The best books for living a simple, rich, and intentional life

Who am I?

I’ve been on a path of self-discovery since adolescence. It was then that I learned that I was responsible for both my safety and my happiness. So, I began seeking out mentors who could guide me on this path. Long before I met the first one in person, I met others through books. I would spend hours at the library immersed in the world of words. And often, an author would mention a book in her/his book, and that would spark curiosity in me—and I hope this list of books sparks curiosity in you, too.


I wrote...

Unstuff Your Life!: Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life for Good

By Andrew Mellen,

Book cover of Unstuff Your Life!: Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life for Good

What is my book about?

Frequently called "the most organized man in America," sought-after organizer and trainer Andrew Mellen creates order out of chaos for the chronically overwhelmed everywhere. Acknowledging that it's often the "stuff behind the stuff" that holds people back, Mellen offers a simple, yet effective solution in his step-by-step guide. Inside its pages, you'll discover how to never lose your keys, wallet, phone, or bag again; stop mail, magazine, and paper pileups for good; finally tackle bills and budgets; and reclaim space and time once crowded with clutter.

Unstuff Your Life! starts with easily-achievable goals and works toward the nightmare projects we all try to avoid. With humor, honesty, tough love, and foolproof advice, Mellen makes it easy to finally let go and embrace a decluttered life.
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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Real Happiness: A 28-Day Program to Realize the Power of Meditation

Andrew Mellen Why did I love this book?

The first book I ever read by Sharon Salzberg was her memoir, Faith. And then, I had the opportunity to study with her at Tibet House in New York City for several years. One of the things that I love so much about Sharon as a teacher is how simple, practical, and approachable she makes meditation. There’s nothing complicated or intimidating in her instruction—whether you’re a beginner or an advanced practitioner, you always feel like you’re practicing with a good friend who is super smart, exceptionally generous, and consistently humble. All of those qualities are immediately accessible and apparent in her book Real Happiness.

She has created a 28-day program that demystifies meditation so you can easily integrate it into your daily activities. And the book also includes guided meditations led by Sharon herself to eliminate any possible resistance to sitting still and breathing. You literally just have to push play, and she will take you on a magical and completely safe exploration of your inner world.

By Sharon Salzberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Real Happiness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times best seller—now revised and updated with new exercises and guided meditations.

“An inviting gateway to the interior territory of profound well-being and wisdom.”—Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are

From Sharon Salzberg, a pioneer in the field of meditation and world-renowned teacher acclaimed for her down-to-earth style, Real Happiness is a complete guide to starting and maintaining a meditation practice. Beginning with the simplest breathing and sitting techniques, and based on three key skills—concentration, mindfulness, and lovingkindness—it’s a practice anyone can do and that can transform our lives by bringing us greater resiliency,…


Book cover of Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening

Andrew Mellen Why did I love this book?

In Buddhism Without Beliefs, Batchelor deftly lays out the precepts of Buddhism for anyone and everyone and puts to rest any notion of Buddhism as a religion. I love how simple, approachable, and timely he makes the Buddha’s teachings. And particularly brilliant is the way he shows us that what the Buddha taught is not something to believe in but something to do. Whether you are a long-time practitioner of meditation or someone who has always been curious and also confused about mindfulness and meditation, you will find easy, accessible exercises here to strengthen or kickstart your practice.

By Stephen Batchelor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Buddhism Without Beliefs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Demystifies Buddhism by explaining, without jargon or obscure terminology, what awakening is and how to practise it.


Book cover of What I Thought I Knew

Andrew Mellen Why did I love this book?

A surprisingly funny and poignant memoir, What I Thought I Knew does at least two things brilliantly—gives us a window into Alice Eve Cohen’s hopes and fears of motherhood and simultaneously gives us a window into the broken medical system here in the U.S. At 44, after a series of medical tests, Cohen finds herself not sick, but pregnant. What unfolds from there veers from an absurd comedy to a horrific nightmare, all while crashing headlong into hers and everyone else’s expectations, assumptions, and morality. This book had me laughing out loud and sobbing simultaneously. It moved me at a core level to examine my own limiting beliefs and the things I thought I could count on. What I soon discovered was that nothing was certain and everything was up for grabs—regardless of what I had previously believed.

