clark Aldrich
Getting Things Done: The ABCs of Time Management, Edwin Bliss
The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence
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Triumph Over Disease By Fasting and Natural Diet, Dr. Jack Goldstein
The Fit for Life Solution, Harvey Diamond
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Mastering Leptin, Byron J. Richards
Fit for Life; Not Fat for Life, Harvey Diamond
Natural Hygiene, Herbert Shelton
The End of Overeating, David A. Kessler
The Fasting Cure, Upton Sinclair
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The Philosophy of Fasting; A Message for Sufferers and Sinners, Edward Earle Purinton
Autobiography of A Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda