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Bookshelf: Self-Improvement Books and Resources

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Old 5th August 2015, 8:41 AM   #1
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Bookshelf: Self-Improvement Books and Resources

There are a lot of self-improvement books out there. I read some of them, and sure, one was better than another. But the good reads did help me a lot. So, what books did you read? And why would you recommend that book to other people on LS?

Personally, my favorite was Feeling good; The new mood therapy by David D. Burns. Although the focus of this book is slightly more on depressed people instead of people with a broken heart (although sometimes the break up is followed by depression), this book really helped me to look at my own 'mistakes' from a different point of view. The techniques in this book taught me how to deal with negative and self-destructing thoughts. So, if you find yourself overthinking your mistakes in the relationship and beating yourself up over it, you will find this book really helpful.

I also read I can mend your broken heart by Paul McKenna. This book is also full of little mind tricks that will help you to recover from your break up and regain self-esteem. Don't expect miracles to happen by just reading the book though. But you will learn several useful techniques that you can use when you find yourself thinking about your ex, or your shared experiences, and feel bad about it. This book is a good read if you find yourself wondering how to effectively stop yourself thinking about your ex.

Also, I was wondering what your general opinion is about those self-improvement books. It's not something you brag about in the pub, or do you? Also I found that some people really get lost in those books, trying to improve themselves in a way that they will no longer have their own identity. Before reading those books I would suggest that you apply the techniques you need, but don't ever try to change who you are as a human being. You are unique, and you don't have to change anything about that!
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Old 5th August 2015, 9:23 AM   #2
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Oh boy...sooooo many!

I'm a huge reader but seem to have a real love for self-help books anymore. I'm the kind of person that is absolutely fascinated with people and what makes them tick and how to shift one's thinking etc. Being an eternal seeker myself I'm constantly looking to understand others but mainly myself and how I can become a better more whole human being.

As I've said there are countless books I've read over the years that have been life changing for me but a couple that I think are keepers, and ones I've referred to often on LS are;

The 5 Love Languages - Gary Chapman
Unhappiness in marriage often has a simple root cause: we speak different love languages. While working as a marriage counselor for more than 30 years, Gary Chapman identified five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. In a friendly, often humorous style, he unpacks each one. Some husbands or wives may crave focused attention; another needs regular praise. Gifts are highly important to one spouse, while another sees fixing a leaky faucet, ironing a shirt, or cooking a meal as filling their "love tank." Some partners might find physical touch makes them feel valued: holding hands, giving back rubs, and sexual contact. Chapman illustrates each love language with real-life examples from his counseling practice.

Spiritual Divorce - Debbie Ford
Divorce rocks the very foundation of our beings, leaving us feeling lonely, flawed, enraged, undesirable, hopeless, and empty. In Spiritual Divorce, Debbie Ford reveals how this devastation can be transformed into a profoundly enlightening experience. This empowering guide shows how the collapse of a marriage is, at root, a spiritual wake-up call, an opportunity to liberate ourselves and reclaim our lives.

The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz
Rooted in traditional Toltec wisdom beliefs, four agreements in life are essential steps on the path to personal freedom. As beliefs are transformed through maintaining these agreements, shamanic teacher and healer don Miguel Ruiz asserts lives will "become filled with grace, peace, and unconditional love."

The Purpose Driven Life - Rick Warren
Living out the purpose you were created for moves you beyond mere survival and success to a life of significance-the life you were meant to live. On your journey you'll find the answers to 3 of life's most important questions: The Question of Existence: Why am I alive? The Question of Significance: Does my life matter? The Question of Purpose: What on earth am I here for? Transform your life. Start your journey today.

And just about any book from Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer and/or Eckhart Tolle.

I also will go on record and say that Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain has also been very transformative for me.

(so hard to stop here but there you go...)

"Stupid is as stupid does" - Forrest Gump.

