Welcome to the master list of my book recommendations for 2021! There are currently 83 books here, with excerpts from some of my favourite reads to give you a feel of the writing and what the book can teach and evoke from within you.
As you read, highlight or underline points in the book that stand out to you. When you finish the book, run back through and read the highlighted points again for retention. I also use the program/app "Notion" to save really potent learnings from books, podcasts and articles that I want to refer back to.
My favourite strategy for productive reading is a little bit extra, but it's incredibly powerful. If you listen to an audiobook on a speed faster than 1.0 whilst reading the physical or digital book at the same time, not only will you breeze through books but you'll also take in much more information because you're multiplying learning styles by having audio at the same time as the visual. Click here to sign up to Audible, with one free audiobook upon joining 🥳
Keep this in mind when you're reading these new books or taking in any new information:
— Psychiatrist Dr. William Glasser, expanding on theories of twentieth century educator Edgar Dale (this is in "Happy For No Reason"!)
Another tip is to download the app "Blinkist" — it gives you 15 minute insights to books and podcasts and is incredibly powerful. You can select the amount of time per day you'd like to learn, and you get to choose to read or listen, but are also able to incorporate the above learning style by doing both at the same time! So I set that audio speed to 1.5x and get through even more knowledge 🧠🙌🏽
Let's dive in! You can click on any book title here to be taken directly to the Booktopia website, which is where I buy all my books online and are delivered so quickly!
My Most Influential
The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle — I first read this book at the beginning of my spiritual journey when I was 20, and it is life shifting. This is the book that helped me seperate those self degrading, sabotaging thoughts from the ones that are my actual true self. You're taught about the relentless mind chatter that goes hand in hand with anxiety and depression and are given the tools and awareness to rise above it. Read it. And then read A New Earth.
Excerpt: The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way, but it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being. It is a state of connectedness with something immeasurable and indestructible, something that, almost paradoxically, is essentially you and yet is much greater than you. It is finding your true nature beyond name and form. The inability to feel this connectedness gives rise to the illusion of separation, from yourself and from the world around you.
Conversations With God I, II, and III, Neale Donald Walsch — I have a ridiculous amount of notes highlighted throughout this first book. Release the attachment and judgement of the word "God". Replace it with higher power, source, divine guidance, universe, or whichever word describing a higher power that makes you comfortable. This entire book is channeled by Walsch and you will quickly become completely absorbed by the teachings within. It's a literal conversation with God, starting with posing questions that are unexplainably responded to and answered. So the dialect continues, and Walsch starts asking all questions we would ask should we also become so divinely connected to our Source as well (plus all of the ones you would wish you could think of). As you read, you realise that these responses cannot be made up and it all just makes sense. Get ready to go deep.
Excerpt: People have lost touch with the purpose of relationships. When you lose sight of each other as sacred souls on a sacred journey, then you cannot see the purpose, the reason, behind all relationships. The soul has come to the body, and the body to life, for the purpose of evolution. You are evolving, you are becoming. And you are using your relationship with everything to decide what you are becoming. This is the job you came here to do. This is the joy of creating Self. Of knowing Self. Of becoming, consciously, what you wish to be. It is what is meant by becoming Self conscious.
A Return To Love, Marianna Williamson — This book is utterly divine and easily one of my most favourites. It is a reflection on the textbook/manual "A Course in Miracles" which many spiritual books are based on (including lots of Gabby Bernstein's work) and explains the teachings in an easily conceptual way. Many life areas are covered, with the chapter titles being "Hell, God, You, Surrender, Miracles, Relationships, Work, Body" and "Heaven".
Excerpts: — Something amazing happens when we surrender and just love. We melt into another world, a realm of power within us. The world changes when we change. The world softens when we soften. The world loves us when we choose to love the world.
— Without the ego, all would be love.
— To forgive is merely to remember only the loving thoughts you gave in the past, and those that were given to you. All the rest must be forgotten.
