The best books to inspire your creativity, happiness and success in life

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been enthralled with the idea of “dreams come true” for as long as I can remember. In middle school, I discovered the field of psychology. I made weekly trips to the library and read books on personal development, spirituality, and memoirs. This commitment to learning and growth has never wavered. Those early seeds that I planted and nurtured have bloomed into my long-standing career of professional coaching, facilitation, and leading transformational retreats. My passion is empowering others to believe in their dreams and goals and bring them to life. 

I wrote...

Dream It, Design It, Live It: The Ultimate Guide to Manifesting Your Next-Level Life

By Diana Drake Long,

Book cover of Dream It, Design It, Live It: The Ultimate Guide to Manifesting Your Next-Level Life

What is my book about?

My book is a blend of inspiring stories, case studies of clients who have aspired and achieved their big dreams, and proven tools and strategies to overcome blocks to success. All along the way, the book serves as a guide to empower the reader to move from the dreaming phase to living the life they envision. My personal philosophy is that by following the callings of your heart and soul, not only is your life elevated to the next level, but the world is better for it.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Diana Drake Long Why did I love this book?

This slim book is a game changer. I have had my copy of Stephen Pressfield's classic for well over a decade. This book has helped me multiple times to break through my inner resistance, and it's proven to be a go-to resource for me when I feel inspired to create something big and new and then find I get bogged down with self-doubt and procrastination.

Pressfield calls it "resistance," and it's much more common than most realize. In this book, he shares his ups and down cycles of creative endeavors. He gives guidance on how to break through the inevitable resistance that we all care about when we are standing at the base of the mountain of a creative project and struggling with our inner battles of self-sabotage, self-doubt, overwhelm, fears, and the interference of outside distractions and influences.

One of the strategies he offers is called "turning pro"; he challenges the reader to commit to their vision with all they have. One of my favorite quotes from the book is:" The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we must do it!" If you have a vision of creating something new in your life, I promise this book will be a perfect companion to get you to the finish line.

By Steven Pressfield,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked The War of Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A succinct, engaging, and practical guide forsucceeding in any creative sphere, The War ofArt is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul.

What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do?

Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid theroadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dreambusiness venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece?

Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy thatevery one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer thisinternal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.

The War of Art emphasizes the resolve…

Book cover of The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Diana Drake Long Why did I love this book?

This is another book that I consider a classic and, for years, has held a place of honor on my bookshelf. I go back to it from time to time. It's like visiting a wise friend who inspires you to be the most self-expressed you can be. Julia is a great guide, and I enjoy the author's writing style, which is easy to read and relate to. As a prolific author of dozens of books, she is intelligent and generous, and she encourages readers to go deeper and wider in their creative lives. She leads the reader through a twelve-week program in the book to unleash one's creative genius.

Her signature "field work" for readers is an exercise called "morning pages," a practice of writing down your unedited thoughts each morning to clear out the old thoughts and make space for new perspectives and ideas to come forth. I have used a version of this practice in my morning routine and can vouch for how effective and powerful it is.

By Julia Cameron,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Artist's Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Artist's Way provides a twelve-week course that guides you through the process of recovering your creative self. It aims to dispel the 'I'm not talented enough' conditioning that holds many people back and helps you to unleash your own inner artist. Its step-by-step approach enables you to transform your life, overcome any artistic blocks you may suffer from, including limiting beliefs, fear, sabotage, jealousy and guilt, and replace them with self confidence and productivity. It helps demystify the creative process by making it a part of your daily life. Whatever your artistic leanings, this book will give you the…

Book cover of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Diana Drake Long Why did I love this book?

This is another excellent book that I highly recommend. As a researcher and psychologist, Dr. Duckworth paves the way for anyone to understand the "secret" to success–whether you are a student, a parent, a business owner, or a CEO. The key to achieving desired results is not strictly based on talent. In her research, Dr. Duckworth reveals that it is a blend of both passion and persistence, which she calls "grit.” I’ve learned to incorporate "grittiness" into all my important projects. (She offers a grittiness assessment that is quite useful).

The book has many real-life examples of what it takes to achieve peak performance. I found Dr. Duckworth's body of work liberating. She shows us that grit can be learned and how to combine passion with persistence to achieve greater heights. 

By Angela Duckworth,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Grit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


In this must-read for anyone seeking to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth takes us on an eye-opening journey to discover the true qualities that lead to outstanding achievement. Winningly personal, insightful and powerful, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that - not talent or luck - makes all the difference.

