Wanna take an inside look at what’s on my bookshelf right now?

Here are my hand-selected (and much beloved) favorite reads:


Inspirational, “Feel Good” Reads

Daring Greatly :: Brene’ Brown

Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown offers a powerful new vision that encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives. 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” —Theodore Roosevelt

Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Whether the arena is a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation, we must find the courage to walk into vulnerability and engage with our whole hearts.

The Happiness Project :: Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference.

Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts :: Regena Thomashuer

Relationship expert Regena Thomashauer teaches the lost “womanly arts” of identifying your desires, having fun no matter where you are, knowing sensual pleasure, befriending your inner bitch, flirting (in a way that makes your day, not just his), and more — because making pleasure your priority can actually help you reach your goals. So if you need a refresher course in fun — and you know you do — come to Mama.

Kick it Into High Gear Business Girl Reads

The Firestarter Sessions :: Danielle LaPorte

The Fire Starter Sessions is an apathy-kicking, integrity-infusing guide to defining success on your own terms. 

As the creator of–deemed “the best place online for kick-ass spirituality,”Danielle LaPorte’s straight-talk life-and-livelihood sermons are bold but empathetic. Danielle reframes popular self-help and success concepts.

4 Hour Work Week :: Tim Ferriss

Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.

Contagious :: Jonah Berger

What makes things popular? If you said advertising, think again. People don’t listen to advertisements, they listen to their peers. But why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral? Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering these questions.

Miscellaneous (AKA, Learning new “stuff”)

Crazy Sexy Diet :: Kris Carr

The New York Times Bestseller, Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet is an anti-inflammatory, vegetarian program with an emphasis on balancing your body’s pH by consuming more raw foods, organic green drinks and smoothies. Also included are instructions for Kris’s own 21-day cleanse, along with recipes, encouragement, and advice.

The Tipping Point :: Malcolm Gladwell

The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.

And because I’ve been terribly bitten by the travel bug…


 The Geography of Bliss :: Eric Weiner

Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author’s case, moments of “un-unhappiness.” The book uses a beguiling mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is. Are people in Switzerland happier because it is the most democratic country in the world? Do citizens of Qatar, awash in petrodollars, find joy in all that cash? Is the King of Bhutan a visionary for his initiative to calculate Gross National Happiness? Why is Asheville, North Carolina so damn happy? With engaging wit and surprising insights, offering travelers of all moods some interesting new ideas for sunnier destinations and dispositions.

 The Best American Travel Writing 2012 :: Jason Wilson

The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected — and most popular — of its kind.

 Vagabonding :: Rolf Potts

Talk about a game changer for me. I read this book a very long time ago and stopped asking myself, “What If…” and instead started planning for When. Vagabonding is about taking time off from your normal life—from six weeks to four months to two years—to discover and experience the world on your own terms. Rolf Potts shows how anyone armed with an independent spirit can achieve the dream of extended overseas travel.

The Sex Lives of Cannibals :: J. Maarten Troost

At the age of twenty-six, Maarten Troost—who had been pushing the snooze button on the alarm clock of life by racking up useless graduate degrees and muddling through a series of temp jobs—decided to pack up his flip-flops and move to Tarawa, a remote South Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati. He was restless and lacked direction, and the idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the earth was irresistibly romantic. He should have known better.