Down the Rabbit Hole of Self-Improvement


I’ve been cleaning house this summer, and as I clear out my books, one of the things I’ve noticed is that I have an extraordinary number of self-help books.  I’m not talking a few, I’m talking dozens.  I’ve probably invested many hundreds of dollars, possibly thousands, in these little tomes of wisdom over the years.

What I’ve realized while pulling countless books out from underneath my bed and my sweaters, and finding so very many in the “Save” folder in my e-mil in-box, is that I don’t have time to follow through with the programs, so I put them away and forget about them.  Then the next thing comes along, and as I’ve forgotten about all the other “path to a better me” or “path to a better life” books, I jump on that bandwagon, too.  In some cases, I’ve even discovered that I have more than one copy.

Rather than simply toss all the books into a box and bring it to the dump (or delete all the electronic programs with a single keystroke), I had an epiphany.  I will follow each and every one of these plans through to its end and do a series of self-help (a/k/a “Transformation”) blog posts:  for each program, I will detail where I start, my progress, and where I end.  Perhaps by running through all these programs, I’ll find the “healing,” the “better me,” or the “better life” for which I’ve apparently been searching.  Or not.  I suspect that even if I don’t reach enlightenment, or financial independence via extreme couponing, I’ll have a few good laughs trying.

Here is a list of the programs I’ve unearthed thus far (in no particular order):

  • The 52-Week Life Passion Project and Workbook – Barrie Davenport
  • Add More -ing to Your Life – Gabrielle Bernstein
  • Real Happiness:  The Power of Meditation – Sharon Salzberg
  • A Purse of Your Own – Deborah Owens
  • Spirit Junkie – Gabrielle Bernstein
  • Get a Financial Life – Beth Kobliner
  • The 4-Hour Workweek (both the original and updated versions) – Timothy Ferriss
  • Becoming a Life Change Artist:  7 Creative Skills to Reinvent Yourself at Any Stage of Life – Fred Mandell, Ph.D. & Kathleen Jordan, Ph.D.
  • The Joy Diet – Martha Beck
  • Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey – Joanie Demer & Heather Whaler
  • You Can Heal Your Life – Louise L. Hay
  • Save Big – Elisabeth Leamy
  • Living Large in Lean Times – Clark Howard
  • The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook – Edmund J. Bourney, Ph.D.
  • Building the Best You – Caroline Harper
  • The Ten Roads to Riches – Ken Fisher
  • The Good Life for Less – Amy Allen Clark
  • Fearless Living, Rhonda Britten
  • Second Act Careers – Nancy Collamer, M.S.
  • The Tapping Solution – Nick Ortner
  • Finding Your Way in a Wild New World, Martha Beck
  • The Healthy Home Workbook – Kimberly Rider
  • Stop Feeling Lazy:  How to Break the Procrastination Cycle Once & For All and Excel – Carol Look
  • Chakra 7 (DVD course) – Carol Tuttle
  • Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting / The Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting Playbook – Lynn Grabhorn
  • The 7 Healing Chakras:  Unlocking Your Body’s Energy Centers (and workbook of the same name) – Brenda Dainer, M.D.
  • The Mindfulness Solution – Gabrielle Bernstein
  • The Desire Map – Danielle LaPorte
  • May Cause Miracles – Gabrielle Bernstein
  • I Thought It Was Just Me ( But It Isn’t) – Brene Brown
  • The Fire Starter Sessions – Danielle LaPorte
  • Daring Greatly – Brene Brown
  • Find a Quiet Corner – Nancy O’Hara
  • The Power of Your Past:  The Art of Recalling, Reclaiming, and Recasting – John P. Schuster
  • Daily Om:  Learning to Live – Madisyn Taylor
  • List Yourself – Ilene Seaglove & Paul Bob Velick
  • The Power of Positive Confrontation – Barbara Pachter
  • Finding Your Own North Star:  Claiming the Life You Were Mant to Live – Martha Beck
  • A Weekend to Change Your Life – Joan Anderson
  • A Pace of Grace:  The Virtues of a Sustainable Life – Linda Kavelin Popov
  • The Artist’s Way:  A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity – Julie Cameron
  • Expanding Your Happiness:  21 Day Mediation Experience (online course) – Oprah Winfrey & Deepak Chopra
  • Retiring Well on a Poor Man’s Budget – Editors of FC & A Publishing
  • Chakras for Beginners – David Pond
  • The Gift of a Year – Mira Kirshenbaum
  • 30-Day Yoga Challenge & Detox Diet Transformation System  (online course) – Dashama Konah Gordon
  • Simplify Your Life – Elain St. James
  • The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown
  • The Gifts of Imperfection (online course) – Brene Brown & Oprah Winfrey
  • B.O.L.D. (Building Our Lives Deliberately) Training Series (online course) – Katherine Keeler
  • The Dance:  Moving to the Rhythms of Your True Self – Oriah Mountain Dreamer
  • The Bodacious Book of Succulence – Sark
  • Strengthsfinder 2.0 – Tom Rath

I’ve read a few of these books, but as I was typing up this list (and laughing out loud at the lunacy revealed by the volume of titles!), I was struck by how many of them I simply don’t remember purchasing, signing up for, or downloading.

If you have experience with any of the programs you see in this series and want to do a guest post, please feel free to let me know.  I’d love the company along what is certain to be a bumpy road!MadnessofJoy-monogram

2 thoughts on “Down the Rabbit Hole of Self-Improvement

  • Those look interesting and I would be interested in your blog posts. I actually bought “Find a Quiet Corner” when I had a blinding headache in a shopping mall and it did help me at the time.
    I think self improvement is better in small doses, though, a list like that can be quite overwhelming!


    • Thanks for stopping by, Heather, and taking the time to comment. I took this project on as kind of a lark, something I figured I might be able to chuckle my way through, but I’m really enjoying my reading and finding bits of myself that I’d long forgotten. I hope you continue to enjoy the upcoming posts!


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