Books You Gotta Read

Where Buddha Meets Business

The Top 6 Books That Helped Change My Life

This was a REALLY hard exercise – to look at all the books I’ve read so far in my 56 years and pick out the top five of all time that truly helped change and shift my life in some amazing directions.  I decided to do this because I needed a graduation gift for my niece. Then I realized I needed another gift for my other niece the next year and then for my nephew after that. I knew I wanted to give them money. 

Yet, I wanted to give them something more memorable. So that’s when I sat down to list the five best books I could gift them. Ones that I’d wished I’d had at their age when I was graduating college. I wanted to give them a book or books that might be a game-changer or life-changer for them. 

So I came up with my list. Plus, I give you my quick book review of my thoughts on them:

#1 Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering The Art of Manifesting by Wayne Dyer
I read this book at just the right time. It was after I read a bunch of law of attraction books. I had been meditating for almost 15 years. When I picked up this book, I was just ripe and ready for his messages. What struck me the most, and what I got out of his words, was that God was not outside of me as the Catholic church had taught me. God was indeed inside of me. And this God was not a hellfire and damnation God. It was one of loving-kindness. God was in me and a part of me.

Of course, the main focus of this book is mastering the art of manifesting. Hence, it’s in my top five because of my constant yearning to learn more about manifesting and the law of attraction. I liked discovering all of his research, and he sighted so many books I’d never read.

He mentioned Neville Goddard, The Feeling Is the Secret, and The Power of Awareness. He also referenced St. Germain and The “I Am” Discourses, volumes 3 and 11. These books are by the Ascended Master St. Germain, and it’s a record of Godfre Ray King’s experiences on the side of Mount Shasta with St. Germain in 1935. They are a series of 20 books. (If interested, get them at Phoenix Books LTD in Columbus, OH.)

#2 Return to Love: Reflections On the Principles of The Course In Miracles by Marianne Williamson – This book opened me up to love and relationships when I was having a tough time. I had ended my marriage of 14 years and was now single again. I was reading a lot and trying to heal. I wanted to learn about being a better partner and love and explore my wounds and healing. This book’s premise is that it’s taken from The Course in Miracles, which I’ve not ever read. I did end up buying it when I was at a retreat at Kripalu and started it many times. It’s just so big and so deep. I found Marianne’s book really gets at the heart of the course because its main theme is based on our one choice in how we want to be in life – we can choose love or fear, that’s it. There are so many things that I love about this book. 

One of the core takeaways for me was about love and relationships. That we are basically in relationships to help each other heal our childhood and adulthood wounds. The more compassion we can have and be with that special person, the better we can help each other heal. That’s something I’ve carried with me throughout all my relationships and has stuck with me. 

I’d highly recommend her other books, especially The Law of Divine Compensation, Enchanted Love: The Mystical Power Of Intimate Relationships, and A Woman’s Worth. I even met her a few times and got her to sign my copy and my prayer book by Illuminata.

#3 The Handbook to Higher Consciousness by Ken Keyes Jr. – This book was written in 1975 and is a classic in the field of higher consciousness.  It’s a short yet deep read into our minds and how he breaks it down into two consciousness of human living – we’re either in lower consciousness (according to Ken, 99% of people in the western world) or higher consciousness. The goal of this book is for you to find the living love way to happiness through your higher consciousness, which is what Ken calls the “Science of Happiness.”

He wants to help you end the struggle of your lower consciousness, which is run by your ego and focuses on security, sex, ego rushes, money, prestige, power, and status. And by focusing on these things, you get endless amounts of struggle with resentment, worry, suspicion, anger, jealousy, and fear. He emphasizes that these things do not create an unhappy life; the internal mental addiction or desire for them keeps you from enjoying your life. I’d liken it to being attached to the ego-self. The mind is a strange and curious thing. Countless books have been written about controlling, taming, and wrestling it to happiness.

I really loved this book and how it impacted me so much because he explained that there is another way to live. You don’t have to let your mind control your life – YOU control your life, and YOUR HIGHER SELF controls it. Your mind or left brain’s sole job is to keep you safe, comfortable, and complacent and solve all your problems or others’ problems.

Ken gives you several techniques that you can use to create more awareness/consciousness. He also has some great diagrams on How you create unhappiness and happiness in your life. He also has a whole chapter on addiction that really helped me. I already have over four years of sobriety, yet the way he explains addiction and what to do about it made so much sense.

If you’re interested in this book, I’d also highly recommend checking out Letting Go by David R. Hawkins and A Guide to Rational Living by Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, first published in 1961.

