A Few of My Favorite Things: The Book Edition

book collage 1

For other personal recommendations, see also my first “A Few of My Favorite Things” post from July of 2011.

second edition came of favorite things from June 2013.

And this post on my favorite books, websites and programs in March of 2011.

In this edition I want to tell you about the things I read and worked on in 2013 that had a positive impact on my personal growth.  None of these are affiliate links.  I am recommending solely from my heart.  I also just want to mention that I am an enormous bookworm and read over 40 books every year, mostly fiction, so these are just the tip of the book iceberg  These are largely non-fiction recommendations in keeping with the purpose of my blog.  Enjoy!

Online Programs/ Digital Books

1.  Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map.

desire_introducingI bought Danielle’s first multi-media product The Fire Starter Sessions back when I was just beginning my business and it helped me set the foundation for all that was to come.  The Desire Map, which can now also be purchased as a print book (the same way The Fire Starter Sessions turned into a print book called The Spark Kit), takes it to the next level.  Danielle turns goal setting and achievement on it’s head by asking NOT “What do you want to accomplish?” but rather “How do you want to FEEL?”  She explains a bit of the process in this interview with Marie Forleo here:  http://www.marieforleo.com/2013/12/danielle-laporte-goals-desire/  This is not a book you sit back and read.  Rather this is a workbook and series of writing prompts that will leave reams of scribbled upon paper across your desk.  Just the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it.

Incidentally, this book contains one of my favorite quotes of all time:  “The journey has to feel the way you want the destination to feel.” You have heard me say as much about the weight loss journey many a time.

The digital book also comes with audio and playlists and tons of cool interactive online components.


2.  The Fat Loss Trouble Shoot, by Leigh Peele.

fltI have been a huge fan of trainer Leigh Peele’s tell-it-like-it-is approach to body transformation for many years.  She has several great products, cookbooks (not vegan, but the vegetarian ones have vegan recipes), and a very helpful membership forum.    I bought her digital product The Fat Loss Trouble Shoot this year to learn how to help those clients who appear to be doing everything “right” and are still not achieving the results they want.  Leigh has the answers, but make no mistake, it is a bitter pill for many to swallow.  She explains down to the calorie and gram why most of us are still over-estimating the calories we burn and under-estimating the calories we eat.  The book is full of the best science, the coolest number crunching, the details on the hormonal impact of “dieting down” and why it is so damn hard for most of us to permanently lose weight.  Understand and practice what Leigh presents and you will achieve the results.   Yo-yo dieters, this is especially for you!   If however, you’d rather wallow in “I’ll just do it my way, not count or measure anything, and hope for the best. Or better yet, find the latest drop-fat-fast fad diet.” you will hate this book.   It’s the straight dope.  The digital book comes also with audio read by Leigh if you are a listening type learner.

Real Books

3.  Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins

downloadTwelve years ago, a chance encounter with this book changed the course of my life.  This year, I found and re-read the book.  It is stunning.  But again, for people who want to take responsibility for their lives and make actual changes in the ways they think, believe and behave.  I wrote more about it in this post HERE.




4.  Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, et all

download (1)The subtitle of this book is “Tools for talking when the stakes are high.”  I read it because my entire work revolves around having such conversations with people.  But truly this would be a helpful book for every single person on the planet!  One if the key concepts I learned to recognize is that when a conversation becomes “unsafe” for one or more participants, he/she will often turn to either Violence or Silence – lashing out or going silent.  To get things back to a productive place, you must ask yourself “What do I want to achieve with this exchange?”  If the goal is to irreparably offend this person but remain righteous and right, then continue on your present course.  But if you want to reign silence/violence back into productive dialogue, you will likely have to take steps to make the conversation safe again for the person(s) you are speaking with.  This should be required reading for every person on Facebook, heck, on the internet anywhere!


5.  Finding Ultra – Rich Roll

FINDING-ULTRA-COVER-FINAL1Rich Roll is a 40-something triathlete and a vegan.  This is his life story.  I found it shockingly, massively inspiring.  At one point Rich and a friend decide  “Hey, let’s do FIVE full triathlons in five consecutive days on the five different islands of Hawaii for no other reason but to say we did it.”  The things they put their bodies through and live to tell will make you take a long, hard look at your own seeming limitations (ie, you can do SOOOOO much more than you think you can!)



6.  Eat and Run – Scott Jurek

download (2)Also the memoir of a vegan endurance athlete, Eat and Run, is less swash-buckling than Rich’s book, but just as interesting and inspiring.  And it has delicious recipes for Scott’s favorite meals too!  Running inspo and vegan recipes -my idea of heaven on paper!




7.  Vegan Body Building and Fitness by Robert Cheeke

veganbodybuildingI read this years ago when it first came out and loved it, but was still not ready for weight lifting at that time.  As I hinted here, I am now firmly in the weight lifting camp and re-read Robert’s book for guidance.  Truth be told, Robert has since learned a lot more about nutrition and should probably do a re-write, as some of these recommendations are a little specious.  My personal favorite part of the book though is Robert’s Big Why:  His form of animal advocacy is by SHOWING what a human can achieve physically on a plant-only diet.  He works as hard as he does for the animals.  That speaks to me enormously!




8.  Drunkard: A Hard Drinking Life by Neil Steinberg

m3ktoQtLwaziTrQW4XvEcsQThe memoir of Washington Post columnist Neil Steinberg’s recovery from alcohol addiction.  If you are a food addict or wonder if you are a food addict, read this book and see yourself behaving with food the way an alcoholic does with alcohol.  You will also recognize Steinberg moving through the Five Stages of Change and understand that our recovery from any addiction must follow a similar course.




9.  Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott

Imperfect BirdsOK, this one is fiction and I actually read this last year, but Neil’s book made me think to include it in this list.  Anne Lamott is my all-time favorite author and I love her writing to the extent that if you don’t love her, I’m not sure we can be friends.  Imperfect Birds is the third book in the “Rosie” series, following Rosie and Crooked Little Heart, but it stands alone so you don’t need to have read the others.  This is another story of addiction, this time told by a teen drug addict, beloved daughter of a successful and high achieving family.  Again, as Rosie goes to greater and greater lengths to hide her addiction and it’s side effects from her parents and herself, so too will the food addict see herself mirrored in these deceptive behaviors.  This book will crack your heart open and humble you to the very core.  I read it alternating between madly underlining passages, scribbling out quotes, gasping at the incredible way Anne uses words, to sobbing my eyes out over the story.  I turned the last page a changed person where my own addiction is concerned.


10.  Eat to Live by Dr Joel Fuhrman

download (3)So now that you have come to grips with the addiction, what do you do about it?  Eat to Live is the manual for overcoming food addictions.  I have read it literally hundreds of times, sometimes rejecting it as all out impossible, other times seeing in it the truth of what must be done.   Dr Fuhrman’s Nutritarian diet is largely vegan, extremely high in plant matter and low in everything else:  no salt, very little oil, no sugar, nothing processed.  It is not easy to implement or stick with and normally that would make me disqualify it as a realistic long-term solution for anyone, but honestly, this way lies the path to ultimate food freedom, I feel quite certain.  Read it.  More than once.  Let it sink in.



OK, so next post will be my Favorite people to follow, blogs to read, emerging trends etc.  Until then, fire up the kindle!


  1. Great list. I have only read Eat To Live but I feel like we’ve taken a similar path. I have also moved towards a strength-based circuit at the gym. I look forward to seeing what else you recommend reading next 🙂


  1. […] my last post, I wrote about my favorite non-fiction reads for 2013.  While several of those picks were packed with capital I Inspiration themselves, today I want to […]

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