— There are only two emotions: love and fear. We can interpret fear as a call for love.
— Darkness is to be brought to light, and not the other way around. If a relationship allows us to merely avoid our unhealed places, then we're hiding there, not growing. The universe will not support that.
The Universe Has Your Back, Gabrielle Bernstein — The thing about Gabby's books are that she makes you do the work. And doing the work is what brings about the greatest shifts in your life. This book is packed full of prayers, meditations and action steps that will create immediate change for you, you just need to put in the work and be dedicated to your growth, healing and development.
Excerpt: The Universe is an abundant flow of positive, powerful energy. When you align with that loving, powerful force of energy, you become a magnet for more of it. When you get psyched about something and lead from a place of joy, immediately the Universe starts to show you the way. You have the power to align with whatever it is you want to see. This alignment will always be positive and supportive to your life as long as you're in tune with your energetic power.
The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod — It's not just about getting up two hours than your alarm is currently set for, that is such a small part of this whole book. This is about motivation, knowing your 'why', creating discipline, implementing new habits and encouraging action to bring forward your most powerful self to create a life you desire.
Excerpt: When are you going to develop yourself into the person you need to be to create the levels of health, wealth, happiness, success and freedom that you truly want and deserve? When are you actually going to live your life instead of numbly going through the motions looking for every possible distraction to escape reality? What if your reality - your life - could finally be something that you cant wait to be conscious for?
The Untethered Soul, Michael A Singer — We all have our own interpretations and lessons that stand out from a book, but my personal greatest take from this is learning to open myself back up again, a shadow part of myself that has taken the longest to heal.
Excerpts: — Closing your heart does not really protect you from anything; it just cuts you off from your source of energy.
— The more you stay open, the more the energy flow can build. You can actually feel it flowing off your hands, out your heart, and through other energy centres. All these energy centres open, and a tremendous amount of energy starts flowing out of you.
— Nothing, ever, is worth closing your heart over.
— The heart closes because it becomes blocked by stored, unfinished energy patterns from your past.
— When the energy can't make it through the mind because of conflicts with other thoughts and mental concepts, it then tries to release through the heart. That is what creates all the emotional activity. When you resist even that release, the energy gets packed up and forced into deep storage within the heart.
— You can actually feel the fears and the insecurity of a five-year-old when you're 60. What is happening is that unfinished mental and emotional energy patterns are getting stored and reactivated.
— Of course it hurts when it comes up. It was stored with pain; it's going to release with pain.
— If you want to be free to the core of your being, you must let go right away because it will not be easier later.
Letting Go, David R Hawkins — A book I'm yet to read but I can feel how influential it is going to be for me. I have the physical book, iBook, and Audible version of this and am incredibly called towards it. My friend Hannah was reading it and overheard a man's conversation with a friend in a cafe about a break up, and handed her copy to him to keep because she felt he needed it more than she did. I'll check back and write an update with my favourite excerpts as I progress through it.
The spiritual world can has some incredibly thought-provoking and life-altering teachings, but some might be a bit intense to start with. Here are some introductory, but none-the-less powerful, books to begin your journey.
Soul Searchers Handbook, Emma Mildon — A beautiful, essential guide to introduce you into the spiritual world. It covers topics such as chakras, Feng Shui, dreams, astrology, guides, akashic records, soul mates and plenty more. It's a wonderful way to show you lots of branches, and you can then choose one (or a few!) that you want to explore deeper. This book was the one that opened me up to numerology, which I then continued to develop through other dedicated books and mediums.