#4 Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – This book is a classic for ALL entrepreneurs. If you own your own business, this is a MUST-read. This opened my eyes a lot when I started my business. I was so glad my mentor recommended it to me. It begins with the best quote by Napoleon Hill that I know by heart now: “Whatever your mind can conceive, it can achieve.” This book is a classic and first came out in 1937. The edition I have was published in 2004. It’s the original restored and revised version.

This book is intriguing and came from Napoleon’s interviews with the titans of that period. Andrew Carnegie gave him the “magic formula” for making his tremendous fortune and many others. Carnegie gave him the idea to interview all the successful people. He gave the formula and wrote this book to share it to help countless people create success. This book contains universal truths that explain the relationship between belief and success.

Hill studied and interviewed over 500 of the richest men of his time to determine what, if any, commonalities they had about how to get wealthy. Some of the titans he interviewed – were Theodore Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, Thomas Edison, F.W. Woolworth, Henry Ford, Charles Schwab, and many others.

This book uses 13 universal principles to explain why some people create massive wealth while others fail to make it. Since 1937, it’s always been a reference book for people who want to get rich. I’d highly recommend it. Hill has a unique writing style that I feel he’s talking right to me over a cup of coffee – a must-read.

If you’re interested in this book, I’d recommend The Sucess System that Never Fails By W. Clement Stone. I found a copy at a used bookstore. It was initially published in 1962 by Prentice Hall.

#5 Ask, and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires by Esther and Jerry Hicks (The Teachings of Abraham) I loved this book BECAUSE it was so woo-woo. I mean, it’s a book about someone who channels a nonphysical entity called Abraham. How out there can you get?  If this scares you or sounds weird, I’d definitely ask you to keep reading, and this book may totally surprise you. If you can suspend belief, as I did, you will find so much terrific information and inspiration in this book and ALL the books written by them. They have several!  This is the first book written by Esther and Jerry, and definitely worth picking up a copy. If you’re interested in the law of attraction, you just got to get a copy of this book.

My copy is so worn and has many tabs because I’ve used it so much. This book teaches you “The Science of Deliberate Creation.” OR the law of attraction. It’s about how your thoughts become things. Your desires and beliefs are just thoughts. This book gives you 22 different processes that you can do to manifest all your desires.  This is THE HANDBOOK to have on the law of attraction. It also teaches you the 3 core steps: 1 – You Ask (for what you want), 2 – The Universe Answers, and 3 – You Allow It In.

If you’ve ever been curious about how the law of attraction works or want to get better at it, I recommend this book. Also, if you’ve seen The Secret or read the book, you have to get this one!  Esther and Jerry were in the movie, and the rumor is they were edited out because they were too “woo-woo” for it. In my opinion, this book is the core handbook on learning how to turn your thoughts into things.

If you like this book and want more – I’d highly recommend some of their other books: Money and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Wealth, Health, and Happiness; The Amazing Power of deliberate Intent: Living the Art of Allowing; The Astonishing Power of Emotions: Let Your Feelings be Your Guide; and The Vortex: Where the Law of Attraction Assembles All Cooperative Relationships.  

Here’s a BONUS book. If you are suffering from a loss, ending, and going through a difficult time, this book was so monumental in helping me.

#6 Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow by Elizabeth Lesser What I loved about this book is how she takes a spiritual and psychological point of view when dealing with illness, grief, divorce, loss of a job, or other challenges.  She’s a terrific writer who tells stories that make you laugh, cry, and relate. Elizabeth also gives you some great insights and steps you can take to pick yourself up off the floor. That you have a choice, you can keep lying there, or you can choose to grow and be “broken open.”

Elizabeth was one of the Omega Institute co-founders, one of the largest spiritual retreat centers on the east coast. She’s taken all of her experience, knowledge, and storytelling, shares her insights, practical guidance, and personal memoir, and offers tools to help you choose to be defeated or transformed.

I had met her at an event where she was speaking, and I brought my tattered and torn copy and asked her to sign my copy, which she graciously did. And I took the opportunity to tell her how much her words meant and helped me heal.

If you’re interested in this book, I’d recommend the three books by Pema Chodron: When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, The Places That Scare You, and Start Where You Are: How to Accept Yourself and Others. Also, check out – Sue Monk Kidd’s When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life’s Sacred Questions.

Soulfully Yours,

Shannon McCaffery

Shannon McCaffery

Strategic Marketing Coach & Consultant

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Hey there, I'm Shannon! Being a voracious reader and passionate about learning, I started this site in the hopes of sharing my thoughts and my love of inspiring nonfiction books that can help you. It's kind of like Buddha meets business. I truly hope you enjoy!

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