The best books that get you thinking

Ngan H. Nguyen Author Of One Million Steps: Lessons From A Legendary Hike
By Ngan H. Nguyen

The Books I Picked & Why

A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "a Course in Miracles"

By Marianne Williamson

Book cover of A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "a Course in Miracles"

Why this book?

This is probably my all-time favorite book, and it is one that I can rely on as a pick me up when my faith is low, or the road gets hard. It is based on A Course In Miracles which is a more elaborate spiritual text and not the easiest to read. Marianne has a talent for making convoluted spiritual principles relatable and personable. She has been teaching these principles for decades, and this is one of the first books that put her on the map as a spiritual teacher. It’s beautiful writing and a powerful message.


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Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

By Richard Rumelt

Book cover of Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

Why this book?

There are thousands of strategy books, from personal success strategies to business strategies to financial strategy. This is one of the best I’ve read so far. It’s insightful, colorful, to the point, and paints a very vivid picture of what it takes to develop a good strategy, a concept that is not too easy to define. Precisely what is strategy? This book demonstrates that it is the skilled approach and the ability to move resources and people to achieve an objective. While the book uses many business examples, I think the lessons can be deducted for any industry if you have a desire to get ahead.


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Maro Up: The Secret to Success Begins with Arigato: Wisdom from the “Warren Buffet of Japan”

By Janet Bray Attwood, Ken Honda

Book cover of Maro Up: The Secret to Success Begins with Arigato: Wisdom from the “Warren Buffet of Japan”

Why this book?

Known as the Warren Buffer of Japan, Wahei Takeda was a billionaire and investor living in Japan that passed away in 2016. He had a philosophy of life that built upon the concept of gratitude. A mentor of mine met and studied with this man, and he shared that every day, every day, he has a practice of giving 1,000 gratitude. Not figuratively, but honestly, living in a state of gratitude. I have tried this and go back to the practice of giving 1,000 when I need to shake myself out of a rut. It’s transformational, and it’s hard. It usually takes me three days before I can get to 1,000 and the last 600 pushes me to see beyond the surface. Give it a try!


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The Wizard of Us: Transformational Lessons from Oz

By Jean Houston

Book cover of The Wizard of Us: Transformational Lessons from Oz

Why this book?

For anyone growing up in western culture, you’ve probably have heard of the story of The Wizard of Oz or are familiar with pieces of it. The excellent storyteller and teacher, Jean Houston, whom I’ve had the opportunity to study with and a good friend of my dear mentor, Mary Morrissey, shares insights that make this story personal. It is a story of transformation, of Dorothy traversing a new land, conquering her adversaries, and finally discovery the path home by tapping her feet together three times. Why, she asked the good witch why she wasn’t just told that in the beginning, the good witch’s response was, “because you wouldn’t have believed me anyway.” Maybe the journey is part of the process that enables us to build the awareness to open our doors.


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The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT

By Russ Harris

Book cover of The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT

Why this book?

I’m a personal development junkie and have read many popular titles out there. I came across this book years ago, and I found it incredibly insightful and transformational. Reflecting on it, it aligns perfectly with the spiritual principles of seek and do not find, and only in surrender do you honestly claim something because, in that state, you already have it. This book talks about how in Western culture, many strive for happiness, but the expectation of being happy makes us feel deficit. Those emotions and handling all the range of emotions are natural, and being happy could also mean accepting whatever state of feeling you’re in. It is in that state of surrender that there is peace.


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