Author | Speaker | Teacher | Love expert | Psychotic Optimist
For fifteen years I worked in the publishing industry both as a publicist and a literary agent. I was widely recognized as America’s foremost book publicist and was instrumental in launching the careers of many NY Times bestselling self-help authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch, don Miguel Ruiz, and Debbie Ford. Additionally, I was the publicist for dozens of r top selling authors such as Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Louise Hay, Gary Zukav, Dean Ornish, Jon Gordon, David Bach, Joan Borysenko, Jorge Cruise, Lynne Twist, don Miguel Ruiz and many others.
Long before I worked with authors, I was soaking up wisdom in myriad books that range from purely spiritual to self-help and personal growth and metaphysical novels. The old Bodhi Tree bookstore on Melrose in Los Angeles was my Temple. My top ten list includes all some from all of these genres. These are the books that had a significant impact on my happiness and my success.
Today I exclusively read fiction. Reading an elegantly crafted sentence can put me into a state of both envy and bliss as I am currently in the midst of writing my first novel.
ARIELLE FORD is a leading personality in the personal growth and contemporary spirituality movement. For the past 30 years, she has been living, teaching, and promoting consciousness through all forms of
Arielle is the author of twelve books including the international bestseller, The Soulmate Secret: Manifest The Love of Your Life With The Law of Attraction (published in 21 languages and 40 countries) and several other groundbreaking books including Turn Your Mate Into Your Soulmate: A Practical Guide To Happily Ever After and Wabi Sabi Love: The Ancient Art of Finding Perfect Love in Imperfect Relationships.
A long-time “Student of Love,” Arielle regularly presents workshops at prestigious venues around the world. She has been called “The Cupid of Consciousness” and “The Fairy Godmother of Love.”
Her mission is to help people Find Love, Keep Love and Be Love. www.soulmatesecret.com
My 10 Best
by Shakti Gwain
If I can only choose one book that has changed my life, this is far and away the one. I read it on a five-hour plane ride as I relocated from Miami to Los Angeles on September 12, 1984. In the span of one reading I learned Universal secrets that I still use to this day.
Thanks to the lessons in this book I launched myself into a new home in a new city and a new career in less than two weeks. Decades after the release of this book, the film and book The Secret came out and some of what I learned in 1984 is in there but I don’t believe do as good a job of explaining all of this as Shakti Gwain does. Before she passed I was fortunate to have a phone call with Shakti and to be able to share with her my gratitude for the blessing of her writing. I would not be who I am today without this book.
by Richard Bach
This book is a beautiful, metaphysical love story that opened my eyes to the possibilities of soulmates along with time travel, inter-dimensional travel, and leading multiple lives at once! The review below describes it much better than I ever could.
“One” presents a number of provocative speculations: What would it be like to meet yourself when you were older or younger? How would your life turn out if you had made different choices, split up with your spouse, been born in a different time and place…? With love and hope as their guides and “what matters most’” as their destination, the Bach’s touch down in different times and places, where they commune with some of their alternative selves.”—The New York Times Book Review
The Dalai Lama’s Cat
by David Michie
As a life-long cat lover, this is one of my all-time favorite books because it offers some of the teachings of Buddhism in a very palatable, yummy fictional story.
It’s about a starving and pitiful, mud-smeared kitten who is rescued from the slums of New Delhi and transported to a life she could have never imagined. In a beautiful sanctuary overlooking the snow-capped Himalayas, she begins her new life as the Dalai Lama’s cat.
Warmhearted, irreverent, and wise, this cat of many names opens a window to the inner sanctum of life in Dharamshala. A tiny spy observing the constant flow of private meetings between His Holiness and everyone from Hollywood celebrities to philanthropists to self-help authors, the Dalai Lama’s cat provides us with insights on how to find happiness and meaning in a busy, materialistic world. Her story will put a smile on the face of anyone who has been blessed by the kneading paws and bountiful purring of a cat.
The Four Agreements
by Don Miguel Ruiz
I have an incredibly bad memory, but the lessons of The Four Agreements are, for me, unforgettable, and they changed my life. I was already familiar with “doing my best” and “keeping my word” but the idea of “never making assumptions” was mind-blowing.
