Life-changing books

My Top 10 Life-Changing Books

Hey rockstar-

I read an average of 150 books a year, so when I tell you that these are the best of the best, you can trust me! I’ve slogged through a lot of bestsellers and no-sellers to find these gems. Some you may have heard of; some may be completely new. But all are worth the time to read them. Enjoy!

Lain Ehmann

Purveyor of Rapid Motivation and Inspiration​


Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

I read this book for the first time in my early 20s, around the time I graduated from Stanford. The idea that my fear-based emotions didn’t have to control me was eye-opening to me. After a lifetime of fear and anxiety, I began to see another path. I could feel the fear, but I didn’t have to make decisions based solely on my discomfort. This book was the first glimpse of a different kind of life. I thank Susan Jeffers for starting me on the path where I am now almost fearless. 🙂 


The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone

Want a big kick in the pants to make your life everything it can be? Then this is the book. Sales trainer and red-hot salesman Grant Cardone is so far over the top, he makes everyone else’s sales efforts look downright puny! This book came along at the right time, showing me how to put that old adage about “aiming for the moon, maybe you’ll hit a star” to work. Not for the faint of heart, Cardone is very black and white about effort, success, and what it takes to make it to “the top.”


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon

A novel on the list of life-changing books? INDEED. This book blew me away. Written from the point of view of an adolescent boy with autism, this novel completely transported me. I was absolutely sold on the idea that I was listening to the inner thoughts of Christopher John Francis Boone. I loved it so much that I’m scared to read it again – I might not like it as much the second time! This book showed me the power of the narrator’s voice. 


The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

We are charged to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” But that’s not really the best way to approach loving someone else. Instead of loving them as WE would like to be loved, says author Gary Chapman, we should love them as THEY would like to be loved. Enter the five love languages. 

According to the author, we each have a primary way of wanting to be shown love (acts of service, quality time, loving touch, gifts, or words of affirmation). If we’re shown love in this manner, we feel the most loved. Once we figure out our partner’s love language, we can treat them as THEY wish they’d be treated.

This book has really affected my marriage and my parenting for the good. (For the record, I’m words of affirmation!)​


Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

This is another transformational book for me. Tony Robbins is the king of the infomercial, but he’s also the king of helping people see hope and possibility where there is none. I read this for the first time when I was 24, when I felt stuck and unable to grow in the direction I felt called. This book helped me see that there are always options, and that the real power lies within you.

Note: I was luck enough to hear Tony speak and meet him in February 2016. My goal ​was simply to thank him for changing my life. Mission accomplished! He was extremely grateful – and extremely tall. 🙂 


Tribes by Seth Godin

Seth Godin has written a ton of books, but this one resonated with me the most. Hearing that there are people out there just waiting for me to step up and lead them… that message caused something to shift inside of me, and I started to see myself less as an individual business person, and more as the leader of a community, with the accompanying responsibilities. It’s super-short, but super-powerful. 


Crush It! Cash In On Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk

You ain’t getting anywhere without hustle, says Gary Vee. And after reading Crush It!, I am inclined to agree. I love Gary’s give, give, give philosophy, and this book gave me a vision of how I could make my mark online. If you want to start a business or breathe life into an existing one, Gary is the guy to follow.


I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was by Barbara Sher

Barbara Sher is another author and speaker responsible for helping me discover who I am. I read this book at that soul-seeking time of my early and mid-twenties, and it helped me discover what is remarkable about myself. I was fortunate to attend a seminar with Barbara, and it opened my eyes to the power of “putting it out there –” letting others know what you’re looking for and what you want. People can’t help you if you don’t tell them how!


A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

After writing a best-selling book, Donald Miller was stagnating. When a screenwriting team moves in with him to figure out how to turn his first memoir into a movie, Don must figure out how to make his current life live up to the life he wrote about in his first book. He studies the elements of story, and asks himself the question, “How can I live a better story?” The answers surprised him – and may change YOUR life. 


The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

If you are a creative person – and we all are! – you will face Resistance, the force that appears from nowhere, simply to block your progress towards your deepest desires. This short, easy read is deceptively simple. You can tear through it an hour or two, but don’t! Take your time. Read an essay a day and let it percolate and bubble in your soul. Let it sink in and change you. Because this book will change your life. (NOTE: We just finished reading this book for the third month of the Rebel Book Club. It got an enthusiastic thumbs-up from all!)

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