The best books to live a conscious and directed life

Who am I?

I am known as The Zen Organizer and the author of 10 books on organizing. I’ve been working one-on-one with clients for over 30 years. I grew up in Brooklyn and now make Los Angeles my home. We tend to see our lives in unrelated compartments. I grew up with organized parents. As an adult I began to study the body from nutrition to movement. I opened myself to therapy initially to be a better actress. All of these interests dovetailed in the world of organizing and I found my life’s purpose. Zen Organizing creates a physical environment that nurtures you as you find and fulfill your Life Purpose.

I wrote...

One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, the Week by Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Good

By Regina Leeds,

Book cover of One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, the Week by Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Good

What is my book about?

A successful battle with cancer 20 years ago showed me that organizing was more than closets, kitchens, or file systems. It was in fact a way of thinking that would enable you to face any challenge life offered from chemotherapy treatments to taming an unruly closet. Organizing was a tool in a grab bag of self-help tools that might include modalities like meditation, aromatherapy, or Feng Shui.

The book is a combination of how-to organizing instructions and my philosophy called Zen Organizing™. The newly updated version will be out in late December 2022. It’s now a very Mindful book.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Regina Leeds Why did I love this book?

I organize many people whose lives have been touched by tragedy or trauma. It is reflected in their chaotic environments. I try and uncover the source of the chaos so that the client is free to investigate healing. There is no more powerful tool on that journey than Ms. Chodron’s book. I read it the first time when my life seemed to be falling apart. A dear friend recommended it after saying, “How exciting! Something new and wonderful must be headed your way!” Perception, intention, and expectation of good can be our friends, especially when coupled with uncovering and releasing painful memories.

By Pema Chödrön,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked When Things Fall Apart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pema Choedroen reveals the vast potential for happiness, wisdom and courage even in the most painful circumstances.

Pema Choedroen teaches that there is a fundamental opportunity for happiness right within our reach, yet we usually miss it - ironically, while we are caught up in attempt to escape pain and suffering.

This accessible guide to compassionate living shows us how we can use painful emotions to cultivate wisdom, compassion and courage, ways of communication that lead to openness and true intimacy with others, practices for reversing our negative habitual patterns, methods for working with chaotic situations and ways to cultivate…

Book cover of Every Room Should Sing

Regina Leeds Why did I love this book?

If you are going to live in an organized, consciously created space, you will want to understand design and be inspired by the greats. My list of designers is extensive but I chose Beata’s book because her work is so outside the box. Think about a room and the list of items you traditionally find in it.  Beata will have them but she will put a twist on her use of them that is incredibly unique. I think her work inspires you to find your style rather than slavishly copy her or anyone else.

By Beata Heuman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Every Room Should Sing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Swedish-born, London-based interior designer Beata Heuman founded her eponymous studio in 2013 after working for Nicky Haslam for nine years. In a short amount of time her lively interiors and custom furnishings have made her one of today s most in-demand creatives. Heuman s rooms, colourful spaces enlivened by exuberant elements and poetic inspirations, capture her signature quirkiness and Scandinavian attention to detail while staying rooted in practicality. Lauded for international residential and commercial projects, Heuman has also garnered praise for her growing collection of bespoke fabrics, wallpaper, lighting, homewares, and furniture. This beautifully crafted volume presents Heuman s innovative…

Book cover of Feng Shui and Health: The Anatomy of a Home

Regina Leeds Why did I love this book?

I became a devoted student of Feng Shui around the time I started organizing for a living. The Master who inspired Ms. Santopietro was the man who inspired my teacher so we share a lineage of thought and approach. 

Clients frequently ask me if I like the layout of furniture in the room we’re organizing. I’m pretty good at moving things around for a better experience and I inevitably hear: “Regina, you should add decorator to your services!” What is my secret? I move furniture in accordance with the basic tenets of Feng Shui aka The Art of Placement. Reading this book will help you do the same in order to release clutter, stuck energy and enjoy the free flow of chi. 