Happy For No Reason, Marci Shimoff — The one that started it all for me. This book provides the perfect amount of 'woo woo', psychology and science to have it all make sense, not feel overwhelmed or as if these new world practices and mentalities are too farfetched. There are tonnes of references for you to explore and find your niche, so if a certain teaching by a psychologist is given that resonates with you, research it, explore it further! If a book recommendation within this sounds interesting, go buy that book and look up the author! This world has an endless amount of branches and this book is the perfect introduction to it all. I still teach lessons from this book on the daily to those around me, and I read it 7 years ago. Marci gives real life examples of experiences and principles, including Rhonda Byrne's story of how she created the book and movie "The Secret". There's an abundance of prompts and exercises for you to take action in creating a new life for yourself, too! Excerpt: Guiding three principles: 1) What expands you makes you happier (Law of Expansion)
2) The universe is out to support you (Law of Universal Support)
3) What you appreciate, appreciates (Law of Attraction)
[See, you could then go and research those laws!]
Developed by Byron Katie, The Work consists of asking yourself 4 simple questions about your painful thoughts and beliefs: 1) Is it true?
2) Can you absolutely know that it's true?
3) How do you react when you believe that thought? 4) Who would you be without that thought?
[these specific prompts helped rid my depression]
Mastering Your Mean Girl, Melissa Ambrosini — This is a book I recommend to many people just starting on their journey, and particularly before getting started on The Power of Now (a very intense and deep book) as it gives a wonderful explanation and introduction to ego, which Melissa refers to as "your mean girl".
Think Like A Monk, Jay Shetty — I'll be real, this is a recent one I picked up and I personally got bored about half way through. Only because I've already learnt so many of these teachings throughout my own spiritual journey over the last seven years and lots of it is regurgitated in this book or interpreted through Jay's own perspective. It's incredible if you are new to mindfulness and personal development though and again gives lots of examples that incorporate spirituality with the science and psychology behind it!
Excerpts: — 55% of our communication is conveyed by body language, 38% is tone of voice, and a mere 7% is the actual words we speak (studies by Albert Mehrabian)
— What we judge or envy or suspect in someone else can guide us to the darkness we have within ourselves. Negative projections and suspicions reflect our own insecurities and get in our way.
— When you stop feeling so curious about others' misfortunes and instead take pleasure in their successes, you're healing.
— Our search is never for a thing, but for the feeling we think the thing will give us.
The Secret, Rhonda Byrne — The introductory book to manifestation and the law of attraction. The Secret teaches that what you hold in your mind, you will hold in your hand. You have the power to create the life of your dreams, through the law of attraction, positive thinking, and being on the same energetic frequency as what it is you want to call in. Please be aware that this is a very general conception of manifestation, and that it goes much deeper than this, but it is a wonderful introduction. You can watch The Secret movie on Netflix for further reading retention and understanding of the teachings. I also recommend researching the speakers and teachers in this book/movie that resonate with you as they are all incredible thought-provoking leaders.
Excerpt: I want to let you in on a secret to The Secret. The shortcut to anything you want in your life is to BE and FEEL happy now! It is the fastest way to bring money and anything else you want into your life. Focus on radiating out into the Universe those feelings of joy and happiness... Everything you want is an inside job! The outside world is the world of effects; it's just the result of thoughts. Set your thoughts and frequency on happiness.
Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert — This book is the greatest one you will read for creative inspiration. As I say in this post, creativity is a secret key to unlocking passion and success in your life, and Liz express this in the most beautiful way. As you'll read below about Eat Pray Love, she's the most fun author to read the words of and you'll be absolutely captivated and inspired by this book. This book also teaches early on that ideas do not last, and you must grasp and take action on an idea the moment it arises. Otherwise, that idea and inspiration will leave you, floating into the mind of another and another until somebody creates magic and brings it to life.
Excerpt: Are you considering becoming a creative person? Too late, you already are one. To even call somebody "a creative person" is almost laughably redundant: creativity is the hallmark of our species. We have the senses for it; we have the rhythm for it; we have the language and the excitement and the innate connection to divinity for it. If you're alive, you're a creative person.
These are beautiful books that are effortless to read and can ease you into the excitement of entering the spiritual, mindfulness and personal development world. Sometimes as a mental break I'll pick one of these books up, just so I can read a story rather than constantly be working on myself!
