Reading as much as I do, it’s hard to narrow the stacks of great books down to a handful of memorable classics. Here are the top ten books that really stood out and made a difference in my life in 2014:
Best Books 2014
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. This may be my favorite book of the year. Yes, there are plenty of self-help books that say virtually the same thing as Sincero’s book, but almost none do it with attitude. I love the humor, honesty, intimacy, personality, and daring of the author. I love the book so much I reached out and interviewed Sincero for my podcast. She’s sincere, funny, open, and a living badass of the polite I-won’t-hurt-you but I’m-going-for-my-dreams-so-stand-back sort. Fun, wise, empowering. Read it.
Spartan Up! by Joe De Sena. This one lit a fire under my butt and made me want to get out and run up steep hills with my shoes on fire. Since I’m already working out intensely, thanks to personally training with Body-for-Life fitness legend Bill Phillips, I didn’t feel compelled to enter a Spartan endurance race. But I found this book inspiring, motivating, and heart pounding. I love his concept of “obstacle immunity,” which means hard core exercise builds inner strength to easily handle the stresses of normal life. He’s right. After intense exercise, traffic is nothing. Great book.
The Science of Living by Emmet Fox. This book clearly explains the teachings of New Thought pioneer Emmet Fox, most famous for his little books, such as The Mental Equivalent and Make Your Life Worthwhile. Though Fox taught and published in the 1930s, The Science of Living is a recent publication based on his private classes with metaphysical students. I love its clarity, plus it made me feel like I was in the room with him. This fully explains what the philosophy of Mind Science is all about. A true gem.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I’ve read this 1937 classic before, of course, but after reading a recent biography of Carnegie (Self-Help Messiah), I decided to read it again. It is a masterpiece. I am in awe of Carnegie’s conversational writing style, powerful stories, and crisp message. I wish just one of my books was this good. The message, while simple, is as relevant today as it was over the last several decades. Priceless.
Making the American Body by Jonathan Black. I found this book hypnotic. It masterfully tells the story of the men and women who shaped fitness in the United States. That may sound boring to you but believe me, the feats, feuds, and fuss of the often egomaniac men and women who urge us to get fit is an entertaining, enlightening, and even appalling read. My only disappointment is the author somehow left out Bill Phillips, who is a living legend in fitness. Otherwise, riveting.
A Moment in Time: The Steve Reeves Story by George Helmer. I’m one of the biggest Reeves collectors in the world. I have the famous body builder/movie star’s gym, car, clothes, trophies, and more. My collection is impressive enough that Lou Ferrigno (The Hulk) came to see it. This long awaited biography, by Reeves’ personal friend and executor of his estate, is mesmerizing. The hundreds of photos are worth the price of admission alone. The stories are alive. It’s a loving tribute to a legend; the definitive biography of the original Hollywood Hercules.
The Devil’s Horn by Michael Segell. As you may know, I’m now a saxophone player. (Afflatus, my baritone sax album, came out last month.) This is the hands-down best book ever written on the dramatic roller-coaster history of the sax, an instrument once considered the “devil’s horn” by some while others swooned to its cool sound. It was once the most popular instrument in the world (until the guitar got plugged in). The man who invented the sax – named (no surprise) Adolphus Sax – went through business failure, ridicule, controversy, political manipulation, envy, and even a death threat. An astonishing book.
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. Nicholas Herman, later known as Brother Lawrence, lived in France in the 1600’s as a kitchen working monk. He dedicated his life to constantly living, working, playing, and praying “as in His presence” at all times. “His” means God. If the God word pushes a button in you, exchange it for Divinity or something else. This little book of conversations with, and letters by, Brother Lawrence has been changing lives for centuries. It did mine, too, and deeply influenced the writing of my forthcoming book, The Secret Prayer. There are numerous editions of this holy work around, many published in English for the first time around 1895. Highly recommended.
Managing Thought: How Do Your Thoughts Rule Your World? by Mary J. Lore. I love the direct simplicity of this well crafted book. It helps you understand what your thoughts are doing, whether you are aware of them or not. Of course, once you are aware of your thoughts, you are now separate from them and more in control. A practical, inspiring guide.
