Inspiration: Books and Talks

I feel that I stumbled upon some great finds this week – and I feel that I just cannot keep them to myself. Here is a list of books and talks that make me bubbling with inspiration. Their subject is happiness, change of thinking, work and positivity. If you are into it also, let’s go!


  1. I don’t know how this book found me on Amazon – but I am very happy it did. Because in the first second I felt like waving it away “I have read stuff like this in tons already”. But it turned out to be more powerful stuff than I have tried before 😉 The book I refer to is “Loving what is” by Byron Katie. And you can also find a lot of her material on Youtube. Byron Katie is known for her method of self-inquiry bkatwhich she calls The Work. If you search her on youtube, I recommend you go for her interview with Oprah and also watch one of her sittings where she goes through the method with someone on stage (my favorite so far is “I am not living my full potential”). It shows how the self-inquiry works. And I love the humor and kindness of Byron Katie. I thought that the book will be unnecessary after the videos – but I must admit, I am very moved and motivated by the book, even though I understood the basics of The Work by watching the videos. The main idea of Byron Katie is that suffering is never caused by the external situations or people, but by our thinking only, and attachment to untrue thoughts causes our suffering. Through easy and kind process of self-inquiry one can attain mental freedom and love for reality as it is (I hope, I will write another post on The Work, with details and quotes that moved me so much).

2. The second book that just got hold on my attention on Amazon is “Job to love” by jobSchool of Life, which is a project of Alain de Botton. And I used to adore his writing style (his book “Consolations of philosophy” was read by me 8 years ago and still many its points sit well with me). Alain de Botton has work titles that make me tremble with excitement: “The Art of Travel”, “How Proust Can Change Your Life”, “The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work”. I feel like buying them all at once and getting drowned in this reading list. In my study of the art of life this author will definitely be among the teachers and the classics 🙂 In “Job to Love” he suggests that we learn nothing about finding such job when studying, while the modern life almost demands that work must not only be the source of income, but also of inspiration and fond feelings. But how do we achieve it if we don’t know how? Will we suddenly feel the pull towards our life’s passion? According to de Botton, we need learning the tricks, just like in any other important field of life. This is what the book is about: ideas and exercises crafted to help the reader to understand what moves him in work, so he can know what he must be looking for.

3. I like to listen to podcast interviews by Jonathan Fields of the Good Life Project and the latest I have listened to was “Dan Lerner: How to Succeed (without destroying your life)” where he talks about his experience of working with the best musicians and seeing that while some thrive and have balanced and happy lives, some may achieve success at the price of loneliness, suffering relationships or health. This took him to study performance and positive psychology and now he teaches the most popular elective class of New York University “The Science of Happiness”. First, I was envious of his students – I wish I could join that class too (and he sounded smart, entertaining and engaging). Second, I just had to say: “What a life!”. And then, of course, I had to google him and his new book. The new book I would not buy as it has college students as its focus readers. But I was pushed towards researching the term of positive psychology. And in the process I found…

4. The grounding father of positive psychology – Martin Seligman. Just let me make a little pause here and just wonder at the phenomenon of this discipline. Here I am, self-proclaimed student of the art of life – and here is the scientific field which studies happiness and a good life, and had been doing it for some decades so far. If I were to apply to university today, I know what I would go for! Isn’t it funny that evidently the information has been there for years – but it finds you just now. And in spite of my strong wish of complaint “why first now?”, I still realize that the timing is perfect.

So here are my finds from Mr. Seligman. First, his book “Learnt Optimism” which I optsuggested to buy for my man and me – so we can start a little book club. I have read many self-help books with anecdotal evidence and mystical theories (and I still buy into them ;)) – and I am looking forward to reading more research-based text (hope, not too boring) about positivity. His another book “Authentic Happiness” is a bestseller, and could be number 2 on my list.