For the first time in my life, I began to think in a more critical way, taking the time to ask myself if what I was thinking was an assumption, and if it was, then I would ask better questions, or look for more evidence. Learning not to take anything “personally” was a big gift to my nervous system. I began to understand that no one was waking up in the morning plotting ways to make me miserable and if I was miserable it was often because I took something personally!
I am grateful to Miguel, and his brilliant publisher, Janet Mills, for making this wisdom available to the world.
1) Never make assumptions
2) Don’t take anything personally
3) Always do your best
4) Keep your word
Conversations With God Book 1
by Neale Donald Walsch
After I read the first 25 pages of this book, I picked up the phone and called 411 in Portland, Oregon to get the phone number for Neale, the author, so I could tell him how much I loved his book. He answered the phone and we chatted for a long time. Eventually, he asked me what I did for a living. When I told him I was a book publicist he said, “We must work together.” Thus, began a friendship that has lasted more than 25 years.
Here is the back cover description of the book: “Suppose God provided clear, understandable answers. It happened to Neale Donald Walsch. It can happen to you. You are about to have a conversation…
I have heard the crying of your heart. I have seen the searching of your soul. I know how deeply you have desired the Truth. In pain have you called out for it, and in joy. Unendingly have you beseeched Me. Show Myself. Explain Myself. Reveal Myself.
I am doing so here, in terms so plain, you cannot misunderstand. In language so simple, you cannot be confused. In vocabulary so common, you cannot get lost in the verbiage.
So go ahead now. Ask Me anything. Anything. I will contrive to bring you the answer. The whole universe will I use to do this. So be on the lookout; this book is far from My only tool. You may ask a question, then put this book down. But watch. Listen.
The words to the next song you hear. The information in the next article you read. The storyline of the next movie you watch. The chance utterance of the next person you meet. Or the whisper of the next river, the next ocean, the next breeze that caresses your ear—all these devices are Mine; all these avenues are open to Me. I will speak to you if you will listen. I will come to you if you will invite Me. I will show you then that I have always been there. All ways.
The Dark Side of The Light Chasers
by Debbie Ford
My sister, the late Debbie Ford, created a body of work based upon Carl Jung’s concept of the Shadow. I was very fortunate to not only witness her creative process, I was her guinea pig for the early days of her trying to figure out how to language a new transformational process. I was both her literary agent and her manager and we used to joke about how “unmanageable” she was. Geniuses are like that (yes, I know that is not a proper word). You can’t tell them what to do. (But you can support them wholeheartedly and watch them shine!)
Debbie’s first book, The Dark Side of The Light Chasers became a #1 NY Times bestseller after Oprah had her on her show several times. The book continues to sell very well 22 years after its first publication. Below is a great description of its essence.
We know the shadow by many names: alter ego, lower self, the dark twin, repressed self, id. Carl Jung once said that the shadow “is the person you would rather not be.” But even if you choose to hide your dark side, it will still cast a shadow, according to author Debbie Ford. Rather than reject the seemingly undesirable parts of ourselves, Ford offers advice on how to confront our shadows. Only by owning every aspect of yourself can you achieve harmony and “let your own light shine,” she explains. “The purpose of doing shadow work, is to become whole. To end our suffering. To stop hiding ourselves from ourselves. Once we do this, we can stop hiding ourselves from the rest of the world.” Ultimately, she helps readers illuminate the gifts and strengths that lie within the shadows. Although this work sounds vague, clouded in dark metaphors, Ford manages to make it clear and specific. She has the writing gifts of a successful seminar leader—inspirational, trustworthy, and able to convey murky material with grace and ease.—Gail Hudson
A Return To Love
by Marianne Williamson
It was 1984, in Los Angeles, and I was in the audience at one of Marianne’s first public speaking engagements as she spoke about A Course In Miracles. I was intrigued by the information and quickly bought the Course in Miracles book and workbook. I found the text too difficult to understand but continued to attend Marianne’s weekly talks where she illuminated the teachings in a way I could digest.
