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May 3, 2023

My Reading List for 2021

In 2019 I shared in my newsletter 10 books that changed my life. To switch things up this week, I thought I’d share with you the books I’ve read so far in 2021.

I love when people share what books they read and what they got out of them. Hoping you might enjoy it, too. 🙂

In order read. (January — Present)

Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre By Keith Johnston
This book was recommended by one of my favorite authors, Seth Godin. Yes, it’s a book for improv and theatre, but its philosophy encompasses innovation and creativity in all industries. It makes the argument that everything in education is designed to suppress spontaneity. After seeing the abundance of creativity in early youth, he says, “I began to think of children not as immature adults, but adults as atrophied children.” Impro offers helpful lessons for those who struggle with imposter syndrome or need a creative spark.

Quotes that stuck out:

“Things invented on spur of the moment could be as good or better than the texts we labor over.”

“You don’t need to be original. An artist who is inspired is being obvious.”

“Approach each new event like you are ignorant about your craft, use common sense and find obvious solutions.”

“When you’re worried about what other people might think, personality is always present.

King Warrior Magician Lover by Robert Moore This is my second reading and I have the same thought after my first — every man should read this book. It talks about how the archetypes of the King, Warrior, Magian, and Lover show up in the male psyche, and explains the healthy and unhealthy expressions of each. Most of the “toxic masculinity” we see is simply boys who’ve not been initiated to men or are acting out of shadow poles of a fully integrated archetype. Full masculine growth aims not to repress any of these, but to integrate them to be whole, grounded and powerful men.

Quotes I like:

“Patriarchy is the expression of the immature masculine.”

“We have to take responsibility for what we were not responsible for.”

“The trouble with most is not that we feel too much passion, but we don’t feel passion at all.”

“The less a man is in touch with his true talents & abilities, the more he will envy others.”

Wild Mind by Bill Plotkin Speaking of Archetypes, this book offers another map of the human psyche — written for men and women. Wild Mind gives tangible exercises to cultivate different facets of the self, one example being the wild man/women within each of us. This book provides ways to get in touch with parts of ourselves we may have suppressed. The biggest thing I’ve learned from Bill Plotkin’s work is understanding the difference between Spirit and Soul. Spirit being the ascent to merge with our divine nature — a drop of water meeting the ocean. Soul initiation is embarked as a descent to emerge with our unique spiritual gifts, like the drop of water finding a seed in which it helps grow into something beautiful. If Bill piques your interest, I recommend starting with his book Soulcraft. So good.


“Deep psychological healing is the result of learning how to embrace our woundedness and fragmentedness from the cultivated perspective and consciousness of the Self.

“The shadow is not what we know about ourselves and don’t like. It’s what we don’t know, and if accused, would deny.”

“We foster wholeness in ourselves when we contribute to the wholeness of something greater than ourselves.”

Crossing The Unknown Sea by David Whyte
I like to read David Whyte’s, House of Belonging just before bed. This book was my first run at his Non-Fiction. In it, he shares his pilgrimage into finding his life’s work and offers insight into how we find our own. I found it affirming and inspiring.

“The consummation of work lies not in what we have done, but who we have become while accomplishing the task.”

“Your gift is at your edge.”

“Making our own path takes us off the path in directions which seem profoundly unsafe.”

“The depth of our identity is based on the depth of our attention.”

“If you do just one thing everyday that adds up to 365 actions toward the life you want.”

The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel van der Kolk — I’m so glad I finally got around to this. I learned about adverse childhood experiences through my mindfulness training. Books like The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog shows dreadful accounts and consequences of childhood trauma. I digested TBKTS slowly, and at times wept learning the horrors people have endured. Whether you’ve experience TRAUMA,Trauma, trauma, or just grew up in a human body, you likely have some adverse experience that effect you today. Healing these imprints are a crucial part of our journey toward wholeness. I think every parent, teacher, and anyone who works with kids should read this, or at least have some understanding of how trauma effects children.

“The greatest source of suffering are the lies we tell ourselves.”

“People can’t get better without knowing what they know, and feeling what they feel.”

“Language evolved to share things “out there” not to communicate inner feelings.”

“Whether we remember an event at all and how accurate it was, depend on how personally meaningful it was and how emotional we felt.”

Sacred Hoops by Phil Jackson– I’m a basketball player at heart. As a kid, I spent countless hours shooting around in the backyard, and still have dreams of being in the midst of an intense highschool game. I enjoyed learning more about the greatest NBA coach of all time and his mindful approach to basketball. It was also fun to read about players I watched growing up, as he wrote this in the middle of the Jordan dynasty.

“Vision is the source of leadership.”

“It’s good to have an end to the journey, but it’s the journey that matters in the end.”

“The farmer that is so eager to help his crops grow that he slips out at night to tug on the shoots inevitably ends up going hungry.”

On audio, I re-listened to Atomic Habits, the best book out there on the topic IMO. I listened to Robert Bly’s The Human Shadow and What Stories Do We Need?, a lecture on the myth and shadow. Also half of Ryan Holiday’s Lives of The Stoics.

If you need some inspiration on how and what to read, my friends at the Far Out Podcast have a great episode on the topic.

Happy Reading!

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