If you follow my writing, that means that we are probably similar people in one or multiple significant ways (in other words, there’s a good degree of probability that we have identical or similar neuroses).
People ask me for book recommendations all the time. So today, I’m going to pass along a few of my all-time favourites, and hopefully you discover your new favourite book from this list!
Some of these books I discovered many years ago (and have read several of them every year since), and a few of them I just discovered within the last year and they became immediate favourites.
There’s something in here for everyone (well, everyone who follows my writing).
So put on your blue light blocking glasses, grab a cup of chamomile, and get comfy in your favourite chair. It’s reading time bitches.
Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions by Russell Brand
Russell Brand takes the best aspects of the step 12 program, modernizes them, tells his own story in brilliant, humourous, courageous honesty… and encourages you to find a sense of sanity and inner peace by working the exact same program that has helped so many others overcome addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, work, gambling, food, and everything else under the sun.
We live in such an addicted and fast paced world. So many people have active addictions without even having the awareness to know that that is what their lives are steeped in.
10/10 would recommend.
The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You In 5 Minutes A Day by Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas
Five minutes in the morning, and five minutes at night. That’s all it takes to have a (scientifically proven) happier life – with gratitude being the primary culprit responsible for the mood boost.
My friends Alex and UJ put this book out a few years ago, and it quickly shot to the top of everyone’s must have list after Tim Ferriss mentioned it on his blog and in one of his best-selling books.
Whether you use it every single day or not is irrelevant. It is a well designed, and well structured little book that will likely replace all of the journal and productivity planners you have scattered around your home.
The Way Of Men by Jack Donovan
This book is the closest I will get to anything resembling literature for the ‘manosphere’.
Jack Donovan presents well thought out points about how the way of men is the way of the gang. That we are the natural enforcers and protectors of boundaries. That without courage, strength, mastery, and honour, we are not much.
Many of the books that the red pill crowd likes to hang their hats on as to why their life isn’t going well have a lot of sad undertones of woman-hating littered throughout. Whereas The Way Of Men references evolutionary psychology in a sane and rational way, and there is no woman-hating garbage sprinkled in like shit-spice in a bowl of chilli.
There is still a healthy dose of fear mongering and emotional disconnection in certain parts of the book… and the author’s questionable relationship to money shows up in a few paragraphs. But, overall, I enjoyed it and it made me think.
If you are a man who is afraid of his own masculine edge, or you are unhealed with your father, I would strongly recommend checking out this book. It’ll either change your life, or trigger the shit out of you. Either way, a valuable experience.
Codependent No More: How To Stop Controlling Others And Start Caring For Yourself by Melody Beattie
If you are a regular reader of mine, then there’s a good chance you have some fears/neuroses/anxiety when it comes to forming and maintaining healthy intimate relationships (I mean, unless you’re just here for my smoothie tips. In which case, click here).
Codependency is a word that means many things to many people. It is a word that is overused, misused, and misunderstood around the world.
Codependency, in it’s simplest form, is about getting your sense of approval from people outside of yourself, and over-functioning in the lives of others in order to feel needed and worthy of love.
– feel safest when you’re giving to others…
– engage in covert contracts where you give to others in order to get in return…
– frequently feel responsible for the feelings, actions, and needs of others…
– have a difficult time saying no to almost anyone…
– have a difficult time asking for your needs to be met…
– grew up with parents who were either addicts or who had extremely low self-esteem/self-worth…
– often find yourself being attracted to people who are under-functioning/struggling/addicts/needy…
Then there’s a pretty good chance you need to get this book into your life as soon as possible.
In short, it’s a (as I heard one person in recovery call it) “Mind your own business program.”
The Language Of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency by Melody Beattie
The daily reader by the same author as the above book on codependency.
If you don’t have any daily readers in your life (where you read a page a day, or a few paragraphs to get a little hit of wisdom), I would recommend either grabbing this one, The War Of Art (mentioned below), or both.
The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson
A dope book with a clever name and, SURPRISE!, it’s actually a book about defining your personal values.
It sold over 2 million copies in it’s first year of release, and there are too many good quotes from this book to pack them in to this article. Suffice it to say, have a notepad nearby as you read this one (unless you’re one of those psychos who just writes all over the inside of their books – what is wrong with you?!).
Side note: I met Mark a few years ago and he’s exactly as you would imagine he is. Simultaneously super hard working and super lazy. Bit of a gamer nerd. Super sharp mind. Total sweetheart.
Healing The Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw
Shame is a killer.
Left untreated, toxic shame destroys relationships, deadens sex lives, and strips the joy out of life.
If you have a foundational core belief that sounds like “I am a living, breathing mistake. I am a burden. I’m broken and there’s no fixing my shittiness”, then you need to read this.
Warning: have several boxes of tissues on standby.
The Paradox Of Success by John R. O’Neill
If you have hit the top of a mountain peak that you set out to climb and found yourself feeling exhausted of unfulfilled, then you need to read this book. Ditto for anyone who is currently in the middle of a significant career transition.
I found this book very healing, at the right time in my journey. May it serve you as well.
Don’t Call It Love: Recovery From Sexual Addiction by Dr. Patrick Carnes
My favourite book that I have ever read about overcoming sexual addiction.
