Monday, 9 March 2009

10 amazing books you'll want to read

I decided to include a selection of books that I think will enhance your lifestyle or interests in personal development, self help and self improvement. At the very least they may offer you cause for reflection and creative thinking as you read the opinions of thinkers and philosophers from four continents, dating back hundreds of years.

1. The Master Key System Charles F. Haanel

This system gives opinions on so-called causes, effects, and laws that relate to health, wealth and relationship success or it's opposite. It's an 'old school' book written over eighty years ago. Basically it tells you that what is happening outside is in a direct relation to what is taking place in your mind or consciousness. The book covers everything from how to create abundance and wealth to how to get healthy. What more d'ya want! Oh yeah, I've read it was instrumental in the 70's and 80's in directing Bill Gates attitude toward success and that it was once banned by the catholic church. What more recommendations do you need? Read it now!

2. The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked
What a cool and optimistic title. I'm still unsure of how realistic this is for many people but it's worth a look. It's a mixture of pop psychology, self-help and motivating yourself away from industrial societies work ethic conditioning and deciding what you want and how well you can achieve and sustain it. Taken with a pinch of salt I found it a reflective document on my daily working life (work and money values, societies goals versus individual goals) and 'western societies' approach to retirement, unemployment and moving off the grid in a small way.

3. Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: The Quantum Alternative to Growing Old Deepak Chopra
He writes upon the choices we have in reducing the mentally and socially enforced aging process. Simply put, you change your beliefs you change how you age. The basis for his belief, is quantum physics and scientists like Heisenberg, Bohr and Einstein whose work I have not read so cannot comment upon. He encourages us to reinterpret our views of our mind and body and realise they are intimately bound. I enjoyed it's life affirming message.

4. Creative Visualization Shakti Gawain
One of those classic books that are sometimes overlooked in the 'spaghetti bolognese' of self help books now available but easily consumed with relish when found. This has practical, short exercises to develop a positive, creative imagination through visualisations, meditation, affirmations and more. The book's goal is to give you tools to manifest what you want. Not necessarily everything you want.

5. Tao Te Ching Lao Tzu
A wonderful little book. I particularly enjoy the insightful commentaries earlier in the book. They sound more profound and almost 'universal' in their understanding of human thought and existence. A consistently popular title amongst eastern scholars, philosophers and every day guys like me who enjoy reading something between editions of FHM.

6. 1984 George Orwell
I dropped this powerful pocket book in here because it describes a potential for society, humanity to lose their freedom, individuality and reflection upon 'truth'. It's a remarkably insightful story of a government power structure that controls information and individual thought and memory. I regard this book as a reminder to embrace the power of individuality and our ability to decide upon what we want to feel and how we want to behave.

7. As A Man Thinketh James Allen
I agree with this statement attributed to the book 'Noble thoughts make a noble person, negative thoughts hammer out a miserable one.' What you consider noble and negative will be unique to you beyond our good ol' societies conditioning. It's another old book with a style of it's time that has reached well into our current era. There's no denying that what you think effects your well being. The question is what do you attribute 'well being' to. The author suggests the unconscious mind generates as much action as the conscious mind and claims 'We do not attract what we want, but what we are. We attract not only what we love - but what we fear.' His explanation is that those thoughts which receive our attention, good or bad, go into the unconscious to become the fuel for later events.

8. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience Mihalyi Czikszentmihalyi
People in a state of 'flow' are those who feel engaged in the creation of something larger, of being in the 'zone', 'ecstasy' or whatever synonyms are available for doing something well. The claim is that people who generate their own flow experiences who will tend to be happier. The author says that the best moments do not happen by chance, according to the whim of external event, but can be predicted to occur when a specific activity is engaged.

9. Caravan of Dreams Idries Shah
Wonderful stories allegedly collected from Sufi sources dating back hundreds of year. I enjoy re-reading their humour, simplicity and insight into human nature/psychology and the search for meaning in life and love for something greater than what is apparent with our basic senses.

10. Heal Yourself with Medical Hypnosis: The Most Immediate Way to Use Your Mind-Body Connection Dr. Weil and Dr. Gurgevich
A great audio book discussing the physiological mechanisms behind the mind-body connection, and stripping away the ridiculous shroud that in the 21st century still darkens the practice of hypnosis. It offers a concise historical account of hypnosis with some case studies. There are also trance induction methods, trance deepening and a full session of self-healing with hypnosis.
If it's your first introduction to hypnosis then I believe it will be an enjoyable and valuable one.

Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading

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