DORI’S RECOMMENDED READING LIST
~ Wisdom on how to show up consistently and powerfully no matter what life brings ~
Each book listed below has application in both the work place and in the home, in all parts of life.
Over the years, and on many occasions, I’ve been in conversations that end in the exclamation, “Who’s having these conversations? I want to have more of these kinds of conversations!” Whether casual and informal or formal and purposeful, meaningful conversations matter. They connect us to one another, to ourselves and to the mysteries of life, to that which wants to be known and is bigger than any of us alone. They poke us to wake up and pay closer attention to the people and circumstances of our lives. They ask us to have an opinion, take a stand, expand and explore who we are and what we believe in.
Everything I do, personally and professionally, has at its heart a fierce, fun, sometimes hard and usually meaningful conversation, whether that’s with myself, God/Source/Creator, my husband, sons, family members, friends and/or clients.
I believe in my heart that the conversation is the relationship. Whether done silently and through gestures, touch, a glance, a compassionate listening presence or through words - shouted, spoken or sung - the conversation is the bridge to meaning making, intimacy and deeper connections, an invitation to see and be seen, a nod to our individual and collective natures, and a gentle nudge to turn toward our interior lives and yearnings.
The books I’ve chosen to list here are among my many favorites. Their authors are as committed as I am to encouraging meaningful conversations and relationships. I have organized them into categories that have meaning for me – my guiding principles for life. May they stir something awake inside of you. May they encourage greater connection, consciousness and curiosity. For some of you, they will stimulate a desire for inquiry and depth work that needs company, an external witness or coach/mentor relationship to further nurture and nourish your soul. Trust your impulses and seek that out if you are so guided.
I invite you to let your relationship with these books (and the other resources offered here) point you to your true self, your interior life, inner yearnings and growth edges… and I encourage you to follow their lead, like a trail of breadcrumbs home to yourself, whether this makes literal sense or not. Trust your intuition, your heart and your body… give your rational mind a rest. Perhaps, for some of you, the true next phase of your life’s journey and transformation will begin right here, inside a conversation stimulated by a book and the hearts, minds and perspectives of the beautiful people who authored and gifted them to us.
May you find the courage to explore and enjoy many of “these kinds of conversations,” the kind that can help you to feel aligned and alive inside and out, and that encourage each of us to know, like, love and trust ourselves and one another. Use these books as an invitation to gather, share and grow together, as a leaping off point into the rest of your beautiful life.
Dori’s Guiding Principle #1: Put Relationships First – beginning with the one with yourself, the Divine within and around you, and others (aka, The Conversation is the Relationship – Know Thyself)
Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom, by William Glasser, M.D.*
Offers a new psychology that, if practiced, could reverse our widespread inability to get along with one another, steeped in the persistent belief that our relationship troubles are always happening in the now, never in the past…
Dancing in the Flames: The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness, by Marion Woodman and Elinor Dickson
The reemergence of the Divine Feminine in our time indicates our readiness to move to an entirely new level of consciousness. The reemerging Goddess calls for a shattering of rigid categories, a willingness to hold opposition. She calls us to marry reason and order to creativity, and to embrace the chaos that can ultimately lead to wisdom and transformation on personal and global levels
From the Boardroom to the Bedroom, Who Are You Being?: How To Go From Dead, Stuck, Uninspired & Surviving To Alive, Creative, Engaged & Thriving at Work and at Home, by Dori A. Klass
If you want to show up consistently, lovingly and powerfully in all parts of your life, no matter what life brings, then take time to revisit and firm up the fundamental foundations of your life. Become a student of healthy relationships and communication, check your assumptions, have rules of engagement and embrace practical and spiritual practices that support you to love your life.
Goddesses In Everywoman: Powerful Archetypes in Women’s Lives, by Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.
Using the natural progression of myths to archetypes to personal psychology to reveal our own stories and uncover intimate and timeless truths about ourselves and others. By tapping into the Goddess energies more active within us at any given time, we can tap into the powers of these archetypes and become a better “heroine” in our own life story.