Her first book, A Return to Love, became a favorite and I read it many times, learning something new each time. Eventually, Oprah discovered the book and launched it to audiences beyond the thousands of fans in LA and NYC. Here is what she says about it:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” Reading those two sentences sparked a series of aha! moments for me. What Marianne Williamson is getting at here is that fear hides our inner light, but that when we embrace love—which is how she defines God—we connect with who we are really meant to be. I have never been more moved by a book than I am by this one.”— Oprah Winfrey
by Daniel Quinn
This book is about a man and his guru, a gorilla. It introduced me to the concept that there are two kinds of people in the world: leavers and takers. I recognized that I am essentially a taker, but the book made me want to be a better person and has encouraged me to be more of a leaver.
The narrator of this extraordinary tale is a man in search of truth. He answers an ad in a local newspaper from a teacher looking for serious pupils, only to find himself alone in an abandoned office with a full-grown gorilla who is nibbling delicately on a slender branch. “You are the teacher?” he asks incredulously. “I am the teacher,” the gorilla replies.
Ishmael is a creature of immense wisdom and he has a story to tell, one that no other human being has ever heard. It is a story that extends backward and forward over the lifespan of the earth from the birth of time to a future there is still time to save. Like all great teachers, Ishmael refuses to make the lesson easy; he demands the final illumination come from within ourselves. Is it man’s destiny to rule the world? Or is it a higher destiny possible for him—one more wonderful than he has ever imagined?
Autobiography of a Yogi
By Paramahansa Yogananda
I remember exactly where I was standing the first time someone mentioned this book to me. I was on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills with a handsome man who claimed to be connected to the Sultan of Brunei. He was sharing stories from the book and when I told him I had to read it, he immediately drove me to the Bodhi Tree bookstore and bought me a copy, which I still have today. I haven’t read the book in 35 years so I no longer recall the stories, just that it put me on my path of study spiritual traditions.
Here is an online description of the book: “This acclaimed autobiography presents a fascinating portrait of one of the great spiritual figures of our time. With engaging candor, eloquence, and wit, Paramahansa Yogananda narrates the inspiring chronicle of his life: the experiences of his remarkable childhood, encounters with many saints and sages during his youthful search throughout India for an illumined teacher, ten years of training in the hermitage of a revered yoga master, and the thirty years that he lived and taught in America.
This is at once a beautifully written account of an exceptional life and a profound introduction to the ancient science of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation. The author clearly explains the subtle but definite laws behind both the ordinary events of everyday life and the extraordinary events commonly termed miracles. His absorbing life story thus becomes the background for a penetrating and unforgettable look at the ultimate mysteries of human existence.”
Into the Magic Shop
by James R. Doty
I have always loved memoirs and this is a favorite because it offers the reader useful, mystical teachings. I have lost track of how many copies I have bought and given away, mostly to young men. The power of this true story to shape a young man’s thinking is profound. And it works equally well with women of all ages.
Growing up poor in the high desert of California, Jim Doty had an alcoholic father and a mother chronically depressed and paralyzed by a stroke. Today he is the director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University, of which the Dalai Lama is a founding benefactor. But back then his life was at a dead end until, at twelve, he wandered into a magic shop looking for a plastic thumb. Instead, he met Ruth, a woman who taught him a series of exercises to ease his own suffering and manifest his greatest desires. Her final mandate was that he keep his heart open and teach these techniques to others. She gave him his first glimpse of the unique relationship between the brain and the heart.
Doty would go on to put Ruth’s practices to work with extraordinary results—power and wealth that he could only imagine as a twelve-year-old, riding his orange Sting-Ray bike. But he neglects Ruth’s most important lesson, to keep his heart open, with disastrous results—until he has the opportunity to make a spectacular charitable contribution that will virtually ruin him. Part memoir, part science, part inspiration, and part practical instruction, Into the Magic Shop shows us how we can fundamentally change our lives by first changing our brains and our hearts.
Arielle Ford dives deeper into the intimate stories behind her 10 Best Spiritual Book List on the No BS Spiritual Book Club’s Face to Face With… interview series.