Following recent passing of one of the most loved and influential life coaches in the world Wayne Dyer, we have decided to give you a little bit of a ‘soul food’ in the shape of the best and most interesting self-empowerment books ever written. Most people will roll their eyes at the mention of the words ‘self-help’, ‘self-empowerment’ and ‘self-love’, but also most of them have been in situations when these things could have helped them if they only gave them half a chance. As tacky and corny as they may sound, ‘self-help’, ‘self-empowerment’ and ‘self-love’ are the tools to get us where we want to be mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
If you don’t want to help yourself, nobody will be able to effectively help you. If you don’t feel strong and empowered, you will always feel like a victim. And if you don’t love and appreciate the unique you, you will most likely receive very little love and appreciation in return. These are the age old truths that we have either chosen to ignore or haven’t been paying enough attention to because of our busy, ‘don’t-have-time-for-myself’ lives.
All authors of the below mentioned books “have been there, done that”. Every single one of them has his or hers own story of hardship, addiction, personal bankruptcy, chaotic and abusive home life, loneliness, self-loathing, anger and disappointment to tell and every single one of them rose from the ugliness of life to the beauty of life. Their books are a testament that it can be done and that you can become the best version of yourself. The only thing that is required of you is the belief that you can and willingness to try.
Let’s start with the über life coach himself Wayne Dyer and his most successful and most widely read book ever.
1. Wayne Dyer – Your Erroneous Zones: Step-by-Step Advice for Escaping the Trap of Negative Thinking and Taking Control of Your Life
Allow us to mention a few, quite extraordinary facts about Wayne Dyer. Nothing in his early life suggested that this was a person that could teach people how to reach that elusive happiness in their personal lives and how to attain their goals. On the contrary, here was a boy who spent most of his childhood in orphanages and foster homes, he drank heavily throughout most of his adult life (he quit alcohol at the age of 51), and he was trice married and divorced. Still, for more than 30 years, Dyer has inspired and elevated the consciousness of millions all over the world, assisting them in shifting their awareness to a higher level.
He started his career as a high school counselor in Detroit. Later, he became a professor of counselor education at St. John’s University, New York and his lectures were mostly centered around positive thinking. Soon his work became extremely popular with the students, he was asked to put his thoughts on paper and “Your Erroneous Zones”, one of his most applauded books, was born.
The book deals with the feelings that we all have been plagued with at certain stages of our lives – guilt, worry, self-harming patterns, having no control over our feelings and hence actions, not recognizing or abandoning possibilities, chances and opportunities that come our way, disappointment, letting difficult times and difficult people affect us, and most importantly, lack of healthy love for ourselves. The journey towards self-discovery, which Dyer wonderfully takes you through, starts with one question: “How long am I going to be dead?” Once you recognize that you are in some form of “death”, be it emotional, mental or spiritual, the journey can begin.
There will be quite a few times while reading this book when you are going to have an a-ha moment particularly when you realize that you always have a choice how to react to a situation and that the end result will always be affected by your reaction, that you do have control over how much you worry, that there are no such things as “family traits” (“I come from a line of aggressive people, hence I am aggressive.”) and that you and you alone are the creator of your happiness regardless of circumstances.
BUY | $10
2. Louise Hay – You Can Heal Your Life
Just like Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay is another self-empowerment veteran. Today, she is an incredibly vital 89-year-old woman whose mental faculties and curiosity have been unaffected by her age. Also, she still teaches spiritual practices and gives motivational speeches all over the world.
Louise’s life story has also been riddled with obstacles and heartache. Born to a mother who later remarried Louise’s violent and aggressive stepfather, who physically abused both his wife and his stepdaughter, Louise’s childhood was far from carefree. At the age of 5 she was raped by a neighbor and, at 15, she dropped out of high school, became pregnant and gave birth to a little girl whom she gave for an adoption. In 1954, she married for the first time to a man who would cheat on her 14 years later. Her personal renaissance started when she learned about the transformative power of thought while attending the meetings at the First Church of Religious Science.
The idea for one of her most popular books “You Can Heal Your Life” came about when she wrote a small pamphlet containing a list of different bodily ailments and their “probable” metaphysical causes in 1984. So far, the book has sold in 50 million copies worldwide. The key message of “You Can Heal Your Life” is quite simple – “If we are willing to do the mental work, almost anything can be healed.” You might be tempted to put down the book after you have read the first few chapters because Louise Hay does not beat around the bush and is telling you how it is. It is always hard hearing the brutal truth and looking yourself in the light of that brutal truth, but if you do that, you are at an excellent starting point towards healing your life.
