I Don’t Buy Books

9.8 times out of 10 I check out a book from the library before I’ll consider buying it (I’m so in love with the Multnomah County Library‘s digitized catalog and hold-placing system…ask me about it sometime!). I check out the book and read it before I ever think about buying it. Sometimes, if it’s really good, I’ll get a chapter in and know that I want to own it so I can highlight, sticky-note all my favorite pages, write in the margins and take it everywhere (aka: get sand, coffee, and water on it). Other times I read the library’s copy all the way through and then I buy it and read it all over again.

There are about a dozen books that have been super influential in my growth and development as a whole human who feels capable, confident, and happy on a daily basis. These books have shaped the way I think about myself, how I relate to others, and how I approach the work in my life–all things that contribute to making good stuff happen.

And you know how I know these are useful, inspirational books that I will refer to again and again throughout my life? I own them. Those are my criteria for buying a book.

Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Getting Things Done by David Allen: Mr. Allen’s theory is basically that we don’t do our best, most creative work if we are trying to remember all the many tasks we have on our plates. His book helps you to create a system for capturing all those things you are trying to remember, putting notes up on your fridge about, and leaving out on the counter and table to remind you. It changed the way I think about planning and moving through a project, and made my life a billion times simpler.
  2. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey: I haven’t read this book in 15 years but it had a profound effect on me back then. In fact, flipping through it again I have just made the decision to put it back at the top of my “to read” list. Some of Covey’s successful habits: begin with the end in mind, put first things first, seek first to understand then be understood, and sharpen the saw. Such good stuff.
  3. Loving What Is by Byron Katie: I think you all know how I feel about Byron Katie. In this book she teaches the basics of her inquiry process, The Workwith lots of stories to bring the process to life.
  4. Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver: While spending the week in the hospital with my partner, Bekah, and her broken leg, I devoured this book. I might make it an annual January read, as Tosha has a way of putting my heart in just the right space as to see synchronicity, support, and love everywhere. This is a shiny gem of an uplifting book, and not only in a fluffy way–but in a real, make-you-trust-the-universe-in-your-bones kind of way. This book had a profound effect on my own experience of spirituality.
  5. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron: This is one of those “one-week-in” books: I just started it, but I already know it is going to be transformative. Julia Cameron teaches that in order to get creatively unstuck, we are invited to clear blockages daily by writing our “morning pages” and alternately fill up our creative well by taking ourselves on weekly “artist dates”. She then provides lots and lots of prompts for creative exploration and expression along the way in this 12-week book program.
  6. Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez: To say this book fundamentally changed my relationship with  money is an understatement. The most lasting way is in my understanding both on a conscious and on a physical level of what “enough” feels like–a key distinction in their message that living within our means, having enough money to sustain our lives and take care of us in our old age, and to give back are all doable if we can stay really in tune with what expenditures of our life energy brings us pleasure and what ones are just too much.
  7. Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port: Although my business is built on my passion for serving others, people can’t find me or connect with me if they are not clear on what I do. In this “marketing” book, Michael Port breaks down the keys to getting your message out there and changes the face of “selling” into a model based on being exactly who you are–your best most authentic self–and attracting exactly the clients you are meant to serve. I loved reading this book.
  8. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg: A sweet collection of essays by one of the most honest and encouraging voices I have read. This book gives me hope about writing.
  9. When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön: A contemporary spiritual teacher, Pema Chödrön gives us advice for not only dealing with the most difficult times in our lives (she does that as well), but the everyday difficulties too: the things that throw us off track, keep us stuck, or distract us in ways we haven’t been able to understand. She helps us to keep opening our hearts so that it is our love that is leading us forth instead of our fear.
  10. Leveraging the Universe: 7 Steps to Engaging Life’s Magic by Mike Dooley: From the author of Notes from the Universe, this book on using the laws of the universe outlines exactly how to harness the natural laws that govern our world. From “understand your power” & “chart  your course” to “engage the magic” & “adjust your sails”, this book teaches solid strategies while inspiring.

And 2 bonus books…cause I just couldn’t stop at 10:

Anxious to Please: 7 Revolutionary Practices for the Chronically Nice by James Rapson: Most of the pain in my life up until my early 30’s stemmed from the belief that I needed the acceptance of those around me in order to be ok. This book, which I quickly followed with Byron Katie’s, radically shifted the way I saw myself and my relationship to others. Learning to really take care of me by being trustworthy and kind to myself and the realization that, no matter how smart I think I am, I am not in control of other people’s feelings set me on a path to feeling healthy and happy in my skin nearly 100% of the time.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle: I am including this book on reputation alone…I haven’t even read it yet! But based on my own journey toward a life of more mindfulness and presence, I have to agree that this is the single most important factor in happiness, clarity, and success. This is the next book on my list to read, so I’ll let you know what I think.

So, what books are on your Top 10 list??

Breana 1

With love and bright focus,



Leave a Reply

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