The Alchemist, Paul Coelho — A staple book for every single persons bookshelf. A beautiful story of self discovery with plenty of golden nuggets along the way. I cannot wait to have children and read this to them!
Excerpt: What you still need to know is this: Before a dream is realized, the soul of the world tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. That’s the point, as we say in the desert, that one dies of thirst just as the palm trees have appeared on the horizon. Every search begins with beginner’s luck and ends with being severely tested. The darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn.
The Celestine Prophecy, James Redfield — This one is set in Peru which fascinated me from the first few pages and it's a book I can't ever put down. I carried it on the train to work with me and had so many people give me knowing nods when they saw it or commented on how it shifted their mindset and how they see the world. The blurb reads "a guidebook that has the power to crystallise your perception of why you are where you are in life, and to direct your steps with a new energy and optimism."
Pg. 191: We can still have romance, but first we have to complete this circle on our own. We have to stabilise our channel with the Universe. That takes time, but afterward we are never susceptible to this problem again and we can have what the Manuscript calls a higher-relationship. When we connect romantically with another whole person after that, we create a super-person, but it never pulls us from the path of our individual evolution.
The Dalai Llama's Cat, David Michie — A gorgeous little tale and a very easy read, you will learn so much about the Buddhist lifestyle and mindset just from the experiences this kitty has living by the Llama's side and with fellow monks. Lots of useful teachings to pick up and apply to your life.
Pg. 77: Because you give someone something one day doesn’t mean you have created the cause to receive exactly the same thing another day. Karma operates not so much as some external credit-and-debut ledger but more as an energy, a charge that grows over time. This is how even small acts of generosity, especially when motivated by the best intention, can become causes for much greater wealth in the future.
Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert — If you've watched the movie then totally disregard it, because I can tell you it is nothing like the book. Liz Gilbert's writing is a magical experience, there is so much of her own personal character in every piece of literature she produces and you quickly become absorbed within her world. I took an incredible amount of beautiful notes from this book, but here's my absolute favourite:
Pg 194: INSTRUCTIONS FOR FREEDOM
1. Life’s metaphors are God’s instructions.
2. You have just climbed up and above the roof. There is nothing between you and the Infinite. Now, let go.
3. The day is ending. It’s time for something that was beautiful to turn into something else that is beautiful. Now, let go.
4. Your wish for resolution was a prayer. Your being here is God’s response. Let go, and watch the stars come out — on the outside and on the inside.
5. With all your heart, ask for grace, and let go.
6. With all your heart, forgive him, FORGIVE YOURSELF, and let him go.
7. Let your intention be freedom from useless suffering. Then, let go.
8. Watch the heat of the day pass into the cool night. Let go.
9. When the karma of a relationship is done, only love remains. It’s safe. Let go.
10. When the past has passed from you at last, let go. Then climb down and begin the rest of your life. With great joy.
Untamed, Glennon Doyle — A beautiful story about standing in your own power, trusting your intuition, finding your own voice, releasing the ingrained social conditioning of "should"s and "shouldn't"'s, plus so many other golden nuggets of wisdom that you'll keep with you.
Excerpts: — I quit using words to explain myself to the world. This is the most revolutionary thing a woman can do: the next precise thing, one thing at a time, without asking permission or offering explanation.
— We must relearn our soul's native tongue.
— What we need right now is more women who have detoxed themselves so completely from the world's expectations that they re full of nothing but themselves.
— I guess women have to almost die before we give ourselves permission to live how we want.
— [Because we hand children smartphones] we are raising a generation of writers who will never start writing, artists who will never start doodling, chefs who will never make a mess of the kitchen, athletes who will never kick a ball against a wall, musicians who will never pick up their aunt's guitar and start strumming.
— Judgement is just another cage we live in so we don't have to feel, know, and imagine. Judgement is self-abandonment.
Power, Personal Development, Psychology
The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene — The reviews on this say that it is an extremely dangerous book to fall into the wrong hands, and for good reason. 'Master manipulation' is all I'm going to say. An incredibly powe