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5 Favorite Feel Good Reads

5 of my favorite feel good reads to motivate, inspire and ignite.

I have always been a voracious reader but for most of my life it was all about fiction with the occasional memoire thrown in here and there. After completing yoga teacher training, I got sucked into the world of non-fiction and personal development kind of books. These days, I have a mix of fiction and non-fiction on my nightstand and am never without an inspirational/personal growth kind of download on my Audible app.

I especially love to listen to non-fiction. I find it to be such a great way for me to soak up a little inspiration during my day-to-day activities. Most often I listen to it in my car as I’m driving around town or on runs. I can’t tell you how much I have benefited from so many of these books and how much power they have to not only get me thinking but also to shift the mindset/emotional state I’m in.

This morning in my yoga class I was talking about the Four Agreements and gave all of my students homework to read or listen to it immediately. It got my wheels turning that I needed to share my favorite motivational/feel good reads with you!

The Four Agreements

The Four Agreements

If every human on earth read The Four Agreements, we’d be so much better off for it. I find myself referring to, “don’t take anything personally” and “don’t make assumptions” basically every single day of my life.

Here’s a highlight of the four agreements and you MUST listen or read ASAP. It’s a very easy and short read and so wonderful.

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret

Journey to the Heart

Journey to the Heart

If you feel short on time or just need quick daily inspiration, I love Journey to the Heart for daily meditations an uplifting messages. I often read from this book in class.

Big Magic

Big Magic

I listened to this book all through half marathon training last year and I LOVE it!

“Recognizing that people’s reactions don’t belong to you is the only sane way to create. If people enjoy what you’ve created, terrific. If people ignore what you’ve created, too bad. If people misunderstand what you’ve created, don’t sweat it. And what if people absolutely hate what you’ve created? What if people attack you with savage vitriol, and insult your intelligence, and malign your motives, and drag your good name through the mud? Just smile sweetly and suggest – as politely as you possibly can – that they go make their own fucking art. Then stubbornly continue making yours.”

I also love that she talks about not giving your art or passion the responsibility of being your livelihood. I can’t agree more that we sometimes put too much pressure on our gifts to provide and sometimes they just need to be our side-projects/passions.

The Fire Starter Sessions

The Fire Starter Sessions

I love this book so much that I’ve purchased it in bulk to give as gifts. It’s required reading for our 200-hour teacher training at the yoga studio.

Here’s a snapshot of what you’ll find in the book…

: Life balance is a myth, and the pursuit of it is causing us more stress then the craving for balance itself.
: Being well-rounded is over-rated. When you focus on developing your true strengths, you enter your mastery zone.
: Screw your principles (they might be holding you back).
: We have ambition backwards. Getting clear on how you want to feel in your life + work is more important than setting goals. It’s the most potent form of clarity that you can have, and it’s what leads to true fulfillment.

Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly

This is a long-time favorite. I would recommend all of Brene Brown’s books.

“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.” The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of. …Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didn’t get, or didn’t get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack. …This internal condition of scarcity, this mind-set of scarcity, lives at the very heart of our jealousies, our greed, our prejudice, and our arguments with life.”

This is just an introductory sample of the feel good books I love! I’ll post part two soon and in the meantime, I’d love to hear your recommendations and suggestions for feel good books you love!

{ 91 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Heather August 10, 2016, 8:30 am

    The Fire Starter Sessions is something that I think I need in my life right now! The Four Agreements sound like a great read and looks like things I already include in my everyday life.

  • 2
    Ashley August 10, 2016, 8:54 am

    I’d love to read The Fire Starter Sessions or Daring Greatly!

  • 3
    Janelle August 10, 2016, 8:57 am

    this is a great list!! hard to pick one, but I’d say Brene Brown’s. I’ve heard lots of great things about her books. Thanks Jen!!

  • 4
    Kim K. August 10, 2016, 8:59 am

    they all sound excellent, but i would go for daring greatly first. awesome giveaway!

  • 5
    Michelle August 10, 2016, 9:04 am

    The Four Agreements or Fire Starter Sessions would be awesome.

  • 6
    Erin August 10, 2016, 9:26 am

    Fire Starter Sessions and Daring Greatly have been on my “To read” list for ages! Would love to reach either!

  • 7
    Danielle August 10, 2016, 9:31 am

    Daring Greatly sounds like an intriguing read. I like the idea that we can’t fully enjoy the good things in life if we focus on the things we lack. Thanks for the recommendations!