I made friends with google these days, and with Ted Talks on Youtube too. So I just had to check if Martin Seligman made a Ted Talk – and guess what, he did! Discussing happiness in the light of scientific research, and which factors are crucial for living a good life, according to his studies. I must confess my respect for professors in States who seem to be so engaging and entertaining (or maybe, the boring ones don’t get to do the Ted Talks, hehe).

You must be really interested in the subject if you have read so far 😉 Now share, please: do you have experience with works of Katie, de Botton and M. Seligman? Any recommendations or feedback? And if you have ideas, books or talks that inspire you right now – please, share your inspiration!

14 thoughts on “Inspiration: Books and Talks

  1. Byron Katie is great. Her website is chock full of articles and testimonials – – and if you’re open to letting the mental suffering go, the Work makes you laugh out loud at its simple truth. Like a light switched, ON, in your brain. I’m not familiar with de Botton or Seligman, but along the lines of inquiry, asking yourself simple questions to get to the heart of things, I highly recommend Sylvia Nibley’s Inquiry Cards – Thanks for this post, Marina!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your comment! So great to find those who share the same love 🙂 I love Katie for her humor, I was most sceptic about the dialogues in the book- but I loved them the most. I want to learn to laugh as you say 🙂 and thank you for advice – I will collect a pool of resources here 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am just impressed how much you read on the topic (and in general). I wish I could do the same! “A job to love” seems interesting to me. I will add it to my long reading list, thanks =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Uliana! Your comment reflects my own view: I just started to see how much knowledge I collect on one thing – and how for granted I take it. When some would call themselves the experts after this :))) I am glad to share my excitement, and it’s bonus when it can serve people. Glad you found something for you 😉


  3. I had never heard of any of these authors before but the description of them and details definitely makes me want to read more. I love TED talks and try to listen to them at least once a week. There are so many people that inspire that have given talks that I feel I couldn’t go through them all in one sitting.
    Wonderful list of books, can’t wait to get my hands on them. I just read my friend’s book that she wrote, it’s called “Beauty in the Breakdown” by Zoey Arielle. It’s available now on the Kindle app only and was a great read. Made me think a lot of the reason why I am here in Italy and the law of attraction-which she mentions in the book. Anyway, great suggestions!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad that you liked the list! Hope, you will enjoy the books too. My strongest recommendation is Byron Katie, her message is simple and life-changing. Check her out on youtube to see if she resonates. We are all different and are at different stages. But sharing helps!
      Wow, you have a friend writer, so cool! What is her book about? Sounds like about breakdown, I see 🙂 in which sense?

      Liked by 1 person

      • The book is about the year before she moved to Italy. How she was able to turn her life around and change her mentality, get out of the situation she was in, and create a life she envisioned for so long. It’s sounds like a fiction novel but it’s her own life and the fact that I know her and got to know her better through the book, is really cool for me.
        I will check Byron Katie out, thank you for the recommendation.


      • Wow, sounds really exciting! Maybe I should write smth similar before moving to Barcelona 🙂 ok ok, no stealing ideas! I just think of writing a book and it must happen like in 20 years. And why not now? As long as you can write, I mean…😆 thank you for the book!))

        Liked by 1 person

      • It all started with writing a daily diary which so happens to be the book…it’s like a dairy of her life. If you start writing now about what inspires you, I don’t see why it couldn’t be a book in the future? I would definitely read it.


      • Oh, in that case I have material for a whole little library 🙂 I have kept a diary since I was like 17… Many stayed in Ukraine, I would love to get my hands on them now and read them. But I never considered that as a book material, it is such a mess in those my diaries. But I am sure that my book will be an autobiography, I am not good at inventing other stories than my own :))) Wow, thank you! I will keep you in mind when writing it 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am sure your life is more interesting than inventing one up. Why make it up when you have your whole life to share? Those often make for the best stories!


      • Thank you! and I totally agree. It is just when you live from inside of this life, you think like this is nothing special. Though it could make an interesting book, I guess. But someone must take this job writing about it, haha.

        Liked by 1 person

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