My selection of titles that appear in this list is based on what I have read that has made a difference in my life or which I find that my coaching and workshop clients find useful.
- Business in the Information Age
- Career Transition
- Science & Medicine, especially with ‘spiritual’ overtones
- Spirituality and the Quantum Sciences
- Personal Growth, Alternative Approaches, Inspirational Experiences and interesting fiction
Louise LeBrun. "Fully Alive" 2007. 2nd Edition. WEL-Systems® Productions., Ottawa, ON. An important read for anyone who wants a different way of looking at the same old issues that plague all business environments. Fully Alive offers a breath of fresh air and a huge invitation for each of us to look within to resolve our issues. For fans of Margaret Wheatley’s ‘Leadership and the New Science’, I believe that Fully Alive is the field book that allows you to apply its principles to the human condition. The models and concepts provided in Fully Alive apply equally to your personal life so it is far more than just a business book. On my top 10 list.
William Bridges. "Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes". 1980. Perseus Books, Reading, Mass. There are some books which never date and this is one of them. A must for anyone going through major changes in their lives, it invites you to relax into how tough everything feels and to use the time to explore things about yourself you’ve never noticed before.
Gareth Morgan. "Images of Organization. The Executive Edition". 1998. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., San Francisco. If you are intrigued by metaphors for the workplace, I don’t know of a better exploration of the topic. You’ll never listen to people describe their experience of work the same way once you’ve absorbed the important images Morgan presents. Of equal value is his willingness to help us notice when a useful metaphor starts to break down.
Peter Senge, et al. "The Dance of Change: The Challenges to Sustaining Momentum in Learning organizations". 1999. Currency/Doubleday, New York, N.Y. For me the ideas and strategies presented in this book were more useful for stimulating my thinking about the workplace rather than being readily implementable. …I guess that’s partly why I chose to leave OD behind as a practice and chose to focus on individual change!
Jim Taylor and Watts Wacker. "The 500 Year Delta: What Happens After What Comes Next". 1997. HarperCollins. New York, N.Y. Maybe it’s my background in marketing, but for me, this is an extremely important book. Yes, many of its thoughts have dated quickly, but The 500 Year Delta contains much more that is compelling. It holds a great synopsis of the rivers of change affecting our times, the notion of the ‘four freedoms’ we currently live with, and their willingness to explore makes this a book I refer back to regularly and which I find many clients continue to enjoy. One of my top 10 choices.
Margaret J. Wheatley, "Leadership and the New Science: Learning about Organization from an Orderly Universe". San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc. 1992. Another work in the ‘oldie but goodie’ category. Wheatley does a superb job of introducing the novice to many concepts from the quantum sciences and chaos theory and pointing out their implications for our workplaces. Joyous to read and frustrating to apply its concepts until I discovered "Fully Alive from 9 to 5!" My clients continue to enjoy being asked to read this book.
Matthew Fox, "The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood for Our Time". San Francisco: HarperSan Francisco. 1994. Written by a former Catholic priest, it can be difficult to get past the academic orientation of Matthew’s writing, but there are many great ideas presented in this book that really started many of us thinking about the impact of technology on our lives.
Willis Harman & John Hormann, "Creative Work: The Constructive Role of Business in a Transforming Society". Indianapolis, Ind.: Knowledge Systems. 1990. Another interesting read about what potential workplaces can become.
Richard Whittington. "What is Strategy – and does it matter?" 2001. Thomson Learning. London. This book is hard to get hold of but, for me, is worth the effort. Executives and senior managers find Whittington’s analysis of four different approaches to strategic planning an eye opener. Consultants and strategic planners find it invaluable in helping them to make sense of the apparent turf battles and interdepartmental wrangling that often goes on in companies which lack clarity on which approach to strategic planning they are committed to.