  • 8
    Molly August 10, 2016, 9:33 am

    I’ve had Daring Greatly on my list for awhile. It sounds great!

  • 9
    Sherri August 10, 2016, 9:41 am

    Ugh having a hard time leaving a comment. Thanks for the recs! Been meaning to pick up Big Magic for a while now. Also, I sent an email about the half training but haven’t seen any emails. Just wanted to make sure you received it!

    • 10
      Jen DeCurtins August 10, 2016, 9:50 am

      Hey Sherri!

      Can you let me know what was difficult about leaving a comment? I’ve been trying to work with my tech guy on this.

      Second, I sent out the first half training email last night but I just checked my spreadsheet and had mis-typed your email address. I’m sending back out to you now!

      Thank you! 🙂

      • 11
        Sherri August 10, 2016, 10:17 am

        It was something about the OpenID process. I finally un-checked the “authenticate this comment using OpenID” and then it worked. And thank you!! I’ll keep an eye out for the email. Haven’t received it yet!

  • 12
    Caitlin Fallon August 10, 2016, 9:44 am

    I want to read all of them but I think I’d go with The Fire Starter Sessions first!

  • 13
    Caitlin August 10, 2016, 9:44 am

    I want to read all of them but I think I’d go with The Fire Starter Sessions first!

  • 14
    kaitlin August 10, 2016, 10:05 am

    I LOVED Big Magic and Daring Greatly (actually, all of Brene’s books rocked my world). Dying to read The Four Agreements!

  • 15
    Lisa August 10, 2016, 10:19 am

    This is a great list! I’ve already read 2 of the books, Daring Greatly and The Four Agreements, and have now added the others to my Amazon wishlist.

  • 16
    Hannah H. August 10, 2016, 10:30 am

    I have always strived to be a well-rounded person, and as I start my career in a month, I wanted to try to maintain the work-life balance. After reading your post, I want to read the Fire Starter Sessions to see if I should redefine the way I think about balance and goals on the cusp of this major life change!

    • 17
      Jen DeCurtins August 11, 2016, 11:57 am

      Just wanted to wish you good luck with everything as you start your new career!

  • 18
    Sara August 10, 2016, 10:41 am

    Absolutely love this post. I would love to read Four Agreements and Fire Starter Sessions!

    • 19
      Jen DeCurtins August 11, 2016, 11:58 am

      Thank you Sara!

  • 20
    Laura August 10, 2016, 10:50 am

    I’d honestly love to read any of these… I love these types of books that allow for self reflection. Always a good idea to continually try to better yourself! 🙂 Thanks!!

  • 21
    Ciara August 10, 2016, 11:02 am

    Jen, thank you for your wonderful blog posts and filling my life with inspiration! I would love to read “The Four Agreements.” I have heard about it from several people and all gave it rave reviews.

    • 22
      Jen DeCurtins August 11, 2016, 11:58 am

      You’re so welcome and thank YOU for the kind words!

  • 23
    Deb August 10, 2016, 11:11 am

    I would definitely love to check out The Firestarter Sessions 🙂

  • 24
    Allegra August 10, 2016, 11:30 am

    I have been wanting to read The Four Agreements for quite some time although they all sound great. And Brene Brown is so amazing, I love her work!

  • 25
    Emily Woods August 10, 2016, 11:34 am

    I would take any of these!!! They all sound great and I would be appreciative to be chosen!

  • 26
    Hillary August 10, 2016, 11:48 am

    I think Big Magic is something that I NEED to read right now as I work on figuring out my next career/job/what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life plan. Daring Greatly is definitely on my list, too!

  • 27
    Joy August 10, 2016, 11:53 am

    Such a great list! I just bought Big Magic to reread it (I read a library copy the first time) because the messages were so wonderful.

    I would love to read The Firestarter Sessions.

  • 28
    Samantha August 10, 2016, 12:02 pm

    I also loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic, her honesty shone through strongly throughout the book and it’s one that I’m glad I have on hand to revisit when I’m in need of a little motivation and a bit of an ass kicking haha! I have The Four Agreements on my list of must read books, it has been on there for a while. I’ve heard so many excellent things about it, it’s really time that I bring it into my life. I also have The Gifts of Imperfection on my night stand that I really should crack open. So many good books to read, not enough time in the day!

