10 books to change your l;ife

I know, I know, another post about inspirational, life changing books! They are everywhere BUT part of my goal with The Gutsy Life is to create a wealth of resources for YOU to live your most awesome and Gusty Life, and while there are a lot of posts out there about books to change your life, I had to add mine to the mix because these 10 concepts are the foundation for the work we do here.

The work of living THE GUTSY LIFE.

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1. You are a Badass- Jen Sincero

How will it help you to change your life?  Suck it up. Get over yourself. Get a move on. Do it already.

What is it about? The book is broken down into five sections; How you got this way, How to embrace your inner badass, How to tap into the mother-load, How to get over your BS already, and finally How to kick some ass.

These five main sections are divided into chapters with anecdotes from her own life, her client’s experiences, and advice and tips on each topic. It is hilariously brilliant and will make you laugh out loud, all things I think are important when you are trying to face your fears and the parts of you that need fixing so you can as she says

“stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life”

Please read this book, it is amazing! And for those of you who love audio, she recorded the book herself and it adds to the fun of the whole thing with her dry and snarky delivery! LOVE LOVE LOVE this book.

Also check out: You are a Badass at Making Money and You are a Badass Every Day

Why did I include it?

This book changed the way I saw personal development and myself. It is the reason I decided to become a coach. Her no-nonsense style of telling you how it is and helping you face yourself and face why you are holding yourself back, gives you the push to DO IT ALREADY, change your life! Stop being a weeny!

I listen to this book over and over and over again. At first I didn’t realize what it was about this book that was resonating with me…I thought it was because I needed a cheerleader in life to encourage me and get me fired up. Now I realize it was because I needed a kick in the butt, and she does just that!

I have always been the one in my friend group to be the motivator and the doer. My friends have always look to me for that. When I found myself struggling with depression, self-doubt, and limiting beliefs, my friends could not believe it. They, in such a loving way, would deny that I, Amanda, could ever be that way, and it made me feel like I could not admit my shortcomings to them. It also felt like they were not really hearing me and the fact that I needed help. I have seriously listened to this book over 50 times, and now I see that she gave me what my friends couldn’t. The affirmation that:

Yes I was stuck, yes I was being a weeny, and that is okay, BUT I needed to get over myself already and do something about it!

I seriously think I would not be where I am today if it were not for this kick in the butt. And that is why I am a coach. I needed a kick in the butt and I can’t be the only one right? I hope that this book can be the kick in the butt you need!

And If you need more assistance in the butt-kicking department check out


2. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

How will it help you to change your life? Knowing the universe has your back.

What is it about? This book will delight and inspire you. Paulo Coelho is an inspirational writer with beautiful quotable prose woven into a tale of following one’s personal legend. This story is a metaphor for how we should view our own journey in this life.

The book’s main theme is that an individual’s primary goal in life is to pursue their personal legend because that is the only way one can live a fulfilling and satisfying life. In essence, all things are striving to live their purpose, for purification, and ultimately perfection, through living one’s personal legend. The book also touches on the interconnectedness of all things in this world, the “Soul of the World”, as Coelho calls it, and how fear is what primarily holds people back from pursuing their most fulfilled and purposeful lives.

Why did I include it?

This book has many lessons to teach you about what it means to really go for it in life.

I think it is so important for people to know that the universe has your back. I know God/god/source energy/the universe is a big point of contention for many people and everyone has their own ideas and opinions. I don’t want to put mine on you here, but I want you to know, and everyone, that the universe does have your back (or whatever/whomever you want to call it).

For me, I have always had a very spiritual connection to God/the universe and I have always believed in the unity of everything all working together, it just made sense to me, why wouldn’t the universe want me to be happy if we are all one? Me/it/you/they it’s the same- all in it together. That revelation has changed lives, and I love it, and I want that for you!

               Related Blog Post – 10 Quotes to Live By

3. Siddhartha – Herman Hess

How will it help you to change your life? Each stage of your journey is important. You are right where you are meant to be.

What is it about? This book is a personal philosophy about life and life’s purpose. It is loosely based on the Buddha’s own spiritual journey but follows the fictitious Siddhartha on his quest for enlightenment.

Siddhartha tries many paths throughout his life on his quest and each path reveals something to him of the true nature of being human. All of his paths and all of his wanderings eventually lead him to the river. At the river all of the voices, all of the people, and all of the paths merge into the eternal sound of OM. He realizes that all paths are good and equal and all lead to the same place, all are one. His heart blossoms with love because he realizes that loving others is loving oneself if all the universe is one.

Why did I include it?

I first read this book right out of high school. It was my first real experience with Buddhism and spirituality other than the half-hearted Christianity I was raised with. It blew my mind and opened my heart to something I think I always knew but could not voice, which was the interconnectedness of it all. Of the fact that each piece is vital, each life experience, each person, each perspective.

10 books to change your life

I re-read this book throughout different stages of my life and each time it speaks to me in a different way, yet each time I am reminded that I am right where I am meant to be, just as with Siddhartha, all the stages of his life were valuable to helping him experience the full scope of being human, so too are each of my stages, each of your stages, even if they seem mundane, or wrong, or wasted. They all merge into the river and are swept up into the whole sum of YOU and ME and the universe. If that is not a life changing realization I don’t know what is!

