20 Books + Podcasts That Will Help You Reconnect to Your Genius

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Most of my home state is on fire right now. It’s gut-wrenching, and as I stay indoors with my family trying not to breathe in the smoke that looms outside, I’ve been thinking a lot about what needs to happen in order for our world to be healthy again.

A big part of what needs to happen is the decolonization of our hearts and minds so that we can move past all the bullshit in our culture and start doing the work we were born to do. All of us are average and all of us have unique genius inside of us that’s waiting to be expressed in the world.

The books and podcasts below are some of the most impactful ways I’ve found to reconnect with my soul. I return to them again and again for nourishment, and I hope you’ll be touched by some of them as well.

They’re not very practical resources, mostly because a lot of that stuff bores me, but also because most of us in the professional world can figure out the practical stuff on our own. What we really need are more resources that point us toward our own inner wisdom (our genius) first.

Speaking of our own inner wisdom...the resources below are wonderful and beautifully crafted, but in the end, they are only mirrors. You are the expert on your own life. I repeat: you are the expert on your own life. So gobble up as much of what’s below as you want to, but I’ve found that things can get cloudy fast if the gobbling isn’t balanced by reading and listening to ourselves as well.

If you don’t have a daily journaling, meditation, or introspection practice, I encourage you to start playing around with one either before or while you’re consuming ideas from other people.

With all that said, here are some things that can point you back toward your genius so that you can start living an embodied life that blesses all those around you.

17 Books That Are Magic:

For you individually:

  1. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant. Read this one if you’re into research and need a reminder that you’ve got something special to offer the world.

  2. Walking on Water by Derrick Jensen. Read this if you’re ready to start deconstructing all the social programming we grow up with in this culture and get to work on the stuff that matters.

  3. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. Liz is the sweetest. This is a feel-good reminder that we have to show up for ourselves and the Muse daily, no matter what our work is.

  4. Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. If you’re alive and you identify as a woman, read this. It’s medicine for your soul.

  5. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin. If you’re looking for ways to really leverage what you’ve got already in a job or look for work in a different way, check this out.

  6. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. This is a little more violent an orientation than I usually recommend taking toward ourselves, but if you’re trying to do something in the world and just not doing, this could be the kick in the ass you need.

  7. Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck. Martha is amazing. She’s magical, scientific, and writes in an easy to read but powerful way. This book will make you feel good and give you clarity about how to navigate your life.

  8. The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul by Danielle LaPorte. A DIY guide to figuring out how you really want to feel every day in your life and how you can make that happen in a practical way.

  9. The Genius Myth by Michael Meade. This one is hard to find and even harder to describe. It’s like nothing I’ve read before, but I like the way it makes me feel. Check it out if you feel pulled.

  10. Anam Cara by John O’Donohue. John was a poet and writes beautifully. In this book, he helps us understand why it’s so hard to pinpoint the desires and nature of our soul.

  11. The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self & Relationships by David Whyte. A friend of John’s, David, is also a poet and writes about how helpful it is to integrate the various parts of our lives in a way that gives us more energy and focus.

  12. The Law of Divine Compensation by Marianne Williamson. If you’ve got some issues with money and scarcity, check this out. Marianne’s got a different flavor than most money writers, and even if it seems “out there” to you, I think it’s a really helpful reframe.

  13. The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? by Seth Godin. Got some serious doubts and limiting thoughts about yourself? Seth’s honest, digestible prose will probably feel like a perfect realignment.

  14. Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace by Sharon Salzberg. These are small, practical meditations to immediately shift things in your worklife. A great place to start if you want to incorporate mindfulness into your workday.

  15. Finding Your Way in a Wild New World by Martha Beck. A little more “woo woo” than her other book on this list, but equally impactful. She goes through the “Four Technologies of Magic” in a way that will enable you to start making changes in your life right away.

If you care about organizations:

  1. Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness by Frederic Laloux. Everything about this is important. If you care about changing things in the workplace, this is a must-read.

  2. Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide for Caring for Self While Caring for Others by Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky. Do you take care of others in some way and feel like you could use better boundaries or tools to care for yourself along the way, too? Then check out this sweet read, which includes cartoons!

3 Podcasts That Inspire Me:

  1. Insights at the Edge with Tami Simon of Sounds True. A lot of Tami’s interviews are a great blend of science-based information and woo-woo concepts delivered in a way that’s meaningful.

  2. For the Wild. I’m just getting to know this one, but the interviews I’ve heard with activists have been really impactful and like a tall glass of water on a hot summer day.

  3. Good Life Project. I wrote recently about how Jonathan Fields’ work irked me, but I still find his interviews thoughtful and a helpful guide.