FEel FRee to HElp YOur SElf

My friends looove funny stories. The go-to recipe for a witty narrative typically involves a boy whose name no one will remember tomorrow, a heavy dose of self-depreciation, and of course details exaggerated for laughs. Now, keep that in mind as I share the tale of one of my girlfriend’s gentleman callers. He had come to pick her up at her apartment for a nice night on the town. But she had just broken up with “the love of her life” and in hopes of getting over the chap she had purchased every self-help book at Barnes and Noble. The books sat neatly stacked in a pile on her coffee table, tagged and underlined, with titles like “He’s Just Not that into You“, “The MANual“, “Why Men Marry Bitches“, “Why He Didn’t Call You Back“. The books had helped her get back in the dating game, but when that night’s date saw her overwhelming collection, it’s needless to say, he cut the night short.

As my friend told this story over brunch last weekend, I was surprised by how many knowing looks and nods she was getting from the other ladies at the table.

Personally I’ve never been one for “self-help”, the only book I have sitting on my coffee table is an oversized New Yorker cartoon book. But that’s not to say that I haven’t read inspiring books or in helping one’s self. Quite the contrary. Here are some of the books that have recently touched my life, changed my thinking, and warmed my heart. And I’m not positive but, I don’t think that any potential suitor would have a problem seeing them on your bookshelf.

The Artist’s Way is a book that I think every writer, painter, designer, mother, son, aunt, uncle should own. While re-reading it on the subway recently, the man next to me tapped my shoulder and told me how much the book had helped him tap in to his creativity. Similarly, When Things Fall Apart, is not only one of my favorite books, but many of my friends’ as well. The author, a buddhist nun, writes about how to live life in the kindest, most aware way possible . I swear, you can actually feel your heart smiling as the pages turn. Prince Harming Syndrome is a hilarious, yet insightful book by a mentor of mine, Karen Salmansohn. She is not only witty, but dead-on in her advice.

If it were not for the The Female Brain I would have a lot less to talk about at cocktail parties. It is a must-read for every woman. The last book I want to mention, Women, Food, and God was just featured in O magazine this month. Body image, food, and self-worth are topics that all women deal with and this book is wonderful in its love-thyself approach. The message is simple and yet, groundbreaking.

As a side note, all of these books are penned by women. Just sayn’.

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