The best books to help you heal and grow

Who am I?

When I’m not writing or reading, I work as a psychologist with kids and families. After twenty-five years of this work, it’s clear that many good people are suffering. It is too easy to respond with apathy or cynicism, which creates even more suffering. I am drawn to writing that gives us understanding and hope. 


I wrote...

Kindness for Weakness

By Shawn Goodman,

Book cover of Kindness for Weakness

What is my book about?

In an environment where kindness equals weakness, how do those who care survive?

Shawn Goodman will capture your heart with this gritty, honest, and moving story about a boy struggling to learn about friendship, brotherhood, and manhood in a society where violence is the answer to every problem.

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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

Shawn Goodman Why did I love this book?

A must-read for any creative person. It's a small book you can finish in an hour, but it's potent enough to change how you think about writing, life, and the universal force of resistance that rises up any time we try and create something beautiful or better ourselves. It’s one of the few books I reread every year, especially when I’m stuck in the middle of a project.

By Steven Pressfield,

Why should I read it?

19 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 Man’s Search for Meaning

Shawn Goodman Why did I love this book?

Another slim book, but very deep and powerful. Take this one slow, a couple of pages at a time, with several days in between to reflect. I’ve read this book half a dozen times, but I find something new and revelatory every time. It’s surprising how relevant Frankl’s words are today.

By Viktor Frankl,

Why should I read it?

40 authors picked Man’s Search for Meaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the outstanding classics to emerge from the Holocaust, Man's Search for Meaning is Viktor Frankl's story of his struggle for survival in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Today, this remarkable tribute to hope offers us an avenue to finding greater meaning and purpose in our own lives.


Book cover of The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times

Shawn Goodman Why did I love this book?

Chodron approaches the subject of our fears and insecurities with such a gentle touch that it would be hard to read it and not change and grow. I found this book accidentally, and let it sit on my bookshelf for years. I should back up and say that I have a theory about great books: they find you when you’re ready for them. I’m so glad this one found me.

By Pema Chödrön,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Places That Scare You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most inspiring spiritual teachers of our time offers simple, practical advice for living with less fear, less anxiety and a more open heart. Bought in a hotly contested auction, The Places That Scare You is now available in massmarket, taking Pema Choedroen 's spiritual teachings to a wider audience.

We always have a choice, Pema Choedroen teaches: we can either let the circumstances of our lives harden us and make us increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kind.

This unique book shows us how to awaken our basic goodness…


Book cover of When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress

Shawn Goodman Why did I love this book?

It’s a simple theme, but it takes Gabor Mate’s wisdom, storytelling abilities, and compassion to make it real. When we lose the ability to say no, our bodies will do it for us. It’s such a profound idea. It speaks both to the colossal disconnect of our medical system and the deep intelligence of the human body. 

By Gabor Maté,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked When the Body Says No as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Can a person literally die of loneliness? Is there a connection between the ability to express emotions and Alzheimer's disease? Is there such a thing as a 'cancer personality'?

Drawing on deep scientific research and Dr Gabor Mate's acclaimed clinical work, When the Body Says No provides the answers to critical questions about the mind-body link - and the role that stress and our emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases.

When the Body Says No:

- Explores the role of the mind-body link in conditions and diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome…


Book cover of The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation

Shawn Goodman Why did I love this book?

I’ll be honest: I have only scratched the surface of this book and the questions it asks and answers. How to deal with suffering and remain open to joy and beauty? I understand the book’s content at only the most superficial level. I suspect it’s going to take years for me to go deeper with it. As a writer, I am blown away by Trungpa’s style, which is clear, simple, and relatable. As a psychologist, I am humbled to see how clumsy and awkward our modern approaches are. 

By Chögyam Trungpa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Featuring a new foreword by Pema Chödrön, this Tibetan Buddhist classic explores the meaning of freedom and how we can attain it through meditation

Freedom is generally thought of as the ability to achieve goals and satisfy desires. But what are the sources of these goals and desires? If they arise from ignorance, habitual patterns, and negative emotions, is the freedom to pursue these goals true freedom—or is it just a myth? 

In The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation, Chögyam Trungpa explores the true meaning of freedom, showing us how our attitudes, preconceptions, and even our spiritual…


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An Italian Feast: The Celebrated Provincial Cuisines of Italy from Como to Palermo

By Clifford A. Wright,

Book cover of An Italian Feast: The Celebrated Provincial Cuisines of Italy from Como to Palermo

Clifford A. Wright Author Of An Italian Feast: The Celebrated Provincial Cuisines of Italy from Como to Palermo

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Philosopher Historian Researcher Gastronomer Bibliophile and reviewer

Clifford's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

An Italian Feast celebrates the cuisines of the Italian provinces from Como to Palermo. A culinary guide and book of ready reference meant to be the most comprehensive book on Italian cuisine, and it includes over 800 recipes from the 109 provinces of Italy's 20 regions.

An Italian Feast is a gastronomy about Italian culinary history and consciousness, about how Italians cook, eat, and how their food is an intimate part of their culture. It is the first book in any language to comprehensively explore the gastronomy and cuisine not just of Italy, and not just the regions of Italy, but all 109 provinces of Italy, linking each with each other in terms of history, agriculture, economics, and the material culture of creative food illustrated with recipes.

An Italian Feast: The Celebrated Provincial Cuisines of Italy from Como to Palermo

By Clifford A. Wright,


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