Some books make you smarter. Some take you to another place and time. And some transform you altogether.

The latter are few and far between, but when they come along, nothing is ever the same. Here are my picks for life-changing reads of 2016.

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

I know, it sounds extra “new age-y” (and it kinda is) but this book has completely upended the way I think about life and look at the world. There’s not one single person I’ve spoken to who has read this book and not felt similarly. I’ve purchased it for the hardcore skeptics in my life and they all tell me the same thing – they are completely rapt within the first few pages.

A New Earth explores the destructive power of the ego, both in its individual and collective forms, and the need for a universal awakening to the fact that in essence, we are all the same. Tolle offers a fresh and somewhat eastern perspective on how we as individuals must focus on manifesting the divine qualities within in order to rid humanity of the evil that pervades global society. He unabashedly challenges traditional conventions about all sorts of things from faith to addiction, even parenthood and career. And his straightforward, no-nonsense style rings true throughout.

Needless to say, this book is not for everybody. But if you’re at a stage in life where you’re trying to be the best person you can be, direct as much love into the world as you can and inflict as little pain on others as humanly possible, then READ THIS BOOK. You won’t be sorry.

Originals by Adam Grant

Around midyear, I found myself facing a major business decision which left me feeling completely inadequate. Then I read Originals by Adam Grant.

In this super-smart book, Grant explores the ways that great leaders navigate the rode less traveled to achieve groundbreaking success. What I especially appreciated about this book is the way Grant debunks commonly held myths about how people succeed.

For instance, failure is okay, even expected if you choose to push pass the status quo.

The willingness to take on risk is not a genetic dysfunction experienced by the few, but rather a skill that can be built.

And when it comes to ideas, quantity is almost always better than quality. Just ask Thomas Edison who produced 2,332 patents. I bet you can only name one.

Most importantly, the book gave me a good kick in the pants and license to get up, dust myself off and get back in the game. It was a game-changer for this out-of-the-box thinker, and if you’ve decided to be a non-conformist in any area of your life, you’ll appreciate it too.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Don’t laugh.

I know what you’re thinking…life-changing magic of what? What’s so life changing about tidying-up and why should I care?

I thought the same thing, but the book came highly recommended and I figured it couldn’t hurt. What I got was not only a methodology for organizing my closets and drawers but a framework for living a more high-quality life!

Kondo’s method for keeping a tidy life and home is built upon a core tenet, YOU MUST PURGE! And because she understands all of the psychological jujitsu that we humans like to employ, she walks you through her ironclad process, step-by-step.

When it’s all said and done, the only items you’re allowed to keep are those that “give you joy”. As I moved through the process, I was shocked by how many objects in my home just occupied space and added very little value to my life. I began to pay attention to the emotions that things and spaces created and I realized that clutter made me anxious and certain items (like dresses that didn’t fit) actually made me sad. Once I saw the effect that tidying had on my mood and the ways it made my life more efficient, I began applying the principles to other areas as well.

Asking myself the question, “does it give me joy?” has updated everything from my shopping habits, to the business opportunities I pursue, even the relationships I maintain. If it doesn’t give me joy, it’s got to go.

If the clutter of life is driving you nuts or you just need some help finding your way back to the things that matter, do not hesitate. This book is for you.

So, now it’s your turn. Help me build my 2017 list. What books have changed your life in 2016?

Originally published on Huffington Post. 

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