Oliver Cruder. "Like a worm on a string: the genius inside you and the art of the impossible". 2006. Zeno Publishing, Calgary, AB. Let me start by saying that I love the metaphor Cruder uses. That we are all innately creative but with a tendency to build lives as a simple, straight-lined string which limits our experience of existence to that string feels implicitly true to me. Living on our self-created string is what makes us live lives that are much smaller, less dynamic and less filled with possibility than they can be may be a sad notion, but alas seems to be a common one. I found this to be an easy, straightforward read where Cruder encapsulates many complex concepts about human nature and presents them in a way that is easily understood. He is also very clear about exhorting readers to get off their mental duffs and begin to live beyond the limitations of the ‘string’ they are moving along.
Rick Jarow, "Creating the Work You Love: Courage Commitment and Career". Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books. 1995 This is one of those books that I initially didn’t like, but as my circumstances shifted I ended up falling in love with. Jarow poses far more questions for us to consider than he attempts to provide answers. Some may find it too ‘spiritual’ in its overall tone, but for me, it helped me to take my career coaching to a whole new level.
Karen Schaffer, "The Job of Your Life: Four Groundbreaking Steps for Getting the Work you Want". Scarborough, Ontario: Prentice Hall Canada Inc. 1998 Lots of good practical advice in this strategy oriented Canadian publication.
Gregg Levoy. "Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life". New York. Three Rivers Press. 1998 Another book which invites us to explore what is meaning about living and in life for us. Designed to stimulate you to explore bigger and bigger questions rather than help you get to answers, Callings might be frustrating for those looking for "how to" advice but will be extremely satisfying for those who are looking for something meaty to think about.
Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger. "Do What you Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You through Personality Type". Little Brown and Company. 2001. This couple writes good books and this is one of their best. Working with Myers-Briggs Personality Profiles, this powerhouse book is extremely helpful for people finding a match between their preferences for types of work and working environments different jobs offer. One of its strongest attributes is that these authors have done extensive research on "new economy" careers and provide lots of options for job seekers to consider.
Doidge, Norman, M.D.. "The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science" 2007. Penguin Books. Toronto, ON
To say that I read this book would be a bit of an understatement. It was more like I inhaled it! What a delightful read; what an important read; what a critical read for anyone who knows anyone with any kind of neurological disorder or impairment! Forget that. What an important read for anyone with a brain!!
Doidge is a Canadian psychiatrist who has done a fantastic job of bringing us an extensive overview of the latest and greatest research and understanding about how much more plastic our brains are than was ever thought possible. He writes so clearly and succinctly that even if your eyes typically glaze over at the thought of reading about scientific research you should buy this book …and read it thoroughly. It offers much hope for people in pain, for people with neurological conditions such as stroke, brain damage, MS, autism, etc. More importantly, Doidge shows us the connection of the science of neuroplasticity to many facets of human life such as grief and learning. An important statement for me is: "In grief, we learn to live without the one we love, but the reason this lesson is so hard is that we first must unlearn the idea that the person exists and can still be relied on."
I’ve already recommended The Brain that Changes Itself to several clients and know that it will become required reading for my coaching certification clients. My copy is already becoming dog-eared from the use I am putting it to. His chapter on Imagination: How Thinking Makes It So is absolutely critical for those of us who support others in creating new futures for themselves. We know what we do works; now Doidge has given us the science that underpins our approaches. For example, he very clearly explains the process of habit building (good habits and bad habits) and how neuronal ‘tracks’ are laid down when we think the same thing repeatedly so that information tends to pass more readily along proven pathways. Doidge does an excellent job of showing how the very plasticity that offers us so much hope is the same thing that can keep us stuck. I love a good paradox: it is so much the way we all live.
I could go on and on. Do yourself a favour and add this important, easy to read book to your library. Definitely on my top 10 list!
Blakeslee, Sandra and Matthew Blakeslee "The Body Has a Mind of Its Own" 2007. Random House.
If you shy away from science books because science feels too overwhelming, you’ll love this book. This mother and son team of science writers present a lot of very new brain science in a clear, straightforward and easy-to-follow manner.
