Hearts & Minds - Information for ChangeSM

Helpful Books
How to find robust good health, happiness, meaning and fulfillment in life

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Photo of lady reading book

Books share the wisdom of many smart, experienced people

Here are some books and DVDs I personally recommend on a range of topics (see links above).  These books help me to face the challenges of life and find joy, from my own personal life to helping make our world a better place.

You can save money and trees by borrowing these books from your local library. If you'd like to buy them, I suggest bestwebbuys.com for comparison prices including shipping. I've included direct links for some of the books below.

The short book reviews, below, are my personal opinions, not official Hearts & Minds positions. I strongly recommend using other sources of advice, too.

All these books helped me. I hope they help you, too.

      -Bill Blackman

PS: As many of the authors below agree, you'll help yourself better when you also help others. Here's our web page of help others books.

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Photo of lady exercising

You can also learn better ways to stay mentally healthy and physically fit

On psychology, addictions, physical health and the connections between them

Awaken the Giant Within, by Tony Robbins, is one of the most helpful books I've ever read. It offers wide ranging coverage of many helpful motivational, psychological, interpersonal and management techniques. Robbins gives credit to many sources, and he has succeeded in presenting a wide range of ideas in an accessible, easy to understand and practical manner.

Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection, by John E. Sarno
Good for a wide range of physical problems from asthma to strains and sprains. Even chronic, untreatable conditions can be helped. I've found it very useful with my chronic tendonitis. But as the author also recommends, be sure to see a doctor first before relying on his advice. Comparison prices

Undoing Perpetual Stress: The Missing Connection between Depression, Anxiety, and 21st Century Illness, by Richard O'Connor
Good for overcoming anxiety, depression, stress and the connection between physical and psychological problems. Also for understanding how our modern, materialistic lifestyle creates many problems for us. Comparison prices

When Talk is Not Cheap, by Mandy Aftel and Robin T. Lakoff* (Warner Books), can help you choose from many kinds of therapy and shows how to get more from it.

Willpower's Not Enough: Understanding and Recovering from Addictions of Every Kind, by Arnold M. Washton, Donna Boundy
There's important, interesting information on what drives addictions in the first two parts of this book. You can also go directly to Part III, "Recovery." It's filled with practical steps for overcoming addictions.

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Photo of an open bible

Many people believe that God created us with a spiritual side with a divine purpose for each of us

Spirituality, Ethics, Life Vision  

The Bible
Good source of inspiration. Much of it encourages us to think really deeply about the ethical effects of our actions. Isaiah Chapter 58 and I Corinthians 13 are good examples.
     My personal warning: The Bible is filled with symbolic and allegorical content. It can be very destructive to take it literally. Although I do not agree with many of The Dark Bible's conclusions about religion and God, I think anyone who wants to truly understand the Bible needs to think deeply about what a loving God really wants. Also of interest, from the same Nobeliefs.com website: Scroll towards the bottom of their home page for interesting content on "Religion & History" and "Science & Philosophy".
     I strongly believe in God, but I strongly reject the genocidal commands in the book of Joshua and elsewhere in the Bible. I hope I'll always have the strength of character to respectfully tell that to God (assuming God ever really commanded such horrible things).
     For me, the Bible is a major inspiration for social justice despite its difficult passages.

Warriors of the Heart by Danaan Parry
As reviewed by Amazon.com: "A handbook for bringing healing, passion and meaning into our lives and relationships through mastering the skills of the peaceful warrior. Based on the author's famous conflict resolution workshops, these techniques continue to be taught through the world today and inspire others to join the movement for personal and global transformation of mistrust, anger and hostility into usable energy for positive change." Comparison Prices

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How to have a happy life

Follow Your Heart, also by Andrew Matthews
This book goes into more details of Matthews' ideas on how to find happiness and success.

Happiness in a Nutshell, by Andrew Matthews
This little book has less than 80 pages of text. Each page averages maybe 20 words. But word for word, it's one of the most helpful books I've read. Here are some examples:

Your life is an exact reflection of your beliefs.
When you change your deepest beliefs about the world,
Your life also changes as a result.

The question is always the same:
Photo of lady making a split in the air
What are you going to do with what you have?
…The universe repays effort, not excuses.

