Book Talk


 These are the books I proudly and wholeheartedly recommend that have deepened my life and self awareness and empowered me to be and do and live my best life. Once a book takes hold it becomes part of your soul. Please leave a comment in the box below and let me know if any of these recommendations helped you. I’d love to hear your story…..

The Up Side of your Dark Side by Todd Kashdan, PhD. and Robert Biswas-Diener, Dr. Philos.–Drives-ebook/dp/B00INIXMZG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1470072197&sr=1-1&keywords=the+up+side+of+your+dark+side#navbar

Freedom is at hand when you embrace ALL of your emotions and stop trying to hide the negative ones.

The introduction simply states: “People who are able to use the whole range of their natural psychological gifts, those folks who are comfortable with being both positive and negative, and can therefore draw from the full rage of human emotions, are the healthiest and often, the most successful.” This statement alone was powerful enough for me to continue reading. Once I started I could not put the book down. My blog post titled was a huge success and came from inspiration from this book.

Pg.13: “The stories we tell about the events of our day, I had a flat tire, I was late for a meeting, I met a really interesting person, I saw an amazing sunset, reveal accomplishments, failings, attitudes, desire, and yearnings; they flesh out our identities and what we aspire to be and to do.”

Grateful for Everything: Learning, Living, and Loving the Great Game of Life by Skip Johnson

The book opens with, “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” –Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

That sets the stage perfectly for what you will discover once inside this book. Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving not only for yourself but for everyone around you. This book was easy to read and understand. No posturing, no lectures, no talking down to anyone. All the stories are relatable and when I finished reading I felt renewed and grateful for having had this reading experience.

The Noticer by Andy Andrews.

What have you noticed today? Have you noticed what you have in abundance or have you noticed what you are lacking? Are you the kind of person other people want to be around? What would people change about you if they could?

Andy Andres draws the reader in and holds the reader in the palm of his hand with his perspective. Page after page, story after story the reader is thrust into a new way of thinking and looking and behaving. I held my breath the entire time and when I was finished reading I cried.

This book should be mandatory reading for high schoolers, romantics, couples, and humanity in general.

Aspire by Kevin Hall. “A word is worth a thousand pictures.” “All words have an essence.”

WOW!!  This book is about “discovering your purpose through the power of words.” I loved learning the meanings of words and the history of words. I loved the people I met and the stories Kevin told that related to the words in each chapter heading. This book was a quick read for me because I was riveted from cover to cover. Kevin Hall writes with so much vulnerability and passion. I cried, I laughed, I got goose bumps, I was jealous, I am inspired to aspire through my words. Check out my blog posts if you don’t believe me. It would be an honor to meet Kevin someday.

The Virgin Widow by Dr. Andrea S. Gould, Ph.D.

Dr. Gould takes readers on a journey through her grief, anger, resurrection about losing her husband. Her unique writing style, her authentic voice, her vulnerability is so palpable you feel as if you are standing right next to her and breathing her air, her pain, her self-discovery. Her thoughts and feelings are soulful and timeless. I found myself crying and championing Andrea with each turn of the page.

Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier by Dr. Robert Emmons, Ph.D.

So the question is, “Why wouldn’t you declare your gratitude for something, anything as often as possible?” Did you know that speaking your gratitude out loud on a daily basis or writing in a gratitude journal for as little as 3 weeks can result in better sleep and more energy? I like the way Dr. Emmons breaks down this amazing book into it’s essential parts.

My take away can be summed up in this quote found on page 137, Epicurus wrote, “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what yo have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for.” “Gratitude is the realization that we have everything that we need, at the moment.” You will be grateful for having read this book, I promise.

Blog post link:

Daring Greatly by Dr. Brene` Brown, Ph.D., LMSW

I was introduced to the essence of Dr. Brown through her TED talk. Check it out, it is very powerful and uplifting and funny. I was compelled to get this book after that talk. Her extensive research regarding vulnerability, shame, and the courage that comes from it is what this world needs, greatly. There are so many important, resonating and truthful passages in this book that almost every corner of each page is turned down to alert me to something powerful written there. We should all dare greatly because we fail ourselves and the world around us if we don’t.

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life (2nd Edition) by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.

Pg. 49: “Nonviolent Communication heightens our awareness that what others say and do may be the stimulus, but never the cause, of our feelings. We see that our feelings result from how we choose to receive what others say and do.”

Pg. 85: “The objective of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is to establish relationships based on honesty and empathy that will eventually fulfill everyone’s needs.”

What I like most about this book is first the chapter breakdowns because the breakdowns are in such a way that makes the reader able to relate to each topic and read through based on their current most important communication need. I also very much enjoyed the exercises that allowed for better understanding of the communication methods.

Making Hope Happen by Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D. Gallup Senior Scientist

Pg. 20:  As you can see it doesn’t take long to really get to the point of this incredible book. Dr. Lopez writes, “Hope encompasses awe, interest, joy, excitement, and even euphoria. Hope inspires us to transcend ourselves. Hope walks hand in hand with fear. I sometimes describe hope as the golden mean between euphoria and fear.”

What I like most about this book is the real life stories that outline Dr. Lopez’s points about hope. I can’t read it enough. It gives me hope for anything I take on in my life. If you would like to take the hope quiz please visit the website Look around while you are there. Maybe you’ll find a place to pass along a little hope.

Blog post link:

The How of Happiness A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want by Sonja Lyubomirsky 

Pg. 23: You are in control and can influence your life from this day forward in a significant and meaningful way. This is where you can begin.”

Pg. 226: “Deciding to become happier entails making a choice about which perspective you take and acknowledging that the choice is in your hands.”

There are so many take-aways from this book; so many inspirational words, phrases, and sentences. The most powerful take-away for me was the one singular word how. When a person is taught HOW to do something that person becomes empowered to pay it forward from that place of knowledge and to then put his/her own tweak or twist in their own HOW of use. What could be better than that?

Awakening Joy by James Baraz & Shoshana Alexander

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” –Mother Teresa

Pg. 58: “Mindfulness has a unique power. It weakens all mind states that lead to suffering, such as anger, greed, and fear, while awakening and strengthening within us all the mind states that lead to happiness such as kindness, love, and clarity.”

Pg. 172: In chapter 6, The Joy of Letting Go, Mr. Baraz talks about the stories we tell ourselves and how we can let go of what limits us: “In paying attention to misleading beliefs, watch for the words always and never. Those non-provisional words keep us locked into one perspective.”

I very much appreciate and enjoy books that have processes and steps toward something. In Awakening Joy, Mr. Baraz speaks plainly, honestly and authentically. He talks about his workshops, their participants and his own life stories. The steps are very easy to follow and they are relatable. These 10 steps speak to every human being. I dare you not to find a chapter that doesn’t pertain to you and your life. I found inspiration and healing on almost every page.

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