  • 29
    Julie August 10, 2016, 12:11 pm

    I would love to read The Four Agreements!

    A couple other books I’ve loved: “Carry On Warrior” by Glennon Doyle Melton & “For the Love” by Jen Hatmaker.

  • 30
    Samantha August 10, 2016, 12:29 pm

    I have heard so many good things about The Four Agreements in the past couple of days! Going to have to add that to my to-read list!

  • 31
    Ali White August 10, 2016, 12:34 pm

    Your posts are always great info – and motivating. I’m a yoga instructor as wel and love beginning my class with an intention. Can’t wait to look for the 4 agreements.

  • 32
    Meg August 10, 2016, 12:34 pm

    I would love to read Big Magic.

  • 33
    Connie August 10, 2016, 12:36 pm

    The first book I am going to read is The Four Agreements. The snapshot from the book totally hit home! Long story, short; I am on my high school reunion committe and there are two people on the committee that has just been alienating the rest of the committee and I think this book would help! The 2nd one will be the Fire Starter Sessions! I am also going to recommend Big Magic to my step daughter. She is 16 and sometimes has a hard time ignoring things other people say or do. I think Big Magic would be a big help for her!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • 34
      Jen DeCurtins August 11, 2016, 12:12 pm

      Have your daughter read The Four Agreements. I think she’ll get SO much from it.

  • 35
    Mollie K August 10, 2016, 12:41 pm

    I am a personal development fanatic and as a school psychologist having summers off I am cramming as much reading as I can. This summer I have read Mindset by Carol Dweck, Grit by Duckworth, and am in the middle of Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly. I read the 4 agreements years ago and it was life changing-I passed it on to someone and actually would love to re-read it. I feel like when I am feel stuck, those 4 agreements are great reminders to review and reflect on (even just reading your post was just what I needed to change my mindset-so thank you 🙂 )

    Anyway, with that said…I would love to read Big Magic!

    • 36
      Jen DeCurtins August 11, 2016, 12:10 pm

      Did you like Mindset and Grit? And yes, yes, yes to Four Agreements.

      • 37
        Mollie K August 11, 2016, 2:05 pm

        Yes! I would recommend them. They definitely go hand in hand…the ideas of having a growth mindset and grit helped me loosen up my perfectionist tendencies and focus on the effort, giving it my all, and having the drive and courage to constantly learn and persevere through various things. Also helps reframe “failing” big time and I now speak more gently with myself as well as with others.

  • 38
    Brittany August 10, 2016, 12:47 pm

    The Four Agreements has been at the top of my list for so long…not sure why I haven’t gotten to it yet. I’m leaving for the beach next week so it’s a perfect time to finally get on that.

    • 39
      Jen DeCurtins August 11, 2016, 12:08 pm

      Brittany – you MUST MUST MUST read it. Super quick and I know you’ll love.

  • 40
    Kalen August 10, 2016, 12:47 pm

    What a great list! Have been thinking a lot lately about how to shift from “live to work” into “work to live” mode; maybe The Firestarter Sessions could help with that? 🙂

    • 41
      Jen DeCurtins August 11, 2016, 12:08 pm

      Yes! 😉

  • 42
    Bonnie August 10, 2016, 12:58 pm

    I am an avid reader but usually read fiction for fun. I’ve been thinking lately of adding in more reads like this to make me think and for wisdom I can use in daily life. I’d enjoy reading all of these I think, but would probably start with Daring Greatly or The Four Agreements.

  • 43
    Andrea Davis August 10, 2016, 1:10 pm

    I have heard so much about The Four Agreements and would love to read it!

  • 44
    Liz N. August 10, 2016, 1:21 pm

    The Firestarter Sessions and The Four Agreements are the two I’d read. I just purchased Daring Greatly on Audible and have started to listen to it. I think I’ll be listening to a lot of books in the coming months during half marathon training. Thanks for the chance to win!

    • 45
      Jen DeCurtins August 11, 2016, 12:07 pm

      Best entertainment during long runs!

  • 46
    Katie D August 10, 2016, 1:31 pm

    Great list! I’ve read daring greatly and big magic, but would love to read “the four agreements”!

  • 47
    Rebecca August 10, 2016, 2:04 pm

    I already have Daring Greatly on my to-read list so obviously I want to read that one! I’ve never heard of the Fire Starter Sessions but it sounds right up my alley- adding it as well!