Everyone fails.
But failure is not what hurts.
What hurts is to know that we didn’t make our best effort

Have the discipline to do the little things you don’t like.
And you’ll be able to dedicate your life to the big things that you really like.

God will not come down from a cloud to tell you:
Now you have permission to succeed!
You should give yourself that permission.

Motivation comes from doing things,
not from thinking about them.

Where do we get the idea
that if we don’t forgive people,
they suffer.

Courage is not the absence of fear,
It’s the determination to act despite it.
[Everyone has fear], so why not be afraid of something that’s worth the trouble.

To do what you like is not a recipe for an easy life.
It’s a recipe for an interesting life.

If you like the ones above, you'll probably like the book. The drawings, by the author, may seem silly to some, but some are quite impactful and funny.

What Happy People Know, by Dr. Dan Baker
Explains what makes us happy or unhappy and how we can use these insights to find greater happiness and fulfillment in life.

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Photo of students thowing graduation caps in the air

The more you know, the more you will succeed in the school of life

Secrets of Success
The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People: What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It, by David Niven
One of the best books on this subject I've found so far. Each of 100 short chapters gives an important factor that helps make people successful, based on plenty of research. Includes good summary of the quality, and examples to illustrate them.

Success for Dummies, by Zig Ziglar
Plenty of helpful information presented very clearly by one of the most successful, inspirational self-help authors and speakers. It's also a big plus that he explains that true success is not necessarily getting as rich as possible.

Talking the Winner's Way: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Business and Personal Relationships, by Leil Lowndes
Good for improvement of social skills, especially on how to make a good first impression with others. Very helpful for overcoming shyness. A good social life is important for happiness and for overcoming many physical problems. Comparison prices

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Photo of a woman with a camera

Picture life how you want it to be

Photography is a great way to share the beauty around us, as well as to communicate challenges and solutions we face in our lives and world. Two very good books for beginners and even more advanced photographers are:

The Art of Digital Photography by John Hedgecoe
This book is particularly helpful for improving your eye for great photos of just about every type of subject, from tiny plants to sweeping landscapes and skyscapes. Hedgecoe has written many other good books on photography, illustrated by his own excellent and wide ranging work.

The Joy of Photography by the editors of Eastman Kodak
This is a classic and will help you quickly imporove your technique, especially if you are a beginner.

And here's some helpful web pages:

The Kodak website may really have the "Top 10 Tips for Great Pictures" that can help you almost instantly improve your composition. The 10th tip also has a link to "More Advanced Techniques" that can help you further.

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Photo of eggs and bacon in a frying pan

You can learn the art of cooking. All you need are a few ingredients, a little know-how and some imagination

Cooking and Food
Our food choices have a big impact on our planet. And conscious cooking is a delicious way to improve your life and world:

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser
An investigative journalist's eye-opening look at the impact of fast food on our health and our environment.

Folk's, this ain't normal by Joel Salatin
A refreshingly quirky, humorous look at industrial agriculture and much more sustainable and tasty alternatives. Better still, Salatin gives many specific things you can do, from the easy to the world-changing. He is an innovative, highly experienced and very articulate farmer.

The Joy of Cooking by By Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker
This classic, first published in 1931, fully explains many basic cooking techniques. The recipes are fairly good, though in my opinion, not quite as interesting or exceptionally delicious as The Moosewood Cookbook.

The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
This is the best cookbook I've ever used. It includes dishes in a wide range of national styles. Every recipe I've ever made form it is delicious. Though I haven't tried it, many people highly recommend The Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook, also by Ms. Katzen. Both are written for vegetarian cuisine and sometimes the recipes are a little high on the butterfat. You can adjust this and still enjoy the end result. Many recipes lend themselves to the addition of some meat, and if one is going to eat meat, as I do, it's best to make it a smaller part of a wide ranging, healthier diet.

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Another good book on our food choices and their results.

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by Bill Blackman, Hearts & Minds president and volunteer
Copyrights: Entire website 1997 - 2015 by Hearts and Minds Network, Inc.. All photos on this web page by Microsoft Clip Art, This web page - http://www.heartsandminds.org/self/books.htm - online October 26, 2006, latest text and photos changes  January 3, 2012.


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