Finding Yourself: A Reading List
“He who masters others is wise. He who masters himself is enlightened.”
-Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. While getting lost in other narratives served as the primary objective, there was also a deep driving curiosity to learn more about myself. Each new story was an opportunity to meet my own mind. It wasn’t until my early 20s that I by accident, dabbled in the self-help genre and have been completely enthralled ever since. It was as if I had found mentors of the most honest and compassionate kind whispering the secrets of life into my thoughts. Below, I’ve compiled a list of books that have served me endlessly over the last decade. While this is by no means a comprehensive list, if you find yourself looking for guidance or on a path to inner enlightenment, I highly suggest you consider the following:
1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
My beloved introduction to the self-help genre. Following Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey through Italy, India, and Bali on her quest for self-exploration was eye-opening in a multitude of ways. Heartfelt and incredibly written, this novel is a must.
2. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
This is hands down my favorite novel. In fact, I even had a tattoo done in its honor! The story follows a young boy in pursuit of treasure after receiving a cryptic message from a spirit king. Coelho weaves life knowledge into every twist and turn of this tale.
3. Power, Freedom, & Grace: Living from the Source of Lasting Happiness by Deepak Chopra
This book is all about looking deep within to find out who we are, what we believe, and how to experience our true nature. Offering excellent mindset advice, this has been a staple on my shelf for many years.
4. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
An absolutely fascinating account of an incredible woman overcoming immense adversity. Experiencing the heartbreaking and uplifting storytelling is inspiring to say the least. It’s easy to imagine what one can accomplish after learning about the life of Cheryl Strayed.
5. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Drawing from ancient Toltec wisdom, this book serves as a guide to finding personal freedom. Honing in on four principles, it’s truly the best and most straightforward life advice I’ve ever come across.
6. Untamed by Glennon Doyle
I believe it was divine timing that this book came out right as the pandemic hit, and we were all forced to retreat inside and reevaluate our lives. A brutally honest memoir, this memoir has some of the most potent truths about what it means to be a woman today and the struggles we have to overcome to search out, learn to trust, and set free the voice within.
7. Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown
As a huge fan of Brené Brown, it’s funny how long it took me to read one of her soul-shaking novels. After having watched all of her Ted talks, her Netflix special, and listening to numerous episodes on her Podcast Dare to Lead, it was amazing how easy it was to pick up this book and hear her cool and forthright voice inside my head. In this book, Brené dives into what it truly means to belong and the beautiful and fearful concept of what it means to brave the wilderness.
8. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
More so a course, this book is all about recovering your creativity and rediscovering the lost artist within. Broken down into twelve weeks, each section offers inspirational guidance on rebuilding your creative voice. I love the journal prompts and find the weekly tasks immensely satisfying. Whether or not you identify as an artist, this book is for you.
9. The Mastery of Self by don Miguel Ruiz Jr.
A very powerful book that invites you to step back and investigate your understanding of life and personal freedom. There are exercises to aid in your self-discovery throughout, and I advise putting substantial time aside to work through the nuances of this beautiful Toltec guide.
10. Discover Your Dharma: A Vedic Guide To Finding Your Purpose by Sahara Rose
My next read and one that I am eagerly anticipating! Having first been introduced to Sahara Rose at a holistic wellness retreat, I fell in love with her easy-going informative style and the concept of identifying your dharma and then having the courage to build your life around that archetype.
What’s impressive about all of these books is that these are not stories you read just once. They are stories you come back to repeatedly, never getting bored and always learning something new. It’s like having a conversation with an old friend or being gently guided by the forces of the universe.