  • 48
    Jess R August 10, 2016, 2:23 pm

    I’ve been wanting to read Big Magic forever! Thanks for the recommendations!

  • 49
    Audrey August 10, 2016, 3:42 pm

    Definitely interested in “The Four Agreements” and the “Fire Starter Sessions”! I will likely purchase those as well as “Journey to the Heart”. I think that the last one would be great to carry around and read if you need a quick pick me up.

  • 50
    Hope August 10, 2016, 3:51 pm

    The Four Agreements is magic: it totally changed how I relate to people, in the best way. Everyone should read it. I’d like to read the Fire Starter Sessions. You buying it in bulk to give away is a pretty convincing recommendation 🙂

    • 51
      Jen DeCurtins August 11, 2016, 12:06 pm

      Yes, it is magic! FSS is definitely worth the read. I love the audio version too with Danielle LaPorte reading it!

  • 52
    Amy J August 10, 2016, 4:05 pm

    I feel like I need to read the 4 agreements now, and not wait for the giveaway!

  • 53
    Lauren August 10, 2016, 4:05 pm

    Wow Jen for some reason the excerpt from each of these struck a nerve and I found myself in tears by the end of the post. Obviously each of them would be useful in my life, but I think the fire starter sessions resonated the most. Your yoga students are lucky to have you!

    • 54
      Jen DeCurtins August 11, 2016, 12:06 pm

      Sending you a big virtual hug! xx

  • 55
    Rachael August 10, 2016, 4:34 pm

    I have read all of these except for the Firestarter Sessions! Great suggestions! I also love Glennon Doyle Melton (her book is Carry On, Warrior). So great! I actually bought the Journey to the Heart book a few months ago (I think?) when I saw it in a blog post that you mentioned it.
    I would love to read the Firestarter Sessions. I also would love a new copy of Daring Greatly – I own it but my chocolate lab ate a good portion of it when he was a puppy so it’s a little hard to reread!! 🙂

    • 56
      Jen DeCurtins August 11, 2016, 12:06 pm

      I listened to Carry On, Warrior earlier this year and really enjoyed it!

  • 57
    Megan August 10, 2016, 6:03 pm

    Great minds must think alike. I have read all of these except for the Firestarter Sessions! It’s been on my Amazon wish list, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I would love to win, but also think it’s wonderful you are sharing these great reads with others.

    • 58
      Jen DeCurtins August 11, 2016, 12:05 pm

      Awesome! I love Fire Starter Sessions…especially the audio when Danielle LaPorte reads it to you!

  • 59
    Jordan August 10, 2016, 7:21 pm

    The quote from “Daring Greatly” really spoke to me because I constantly find myself wishing I had more of something..more sleep, more time, more friends, etc…as if having those things would make everything magically better. It’s that whole idea of “the grass is always greener,” and it’s just not healthy because I forget to appreciate what I am lucky enough to have! I think that “Daring Greatly” would really help me keep that in the forefront of my mind. Thanks Jen! Great post, as always 🙂

    • 60
      Jen DeCurtins August 11, 2016, 12:04 pm

      Thank you Jordan! Glad you liked the quote. 🙂

  • 61
    Katherine August 10, 2016, 8:03 pm

    I’d like to read The Four Agreements. For the Love by Jen Hatmaker is the best read and the book I’ve been gifting most of my friends lately.

  • 62
    Rene' August 10, 2016, 8:43 pm

    Thanks for the recommendations! I’ve wanted to read The Four Agreements for awhile. Journey to the Heart and Daring Greatly also sound like interesting reads! Thanks for the opportunity!

  • 63
    natalie August 10, 2016, 9:56 pm

    I would love to read the fire starter sessions and the four agreements!

  • 64
    Maggie B August 11, 2016, 1:27 am

    I would love to read the “Fire Starter Sessions” or “Daring Greatly”. Both of the books sound incredible, and I am going through a huge self reflecting time and questioning my job and what I want out of life. These books and this post seem like a sign!

  • 65
    Allison August 11, 2016, 2:36 am

    I can’t wait to read The Four Agreements.

  • 66
    Autumn August 11, 2016, 7:37 am

    The Four Agreements! The excerpt above really hit home. I’ve keep reading it through.

