The 12 Nonfiction Books That Have Changed How I Live In the World

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As I was purchasing the Kindle version of Big Magic today (note: everything Elizabeth Gilbert writes/says/does should be on an artist’s priority list of conscious consumption), I realized I hadn’t written about my own list of books that have changed my life.

So with no further adieu, here they are!

These books have completely helped me upgrade my communication, relationships, business and health in the last few years, and I’m super grateful for them.

Here are my top 12 inspiring and life-changing nonfiction books:

conscious lovingConscious Loving (check out my interview with the co-author, Kathlyn Hendricks): This book completely shifted how I operate in relationships. Every page has dozens of nuggets to it. This has helped me build a solid foundation of trust and vulnerability in my relationships and I honestly think it should be required reading.


nvcNon-Violent Communication: Another book that’s shifted my relationships, I like to think of it as a mathematical way of looking at conversation. I.e.: “When _____, I feel ____ because I value ____. Would you be willing to ______?” Just plug in! This can be so helpful when you get into emotionally charged conversations (and there’s so much more to it than just this).


book yourself solidBook Yourself Solid (and here’s my interview with the author, Michael Port): Michael reveals why self-promotion is a critical factor to success, giving you a unique perspective for how to get more clients and raise your business profile. I love his “red velvet rope” policy.

The Conscious Cleanse is the cleanse developed by fellow Boulder gals that helped shift my relationship with food several years ago. I do it every now and then to keep myself in check, and I highly recommend it! Check out their program to do it along with fellow cleansers (that’s what I did and it really helped)!

Why People Don’t Heal And How They Can: a gorgeous book on healing that challenges both the notions of sickness as karma and sickness that only a doctor can cure, and invites us to look at even deeper levels of healing. Not a 101 book (and thank goodness).

The Freelancer’s Bible: the best guide for beginning freelancers and independent workers and a solid reference guide for those of us already on our journey.

Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction: my absolute favorite book on narrative nonfiction and storytelling. According to Susan Orlean: “Reading Storycraft is like finding the secret set of blueprints to the writer’s craft.” This should be required reading in this realm.

The Exquisite Risk: Full of inspired wisdom and nuggets that are much deeper than “you can do it!” There’s some really delicious poetic writing in here, too.

Start Something That Matters: This is the book that inspires me to help others and to build my business to be something that can change people’s lives.

The $100 Startup: This is a classic every starting entrepreneur should read. It will help you realize anyone can make a business work, even with only a small amount of money.

The Crossroads of Should and Must: Elle Luna designed, crafted and wrote this book from the core of her being, and it’s a lovely reminder for us entrepreneurs that all art does not come from a laptop.

Born to Run: An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? This book is an amazing example of immersive journalism. Anyone interested in longform narrative should buy this and study it.

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