My Favorite Books

Here are some of my favorite resources to heal, live well, relate, create, learn (how to learn and what to learn), and expand your worldview.

HEAL

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker
Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan
How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self by Dr. Nicole LePera
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve given this book out. Full of things I want to say to other people, like “The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently,” and “The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.”

⭐ The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk
Twelve Steps of Adult Children Steps Workbook – Are you turned off by the idea of “adult children”? I get it. Someone once described this as “a step-by-step guide on how to get over having a less-than-perfect upbringing.”
⭐ Recovery―The Sacred Art: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice by Rami Shapiro

LIVE WELL

Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving by Celeste Headlee
⭐ Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman
How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World by Chris Guillebeau
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now by Gordon Livingston

DATE & RELATE

How to Not Die Alone: The Surprising Science That Will Help You Find Love by Logan Ury
⭐ Loving Bravely: Twenty Lessons of Self-Discovery to Help You Get the Love You Want by Alexandra H. Solomon PhD and Mona D. Fishbane PhDBuilding Loving and Lasting Relationships” is a popular class at Northwestern (also known as Marriage 101). I’ve read lots of the books that have appeared in the syllabus over the years, and this is my vote for the most useful.

CREATE

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Creative Acts for Curious People: How to Think, Create, and Lead in Unconventional Ways by Sarah Stein Greenberg
⭐  Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon
The Creative Habit: Learn In and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp
Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work by Steven Pressfield

HOW TO LEARN

The Oxford Guide to Library Research
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn
Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur by Derek Sivers
But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present as If It Were the Past by Chuck Klosterman
⭐ Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

WHAT TO LEARN

Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert Sapolsky
Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth – For people like my former coworker, who believe that capitalism will solve the climate crisis.
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez 
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb – Chance! Randomness! This book helped inspire my first book, Can You Learn to Be Lucky?

EXPAND YOURSELF

Fiction and narrative = more empathy and better social skills. When you allow yourself to be emotionally transported to another narrative, you strengthen your ability to relate to others (especially people who aren’t like you), appreciate different perspectives, and see the world through the eyes of others. It’s like cross-training for relationships and being a better human— and what could be more important during the past 18+ months, since everyone’s social interactions have been lacking during the pandemic?

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah – HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Trevor Noah has to be one of the most resilient people on earth, in addition to being an amazing writer and human being.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

READING NEXT

The Secret Wisdom of Nature: Trees, Animals, and the Extraordinary Balance of All Living Things ― Stories from Science and Observation by Peter Wholleben
My Year of Rest and Relaxation: A Novel by Ottessa Moshfegh
How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell
The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
Continue Reading
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