'Impressively fresh and original' Susan Cain

Book cover of The Alchemist

Diana Drake Long Why did I love this book?

International bestseller Paul Coelho wrote this book, and it is a classic and the perfect gift for yourself or others. This book is a vibrant story about a shepherd boy who dares to pursue his dreams. The book holds wisdom on every page.

One of my favorite quotes from the book: "Why do we have to listen to our hearts?" the boy asked. Because when you listen to your heart, that is where you will find your treasure." I like to revisit this little book for a dose of sweet inspiration and motivation. Our inner wisdom is always nudging us in the direction of our dreams; it's up to us if we heed the call!

By Paulo Coelho,

Why should I read it?

25 authors picked The Alchemist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A global phenomenon, The Alchemist has been read and loved by over 62 million readers, topping bestseller lists in 74 countries worldwide. Now this magical fable is beautifully repackaged in an edition that lovers of Paulo Coelho will want to treasure forever.

Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. This is such a book - a beautiful parable about learning to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life's path and, above all, follow your dreams.

Santiago, a young shepherd living in the hills of Andalucia, feels that there is…

Book cover of The Creative Act: A Way of Being

Diana Drake Long Why did I love this book?

Here is yet another great book worthy of space on your bookshelf. Rick Rubin is one of the most sought-after musical producers globally, and he weaves his observations and insights into this brilliant book.

It goes much deeper than a “how to” book; it is more about how to tap into the higher potential within us. As Rick states (and I agree), we are all creative; it is a fundamental aspect of being human. Inspiration for our work surrounds us at every turn. If one is open and attuned to what is happening, answers will be revealed. There is a gem on every page. I loved it!

By Rick Rubin,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Creative Act as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestseller.

From the legendary music producer, a master at helping people connect with the wellsprings of their creativity, comes a beautifully crafted book many years in the making that offers that same deep wisdom to all of us.

"A gorgeous and inspiring work of art on creation, creativity, the work of the artist. It will gladden the hearts of writers and artists everywhere, and get them working again with a new sense of meaning and direction. A stunning accomplishment.” —Anne Lamott

“I set out to write a book about what to do to make a…

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Today Was A Good Day: A Collection of Essays From The Heart Of A Neurosurgeon

By Edward Benzel,

Book cover of Today Was A Good Day: A Collection of Essays From The Heart Of A Neurosurgeon

Edward Benzel Author Of Today Was A Good Day: A Collection of Essays From The Heart Of A Neurosurgeon

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Coming from the perspective of a neurosurgeon, I have witnessed many successes and failures over more than four decades. I recognized decades ago that communication with patients at a level that involves emotions is a necessary part of being a complete physician. This involves being empathetic and, henceforth, digging deep to find the strength to be transparent, vulnerable, compassionate, understanding, and, when needed, forceful (some would call this paternalism). Although the five books I have chosen to highlight vary widely in content, they have one common theme – finding within us the will and wherewithal to succeed.

Edward's book list on awakening of the strengths that are hidden deep inside each of us

What is my book about?

My book is a collection of monthly Editor-in-Chief letters to the readership of World Neurosurgery, a journal that I edit. Each essay is short and sweet. The letters were written for neurosurgeons but have been re-edited so that they apply to all human beings. They cover topics such as leadership, empathy, vulnerability, stress, burnout, and on and on…. These essays are relevant for all who strive to craft a better version of themselves.

Life lessons learned by the author during his 40+ year neurosurgery career are shared and translated into real-life scenarios. Between the covers are many lessons that are derived from the experiences of the author and then applied to all humans. The mastering of these lessons should translate into a sense of pride and satisfaction. In keeping with the theme of the book, this process should culminate in the feeling at the end of the day that ‘Today was, indeed, a good day.’

Today Was A Good Day: A Collection of Essays From The Heart Of A Neurosurgeon

By Edward Benzel,

What is this book about?

About the Book
Today Was A Good Day: A Collection of Essays From The Heart Of A Neurosurgeon features many topics that pertain to how neurosurgeons interact with others and how each of us can use introspection to modify how we are using tools and strategies such as empathy, respect, stress management, and much more.
This book provides some insights into leadership, effective communication, and fulfillment from the perspective of a neurosurgeon, and it causes the reader to think about and consider many, many attributes of a leader.
We all want to have a good day. This book provides strategies…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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