The past decade has been one of immense discoveries of how our brain works. The body maps that the Blakelees discuss are one of those key discoveries. Did you know, for example, that in your brain is not only a map for every body part, but that your map extends into the area around your body as far as you can stretch in all directions. Quite literally, each of us carries within us a map of ‘peripersonal’ space. What is fascinating is that our peripersonal space extends when we hold an implement like a rake or shovel or when we sit in our car. What happens in that extended peripersonal space feels as if it is happening to us. Which helps me understand why people get so upset when someone touches their car …it is as if they are touching their body.
The Blakeslees do an excellent job of offering a wide survey of the implications of the discoveries of body maps. Everything from weight gain and inability to retain weight loss to golfer’s ‘yips’ to phantom limb pain. This book will be invaluable to anyone who wants to begin to understand recent brain science and what neuroplasticity is all about.
I found the Blakeslee’s tendency to be dismissive of any energy interpretations or implications of this new science somewhat troubling. I also felt that they inadequately referenced much of the scientific source material they discussed in their book.
Despite those shortcomings, I place The Body Has a Mind of Its Own as an important book to be read by anyone who seeks to understand the human condition.
Lynne McTaggart. "The Field: The quest for the Secret Force of the Universe". 2003. Quill, HarperCollins. New York. Clients told me for 2 years that I should read this book before I finally got hold of a copy. They were absolutely right. Despite having read many books on the New Sciences, McTaggart brings a journalist’s incisiveness to this work. Comprehensive in scope, recent in exploration, The Field provides one of the best overviews of scientific discoveries of the past two decades. She is equally good at exploring the implications of these discoveries. One of my top ten reads the only way in which this book falls short for me is that it doesn’t really discuss the implications of these scientific discoveries for who we are as human beings.
Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. and Sharon Begley. "The Mind & The Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force". 2003. Regan Books, HarperCollins. New York. Schwartz is a psychiatrist who works with obsessive compulsive folks. Another great book that explores recent quantum science discoveries and applies them to the mind/brain problem. Schwartz demonstrates clearly that our brain is much more plastic than once thought and that our minds are far more than our brains. The science he explores can feel somewhat tedious at times, but the insights he shares more than make up for it. Another one for the top 10 list.
Zimmer, Carl. "Soul Made Flesh: the discovery of the brain and how it changed the world." 2005. Free Press, New York. I thoroughly enjoyed this history of science primer and know that I will use it as a handy lay persons reference guide for some time into the future. Zimmer’s review of early discoveries helped to provide additional context for more recent writings. It also served as a very useful reminder that politics is never far away from the supposedly unbiased world of science. A great reminder at a time when conflicting news reports are everywhere and where traditional science, quantum science and alternative medicine are busy battling for supremacy. I read news reports very differently since spending time with Soul Made Flesh.
Brian Swimme. "The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos: Humanity and The New Story". Orbis Books, Aug. 1999. This is a great little book that explores how our universe operates. I was blown away by the idea that in our ever expanding universe, each and every one of us is simultaneously at the centre of the universe! Offers us much to think about.
Fritjof Capra. "The Tao of Physics". Fontana/Collins. London. 1975. Best described as a ‘classic’, this gem was what got me started in my explorations of the quantum sciences. I’ve been told by equal numbers of people with science backgrounds that Capra is right on the money or plays fast and loose with his concepts! For me this is a great invitation to think about things that have never entered your awareness before.
Victor Frankl. "Man’s Search for Meaning" Washington Square Press, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1984 I refer to this book in almost every workshop I deliver because it has such profound implications for the degree to which we live with choice …and the degree to which we don’t notice the choice we have. Frankl uses his experiences as a Nazi death camp survivor to explore the human condition and to conclude that even when we have no choice in our physical conditions we always have choice in how we will respond in our minds. One of my top ten ‘must read’ books.
