The best books to help you heal and grow

Shawn Goodman Author Of Kindness for Weakness
By Shawn Goodman

The Books I Picked & Why

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

By Steven Pressfield

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

Why 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.


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Man’s Search For Meaning

By Viktor Frankl

Book cover of Man’s Search For Meaning

Why 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.


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

By Pema Chodron

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

Why 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.


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When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress

By Gabor Maté

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

Why 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. 


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The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation

By Chögyam Trungpa

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

Why 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. 


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