By Nancy Santopietro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Feng Shui and Health as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Feng Shui and Health is a groundbreaking guide that aims to foster wellness through home furnishing placement and design. Readers will learn how they subconsciously recreate illness patterns in their homes through the placement and design, and how they are often drawn to rent and purchase homes that reflect all the emotional, spiritual, and physical underpinnings of their illness.

Feng Shui and Health will include an introduction to the basic principles of Feng Shui as well more advanced information on our internal energy system, the Chakras. The book will also include information on common room layouts that can lead to…

Book cover of Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness

Regina Leeds Why did I love this book?

Full Catastrophe Living (Revised Edition): Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness is a wonderful primer on Mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD with a Preface by famed Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. This wonderful book shows how to use ancient modalities like breathwork and Mindfulness to heal the stresses and illnesses of the modern world. It removes the fear some may have that these are meaningless or rooted in superstition or that performing them is somehow in violation of the religion you practice. Dr. Kabat-Zinn anchors the practices in science. This book informed so much of what I added to my work as an organizer.  

By Jon Kabat-Zinn,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Full Catastrophe Living as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The landmark work on mindfulness, meditation, and healing, now revised and updated after twenty-five years
Stress. It can sap our energy, undermine  our health if we let it, even shorten our lives. It makes us more vulnerable to anxiety and depression, disconnection and disease. Based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s renowned mindfulness-based stress reduction program, this classic, groundbreaking work—which gave rise to a whole new field in medicine and psychology—shows you how to use medically proven mind-body approaches derived from meditation and yoga to counteract stress, establish greater balance of body and mind, and stimulate well-being and healing. By engaging in these…

Book cover of Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself

Regina Leeds Why did I love this book?

I find Dr. Li to be an extraordinary teacher. No writer I know uses analogy more effectively to teach. Food is of interest to me because I am sensitive to how it affects me and I see a direct correlation in my clients between the energy and ability to focus they bring to the organizing process and what they consume. Dr. Li gives us the tools we need to stay healthy and live long, vibrant lives. After all, if you are going to get organized and be conscious, you want to enjoy a long life, right?

By William W. Li,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Eat to Beat Disease as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Is your diet feeding or defeating disease?

We are at a turning point in our understanding of how to prevent and fight disease. Rates of cancer, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity and other common health problems are skyrocketing. However, the latest scientific research and clinical evidence is revealing that the power to protect ourselves against these threats and resist them lies in a simple solution: the foods we eat everyday.

In Eat to Beat Disease, Dr William Li explains that your body was designed to fight threats like these and we have radically underestimated how food can be used to…

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Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict

By Michael Ruse,

Book cover of Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict

Michael Ruse Author Of Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Teacher (professor) Author Darwin specialist Charles Dickens fanatic

Michael's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Why We Hate asks why a social animal like Homo sapiens shows such hostility to fellow species members. The invasion of the Ukraine by Russia? The antisemitism found on US campuses in the last year? The answer and solution lies in the Darwinian theory of evolution through natural selection.

Being social is biology’s way of ensuring survival and reproduction. With the coming of agriculture 10,000 years ago, new conditions – primarily much-increased population numbers – meant that sociality broke down as we battled for our share of much-reduced resources. But, as cultural change brought about our troubles, so culture offers prospects of a future where our social natures can emerge and thrive again.

Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict

By Michael Ruse,

What is this book about?

An insightful and probing exploration of the contradiction between humans' enormous capacity for hatred and their evolutionary development as a social species

Why We Hate tackles a pressing issue of both longstanding interest and fresh relevance: why a social species like Homo sapiens should nevertheless be so hateful to itself. We go to war and are prejudiced against our fellow human beings. We discriminate on the basis of nationality, class, race, sexual orientation, religion, and gender. Why are humans at once so social and so hateful to each other? In this book, prominent philosopher Michael Ruse looks at scientific

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