Last edited by Michelle ma Belle; 5th August 2015 at 9:26 AM..
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Old 5th August 2015, 9:30 AM   #3 Moderator Moderator
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Since this forum lacked any pinned threads, I decided it deserved one and resources for self-improvement meet the standard and moderation hopes members can find the information gathered into one place to be helpful.

One caveat:

No direct linking to anything for sale. Title, author, ISBN, a brief summary of content is fine. No discussion of self-improvement issues beyond the books or resources themselves and keep that brief. The thread is meant to provide an easy to read list of resources.

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Old 5th August 2015, 10:48 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Michelle ma Belle View Post
Oh boy...sooooo many!

I'm a huge reader but seem to have a real love for self-help books anymore. I'm the kind of person that is absolutely fascinated with people and what makes them tick and how to shift one's thinking etc. Being an eternal seeker myself I'm constantly looking to understand others but mainly myself and how I can become a better more whole human being.
I also find the topic very interesting. I sometimes feel like an Indiana Jones kind of figure, exploring the depths of my own being, searching for my hidden treasure. If it wasn't for my break up, I would never have even thought about reading these books.

While I am typing this I just started reading Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can not stop talking by Susan Cain. Since I consider myself as an introvert, I though I'd give it a try. Some 100 pages in, I find it mind blowing. It makes me feel so much comfortable that it's ok to just read a book at night instead of all-out partying. If someone also feels that being introvert is more of a bad thing than a trait, I recommend this book. Will update when I finish it.
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Old 5th August 2015, 12:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by NVO View Post
I also find the topic very interesting. I sometimes feel like an Indiana Jones kind of figure, exploring the depths of my own being, searching for my hidden treasure.
This reminds me of a Joseph Campbell quote
"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek."
I have always admired people intent on fully knowing themselves.

Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change
Pema Chodron

The Power of Now
Eckhart Tolle

The Untethered Soul
Michael Singer

7 Principles of Making Marriage Work (helpful for relationships in general)
John Gottman

The Art of Communicating
Thich Nhat Hanh

The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice
Deborah Adele

Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha
Tara Brach
**All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. ** ~Julian of Norwich
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Old 17th August 2015, 9:35 AM   #6
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A guide to 'Writing therapy'

This is a very helpful and powerful writing technique that I learned and I want to share it with you because I think that it will help some people a lot. I guess everybody on LS read the advice to buy a journal, and in my opinion this is a great idea. I did this myself too, but somehow I found that reviewing my day and how I have been doing was not enough to clear my mind. So I will provide a technique that hopefully will help other people as effectively as it helped me.

This is not a technique for the heartbroken only, use it whenever you want. I think this technique is very helpful, no matter what kind of problems you are dealing with.

Stages of writing
Instead of reviewing your day and feelings, this technique consists of three different stages of writing that you will complete. You have to take a good notion of your feelings, because only you are able to make the decision whether you are ready to move on to the next stage. The first stage is 'The Cesspit', the second stage 'The Rethinking' and the last one is called 'Orientate on a better future.' See what we are trying to do here? We're going to restructure your thoughts and turn all the negativity in something positive.

The process to complete all three stages can take up two weeks, or several months. There is no exact time limit, and there is no need for one. Just take your time and work through the stages at your own pace.

The technique itself
Every writing session will take about 45 minutes. It's important that you find a quite place at home where you will not be disturbed during this period of time. Make sure you set an alarm clock so you don't have to look up the time and can fully concentrate on writing.

Also it's important that you make a schedule for yourself. Pick three or four days a week, and make sure that those days and the timeframe remain the same while you are working on this technique. So if you choose to write on Monday from 6pm until 6:45pm, you will also have to do this on the next Monday, at the same time. Please note that it's probably for the best if you don't write before you go to bed. This technique can be very confronting, especially 'The Cesspit' stage, and it's important to plan something relaxing for when you are done. Read a book, meet up with friends, do something fun... I think you yourself knows best what will relax you. If you go to bed right after you are done writing, you could find yourself overthinking everything and rob yourself of some sweet dreams.