BUY | $8.50
3. Don Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements
Don Miguel Ruiz comes from the ancient culture of Toltec which dates back to 800 – 1000 CE. Toltecs are also known as “men and women of wisdom” and many artists, scientists and shamans originated from them. After the release of “The Four Agreements”, Don Miguel has been called one of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People. Such was the impact of his book that not only the book sold an unbelievable 12 million copies, but many people have dramatically changed their lives after applying the four rules / gems of wisdom from the book. Just like with most of the authors that we are featuring today, Don Miguel Ruiz’s life changing moment also came from adversity, i.e. a near fatal car accident that completely change his life direction.
At first glance, the four rules that the book is based on look too simplistic, but, as you will see, their application is not that easy or effortless. They are:
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
All of these rules or “agreements” (with yourself), as Don Miguel calls them, are explained in detail in the book, and if you religiously stick to them, they will change detrimental core beliefs which you have had since childhood and which have been holding you back.
BUY | $5.55
4. Mike Dooley – Notes from the Universe
Although Mike Dooley started his career as an international tax expert with renowned PriceHousewaterCoopers, thankfully his calling proved to be somewhere else. After leaving the corporate world and unsuccessfully engaging in a T-shirt business, he founded Adventurers Club (which today has over 500,000 members from 182 countries), which also proved to be a radical U-turn towards spirituality and deeper things in life.
Initially, “Notes from the Universe” was a collection of daily emailings that Mike sent to his club members which, in turn, became a three-volume book that has been translated into 25 languages. “Notes from the Universe” is one of those books which remind you that you are a part of something much bigger and more meaningful than your 9 to 5 job or the generic life you might be leading. And it all starts with asking proper questions just like Mike – “What am I doing with my life?”, “How did I get here?”, “What went wrong?”….
In “Notes from the Universe” you will find that dreams, no matter how wild, big, incomprehensible they might be, do come true, that you do have an immense power which everybody has been trying to diminish all your life and that nothing is impossible.
BUY | $12.95
5. Gabrielle Bernstein – May Cause Miracles: A 40-day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness
Gabrielle is considered one of the “young guns” in the world of spirituality, motivational speaking and life coaching, but please don’t mistake her youth for inexperience because this young lady knows what she is talking about.
This 35-year-old has had quite a life. In her own words, she “hit rock bottom at the age of 25” when she found herself addicted to “work, food, love and drugs”. Although she had a thriving career as a PR entrepreneur in New York City, her life was far from happy and fulfilling. Her desperation reached a peak when in October 2005 she broke and prayed for help to whatever god or power to be might be listening. Instead of drowning in her misery, Gabrielle asked herself a question: “Don’t you think hitting bottom at 25 gives you the best opportunity to spring yourself forward?”
A decade later, she is an accomplished author, life coach, spirituality junkie and willing to share and teach us her, as she calls it, Lovetarian Way which is all about living a positive life that involves zero fear and a lot of gratefulness, love and forgiveness. In the book, you will find a six-week-plan how to detoxify your mind, energize your soul and improve yourself beyond measure.
BUY | $12.60
6. Jack Canfield – Chicken Soup for the Soul
Funny title for a book, isn’t it? And a very fitting one because as much as good, homemade chicken soup can help you when you are physically ill, this book will do the same for your afflicted soul. Believe it or not, this book has reached 500 million souls because that is how much copies were sold since its release in 1993.
Now, unlike our other authors, Jack Canfield does not come from a broken home, unprivileged background and life of struggles. He received an A.B. in Chinese History from Harvard University, an M.Ed. from the University of Massachusetts Amhers, and an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Santa Monica. Unfazed by his academic success, Jack was more interested in learning how to increase one’s confidence and self-esteem, tackle daily challenges, live with passion and purpose, and realize all ambitions and goals.
“Chicken Soup for the Soul” contains incredibly inspirational true stories of optimism, faith and strength. Believe it or not, the book, which we have already mentioned has sold in 500 million copies so far, was rejected by major publishers and picked up by a small, relatively unknown publishing company from Florida. But when certain messages, like the ones in “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, need to reach people, a way always presents itself.
BUY | $12.75