My Secret Favorite Inspirational Books


There is a chain email popping around requesting that you share your favorite inspirational reading. It got me thinking: what are my favorite “secret” inspirational books, the ones I have turned to for years, ones you may not have heard of?

We all love Mary Oliver and Rumi remains the best-selling poet of our time and the bracingly wise Steven Pressfield gets us past resistance… but it’s wonderful to venture into new soul territory, too.

For your heart’s consideration:

What I most often turn to:
The Radiance Sutrastranslated by the wonderful Lorin Roche


When I don’t want to be human:
The Largest Possible Life by Alison Luterman


When I need reminding I am the queen of my life, a sovereign agent:
Coming Home to Myself by Marion Woodman with Jill Mellick


When stinking thinking threatens my well-being:
Just One Thing by Rick Hanson

justone thing

When I wonder if God exists:
The Wisdom Way of Knowing by Cynthia Bourgeault


When I know God exists:
The Book of Hours by Rilke, translated by Anita Barrow and Joanna Macy


When I need to ignore the critic and get to work:
Making Your Creative Mark by Eric Maisel


When climate change and environmental degradation bring me to my knees:
Earth Prayers by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon


Of course, I could go on and on, but I would much rather hear from you – please share your favorite (and perhaps secret) inspirational source in the comments below. Let’s create a banquet here!



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Hailey Rene - February 15, 2014

Awesome list! One this at a time and Making your creative mark sound right up my alley so I’m going to check those two out. Thanks for this list.

Kathleen Botsford - February 15, 2014

Love your list. The books that stay with me always and become frequent gifts are
“Anam Cara”, John O’Donohue, “Tao Te Ching”, translated by Stephen Mitchell and anything by Gunilla Norris but most especially “Simple Ways, toward the Sacred”.
Love, Love, Love the entire series by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon and frequently turn to mystical wisdom of Thomas Moore in his many wonderful volumes.

    jenniferlouden - February 19, 2014

    also love Gunilla!

Tracie Nichols - February 15, 2014

Margaret Wheatley’s “Turning to One Another” reminds me how and why I need to keep starting important conversations. Terry Tempest Williams “An Unspoken Hunger” reminds me that I am fierce, wild, and powerful. “When Women Were Birds,” also by Terry Tempest Williams, inspires me when my writing voice falters. Loved this post Jennifer! I’ll be adding some new books to my reading list, for sure.

    jenniferlouden - February 19, 2014

    Just stared When Women Were Birds, always been a huge Terry T. fan!

Paula Russell - February 15, 2014

My favorites are John O’Donahue’s Beauty and also The Four Elements and the poetry collection edited by Roger Housden, Ten Poems to Change Your Life et al.

Paula Russell - February 15, 2014

My favorites are John O’Donahue’s Beauty and The Four Elements, the poetry collections edited by Roger Housden, Ten Poems to Change Your Life, et al., and Terry Tempest Williams’ Finding Beauty in a Broken World. As least those are the ones that leap to mind.

    jenniferlouden - February 19, 2014

    I hope books are helping as you grieve, and helping the kids, too. Thinking of you!

valeri j. - February 15, 2014

My newest fave is The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown and my oldest fave is More Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie. They remind me that I am worthy of love and all things good, help me create balance, and assure me that God is always with me.

Donna Jones Burton - February 15, 2014

A Path with Heart, Jack Kornfield – former Buddhist monk whose gentle spirit shines in every line
Flourish, Dr. Martin Seligman – founder of positive psychology who shares the secret to a fulfilling life

Wendy DiMicco - February 15, 2014

This discussion is like a treasure chest — my thanks to all! I recommend Coming Home to Myself: Reflections for Nurturing a Woman’s Body and Soul (1998) by Marion Woodman &Jill Mellick; also The House of Belonging (poetry) by David Whyte. Enjoy!

Hilary Kinavey - February 15, 2014

I love a book list! Thanks for sharing. I’m really enjoying Feeding Your Demons by Tsultrim Allione right now. Enchanting and practical and wise at the same time.

    jenniferlouden - February 19, 2014

    I liked the book very much!

Christine Garton - February 15, 2014

Shift Happens by Robert Holden is my all-time favorite. Anything by SARK, especially Inspiration Sandwich, which is the first book of hers I read.

Ang Wilson - February 15, 2014

This makes my eyes shine, LOVE love love book lists, like Christmas only miles better. My favourite book is The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak – gorgeous

Body Image Boosters From The Blogosphere 3.2.14 | Weightless - March 2, 2014

[…] shares her favorite inspirational books, and Susannah shares her list, […]

tanja - March 3, 2014

Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. So, so helpful on shame, self compassion and loving our demons. I turn to it again and again, it is such a balm and steadying guide.

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