Ritu Bhasin
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Get Inspired with These 3 Must-Read Books

 
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Ever since I was a little kid (and a really nerdy one at that!), books have been some of my most instrumental teachers on how to live better.

I wanted to share the inspiring titles on this list because not only have they impacted how I live, but they have also made their way into my own book. I continue sharing the knowledge and wisdom of their authors every chance I get.

Each of these books has taught me a key lesson on my journey. If you want to live better and tap into your own authenticity, I suggest curling up with one or all of these inspiring books this winter.

1. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Chances are, you’ve heard of Brene Brown. Whether you’ve checked out her famous TED Talk or seen her hanging with Oprah, you might be familiar with her teachings on the power of vulnerability. She’s written a few books now, but it’s worth delving into this one especially to get a deeper understanding of her work. In particular, I love how she describes the profound difference between what it means to belong and what it means to “fit in”—a distinction that, to me, is critical for understanding how each of us can live in service of our own authenticity.

For me, Brown’s lessons on vulnerability have been life-changing. It’s hella hard work, but the rewards of learning how to reframe vulnerability as positive thing are vast. Leaning into my own vulnerability has helped unlock my ability to be authentic, and to connect with others. And in fact, lemme state unequivocally—authentic living demands vulnerability!

2. Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Dr. Rick Hanson

I love, love, love this book, and have turned to it so many times for guidance. Dr. Hanson beautifully weaves together insights from neuroscience and mindfulness, and presents real-world strategies for practicing both, to rewire our brains, change our behaviors, and increase our happiness.

For example, the simple act of touching your lips—something I’ve been doing unconsciously for years—can have a soothing effect, since parasympathetic fibers in the lips stimulate the part of the nervous system that tells us to relax. Who knew?! This is just one of myriad easy-to-do practical strategies outlined in the book.

3. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

I turn to this book a few times every year to remind myself of Ruiz’s four guidelines for how we can avoid limiting ourselves, alleviate our own suffering, and live better. I’ve even saved the Four Agreements themselves in a note on my phone that I look at periodically for guidance.

The second of the agreements, “Don’t Take Things Personally,” and the third, “Don’t Make Assumptions,” have always resonated with me. As a young person filled with insecurities, I often took things personally growing up. When people were treating me badly or being less than lovely, I would always blame myself, believing something was wrong with me rather than recognizing that their behavior was a reflection of themselves.

The first time I read this book, I realized that my assumptions all those years were likely very wrong, and that it wasn’t about me at all—it was about the person who was hurting me. It was a freeing revelation, and I know many others can benefit from Ruiz’s lessons in this short but powerful book.

Which books have had the biggest impact on how you live? What did they teach you?

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