Ian Percy, "Going Deep: Exploring Spirituality in Life and Leadership". Toronto: Macmillan Canada. 1997 Still a very worthwhile book for business leaders about where they should be spending their time …and it isn’t on performance metrics according to Percy who has lots of experience working with high level executives.
Willis Harman and Howard Rheingold. "Higher Creativity: Liberating the Unconscious for Breakthrough Insights". New York. J.P. Tarcher. Dec. ’84. This is a great book for highly logical, technically oriented people to come to grips with the notion of creativity and how to become more creative. Another one that isn’t easy to get hold of but likely worth the effort.
Julia Cameron. "The Artists Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity". 1992. Tarcher/Putnam, New York. How many people’s lives have been made larger and more vital because of Julia Cameron’s wonderful book. A great place to start exploring just how creative you already are without having noticed it!
John Kao. "Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity". 1996. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. New York. This could be in the Business books section, because Kao’s context is the corporate world. But it is such an innovative romp into the topic of creativity in business, to say nothing of being such an early entry into this exciting discipline, I’ve included it here. You’ll likely need to find it in 2nd hand bookstores because I haven’t been able to find copies readily available.
Joyce Wycoff. "Transformation Thinking". 1995. Berkley. New York. Lots of useful, practical ideas for getting groups of people thinking differently about their day-to-day workplace problems.
McCauley, Gwen. “Choosing Life: A celebration in verse, prose & picture”. 2009. OUICoach Productions. Ottawa, ON.
My third book is a real departure from previous efforts. This is a celebration of my life expressed through stories, poetry, photographs and paintings. It follows me through my celebration of 60 years that started with a program called LifeSong. For 10 weeks we wrote stories and songs about ourselves and performed them for other participants. I discovered verse during that experience and have continued writing poetry since then. As the year progressed I decided to combine my poetry with my photography and painting to create a gift for my husband. And as I completed his book, I became aware that it could be inspirational for others.
Choosing Life is what has resulted from that process. This book was a true labour of love. I learned so much about myself as I selected the photographs and paintings to illustrate each poem. I also learned so much about myself through the process of electronic publishing. I think you’ll find lots to warm your heart in its pages. Definitely not the book I thought I’d write, but I love it all the more because it was such a delightful surprise to me as a writer.
Levine, Stephen. "A Year to Live: how to live this year as if it were your last". 1997. Bell Tower, N.Y., N.Y.
This isn’t a new book. Nor is the concept of questioning how you’d live your life if you knew with certainty that the ending was close. And I can’t even say that I agree with a lot of Levine’s approaches.
However, unlike like many books I read, there is a solid core to Levine’s perspective. In the 10 plus years since this little volume was published some of us have discovered amazingly simply, straightforward ways to connect with those deep, inner realms. His book is a great reminder of things to pay attention to. And for folks who are only beginning to become aware of the fragility of life in human form, I think this can be a powerful introduction to exploring the inner realms.
Some of the key points that Levine makes include: moving into our fear, discomfort, pain in order to discover ourselves. Actually going ‘inside’ the experience so that we can see a very different picture; keeping our afflictions or discomforts from becoming a statement of identity, of who we are in the world. ‘The’ cancer/AIDS/depress I have, rather than ‘my’ cancer/AIDS/depression. As he eloquently points out "When it’s ‘the’ pain, it has the whole universe to float in; when it’s ‘my’ pain, I’m standing alone in it." Engaging a life review via journaling, a process which allows to explore the "’present’ as the moment-to-moment unfolding of the ‘passing show’ of consciousness. We come to know our states of mind intimately, watching our long- conditioned patterns from an open and compassionate awareness that neither clings to nor condemns the evolving process."
A Year to Live offers those of us who would like a retreat experience but who don’t have the resources to create a comparable experience for ourselves. It also offers those of us who are accompanying another person in the last stages of living a wonderful series of insights and perspectives on the journey they are making.