Hansel & Gretel, by The Brothers Grimm
A story set in medieval Germany about the plight of two children who, betrayed by their parents, fall prey to a wicked witch. It is a coming of age story about lost innocence, growing up, family life, marriage, greed and choice – will we wake up, grow up, tap into our inner and outer resources and become resilient or will we stay young and asleep and risk becoming the victim, over and over again? It is about the journey from childhood to adulthood, rites of passage, wins and losses, and lessons learned from the real and imaginal realms.
The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge, by Beatrice Chestnut
The Enneagram, a universal symbol of human purpose and possibility, is an excellent tool for doing the hardest part of consciousness work: realizing, owning, and accepting your strengths and weaknesses. Chestnut traces the development of the personality as it relates to the nine types of the Enneagram, the three different subtype forms each can take, and the path each of us can take toward liberation and more authentic self-expression. Here you will learn to observe yourself, face your fears and disowned Shadow aspects, and work to manifest your highest potential.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull: A Story, by Richard Bach
A fable about following your own path, knowing and making your own rules and getting pleasure out of doing something well.
Self Observation: The Awakening of Conscience: an Owner’s Manual, by Red Hawk
This is about making self-study a priority and self-observation the primary tool; it is about restoring our ability to pay attention and, in the process, increasing our connection with conscience and one another. End result? The ability to experience more success in life and relationships.
The 7 Best Things (Happy) Couples Do, by John C. Friel, Ph.D. and Linda D. Friel, M.A.
Discusses 7 (+1) compelling factors that make up a truly great relationship. We are encouraged to look at our lives and relationships from slightly different angles, those subtle shifts that can mean the difference between happy and unhappy, successful and unsuccessful, satisfied or not.
Mating In Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, by Esther Perel
Can we desire what we already have? Does good intimacy always make for hot sex?
The Emperor’s New Clothes, by Hans Christian Andersen (published in 1837)
A timeless story about the negative and ridiculous effects of pride and greed. What happens when pride gets in the way of speaking up when we (all) know the truth?
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, by Eckhart Tolle
Takes us on a spiritual journey to find our truest and deepest self, to regain awareness of Being, liberated from Mind and intensely in the Now…Enlightenment. Awakens us to our role as the creator of our own pain and shows us how to have a pain-free identity by living fully in the present.
The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, by Esther Perel
Provides a modern, fiercely intelligent and daring framework for understanding the intricacies of love and desire, marriage and relationships of all types, shapes, sizes and circumstances…
Dori’s Guiding Principle #2: Keep the Lines of Communication Open (& Get Good at it) – know and develop a relationship with all of your parts and emotions; develop emotional literacy and bring this to everyone you lead, live with, care about and love (aka, The Process is the Action)
Emotional Intelligence 2.0, by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves
Helps you to know what emotional and social intelligence are, how to use emotions well and creatively to improve your life and achieve your fullest potential.
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships, by Marshall B. Rosenberg
A book about empathy, collaboration, authenticity and freedom. Rosenberg highlights that our words matter and we can find common ground with anyone, anywhere, at any time, both personally and professionally.
Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success At Work And In Life, One Conversation At A Time, by Susan Scott
Demonstrates how to transform everyday conversations at work and at home with effective ways to get your message across – and get what you want.
The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, by Gary Chapman
A conversation about how we are alike and different in the ways we show and receive love. Even in the complex landscape of relationships today, we can learn and apply wisdom in meaningful ways that enable us to experience and sustain deeper and richer levels of intimacy with our partners.