  • 67
    Michelle August 11, 2016, 11:49 am

    I’ve read your #1 and I was just reading the “look inside” section of your #2 on amazon earlier this week! I’m not sure I would label “The Untethered Soul” as a “feel good read”, but I absolutely love it. I return to the passages I’ve highlighted time and time again for inspiration. Another self-help book I read awhile back is called “The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Two Many Passions to Pick Just One”. I’m definitely one of these souls and for many years I was trapped in the mindset of “Should I make this hobby/interest my job or career?” So, I love your advice about how it’s okay to NOT make your passion your career. Many folks despise their day jobs when they don’t really appreciate the opportunities it can provide them!

    • 68
      Jen DeCurtins August 11, 2016, 12:04 pm

      Hey Michelle – thank you so much for your recommendation. I want to look into that book and refer some of my students to it.

  • 69
    Laura P. August 11, 2016, 11:54 am

    Great post! Would love to read The Four Agreements and Fire Starter Series!

    • 70
      Jen DeCurtins August 11, 2016, 12:00 pm

      Thanks Laura! Great to hear from you!

  • 71
    Jennifer August 11, 2016, 5:10 pm

    I’m intrigued by the Fire Starter Sessions. Definitely going to bookmark that one!

  • 72
    Kara August 11, 2016, 7:26 pm

    They all sound great, but I’d like to read The Four Agreements!

  • 73
    Kara August 11, 2016, 9:56 pm

    I LOVE BRENE!!!! I just did a book study on Rising Strong this summer. Daring Greatly is wonderful too.

    I want to read all of the other ones you listed. I am an Elizabeth Gilbert fan and haven’t read Big Magic yet.

  • 74
    Lauren August 11, 2016, 11:46 pm

    I have been wanting to read Firestarter Sessions and Daring Greatly for so long now! Either one would be so great!

  • 75
    Grace August 12, 2016, 12:24 pm

    I would love the Fire Starter sessions! I have heard so many great things about them.

  • 76
    Christine August 12, 2016, 5:00 pm

    I would love to read The Fire Starter Sessions. Big Magic was an amazing read, I loved it!

  • 77
    Ellen August 12, 2016, 8:18 pm

    I love this post so much! Gotta love a book that makes you feel strong and powerful. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes is the most recent one I’ve read. I would love to read Daring Greatly, too!

  • 78
    Cara August 12, 2016, 9:46 pm

    I’d love to read Daring Greatly! 🙂

  • 79
    Alison August 13, 2016, 12:52 am

    I would love to read the fire starter sessions!

  • 80
    Sara August 19, 2016, 9:08 am

    I’ve always wanted to read Daring Greatly! Journey to the Heart also sounds interesting. I began meditating about a year ago using Tara Brach’s podcasts (and attending some in-person sessions in the DC area) and have really started loving the practice.

  • 81
    Beverly August 19, 2016, 9:49 am

    The Four Agreements sounds lovely and what I need right now.

  • 82
    Jessica August 19, 2016, 3:09 pm

    The Fire Starter Sessions! It’s perfect timing as I approach the due date of my second child & struggle to find “balance” as a part-time working Mom.

  • 83
    Alexa August 25, 2016, 3:48 pm

    wow too bad I missed the giveaway deadline, I would have LOVED to win one (of your many lol) copy of The Fire Starter Series. I’ll have to try to find it, along with the other three recommendations because they all really hit home! I hope the winners enjoy their books!

    • 84
      Jen DeCurtins August 25, 2016, 3:52 pm

      We’ll do it again soon! 🙂

  • 85
    Kristi September 8, 2016, 8:26 am

    As I just began yoga teacher training last night, The Fire Starter is resonating with me. I am currently reading Big Magic and am finding it very insightful and inspiring.

    • 86
      Jen DeCurtins September 12, 2016, 3:52 pm

      Ah! Congrats on YTT!

  • 87
    Sarah September 8, 2016, 8:46 am

    I am an avid reader as well, but also find myself mostly reading fiction and autobiographies. I’ve had friends recommend personal growth/spiritual books to me before, but they’ve never grabbed me. Am feeling a bit lost lately in life, what I want, where I’m going and how to make myself happy. I would love to win Big Magic, but will order it anyway after Friday. Thank you for the recommendations!!!

    • 88
      Sarah September 8, 2016, 8:47 am

      I’m an idiot, and read the date wrong…lol. Buying Big Magic today! Great idea for a give away, sharing a favorite book with another person is sharing a great adventure!

      • 89
        Jen DeCurtins September 12, 2016, 3:52 pm

        You will LOVE Big Magic!

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