By Alice Eve Cohen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What I Thought I Knew as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Darkly hilarious...an unexpected bundle of joy."
-O, The Oprah Magazine

Alice Cohen was happy for the first time in years. After a difficult divorce, she had a new love in her life, she was rais ing a beloved adopted daughter, and her career was blossoming. Then she started experiencing mysterious symptoms. After months of tests, x-rays, and inconclusive diagnoses, Alice underwent a CAT scan that revealed the truth: she was six months pregnant.

At age forty-four, with no prenatal care and no insurance coverage for a high-risk pregnancy, Alice was besieged by opinions from doctors and friends about what was…


Book cover of Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality

Andrew Mellen Why did I love this book?

In Awareness, de Mello blends Christian spirituality, Buddhist parables, Hindu breathing exercises, and psychological insight into easily-read, bite-sized chapters designed for thoughtful reflection. As the title suggests, we need to wake up to the world around us as it actually occurs. Our mental, emotional, and spiritual health depends on this. I love how simple and practical he makes this concept. And for all of the examples of where I fall short, he never made me feel stupid or beyond hope for my previous unconscious choices. This book has inspired me to be more present more often and given me practical suggestions on how to do exactly that.

By Anthony De Mello,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

De Mello's spiritual classic remains at the top of the Fount bestsellers more than five years after its original publication.


Book cover of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Andrew Mellen Why did I love this book?

In this book, Brené Brown blends her personal experience with extensive clinical research to give us a roadmap for making courageous choices, specifically around vulnerability. If you missed her TedX talk, go watch it immediately. You’ll instantly get a sense of how wickedly smart and acutely aware she is of her own humanity. And that’s what I love about her and this book because she does the same thing here. I found myself often nodding my head, smiling, with her observations, and inspired to live more courageously. She gave me permission and, in fact, enthusiastic encouragement to play an even bigger game. 

By Brené Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**Now on Netflix as The Call to Courage**

'She's so good, Brene Brown, at finding the language to articulate collective feeling' Dolly Alderton

Every time we are faced with change, no matter how great or small, we also face risk. We feel uncertain and exposed. We feel vulnerable. Most of us try to fight those feelings - or feel guilt for feeling them in the first place.

In a powerful new vision Dr Brene Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability, and dispels the widely accepted myth that it's a weakness. She argues that, in truth, vulnerability is…


You might also like...

Unsettled

By Laurie Woodford,

Book cover of Unsettled

Laurie Woodford

New book alert!

What is my book about?

At the age of forty-nine, Laurie Woodford rents out her house, packs her belongings into two suitcases, and leaves her life in upstate New York to relocate to Seoul, South Korea. What begins as an opportunity to teach college English in Asia evolves into a nomadic adventure.

Laurie spoon-feeds orphans in Ethiopia, performs 108 bows at a Buddhist mountain temple, walks shelter dogs in Peru, milks goats in Fuerteventura, and gets lost in Mexico, all the while navigating dating at midlife.

After four years of traveling, Laurie’s return “home” becomes an unexpected adventure of its own when she ends up in Arkansas and meets Bruce, a bird-loving, bearded Quaker, and then struggles to reconcile her need for freedom with her longing to feel settled.

Unsettled

By Laurie Woodford,

What is this book about?

At the age of forty-nine, driven by an urgent restlessness, Laurie Woodford rents out her house, packs her belongings into two suitcases, and relocates to Asia. What begins as an opportunity to teach college English overseas, evolves into a nomadic adventure as Laurie works and volunteers in South Korea, Ethiopia, Peru, Spain, and Mexico. After four years of traveling, Laurie's return "home" to the U.S. becomes an unexpected adventure of its own when she ends up in Arkansas and meets Bruce, a bird-loving, bearded Quaker, who challenges her to reconcile her life of fierce independence with her longing to feel…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in meditation, Buddhism, and risk?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about meditation, Buddhism, and risk.

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