The best books that make you want to plunge joyfully forward in life again

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m always on the hunt for unique, thought-provoking voices among the endless thicket of personal growth titles out there. I look for thought leaders who can help me truly understand myself or the Universe, and help me reach some next-level breakthroughs in my heart. In my prior role as podcast producer for the likes of Dr. Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay, and the like, I’ve been able to really understand what does (and doesn’t) trigger true change within ourselves. I’ve compiled this short list of people who know their sh*t and both challenge me and make me feel blessed to have encountered their wild, gorgeous minds in the pages of their books. 


I wrote...

Stuff Nobody Taught You: 40 Lessons from M.E.School® to Help You Stop Being Miserable and Start Feeling Amazing

By Summer McStravick,

Book cover of Stuff Nobody Taught You: 40 Lessons from M.E.School® to Help You Stop Being Miserable and Start Feeling Amazing

What is my book about?

Sometimes we need a good old cathartic do-over. We’ve been flatlining—emotionally spent and wrung out like an old washcloth. We want to feel a different way, be a different way.

This book cleanses your heart, mind, and soul. It’s also a true workbook with 40 bite-sized chapters and journal prompts soul that include novel, unique processes and ideas you haven’t read anywhere else that lead your through a process of inner reinvention as you re-find your self-worth, passion, and direction. If you knew with 100% certainty that you could wildly, successfully, next-level yourself and become who you’ve always wanted to be—wouldn’t you do it? 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul

Summer McStravick Why did I love this book?

The old gem made me want to shout, “Yes, yes! I hear you!” as I read it.

LaPorte unpacks the power of our emotions as the tools we fabricate our lives with and pushes us with loving yet spicy language to figure out not what we want to have, but who we want to be. 

By Danielle LaPorte,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Your bucket list. Quarterly objectives. Strategic plans. Big dreams. Goals. Lots of goals and plans to achieve those goals-no matter what. Except ...

You're not chasing the goal itself, you're actually chasing the feeling that you hope achieving that goal will give you.

Which means we have the procedures of achievement upside down. We go after the stuff we want to have, get, or accomplish, and we hope that we'll be fulfilled when we get there. It's backwards. And it's burning us out.

So what if you first got clear on how you actually wanted to feel in your life,…


Book cover of The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Summer McStravick Why did I love this book?

This book is a beautiful classic that you probably already own. Singer is wise.

Each paragraph is rich as chocolate cake, imparting an understanding of our energetic and emotional worlds and especially how to heal our hearts and move through pain and into healing—all with a good dash of Buddhist thought.

By Michael A. Singer,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The Untethered Soul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Who are you? When you start to explore this question, you find out how elusive it really is. Are you a physical body? A collection of experiences and memories? A partner to relationships? Each time you consider aspects of yourself, you realize that there is much more to you than any of these can define. In this book, spiritual teacher Michael Singer explores the question of who we are and arrives at the conclusion that our identity is to be found in our consciousness, the fact of our ability to observe ourselves and the world around us. By tapping into…


Book cover of Choosing Easy World: A Guide to Opting Out of Struggle and Strife and Living in the Amazing Realm Where Everything is Easy

Summer McStravick Why did I love this book?

The simplicity of this book is breathtaking—there’s just one central idea: life should feel easy.

And yet we all instinctively answer, “No, it’s not. It never will be.” And that’s Hamrick’s genius: she asks you to live, for a moment, in a world that lacks any resistance to your dreams or goals. A world where life fully and effectively supports you.

And then she unravels all your own resistance to this idea. 

By Julia Rogers Hamrick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Choosing Easy World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Contrary to what we've believed, life does not have to be hard. And it was never intended to be! "Choosing Easy World" explores the concept that we can access a place where everything works out effortlessly, harmoniously, and in support of our highest possibilities for well-being. As its title implies, "Choosing Easy World" reveals that the key to being in this reality - in "Easy World" - is as simple and easy as choosing to be. Woven throughout with powerful personal stories of opting into Easy World with remarkable results, "Choosing Easy World" provides readers with inspiration, instructions, and support…


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

Summer McStravick Why did I love this book?

Ostensibly about art and breaking through creative blocks, this book is actually about breaking through all inner blocks.

Whenever I find myself indulging in “lack thinking,” and “no one wants this” and “I’m not good enough”… whenever I feel deep longing to try something new or let my own wisdom shine but the resistance to doing so is huge… I pull this book out.

Pressfield has the ability to dismantle our inner resistance in a heartbeat.

By Steven Pressfield,

Why should I read it?

22 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 My Brilliant Year Life Goals Workbook

Summer McStravick Why did I love this book?

All the inner transformation work stales rapidly unless we get some boots-on-the-ground action going.

That’s why I love this journal—gorgeously and whimsically illustrated, it asks you to lay down your goals, then hunt around for anything blocking your way toward them, all surrounded by art, color, and loving encouragement.

Mostly, it keeps you mindfully on track in your daily process of reinvention.

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Empire in the Sand

By Shane Joseph,

Book cover of Empire in the Sand

Shane Joseph Author Of Empire in the Sand

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a writer for more than twenty years and have favored pursuing “truth in fiction” rather than “money in formula.” I also spent over thirty years in the corporate world and was exposed to many situations reminiscent of those described in my fiction and in these recommended books. While I support enterprise, “enlightened capitalism” is preferable to the bare-knuckle type we have today, and which seems to resurface whenever regulation weakens. I also find writing novels closer to my lived experience connects me intimately with readers who are looking for socio-political, realist literature.

Shane's book list on exposing corporate, political, and personal corruption

What is my book about?

Avery Mann, a retired pharmaceuticals executive, is in crisis.

His wife dies of cancer, his son’s marriage is on the rocks, his grandson is having a meltdown, and his good friend is a victim of the robocalls scandal that invades the Canadian federal election. Throw in a reckless fling with a former colleague, a fire that destroys his retirement property, and a rumour emerging that the drug he helped bring to market years ago may have been responsible for the death of his wife, and Avery’s life goes into freefall.

Does an octogenarian beekeeper living on Vancouver Island hold the key to Avery’s recovery, a man holding secrets that put lives in jeopardy? Avery races across the country to find out, with crooked bosses, politicians, and assassins on his tail. Joseph spins a cautionary tale of corporate and political greed that is endemic to our times.

Empire in the Sand

By Shane Joseph,

What is this book about?

Avery Mann, a retired pharmaceuticals executive, is in crisis. His wife dies of cancer, his son’s marriage is on the rocks, his grandson is having a meltdown, and his good friend is a victim of the robocalls scandal that invades the Canadian federal election.

Throw in a reckless fling with a former colleague, a fire that destroys his retirement property, and a rumour emerging that the drug he helped bring to market years ago may have been responsible for the death of his wife, and Avery’s life goes into freefall.

Does an octogenarian bee keeper living on Vancouver Island hold…


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