Pollan, Michael "In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto" 2008. The Penguin Press. New York
I wasn’t at all certain about this book when I bought it. I’ve become highly suspicious of books that are based in fear of the foods we eat. You know the ones: anything white will kill you, don’t eat this, don’t eat that, if it’s cooked it ain’t healthy, yada, yada, yada …yawn, yawn, yawn.
So I was very pleasantly surprised to discover how much I enjoyed Pollan’s perspective, to realize that many misgivings I’d held personally for a while about the food industry were borne out by his research, and to be taken to a much higher level in my thinking about food than I’d previously achieved.
Call me dozy, but I’d never before thought about food through the prism of ‘nutritionism’, that belief system we’ve been taught over the past 50 of so years where we think that it is the individual nutritional components of food that matter rather than the ‘whole’ thing. For example, it is vitamins and minerals that are important, not carrots or potatoes.
I hadn’t really realized that whole categories of things that we call ‘food’ are really ‘food-like substances’. I wondered what he was on about. And then he started talking about yogurt and how the stuff we buy in the grocery store is only a ‘reasonable facsimile’ of the life-giving, life-sustaining product our grandmothers knew. What we eat now is something made from modified milk products (not actual milk), with emulsifiers, extenders, flavourings, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and other stuff that is supposed to be good for us. Same, same with cereals, prepared meals, ice cream and myriad things we call ‘food’.
As someone who has always loved to cook and to eat I had a long time ago adopted a habit of cooking and eating with whole foods. But since reading "In Defense of Food" I’ve escalated my involvement with ‘real’ foods. I’ve bought a freezer and have been busy returning to the habit of buying fresh, local, in-season and freezing for later use. Not perfect, perhaps, but we can’t all live in California with year round produce at our corner store.
If you’d like a different perspective on the food conversation, I can’t think of a better starting place. In Defense of Food is not fear based, raises your thinking and offers great suggestions for alternatives to the way you currently shop and eat. His suggestion that we ‘eat food, not too much, mostly plants’ is easy to remember. It’s the ‘not too much’ part that is toughest for me. But hey, we always have something to strive for, eh?
Clinton, Bill. "Giving: How each of us can change the world" 2007. Borzoi Books, New York, NY
I must say that I was more impressed by Clinton’s Giving than I thought I’d be. It is comprehensive in that it covers the giving of time, ‘things’, reconciliation and skills as well as money. Each chapter tells stories of people of modest means as well as rich and powerful people who give. I believe these stories are very useful in helping ordinary folks see that they can make a difference in our world.
Clinton’s chapter on reconciliation was, for me, a way of thinking about giving that was fairly new. I am working with a client who is a philanthropist and I know that this part of the book has certainly stimulated my thinking as we explore together exactly what philanthropy is and whether current definitions are sufficient to meet our needs as we move into the future.
Finally, Clinton’s book contains an Appendix that is chock-a-block full of contact information for anyone inspired to actually engage some of the ideas he presents. I think this book is very timely given the ‘donor fatigue’ many talk about as a result of major tsunami’s, hurricanes and droughts in recent years, to say nothing of the needs of refugees generated in the world by wars and urbanization. It is a way to recognize that there are many more ways to give than simply putting my hand in my pocket!
Gwen McCauley, "The Alchemy of Energy: Exploring The CODE Model™". Ottawa. On. The WEL-Systems® Institute. 2004. If you’ve had an interest in ‘energy’ and don’t know where to start, The Alchemy of Energy might be useful. If you know a bit about the chakras and would like to know more, this would also be a good primer. If you are a coach who wants to take your clients on more in-depth explorations of themselves, look no further. As the author of Alchemy, these comments are doubly biased but are based on the feedback I’ve received from many clients and colleagues.
Louise LeBrun, "When the Horse Dies Get Off! …and Stop Dragging it Around". Ottawa, On. The WEL-Systems® Institute. 2004. A series of highly opinionated essays about our medical system, parenting processes, education system and other cultural icons, When the Horse Dies is sure to rattle your cage or to confirm your opinions.