Sex addiction (like many process addictions) is often discounted because it isn’t vodka or heroin. But I would encourage anyone who doesn’t believe in sex addiction to read this book and see if they still think that sex addiction can’t ruin lives.
Written with heart and mastery by the grandfather of the field of research on sex addiction, Pat Carnes sets out a path for healing that any sex addict can pull from.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
Regardless of when in your life you read this book, it packs a punch. But, instead of a punch that knocks your jaw out of alignment… a punch that knows your mind back into alignment.
Follow the omens in your life. Your heart knows best. Trust, have faith, act courageously.
This little book has sold over 65 million copies worldwide for a reason. It’s potent, timeless wisdom, in a beautifully written story.
Body Mind Balancing: Using Your Mind To Balance Your Body by Osho
This wisdom-packed little book by Osho is a total game changer. Especially if you live a life that is highly heady and plugged into technology… this book will remind you of the beauty and potency of being more in your body.
(Speaking of Osho, have you seen the documentary series on Netflix about the tens of thousands of people who lived in his ashram in Oregon in the 80’s? It’s an absolute trip. You should seriously check it out. The lawyer guy just has one of the most beautiful hearts I have ever seen captured in a documentary.)
Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
Do you consider yourself an artist? Or a creative? Well, whether or not you do, you are one. Because we all are. This delightful little book walks you through the practical steps of putting more creations out into the world. I discovered it just this year, and I adore it.
The War Of Art: Break Through The Blocks And Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Stephen Pressfield
This was my favourite book that I discovered last year. It outlines the key opposition that we face when doing our work in life (which the author labels as ‘Resistance’). Resistance will keep you from doing anything that is good for you… leaning into a promising relationship, sitting down to work, extend to someone who you want to get to know better. It’s all in here. I use this book as my daily reader because I can simply read any one page from it and feel inspired. Truly, it’s a beautiful little book that I wish I could gift to every person in the world.
Play It Away by Charlie Hoehn
If you’ve been following me for a little while, then you may have already heard my interview with this author (and my friend) Charlie Hoehn. Charlie went from a burnt out workaholic who took life very seriously… to a happy, care-free, full-time artist/full-time dad through the power of play. Simple, and effective. This book has changed my entire outlook on my life.
Workaholics Anonymous Book Of Recovery (Second Edition)
Speaking of taking life seriously… I would wager that at least 80% of the people who receive this email would be classified as a workaholic. It’s just that we’re all embedded in a culture of doers who consider constant doing so normal. Instead of packing your calendar and your life with constant noise and adrenaline, how about rest? How about play? How about honouring the signals that your body sends you instead of overriding them? How about laughing at yourself? I dare you to read the first ten pages of this book and not see yourself in them. A potent read, that I would recommend to anyone who gets their self-worth from what they do in the world. Remember… you are a human being, not a human doing.
Wild Nights by David Deida
The single greatest read I have ever found that marries the spiritual path with knowing, acknowledging, and honouring your body’s signals. You are a sexual being, and that is okay. This beautiful little work of fiction will seep into your bones and help you to feel that much more okay about being a deeply and beautifully sexual person on a spiritual path.
Rude Awakening: Perils, Pitfalls, And Hard Truths Of The Spiritual Path by P.T. Mistlberger
My favourite book (for now, he has a new one coming out this year on men’s work) by my favourite IRL mentor and teacher. If you are on a path of truly wanting to wake up form your stories, your limiting beliefs, and your bullshit, then this book is for you. Often witty, and even more frequently confronting… this book isn’t for the faint of heart.
Fire In The Belly: On Being A Man by Sam Keen
There are a good dozen or so books on healthy masculine development (Iron John, The Way Of Men, Boshido, To Be A Man, etc.) that I often recommend to others, but this is the one that I quote and reference most often in my life. A gorgeous book written from an author who has been walking the path for decades.
The Mastery Of Love: A Practical Guide To The Art Of Relationship by Don Miguel Ruiz
Out of all of the books on this list, this is the most widely applicable to everyone who receives my emails. A powerful, dense read on the art of intimate relationship. The language in this book walks the perfect balance between poetic and practical. Highly enjoyable, immediately applicable, and life-affirming in it’s delivery.
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice On Love And Life From Dear Sugar
If you’ve never heard of her, Dear Sugar was an advice columnist that wrote with the most love, care, and compassion, during a time when other similar writers were more concerned with being witty and clever than human. This book is a kind of best-of-the-best of her writing. You will laugh, cry, have shivers run down your spine, and then cry again. Whenever I need a little pick me up, this book gives me faith in humanity.
That’s it for this list!
Hopefully you haven’t been following me for so long and so closely that you have already read ALL TWENTY of these books. And if you have, then wow! Go for a walk in the forest. Make some friends. Get out there and make some stuff. The world wants you to go outside every now and then. Cool? Cool.
Dedicated to your success,
Ps. Here are some honourable mentions for other books that almost made this list:
– The Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden
– Show Your Work by Austin Kleon
– The Steal Like An Artist Journal: A Notebook For Creative Kleptomaniacs by Austin Kleon
– Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys To Creativity by Hugh Macleod
– No More Mr. Nice Guy by Dr. Robert Glover (book review here)