Man's Search for Meaning

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor E. Frankl

In this book, Holocaust survivor Dr. Frankl offers anyone who may be searching for answers to life’s chaos and dilemmas a very critical call to action by not telling people what to do, but why they must do it. Frankl’s story is one of hope and love, stating that, “We cannot avoid suffering, but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.” The foundation of my life has been hope so this book is at the top of my “must read” list.

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Letters to a Young Poet

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” Rainer Maria Rilke

This book is a beautiful argument and plea for us to live an authentic life, addressing the silent questions that exist in the deepest chambers of our hearts. With these words, we are inspired to have confidence and to trust our own feelings about our lives: “You are looking outward and of all things that is what you must not do. Nobody can advise and help you, nobody. Go inside yourself.” Rilke, gently teaches us, nudges us, to begin a search inwards. This is a key element of my work, “look inside yourself” for meaning, strength, love, and courage so Rilke has been a big inspiration for me.

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Practicing the Power of Now

“It is here, now, not in some distant future: a place within us that always is and ever will be beyond the turmoil of life, a world of calm beyond words, of joy that has no opposite.” Eckhart Tolle

This manual-style book based on The Power of Now offers us a guide for practicing the principles for living in the moment. Within this book are specific practices and clear keys that show us how to discover for ourselves the “grace, ease, and lightness” that comes when we simply quiet our thoughts and see the world before us in the present moment. You can read this book slowly, or even just open it at random, deepen your awareness by practicing the exercises, reflect on the words, and – maybe over time, maybe immediately – you’ll discover something of life-changing significance. You’ll find the power, the ability to change and elevate not only your life, but your world as well.

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You Are Here

Some people live as though they are already dead. There are people moving around us who are consumed by their past, terrified of their future, and stuck in their anger and jealousy. They are not alive; they are just walking corpses. Thich Nhat Hanh

This book is written by one of my most profound teachers and is a peace activist. I have been on several silent week-long retreats with him, and in this book Thich Nhat Hanh will help you feel inspired to establish ways to live life from a place of gratitude and peace. He states beautifully, “Here are things you can do to make your life better, go ahead, don’t hesitate, you can do it.”

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Into the Heart of Life

“Our mind with its incessant stream of thoughts, memories, opinions, hopes and fears is our constant companion, from which we cannot escape even in our dreams. So it makes sense to cultivate a worthy travel companion for our journey.” Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

This brilliant book gets to the heart of what keeps us from living our greatest, happiest life: the mind. This insightful Tibetan Buddhist nun is a friend of mine, and she writes so beautifully here, encouraging us to become our own best friend by understanding the workings of the mind.

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The Four Agreements

“If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn't walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don't need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.” Miguel Ruiz

This is a perfect pocket-size book for understanding how we create stories about ourselves and our lives in our minds. This well-known Toltec teacher says, “How can you know if what you believe about yourself is true? The truth is we have no idea who we are — we have been saying these stories to ourselves about ourselves for so long that that has become the image of ourselves Our faith has been invested in the lies about ourselves. It’s a story but it’s not the Truth.” Understanding these Four Agreements Don Miguel explains to us will change your life if you let it.

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When Things Fall Apart

"We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy." Pema Chödrön

We all know that things fall apart in our lives quite often — some in small ways, and others in big ways. I love the way Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun says this, “When things fall apart, that usually means we are on the brink of a change of some kind.” This book gives us beautiful advice on how to relax into what is and understand deeply that “This very moment is the perfect teacher.”

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The Gift of Change

"The only way to gain power in a world that is moving too fast is to learn to slow down. And the only way to spread one's influence wide to learn how to go deep. The world we want for ourselves and our children will not emerge from electronic speed but rather from a spiritual stillness that takes root in our souls. Then, and only then, will we create a world that reflects the heart instead of shattering it." Marianne Williamson

In this book, spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson gives us hope by detailing 10 basic changes we can make as we learn to view the world through the eyes of love instead of fear. She says, “The Universe is primed to start over again in any moment, and it is only our thoughts to the contrary that keep it from doing so.” I became more comfortable with the inevitable changes that will happen in life by reading the wisdom from Marianne.

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The Practice: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace, and Uncovering Happiness

"When living present, we are aware of the ordinary moments of our lives, which are extraordinary." Barb Schmidt

Yes, I’m including my own book here! As a meditation teacher and spiritual seeker for more than thirty years, I wrote this book to share my tips for putting into practice an easy to implement, 3-part, daily routine to help you find more confidence, feel less stressed, and find deeper meaning along life’s path.

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Love Warrior

"You are not supposed to be happy all the time. Life hurts and it's hard. Not because you're doing it wrong, but because it hurts for everybody. Don't avoid the pain. You need it. It's meant for you. Be still with it, let it come, let it go, let it leave you with the fuel you'll burn to get your work done on this earth." Glennon Doyle

I read Love Warrior in a weekend sitting. Glennon Doyle’s authentic truth, raw honesty, and vulnerability allow you to fully relate to the stories she so openly tells. There’s a life-changing takeaway for anyone who reads this book.

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The Alchemist

"And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." Paulo Coelho

This is a favorite of mine that I return back to often, whenever seeking inspiration or a gentle reminder of purpose and passion. The Alchemist opens your mind to believing that anything is possible, and that we all are here to do great things.

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Braving the Wilderness

"True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn't require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are." Brené Brown

Reading anything by Brené Brown is like getting a comforting hug from an old friend. Braving the Wilderness accesses the thoughts and feelings deep within us all and helps us to remember who we are and why we are here. A beautiful book on connectivity, belonging, and courage.

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Big Magic

"The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them." Elizabeth Gilbert

For anyone looking for a reminder of their own creative genius, Big Magic is for you! Elizabeth Gilbert takes us on a journey of tapping into what we are all here to bring into this world. I often refer to this book when needing a gentle nudge to create and inspire.

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The Power of Awareness

"Assume the feeling of your wish fulfilled and observe the route that your attention follows." Neville Goddard

This book is a beautiful reminder of the power of our mind and our thoughts. Have you ever stopped to wonder what it is you creating every day with the thoughts in your mind? Neville succinctly talks about the power of imagination and ensures us that it is possible to create the world that we wish to live in.

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The Artist's Way

"No matter what your age or your life path, whether making art is your career or your hobby or your dream, it is not too late or too egotistical or too selfish or too silly to work on your creativity." Julia Cameron

I’ve gifted this book to so many people I’ve lost track! The Artist’s Way is my go-to for incorporating a meaningful journaling practice, as well as tapping into our own source of creative inspiration.

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Barb & Michelle’s Top 15 Inspirational Books

Over the years we have poured through hundreds of books looking for inspiration and wisdom from great teachers around the world. Francois Mauriac wrote, “Tell me what you read, and I’ll tell you who you are is true enough, but I’d know you better if you told me what you reread.” Below are 15 books that we have read and reread.

⇒⇒⇒Click the cover of each book for our favorite quote, and our own reviews and takeaways on why we chose each book.

We only recommend products and services that we have personally tested or approved. For some of the things we recommend, Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life may receive a small affiliate fee.

Editors Pick

The Practice by Barb Schmidt

Barb offers readers life-changing spiritual guidance in an easy to follow format, and what makes this book so magnificent is that she has infused her own stories and struggles to help readers connect and learn.
Gabrielle Bernstein, New York Times bestselling author of May Cause Miracles