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High, by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan & Switzler
Explores what’s possible when we prepare for high-stake situations/conversations, transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialog, make it safe to talk about almost anything and learn how to be persuasive (not abrasive); explores the impact of the defining moments that have shaped our lives, relationships and our world…and how to move on more cleanly and effectively from there…
Eleven Minutes: A Novel, by Paulo Coelho
Bad things happen to us. And we respond in different ways. Life is full of choices and defining moments. This is a story about a young woman on a journey of self-discovery who has to choose between pursuing a path of darkness (sexual pleasure for its own sake) or risking everything she knows to find her “inner light” and the possibility of sacred sex (sex in the context of love). This is also a story about learning how to give and receive pleasure, in the context of intimate relationships, a particular challenge for those of us living in western developed societies.
The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You, by Karla McLaren
Learn how to meet your emotions and have a healthy relationship with them. Learn how to listen to and receive their life-saving wisdom/messages and move consciously and safely toward resolution and stability (instead of repressing or blindly and destructively expressing them). Learn how to work with your own and others’ emotions with mastery and ease.
Dori’s Guiding Principle #3: Make Love the Most Important Thing – make love more important than you fears, doubts and concerns; learn how to begin in love and why it matters, personally, professionally, practically and spiritually (aka, Love Your Life, No Matter What Life Brings - A Shift In Perspective Is A Miracle)
Why People Don’t Heal & How They Can, by Caroline Myss, Ph.D.
Helps you to know what emotional and social intelligence are, how to use emotions well and creatively to improve your life and achieve your fullest potential.
The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
A picture book and story about the gifts of giving and the ability to receive another’s love in return.
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
A story of transformation and the power of love to guide that transformation. It asks us to consider, “What is it to embody winter, darkness and despair, and then allow for spring, for a renewal of life and a restoration of the heart.
A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”, by Marianne Williamson
An exploration into the role love plays in the search for inner peace. No matter the source of your pain, love is a potent force. By practicing love (giving and receiving), we can make our own lives fulfilling while creating a more peaceful and loving world for our children.
Leadership & Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box, by The Arbinger Institute
The key to leadership lies not in what we do but in who we are…As quickly as we trap ourselves in our boxes of “endless justification,” we can learn how to get out of them, and stay out. We can learn how to consistently tap into and act on our innate sense of what’s ‘right’ and enjoy dramatic improvements in all of our relationships. Every act of self-leadership is an act of self-love, self-compassion, self-awareness and self-acceptance.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success: How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential (In Parenting, Business, School and Relationships), by Carol Dweck
Our beliefs about our capabilities exert tremendous influence on how we learn and which paths we take in life. We can learn to shift from a fixed to a growth mindset. Doing so is, arguably, an act of extreme love, self-love and self-care and will influence everyone we touch.
The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict, by The Arbinger Institute
When we find peace within, we can create and enjoy peace in our relationships. When we misunderstand the causes of conflict, we may unwittingly make things worse. By understanding the root causes of conflict in all parts of our lives, we can achieve true peace within ourselves and our relationships.
The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life, by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
When we love learning, growth, teaching, communicating and one another, so much is possible. Here you will explore twelve breakthrough practices for bringing creativity and possibility into all human endeavors. We can design innovative paradigms for personal and professional fulfillment, all fueled by our love of humanity, personal and transpersonal.
Dori’s Guiding Principle #4: Make Meaning Regularly & Often – through contemplation, reflection and compassionate inquiry, we can experience true intimacy and grow by opening to the mysteries and wisdom within and around us; understanding and clarity emerge from there (aka, Activate Your Inner & Outer Observer - Nurture This Place Within Where Transformation, Empathy & Compassion Are Born)
The Hero with a Thousand Faces (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell), by Joseph Campbell
Articulates and explores the Hero’s Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world’s mythic traditions, including the patterns of creation and destruction, both essential to live a vital life.
The Paperbag Princess, by Robert Munsch
A modern myth/fable about changing roles, female intelligence and empowerment in a rapidly changing and complex world.
The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life, Freedom, and Justice, by Anthony Ray Hinton
An extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton’s memoir tells his dramatic thirty-year journey and shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy.
Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives Through The Power and Practice of Story, by Christina Baldwin
Stories connect us to one another and to the issues of our lives that matter. Storycatcher reminds us how essential it is to speak our truth in the world and nudges us to find the courage to do so. Stories reconnect us to the joys of being human and the goodness we can create when we tell our stories and listen to those of others.
As Jung said, “Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.” This book comprises a collection of articles that explore what the shadow is, the importance of doing shadow work, and the tools that enable this work to support individual development and the journey to wholeness, genuine and more complete self-acceptance and the ability to reclaim the disowned parts of ourselves.
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
This book is about recovering our connection to the powerful forces that live within us, to the good instincts, passionate creativity and ageless knowing that we have forgotten but never lost. Using rich intercultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales, and stories, Estés helps women reconnect with the fierce, healthy, visionary attributes of their instinctual nature.
The Heroine’s Journey: Women’s Quest for Wholeness, by Maureen Murdock
This book describes contemporary woman's search for wholeness in a society in which she has been defined according to masculine values. Drawing upon cultural myths and fairy tales, ancient symbols and goddesses, and the dreams of contemporary women, Murdock illustrates the need for—and the reality of—feminine values in Western culture today.
My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies, by Resmaa Menakem
A call to action for all of us to recognize that racism is not about the head, but about the body; it introduces an alternative view of what we can do to grow beyond our entrenched racialized divide. Menakem paves the way for a new, body-centered understanding of white supremacy and offers a step-by-step solution – a healing process – in addition to social commentary.
Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche, by Robert A. Johnson
We all have shadows…parts of our ego/personality that are hidden and never go away. We need to know and “own” our shadow, learn what it is, how it was established, and how it impacts our lives and relationships on a daily basis. When we accept and honor the shadow within us, we can channel its energy in a positive way and find balance and peace.
The Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers, by Joseph Campbell
This extraordinary book reveals how the themes and symbols of ancient narratives continue to bring meaning to birth, death, love, and war. From stories of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome to traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, a broad array of themes are considered that together identify the universality of human experience across time and culture.
Dori’s Guiding Principle #5: Create A Purposeful Life (Career, Health, Relationships, Spirituality) – make space to know and honor that which wants to live and be expressed through you (aka, Ask, To What is My Life Consecrated? - Align With & Integrate This Awareness)
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, by Eckhart Tolle
Shows how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world. As each of us does our own work, we are contributing to the wellness of the planet. Demonstrates how our attachments create the dysfunction that leads to anger, jealousy and unhappiness and shows us how to awaken to new states of consciousness; how to follow a path to a truly fulfilling existence.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, by Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW
This book is about finding the courage to step into the arena and risk being seen. It dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and argues that it is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage. Based on evidence-based research, Brown explains how vulnerability is both the core of difficult emotions like fear, grief, and disappointment, and the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, empathy, innovation and creativity. “When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.”
Elizabeth I CEO: Strategic Lessons from the Leader Who Built An Empire, by Alan Axelrod, Ph.D.
This monarch, who reigned, stayed alive and kept the peace for over 50 years overcame daunting obstacles, won intense loyalty and lead England to greatness. What she did that worked so well is still relevant today. This book illustrates the importance of developing a leadership attitude and image of enhanced personal dynamism, becoming an effective coach and mentor skilled at nurturing creativity, and manipulating others – subtly and ethically - knowing and anticipating “the enemy.”
Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, by John T. Cacioppo
The data on the startling effects of loneliness is in and it doesn’t look good. Based on a blend of biological and social sciences, this book demonstrates that, as individuals and as a society, we have everything to gain, and everything to lose, in how well or how poorly we manage our need for social bonds. Cacioppo highlights three key areas that, if prioritized, will help us to combat loneliness and reverse the rising morbidity and mortality trends associated with it.
Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, by William Bridges
Whether you choose it or it is thrust upon you, change brings both opportunities and turmoil. Bridges provides an elegant and simple roadmap for the transition process in both the personal and professional domains. He highlights three stages of transition: The Ending, The Neutral Zone, and The Beginning. Each needs to be understood and embraced in order to achieve meaningful and productive movement into a hopeful future. It is an essential guide for coping with change.
Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want, by Beverly Kaye & Julie Winkle Giulioni
This employee development classic includes advice on engagement and retention in today’s more flexible employment environment. It also includes ideas on creating a career development culture in your organization. It addresses the plethora of studies that confirm that career development is the single most powerful tool managers have for driving retention, engagement, productivity, and results. In response to managers’ claims that they don’t have time for this, the authors offer a better way, to conduct frequent, short conversations with employees about themselves, their goals, and the business, converations that can be integrated seamlessly into the normal course of business.
Waking Up in Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife, by Cheryl Richardson
One woman’s guide to finding renewed contentment and purpose through a heroic inward journey, a priority for anyone in midlife. This is a wonderful guide for listening to the whispers within, those first, gentle nudges of change to move toward a thoughtfully reimagined life – a soulful spring awakening.
Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson
A picture book and story about how, with a healthy imagination, we can create ourselves and a future filled with wonder and excitement.
Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times, by Donald T. Phillips
Learning from Abraham Lincoln’s diverse leadership abilities and how they can be applied to today’s complex world.
The Instruction: Living the Life Your Soul Intended, by Ainslee Macleod
Uncover who you really are and the life your soul has planned for…to realize personal fulfillment.
Take Time for Your Life: A Personal Coach’s 7-Step Program for Creating the Life You Want, by Cheryl Richardson
Step back, take stock, regain control and make conscious decisions about the future you’d like to create…take time for your life and begin living a life that you love.
It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business Is Driven By Purpose, by Roy M. Spence, Jr., with Haley Rushing
With purpose as the North Star, employee engagement is higher, competition is less threatening, customers are more loyal, and innovation flows.
Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek is devoted to helping people become more inspired at work so that they, in turn, can inspire their colleagues and customers. The premise: people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.
Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead, by Tara Mohr
Playing big is making our dreams and desires more important than our fears and doubts. This book provides real, practical skills and tools to voice and implement the changes women want to see, in themselves and in the world. It teaches us how to quiet self-doubt, identify our calling, “unhook” from praise and criticism, unlearn counterproductive good girl habits, and begin taking bold action.
Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential, by Caroline Myss, Ph.D.
When people don’t understand their purpose in life, the result can be depression, anxiety, fatigue, and, eventually, physical illness…by exploring our life’s journey through an archetypal lens, we can decipher our own Sacred Contract, or higher purpose, and make choices in our outer lives that better align with this understanding.
Conscious Business: How To Build Value Through Values, by Fred Kofman
Conscious business, in this case, means finding your passion and expressing your essential values through your work. Conscious business is about unconditional responsibility and becoming the main character of your life. A conscious business fosters personal fulfillment in the individuals, mutual respect in the community, and success in the organization.
Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts., by Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW
Shows leaders, change makers and culture shifters how to put the ideas in daring greatly, rising strong and braving the wilderness into practice so we can step up and lead from wherever we are sitting. Defines a leader as not about title, status and wielding power; rather, as anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential.
By applying the lessons of those nearing their death to her own life, Ware developed an understanding that it is possible for everyone. If we make the right choices, we can die with peace of mind (and no regrets).
1. Public Speaking — Join Toastmasters International and have fun practicing and mastering the art of effective speaking, communication and articulation!
2. Personal Growth, Professional Development, Spiritual Evolution — Hire a coach, create an accountability partnership and/or join a sacred circle (personal and/or professional) to help you to grow and make the changes you envision for your life, personally and professionally.
3. Become the Role Model You Always Wanted —Find a mentor and ask to be in this partnership for at least six months or, ideally, one year. Define your shared intentions, how you will both be served by the partnership, and the actions, agreements and accountability processes you intend to follow.
4. Healing, Recovery, Crisis Management
a) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
b) National Substance Use and Disorder Issues Referral and Treatment Hotline – Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
c) Support Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous – aa.org
d) Therapy / Analysis