5 must-read personal development books

What could be a better gift this Christmas than a book that will benefit a loved one's wellbeing? Probably the one material good that has huge benefits.
I consider myself to know quite a bit about this genre of books due to the 50+ I own (yes you read that right and that's only about a tenth of my whole collection of books...) so I decided to pick a couple of my favourites and tell you a bit about them!

1. The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma

A fable about fulfilling your dreams and reaching your destiny.

The book follows a high profile, ferrari-owning lawyer, Julian, whose life evolves around money and power. One day during a case, he suffers from a heart attack and nearly loses his life. After his collapse he embarks on a journey to India, in search for meaning and answers. Finding happiness and fulfillment along the way. He returns to tell the tale to a former colleague, who is destined to end up the way Julian did in the courtroom.

"Never be a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future.”

"The secret of happiness is simple: find out what you truly love to do and then direct all your energy towards doing it. If you study the happiest, healthiest, most satisfied people of our world, you will see that each and every one of them has found their passion in life, and then spent their days pursuing it. This calling is almost always one that, in some ways, serves others. Once you are concentrating your mental power and energy on a pursuit that you love, abundance flows into your life, and all your desires are fulfilled with ease and grace."

“We are not our thoughts. Instead, we are the creators of the thoughts that flow through our minds and, given this fact, we can change our thoughts if we choose to do so. Just as you are not your thoughts, you are not your moods. You are the creator of the moods you experience, moods that you can change in a single instant. If you choose to do so, you can feel peace in a moment of stress, joy in a time of sadness and energy during a time of fatigue.”

2. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Tolle believes living in the now is the truest path to happiness and enlightenment. The book focuses on the importance of living in the moment, avoiding thoughts of the past or future.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the now the primary focus of your life.” 
“See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”  

"About 80 to 90 percent of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful. Observe”  

“Watch any plant or animal and let it teach you acceptance of what is, surrender to the Now.
Let it teach you Being.
Let it teach you integrity — which means to be one, to be yourself, to be real.
Let it teach you how to live and how to die, and how not to make living and dying into a problem.” 

3. The Art of Happiness by HH Dalai Lama & Howard C. Cutler
By the renowned spiritual leader and 14th Lama, this book offers his wisdom and advice on achieving happiness. 

“Happiness is determined more by one's state of mind than by external events.”

“Our attitude towards suffering becomes very important because it can affect how we cope with suffering when it arises.”

“There is a possibility of freedom from suffering. By removing the causes of suffering, it is possible to attain a state of Liberation, a state free from suffering. According to Buddhist thought, the root causes of suffering are ignorance, craving, and hatred. These are called the ‘three poisons of the mind."

"We don't need money, we don't need greater success or fame, we don't need the perfect body or even the perfect mate - right now, at this very moment we need to achieve complete happiness."

4. No Mud, No Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh

Obviously I had to include the book that inspired me most. Written by one of the best known Zen Buddhists, Thich Nhat Hanh, the book offers inspiration for transforming suffering into true joy.
“Most people are afraid of suffering. But suffering is a kind of mud to help the lotus flower of happiness grow. There can be no lotus flower without the mud.”
"Both suffering and happiness are of an organic nature, which means they are both transitory; they are always changing. The flower, when it wilts, becomes the compost. The compost can help grow a flower again. Happiness is also organic and impermanent by nature. It can become suffering and suffering can become happiness again.” 
“The soil of our mind contains many seeds, positive and negative. We are the gardeners who identify, water, and cultivate the best seeds.”
"We can selectively water the good seeds and refrain from watering the negative seeds."
“The art of happiness is also the art of suffering well.” 

5. The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by HH Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu

This book brings us the dialogue of the meeting of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the two most joyful people.

"Why be unhappy about something if it can be remedied? And what is the use of being unhappy if it cannot be remedied?”

“There are going to be frustrations in life. The question is not: How do I escape? It is: How can I use this as something positive?” 

“You must not hate those who do harmful things. The compassionate thing is to do what you can to stop them--for they are harming themselves as well as those who suffer from their actions.”

“Joy is the reward, really, of seeking to give joy to others. When you show compassion, when you show caring, when you show love to others, do things for others, in a wonderful way you have a deep joy that you can get in no other way. You can’t buy it with money. You can be the richest person on Earth, but if you care only about yourself, I can bet my bottom dollar you will not be happy and joyful. But when you are caring, compassionate, more concerned about the welfare of others than about your own, wonderfully, wonderfully, you suddenly feel a warm glow in your heart, because you have, in fact, wiped the tears from the eyes of another.

"Be a reservoir of joy, an oasis of peace, a pool of serenity that can ripple out to all those around you." 

Lucy Steel

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