Louise LeBrun, "Phoenix Rising: The Freeing of Human Potential". Ottawa, On. The WEL-Systems® Institute, 2003. An exploration of the deep framework of assumptions about the world, how it operates and where we shouldn’t tread that we all live with and yet are pretty much oblivious to. If you are a fan of The Matrix movie, LeBrun’s ‘Therapy Model’ is strongly akin to The Matrix, that dream that is drawn over our eyes to blind us to life’s ‘reality’.
Don Campbell, "The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit". New York: Avon Books. 1997. One of the early books published that speaks to the power of responses that we have in our body to shape and frame our experiences in life.
Joy Gardner-Gordon. "The Healing Voice: Traditional & Contemporary Toning, Chanting & Singing." 1993. The Crossing Press. Freedom, CA. I discovered this book several years ago when I noticed that while I was very comfortable using my voice for speaking, I was extremely reluctant to use it for anything else such as singing or making ‘foolish’ noises in public. Some of her toning exercises were extremely helpful to me in claiming my right to make noises of many kinds with my voice!
James P. Carse. "Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility". 1986. Random House, Inc. New York, N.Y. Probably #1 on my top ten list, for me Finite and Infinite Games is a small book that I keep going back to and discovering more about myself through. Carse’s premise is that in life we can play finite games which are ones that are played to win or we can play infinite games which are ones we play to keep the game in play. We can play a finite game within an infinite game but it is impossible to play an infinite game within a finite game. The implications for which game I’m playing at any one time has profound implications for the results I can achieve in life. One of the most spiritual, least religious books I’ve ever come across. You must get hold of this little gem!
Eva Marsh. "Black Patent Shoes: Dancing with MS". SideRoad Press. Copetown, ON. 3rd Printing 2003. I’m proud to say that I’ve gotten to know Eva personally over the past few years and know that the determination, intelligence and drive she displays in this amazing story of her recovery from MS doesn’t do justice to the warm, caring and vibrant human being that she is. This is more than a story of hope and inspiration. It is a lesson to us all that ‘the experts’ don’t knot it all and that to listen to them might mean that we are limiting our life. Way to go, Eva!
Riane Eisler. "The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future. " 1987. Harper & Row. San Francisco. An interesting perspective on our deep history, raising many provocative notions about the role of women in the distant past. I’m not certain about how robust her archeology is, but I think this book raises important distinctions about approaches to leadership and styles of living that we all need to consider.
Louise LeBrun et al. "Sekhmet Rising: the restlessness of women’s genius". 2006. The WEL-Systems® Institute, Ottawa, ON. 18 women ranging in age from 26 to 81 tell their stories of reclaiming their power and the impact that experience has had on the quality of life they now get to lead. Women who read these stories are inspired to move beyond whatever is limiting their lives. Men who read the stories begin to notice that they are surrounded by women who have had amazing life experiences and who are powerful in their unwillingness to let life hold them back. Whether you have health issues, childhood abuse issues, eating disorders, addictions or just generally feel like a fraud, you’ll likely find that Sekhmet Rising invites you to become more than you ever thought possible.
Robert J. Sawyer. "Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax". Tor Books, New York. 2002. I’m not much of a sci-fi fan, but Robert J. Sawyer may just be the person to turn me on to this genre. Hominid is a compelling read about a parallel universe where Neanderthals survived and we didn’t! Really gets you thinking about things and wondering how much String Theory has to tell us about possibility and potential.
Zelinski, Ernie J. "Real Success Without a Real Job: There is no life like It!" 2006. Ten Speed Press, CA.
I am rapidly becoming a big Zelinski fan it’s only fair to warn you. I enjoyed Real Success even more than I enjoyed How to Retire Happy, Wild & Free.
I think this is a must-read book for anyone who has ever had a moment’s fantasy of leaving the corporate world. I like Zelinski’s direct, down-to-earth, meat & potatoes way of talking about complex issues. He makes topics that can seem very ‘touchy feely’ (and therefore scary to many) feel very easy to consider. For example, his chapter on the need for friendship, the nature of friendship and the value of friendship is great and I believe will appeal to a very wide array of people.