Willpower: The Owner’s Manual by Frank Martela. This brief book surprised me with the 12 tools it describes for “doing the right thing.” I expected fluff, I got wisdom. People often resist will power, thinking it is pure ego or pure pain, when in reality will power is what you often need to align your desires, achieve your intentions, and attract what you want. Great book. Will yourself to read it.
And here’s a bonus title —
You Are the Placebo by Joe Dispenza. I’m not a fan of so-called scientifically based books describing how the world works, mostly because I can’t follow their terminology and the authors often disagree with each other, but this book is easy reading, easy to understand, and truly eye opening. Dispenza explains how it is possible to heal many “incurables” with thought alone, by detailing how the mind influences everything. In a way, this is a manual on how to create the placebo effect as needed. I read every word. Fascinating.
What about you?
What did you read this year that moved you?
Please post your comment below.
PS – My list of best books for 2013 is at http://blog.mrfire.com/best-books-of-2013/
loved and esteemed teacher Vitale:
since the first time I saw the movie the secret you’ve become a guide that has helped me to see the world with a new way of thinking and seeing things differently to the degree of save my marriage from a change thinking and acting and I follow with great admiration and a very special and continuous appreciation with advice and teachings as much as possible and lately strict work on attracting the opportunity to meet in person and shake his hand
I send you greetings and blessings
THANK YOU TEACHER
The best books I’ve read this year are [and for most of these titles, I even have photos of pages from the book on my phone! :)]:
* The Prosperity Bible published by Tarcher-Pengquin – This is a book that includes 19 or 20 books from authors like Napoleon Hill, Ben Franklin and Florence Scovel Shinn. It offers great insight on abundance thinking.
* Faith by (you) Joe Vitale – This book was thought provoking and encouraging during a challenging time earlier this year. The problems we face are only temporary, don’t get bogged down by adversity.
* Smart Start-ups by David Silver – It talks about the psychology and business model of online communities.
* The New Psyco-cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz – Greatest insight, “Human beings always act and feel in accordance with what they imagine to be true about themselves and their environment.”
* Tune In by Sonia Choquette – Great primer on intuition.
* A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson – Teaches how negativity can be healed through a shift in perception.
* The Attractor Factor by (you) Joe Vitale – A classic. The greatest reminder from reading it this time: “What you visualize (or image) in your mind with intense feeling (whether love or hate) will tend to be attracted into your awareness and life experience.”
Hi Stacey. Thanks for the honorable mentions. 🙂
Thank You for the insight! I asked for E-reader for holidays! I can’t wait to read some you posted.. I love my books & my bookshelves are maxed out, flowing to garage. I can’t part w/any. Guess I could add an addition to the office!
This year I was moved by: Transformation, Bill Phillips. The mindset work. I feel you can’t reach your desires in life until you get hold of your own powerful mind!
At Zero, any guess by who? I love Ho’oponopono, The simple 4 phrases keep me grounded when my mind runs wild.
I can See Clearly Now, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. A Memoir that moved me on a Divine level. It showed me that the crazy path I’ve been on is the right path.
I could say something GRAND about every book I read this year!
Hi Leah. Great selections. 🙂
Thank you very much for your books review.
Following are “magic” books about healing and more,
I would love you to take a look and comment and maybe some time you may also have time on meeting the author as I believe you have lot to share:
Boths of Richard Gordon:
“Quantum Touch: The Power to Heal”
“The new human, Discovering and Becoming”
Hi Daniel. Yes, I know them and read them. Good stuff.
Thank you for your book list. Will try and read some of them this year.
I have read the following books this year.
E-Squared, Pam Grout.
The One Command, Asara Lovejoy.
The Answer, Glenn Harrold
The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
The Divine Matrix, Gregg Braden
At Zero by guess who. I wish I could find more of your books in book stores in South Africa. I was lucky to find At Zero, in one book store.
Wonderful post, Joe! It’s fascinating to learn what mentors, teachers and people I admire read. What we put into our minds generally – and specifically what we read – reveals who we are, and who we are in the process of becoming. These books are an empowering revelation, Joe! As always, thanks for your leadership.
Hello Mr. Fire,
I would like to read The Practice of the Presence of God. It seem like it would give great understanding and the wisdom I need to make it through some rough times.