The best books on the struggle to be yourself in a crazy world that thinks it’s sane

Who am I?

My passion and subsequent expertise in this subject have followed years of self-study and reading. I have tried to make sense of the conflicting views that the world has thrown at me, confusing me by each claiming to be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (the seller's marketplace). The books in this series, reflect how difficult it is to be yourself and how much courage it takes to break free of your conditioning, parental or societal. It covers the necessary breakdown of the internal personality, so that a new you can emerge from the cocoon of the reassembled old you, butterfly-like.


I wrote...

Observations from Another Planet

By Tony Sandy,

Book cover of Observations from Another Planet

What is my book about?

My own book, Observations From Another Planet, is one of two collections of my own thoughts, where I have tried to understand certain behaviours of other people, carried out by them and the justification they give to their acts, including the lies they tell themselves about their motives for doing things as though life is a courtroom and they are afraid of being found guilty of the crime of life.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness

Tony Sandy Why did I love this book?

The Divided Self kick-started my search for the truth of the human condition. It taught me that I didn't have to follow the life laid out for me and that I was expected to follow. Through it I discovered that I was not the only person trapped in a world and struggling to make sense of the bizarre and contradictory reality around me, that lied and lied about existence continually. Further books by him reinforced this awareness of the illogic of it all, including The Politics of Experience, The Self and Others, and Knots. I was Brer Rabbit, caught in the honey trap of the tar baby and this book showed me that.

By R.D. Laing,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Divided Self as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Presenting case studies of schizophrenic patients, Laing aims to make madness and the process of going mad comprehensible. He also offers an existential analysis of personal alienation.


Book cover of The Primal Scream

Tony Sandy Why did I love this book?

Art Janov's book, The Primal Scream and its follow-up Primal Therapy, provided a means of breaking down the walls of this mental prison, by expressing the sheer sense of helplessness you feel when the world is presented to you as a screaming baby. In my case this was the stunned silence that I later learned was autism and the little professor syndrome, which meant keeping your eyes open and your mouth shut, in order to understand the strange interplay I saw expressed before me. Meaningless shouting and screaming at the frustration of what I faced was a new experience for me.

By Arthur Janov,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Primal Scream as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A psychologist describes a new form of therapy that forces patients to relive childhood experiences


Book cover of The Stormy Search for the Self: A Guide to Personal Growth Through Transformational Crisis

Tony Sandy Why did I love this book?

Stanislav Grof co-authored The Stormy Search For The Self with his then-wife Christina. It was a follow-up to his earlier work, Spiritual Emergency, which emphasised that this was a global transformation in the understanding of mental illness and included contributions from other professionals in the field. It also indicated that more primitive societies viewed this situation with more sympathy than Western medicine did at the time. It was also the start of inclusion about how other phenomena related to this subject, including drug-induced states and UFOs. Current thought in recent years has also brought into the near-death experience and understanding has linked them all under the umbrella of consciousness studies.

By Christina Grof,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Stormy Search for the Self as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many people are undergoing a profound personal transformation associated with spiritual opening. Under favorable circumstances, this process results in emotional healing, a radical shift in values, and a profound awareness of the mystical dimension of existence. For some, these changes are gradual and relatively smooth, but for others they can be so rapid and dramatic that they interfere with effective everyday functioning, creating tremendous inner turmoil. Unfortunately, many traditional health-care professionals do not recognize the positive potential of these crises; they often see them as manifestations of mental disease and repsond with stigmatizing labels, suppressive drugs, and even institutionalization.

In…


Book cover of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

Tony Sandy Why did I love this book?

Goleman's book added a new dimension to this by bringing in brain anatomy, especially the function of the amygdala. This is the most primitive part of this organ and it is often referred to as the reptilian brain. Once again it made me aware of the turbulent, reactive part of our emotional setup, acting impulsively and shattering my stability at every turn, in the form of male/female relationships. Like Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration, it made me look at the world anew.

By Daniel Goleman,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Emotional Intelligence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The groundbreaking bestseller that redefines intelligence and success Does IQ define our destiny? Daniel Goleman argues that our view of human intelligence is far too narrow, and that our emotions play major role in thought, decision making and individual success. Self-awareness, impulse control, persistence, motivation, empathy and social deftness are all qualities that mark people who excel: whose relationships flourish, who are stars in the workplace. With new insights into the brain architecture underlying emotion and rationality, Goleman shows precisely how emotional intelligence can be nurtured and strengthened in all of us.


Book cover of An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales

Tony Sandy Why did I love this book?

An Anthropologist On Mars taught me that I was not alone in being different. The world was full of other odd characters like me, including those who were autistic, a term I had never come across before. Temple Grandin, who was featured in the book, also wrote Thinking in Pictures, which I could fully sympathise with and recognise because I too thought in images and not words. In the same way that Simon Baron Cohen's book Zero Degrees of Empathy told me that I wasn't psychotic or dangerous to other people, just that I lacked an emotional relationship with them. I was the little professor observing everything but not getting involved in the lives of others, Mr. Spock-wise.

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked An Anthropologist on Mars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As with his previous bestseller, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, in An Anthropologist on Mars Oliver Sacks uses case studies to illustrate the myriad ways in which neurological conditions can affect our sense of self, our experience of the world, and how we relate to those around us.

Writing with his trademark blend of scientific rigour and human compassion, he describes patients such as the colour-blind painter or the surgeon with compulsive tics that disappear in the operating theatre; patients for whom disorientation and alienation - but also adaptation - are inescapable facts of life.

'An…


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The Squiggly Line Career: How Changing Professions Can Advance a Career in Unexpected Ways

By Angela Champ,

Book cover of The Squiggly Line Career: How Changing Professions Can Advance a Career in Unexpected Ways

Angela Champ Author Of The Squiggly Line Career: How Changing Professions Can Advance a Career in Unexpected Ways

New book alert!

Who am I?

Although I’ve worked in many professions and industries, a common theme in all my jobs is that I love helping people succeed in their careers. I’ve started or sponsored employee networks that focused on professional development, I’m a certified coach that focuses on propelling a client’s career, and I am a conference keynote speaker on the topics of careers and leadership. Everyone deserves to have a great career that makes them want to jump out of bed on Monday morning and that provides a good living and lifestyle. I love to make that happen!

Angela's book list on accelerating your career

What is my book about?

When we're children, we're asked what we want to be when we grow up. But what if there isn't just one career for us in our lifetime? What if we can have a squiggly line career that spans professions and industries?

This book will guide job seekers on the traits and tactics needed to change professions, and show hiring professionals how to find candidates with the skills to do the job!

The Squiggly Line Career: How Changing Professions Can Advance a Career in Unexpected Ways

By Angela Champ,

What is this book about?

When we are children, people ask us what we want to be when we grow up. The question elicits all sorts of dreams as a kid - "I want to be a ballerina" or "a firefighter" or "an astronaut." It becomes daunting as we grow up and start feeling pressured to make a choice that could affect the rest of our lives. What if we're not meant to follow just one path but, rather, pursue a squiggly line career that moves us across professions and industries? Filled with examples of real life squiggly line careers and interactive exercises, this book…


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Interested in spirituality, therapy, and emotional intelligence?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about spirituality, therapy, and emotional intelligence.

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