4. The Slight Edge – Jeff Olson

How will it help you to change your life? Be patient with yourself. One step at a time. Life takes time.

What is it about? This book, and the concept of the Slight Edge, has helped thousands to make positive changes in their lives, from eating better, loosing weight, learning to walk again (I am not kidding!), building a million dollar business, perfecting your baseball pitch…the possibilities are endless.

The book reveals a very simple and straightforward truth that on the surface seems so obvious but is life changing non the less. It is the law of compounding interest. The idea is, if you have a penny today and double the value every day for one month you will have over $5 million by day 30.

Now, we all wish we could get compounding interest in our bank accounts but if you take that astounding fact and apply it to say squats… you may not be able to do 350 squats today but if you did one more squat each day you would get there before a year was up (trust me I did it when I was pregnant…you can too!). Sounds so simple right?

Small acts everyday, consistently and persistently over time and you can: lose the weight, change your pitch, make progress in life, have an easier labor (that was me with the 350 squats!) the possibilities are endless! The book highlights many personal experiences from using the Slight Edge philosophy as well as a breakdown of habits, planning, and goal setting. A very useful book for many reasons.

Why did I include it?

Aside from getting me to the point where I could do 350 squats a day while pregnant (yes I am damn proud of that fact!). I initially read this book right before my mom died unexpectedly. I then picked it up again several months later and surprisingly this book that has helped so many people to be successful, be more motivated, and do more, helped me to be kind to myself and do less.

I was in grad school when she died and was the ever-motivated Amanda who took on too much but was going to get it all done, with all A’s to boot. But then I not surprisingly lost all motivation and yet still had to complete my program. I kept trying to do all the things; all the things for school, all the things the grief books said to do, all the things the happiness books said to do, all the things everyone thought I should do to feel better, …but I was SO NOT MOTIVATED to do any of them. Six months after her death I didn’t want to write a gratitude journal! I didn’t want to meditate 20 minutes every morning, or write about my goals, create vision boards, or go to a support group! Somehow, I picked this book back up and realized…

compounding interest!

I don’t need to do all of these things. I just need to do one thing each day, one thing for ME. If that one thing was lay on the couch and watch Friends than so be it! If it was sit by the river, then well done! If it was visit with a friend then way to go Amanda for getting out of the house!

It’s funny but the book made me realize that all I needed to be doing was honor my needs and in time the compounding interest would kick in and I could start to move forward. One step, one action, one day at a time. Such a surprising result from reading this book!

5. The 5 Second Rule – Mel Robbins

How will it help you to change your life? Everyone needs a role model- you can’t be what you cant see. Who do you want to be?

What is it about? The 5 Second Rule has started a movement of people going for it in any and every way you can possibly imagine! What a powerhouse this woman is!

She is a must follow on social media and on her newsletter. Her and her team are consistently pumping out quality content and useful tips and tricks as well as free courses and challenges.

The concept behind the book is that in order to act on an impulse your brain needs 5 seconds and then an action step or you will not do it. You think…I am going to get out of bed now that my alarm is going off and go for a run…and then your brain starts coming up with reasons not to do it, and if you engage your brain by counting backwards from 5 and then move, you can form new habits that benefit your life in soooo many ways or else you will probably just stay in bed and hit snooze. (for more on your brain and how it is running the show check out this post on limiting beliefs and this one one fear)

The book is filled with people’s personal experiences applying the 5 Second Rule to: public speaking, asking someone out on a date, getting out of bed and getting to the gym, helping anxiety, getting over the fear of flying, sticking to the diet… As I said, the possibilities are endless. If you combine her 5 Second Rule with the Slight Edge principles, you could be unstoppable!

Why did I include it?

I had the fortune of being introduced to this book first by seeing Mel Robbins speak live. It was an incredible talk and of course I went out and got the book! But, the book wasn’t what had the greatest impact on me, it was Mel. I didn’t really realize it, but I have always been searching for women role models. I didn’t really think I could be a coach or a speaker or a motivator because I had always heard/read/seen men do it. We all know them; Tony Robbins, Zig Zigler, John C. Maxwell etc…

It never really occurred to me that I was unable to imagine it until I started following Mel and started envisioning myself doing the things she was doing. Like Sally Ride said “you cant be what you can’t see” I never really felt that was true for me until I started digging deep and asking myself why I love this book and it occurred to me; Mel Robins is a role model for who/how/what I would like to be and do with my coaching. Not exactly like her, but she is such an inspiration reaching so many people around the world, if I could do a fraction of what she does I will feel truly blessed.

books to change your life

Want to find out what the last 5 books are in the list of the 10 Books You Wouldn’t Expect that Can Change Your Life? Check my second post in the series: 10 Books you Wouldn’t Expect that can Change Your Life Part 2

Want some more inspirational reading? Check out- 10 Quotes to Live By

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Amanda Richey