So, enough for the instructions. Let's get started!

Stage 1: The Cesspit
At this stage you will describe your painful moment as detailed and precise as possible. No holding back! Nobody else is going to read this, so make it a very uncensored version of your thoughts. To successfully pick up every detail it is important that you write in fist person. 'I see', 'I feel', 'I smell', 'I think', and so on, like you are reliving the past and going through the same experience all over again. Write down everything that you feel and think at that moment. Try to get to the bottom line of your problems. If you feel like crying, shouting or anything else, please do not hold back. Get off the brakes and let your emotions fly off the handle. But remember: same day, same time and something relaxing afterwards!

Stage 2: The Rethinking
When you are starting to feel less emotional pressure due to your previous writing sessions, you are ready for stage 2. In this stage you will be working on new feelings, thoughts and perspectives. Writing is a very powerful tool to organize your inner world, and that is exactly what you are going to achieve during this stage. Somewhere down the line in stage 2 you will start noticing that you will predict a brighter future for yourself, completely different from how you were feeling during the first stage.

During stage 2 you are going to take a step back and look at your situation objectively. During the writing, try to answer questions like: how do you look back at the situation now that you got rid of all the anger and pain? Did you learn something of it? Do you now feel different about something that you did not know at the time? If someone (like a close friend) is experiencing the exact same, what would you advice him or her?

Stage 3: Orientate on a better future
The last stage is all about your future! You will be writing about how you are going to live your life, not held back by bad experiences in the past. How does your life look like without all the pain and resentment? In what way will that what you've been through help you live your life in a better way? How can this experience help you or others in the future? Remember, no matter how painful and humiliating the experience, new opportunities and perspectives will rise from it.

In this last stage you will also prepare yourself for a possible relapse. Write something encouraging to yourself for when the hard times strike you again. The beautiful thing about writing and keeping this journal is you can read it all over again, every time you like! You will sometimes laugh at yourself when you re-read your sessions of the first stage. Enjoy that feeling!

Hope this will serve some of you in a good way!
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Old 10th February 2016, 10:32 AM   #7
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It's been a while but I would like to add two books to this list.

Do the work! by Steven Pressfield
Being someone who likes to write, I know what the famous 'writers block' feels like. This book always helps me through tough situations like that. It's writtin in a very unusual way giving insight in the creative process and how your mind works against you when you want to start or finish something. I think we all know the feeling: 'I really need to finish my homework. But first let me check Facebook. Oh what's this? That's an interesting page. I saw a website about this topic once. Let me see if I can find it..' et cetera. This book starts with the powerful and original metaphor (at least in my opinion ): 'On the field of the self stand a knight and a dragon. You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon.' So when you are feeling bogged down in a creative process, or just looking for some inspiration to do the work, try this book for sure.

How to become a 3% man by Corey Wayne
Ah, the all-time classic. Read so much about it I really wanted to give it a try. For those who do not know this book or author: it's a book that gives guys guidance in dating and teaches you how to become 'a 3% man.' I think this book has some very useful dating tips for guys. You can read this is you don't have a clue about dating, but Corey also gives you some tips on how to keep your marriage or LRT exciting. But did it blow my mind away with some awesome dating tips I've never heard before? Nah, not really.

What I do like about Corey is his YouTube channel. You should watch his videos because they always make me grin. At first I wanted to punch that smug of his face, but after some videos you really appreciate the guy. He is straightforward, which I like because the area I'm from has straightforward people too, and the letters from viewers or readers he uses always contain a situation you already have experienced or will experience too. So there is definitely something to learn from it.

The only thing that kept creeping in the back of my mind during the reading and watching was: 'How is it that you claim to have al this knowledge, but never seem to keep up a LRT Corey?' Because if you were to believe his words, this man can seduce any woman. But he never seems to keep them around. Even more annoying: he never mentions why. Seems pretty critical to me when you want to find out how to please your woman.