It was refreshing to read his generous support for life coaches and the need for on-going personal development in order for each of us to continue to grow and evolve throughout our life. I like his line "If you want to be a success …spend more on your career training and personal development than on your next hairstyle" so much that I’m now using it as a quote on my e-mail signature block!
Zelinski is very clear that an "unreal" job is not for everyone and isn’t shy about defining those for whom it likely isn’t a great choice. Ultimately I think that’s one of the most refreshing things about Zelinski, whether you agree with him or not, you certainly know where he stands on any topic he raises. I was very energized by reading Real Success Without a Real Job and think that you’ll enjoy it to if you’re looking for some motivation that is neither cloyingly sweet nor bitingly cynical.
Richards, Jacqueline "Yoga for your Personal Finances". 2006. Book Coach Press. Ottawa, ON.
I love it when someone takes a topic like money and spins the conversation on its ear! Jacqueline Richards has done just that with Yoga for Your Personal Finances. She de-mystifies the money management conversation and she does it by dividing the discussion into 7 categories that coincide with the chakras or energy centres in the body. And for each chakra she presents a couple of yoga poses for the reader to engage to open the body up and get more free flow of energy (and presumably begin to deal with the money issues you have differently as a result).
While the WEL-Systems® perspective that I work with via The CODE Model™ varies somewhat in its interpretation of the various chakras, there is much that overlaps and Richards has done a fine job of mapping different money conversations to each chakra. For example, the bottom or Root chakra is typically seen to be associated with safety and being able to get one’s needs met. Richards discussion at this level is all about budgeting and creating a framework for your money so that your needs get met today and into the future. She provides lots of templates and charts to work with at this chakra and every other level.
In other chapters Richards talks about things like using credit wisely – and she takes the time to explain how credit bureaus and lending institutions share information about our spending and payment habits that ultimately result in how they assess our credit worthiness. How to begin to save and invest are explore as are mortgages, including worksheets to help you calculate how large a mortgage you can afford. Wills and estate planning are in there as well as an overview of the various types of insurance available and what to think about at various stages in your life. Finally, Richards closes with a chapter on taking your bad debt and turning it into good debt. An interesting end point since, for me, the Crown Chakra is all about the future that’s possible for us.
I think that any young person starting out should read this book. I was amazed at how many things I still didn’t know as I read through her various discussions. Who knows, I could have been a millionaire by now! But seriously, anyone who has on-going problems with managing their money would be great candidates for this book as would people just starting out who need to understand that money is more than just a thing: it is a way of thinking, a process and a system that you need to understand in order to attain mastery.
Nicely done, Jacqueline.
Dyer, Dr. Wayne "The Power of Intention: Learning to co-create your world your way". 2005. Hay House.
This is an important book, and yet I can’t say that I especially enjoyed reading it. I absolutely agree with Dyer about the power of intention to shape and frame the life that we then step into and live, whether we are aware that we are creating our lives or not.
What I find very difficult these days is to read books by wonderfully creative, dynamic and committed people like Dyer and to see how stuck they are in Therapy Model™ interpretations of ideas. For example, for Dyer, intention is something that you have, are given. I believe that intention is something that you are and are always becoming. It is the unique strand of universal energy that manifests the person called you and brings the potential of the entire universe to the essence of your being.
And I don’t want to get into semantic arguments here. Suffice it to say that this is an important book by an important author and that if you don’t have a WEL-Systems® perspective just know that as powerful as his concept is, it is only a fraction of what becomes possible when viewed through that lens. And even if you only get Dyers somewhat limited concept of intention, you’ll still have tons more possibility and potential become available to you than you had before!
