How to change your life - reading list

How to change your life: the reading list!

Now, it’s been on my list for a long time to put together a handy list of personal development books that will change your life. I’m dedicating this blog to Robert, Debbie and Amie who have asked and prompted me to share this list.

I’ve read hundreds of books in the last 24 months and these are the books that shook me to my core, taught me something new and really contributed to the change in my life.


The Alchemist, Paulo Coehlo

This book was the one that helped me realise I had a destiny to fulfil; that I had more to do in life. It showed me that it was okay to leave behind what I had to go in pursuit of life’s great treasure: to fulfil ‘my personal legend’. It taught me that we all have a purpose and that when we set off the direction of our dreams, the whole Universe will conspire to help us.

It’s told as the story of a shepherd, Santiago, who dreams of travelling the world in search of a worldly treasure. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers, and from there into the Egyptian desert, where a fateful encounter with the alchemist awaits him.

The book is so light and yet so profound. It’s so readable and yet it will stir your soul. It’s the most life changing book I’ve ever read and this is why I insist on sending everyone who joins my 6 Week Kickstart a free copy. This is required reading and will change your life.

I have fond memories of reading this at Seaham Hall; a beautiful sea-side spa in Seaham in the North East of the UK. Alice Allum gifted this book to me and changed my life. 


The Power of Now: A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckhart Tolle

Okay. Wow. This book helped me to realise that we have two voices. The voice of our higher being (our spirit, soul, purpose) and the voice of our ego (fear, separation and lack). Our ego wants us to believe we’re separate from each other, that we can’t do something, that we’re not enough and that we should look beyond ourselves for fulfilment. Our ego pushes us to reflect on what went wrong and builds fear for what is coming in the future. But this is all false. Nothing really exists but this present moment and when you surrender to it – the present moment – all fear, worry and anxiety slips away.

This book is all about ‘living in the now’ and is great for anyone who wants to ‘wake up’ or anyone who tends to worry a lot. Like I did!

I have fond memories of reading this in the bath in our beautiful flat in Manchester. Some nights, crying with fear, I’d turn to this book and feel immediately calmed. 


Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifestation, Dr Wayne W. Dyer

One day, Alice and I got paid and had enough money to buy a book each for the first time in monthsss. (Writing this brings tears to my eyes because we were in so much debt we couldn’t even afford a new book and books are like oxygen to us.) We went to Waterstones in Darlington (this is before we’d move to Manchester) and we spent all afternoon looking through the books. As we stood up to leave (we were both kneeling on the floor trying to make our final selection), this book almost fell off the shelf. I picked it out and handed it to Alice saying ‘I think this is for you’. I felt compelled to give her it. She fell in love with the book and bought it.

This book reminded us both just how powerful we are. It taught us that we can have, be, do anything we want in life, and more than that – it is already done. One of the main things I remember about this book is that the words ‘I am’ are the most powerful words you can utter. Pay careful attention to what follows those words for that is what you manifest.

Wayne Dyer died in August 2015 and Alice and I both felt like we’d lost a friend. I have fond memories of Alice reading nearly every page out loud to me at my parents house in Northallerton. We didn’t have a penny but we had hope. And through the book we learnt the art of manifestation. 


Light Is The New Black, Rebecca Cambell

This book is such a lovely and uplifting read. Each chapter is only a page or so long and it’s all about ‘working your light’. It calls modern day ‘light workers’ to rise up and live a life of passion.

When I read this book I really got the sense that the world was changing. It has changed. There is a movement sweeping the world: it’s the rise of feminine energies. A move from a patriarchal society to a matriarchal society where there is room only for integrity, truth and light.

In this book, I particularly liked the story Rebecca told about waiting for a sign. She says so many bad things happened to her in succession and she turned to God and said ‘why is this all happening to me?’. The reply came: ‘you asked for a story and now you have one. Go do your work’. It made me realise that our struggles can become the very way we connect with others and the platform on which we build our new lives.


How We Are (How To Live), Vincent Deary

I bloomin’ love this book! It’s so unique and well written. In this book Vincent Deary talks about what it means to be human, why we do the things we do and why we tend to live our lives on autopilot. This book helped me to realise that we tend to follow the beaten path and that to change our lives we must be prepared to break the mould and go against the norm. He also explains so beautifully through real, every day stories why this feels so damn uncomfortable.

One of my favourite ideas from this book is that change starts as a rumour from distant lands. We hear from someone outside our circles that there is a different way to be, do or think and it pricks our curiously. It’s hard to ignore that curiosity and so the journey of change begins.

I loved this idea so much that I shared it at my next live DARETOGROW talk in Newcastle.


More to come…

Here are more books I  l o v e. Books that have been the catalyst and the guide through my transformation. I’ll add more insight to each one over the next few weeks.

Awaken The Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Life, Tony Robbins

Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us, Seth Godin

All My Friends Are Superheroes, Andrew Kaufman

Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression, Sally Brampton

The Ten Secrets of Heaven: Mysteries of The Afterlife Revealed, Theresa Cheung

The Magic, Rhonda Byrne

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation, Parker J. Palmer

Eat Pray Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything and Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Liz Gilbert



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