Last edited by NVO; 10th February 2016 at 10:37 AM..
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Old 18th March 2016, 7:34 PM   #8
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I read a lot of self improvement books at one stage. There were very few that had a big impact on my thinking and I felt a lot had stolen quite heavily from Buddhism.....

Having said that The Power of Now really did help me a huge amount. I was suffering from OCD and depression at the time and unable to think clearly at all. I remember reading it was the first time I could actually clear my mind of thoughts for a couple of seconds - not completely but a couple of seconds here and there and honestly just that fraction of peace gave me so much hope I could maybe one day recover....

In terms of interpersonal relationships the PUA genre gets heavily criticised, mostly because it deserves to be. Having said that The Game really helped me develop a sense of being equal to women rather than putting them on pedestals. It allowed me to have greater confidence when dealing with others. I didnt use it to sleep with hundreds of women I used it to simply give me some hope after a horrible breakup that I could date again one day.
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Old 27th April 2016, 9:34 AM   #9
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I have just had a difficult break-up and after reading He's Scared She's Scared, I can understand now the relationship with an active commitment phobic person, (I'm passive phobic) and how to avoid them in future. I picked her, and when she dumped me I didn't know what was going on. Now I do. It wasn't me. Her progressive distancing made me insecure. I tried to get closer which pushed her away. Wish I'd read this years ago!.
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Old 7th September 2016, 4:54 AM   #10
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No more Mr. Nice Guy by dr. Robert A. Glover
A real eye-opener for sure. This book exactly points out how the nice guy is formed in his younger years, what his traits are and how to become more assertive. When reading it, I recognized so many things. I like the way dr. Glover combines theory with numerous examples he studied. This book also contains some helpful excercises. It offers great insight in behavior some guys are not even aware of.

I somehow always realized I was a Nice Guy. I myself grew up in a household where it was just me and my mom. My dad cheated on my mother and in my younger years I tried to become nothing like my dad. I also felt responsible for my mother and therefore grew up with the unconscious belief of pleasing the women in my life. I lacked a male rolemodel. And in my past relationships with women, I behaved like a doormat. Even though I realized this and learned how to be more assertive myself, this book contributes to my learning curve.

The one thing I could not relate to is that somehow I got the feeling he is portraying the Nice Guy as someone who is selfish and bad. I also think there are several degrees in the Nice Guy (makes sense since every human being is unique), because some of the people dr. Gloves uses as examples in this book are Nice Guys into the extremes. I found it hard to relate to some of the men in the book, which made me question how much of a Nice Guy I really am / was.

Great book nonetheless. Give it a try if you feel like a doormat in your current or past relationship(s), with your spouse or at work. Learn how to treat others with respect, without disrespecting yourself.

Last edited by NVO; 7th September 2016 at 4:59 AM..
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Old 27th September 2016, 9:59 PM   #11
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The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind - Joseph Murphy. THE original from which every other Self Help\Create Your Own Reality book was derived. Still the most logical, succinct and useful tome in my library. Every time I use the techniques it works. No new age crap about vibrations etc. Just the meat.
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Old 27th September 2016, 10:44 PM   #12
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What a great idea for a thread

My recommendation would be:

A Gift to Myself: Personal Workbook and Guide by Charles L. Whitfield

ISBN-10: 1558740422
ISBN-13: 978-1558740426

"This is a gentle and effective workbook and guide to Healing the Child Within. It can be used with or without having already read Healing the Child Within.
Using numerous experiential exercises that the reader can do at their own pace, physician and author Charles Whitfield takes us on a healing journey into our inner and outer life. Once a reader starts this book, the healing process begins -- even if they rarely do any of its exercises."

I used it and got a lot out of it.

"We fly to get high."
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