Ernie Zelinski. "How to Retire Happy Wild and Free: retirement wisdom that you won’t get from your financial advisor". 2004. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA This is a wonderful starting place for anyone thinking about retirement. While I can’t say that I agree about some of Zelinski’s thoughts about work and our relationship to it, I find that everything he has to say about getting ready for retirement is right on the money. As someone who specializes in the emotional and psychological adjustment to retirement I know just how large a challenge that can be for many so I find Zelinski’s coverage of those areas a bit light. However, he does discuss what I believe are all the relevant points for people to begin to pay attention to so this is a wonderful starting point for most people. I also love the fact that Zelinski is very direct in bursting the pretty self-serving fear bubble about the cost of retirement that our financial services sector has created in our culture. If you only invest in one book about retirement, this one would be my recommendation. Funny, irreverent, information packed and easy to read "How to Retire Happy Wild and Free" is about to become my preferred book for all my retirement workshops and coaching clients!
Rob Kelley. "The Complete Guide to Creative Retirement" 2003. TurnKey Press. Austen, TX. Another good book about retirement, although a bit on the serious side. The front 20% of the book has a good overview of the issues and challenges retired people can expect to face and has lots of nice short stories of the challenges different people have faced. Based on the kinds of issues many of my clients report, I think that Kelley has done an especially good job of capturing just how devastating retirement can be on long-term relationships. The final 80% of the book is chock-a-block full of projects that might appeal while in retirement. These are broken into interest categories (For the Creative Person, For the Nature Lover, etc., etc.) and contain lots of good ideas, contact information, suggested readings, etc. I’d definitely recommend this book to those approaching retirement.
Phil Rich, Sampson, D., Featherling, D. "The Healing Journey Through Retirement: your journey of transition and transformation" 2000. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Those of you who love lots of self reflection and detail will love this book. It’ll take lots of time to work your way through the seemingly endless questionnaires and exercises, but there’s no doubt that you’ll have lots of insights about yourself and what makes you tick by the end. It can feel a bit preachy at times, but overall, I know many people who could benefit from spending a few hours becoming reacquainted with themselves before they stop to pick up their gold watch!
Nancy K. Schlossberg. "Retire Smart, Retire Happy: Finding your true path in Life". 2004. American Psychological Association, MD. This small book packs a wallop! Written by an academic, I found it a bit on the dry side but it contains many useful statistics and self exploration questionnaires and assessment tools. The author is a career counselor which proves to be a very insightful vantage point for understanding the challenges of retirement. The life vignettes that Schlossberg presents are very useful for helping people get a sense of the realities of retirement that they may not have yet thought about.
Molly Srode. "Creating a Spiritual Retirement: a guide to the unseen possibilities in our lives" 2004. Skylight Paths Publishing. I can’t tell you why, but this retirement book spoke to me the least of five I’ve just read. I think it boils down to writing style because there’s no doubt that it’s an excellent book providing lots of thought and insight. Whatever my personal reservations, I know that this would be a good read for anyone who is seeking to reconnect with a spiritual side that has been allowed to remain dormant too long.
Eisenberg, Lee. "The Number. A completely different way to think about the rest of your life". 2006. Free Press. This is a fun read by a guy who has pretty much lived life large and who reflects many of the issues and concerns of our aging baby boomer generation. Eisenberg believes that all of us (well, almost all of us) are running around obsessed with wondering what our number is …that number that represents how much we need to have in order to be able to retire and live the life we want for ourselves.
Based on my experience of working with coaching clients and workshops participants, I don’t think he’s far off the mark in his assessment. It is quite funny to read him talk about the taboos we have in our culture about talking about how much we have or make or invest. As he puts it, we’d far rather talk publicly about our quirkier sexual preferences than reveal our financial status. Lively, witty and well written, I found The Number to be very enjoyable to read. And if you are looking for a ‘how to’ get to your number you’ll be sadly disappointed. The actual topic of money and the dynamics of the market come up fairly little. Rather this is a book designed to get you thinking about what you’re thinking. For me, those are always the best kinds of books and I say hurray for Lee Eisenberg.