You know the saying, “you are what we read”? Well, here are some of my favorite books I read this year that helped me expand my imagination and see the world differently. I’d LOVE to know what helped you—what you’ve been reading—write your recommendations in our Musicians Making It Facebook group! Here are my top book picks for your list—choose your adventure.
Dave Hickey is an art critic, a legendary contrarian, and an astute chronicler of culture. Read this collection of essays on taste and challenge your thinking so you can expand your life.
Nancy Hollis is an abstract artist and a Stanford Trained Existential Psychiatrist. I found her book (for visual artists) a terrific counterpoint to Steven Pressfield’s Artist’s Journey and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. All three have helped me rethink what artistry is and how we can get out of our own way to do and be more.
Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest with an outlook and invitation to see your life’s trajectory anew—it’s helpful no matter what your beliefs may be. The book is a provocative wake-up call to help us align our values with our actions. Short and powerful, no matter which half of life you’re in!
I’m a diehard fan of Terry Pratchett and have read pretty much all that he wrote. I was introduced to his work while riding Amtrak and listening to a fellow across the aisle from me laughing his head off at the book he was reading. Pratchett is that good. His books centered helped see me through much of the past year.
Peter Leech and Zeva Singer wrote this marvelous and difficult book. With practical written prompts throughout, Acknowledgement lays bare the inner work that grieving calls us to do. Not easy but in the end, it’s exactly what’s needed to claim your feelings, honor your memories, and move forward.
Reading Pearson’s Persephone Rising has been part of my binge-exploration of myths and of the hero’s journey. Especially recommended for females looking to view their archetypal journey with new insights and strengths. The future is female!
Jean-Pierre Weill’s beautifully illustrated picture book for grownups offers a surprisingly resonant practical philosophy of life in story form.
I’m in the midst of this now—a novel by Madeline Miller about the Goddess Circe, and what it takes to truly find yourself and your purpose. Part of my recent fascination with myths and Jungian archetypes. Written by a classicist, this book will re-orient you to wonder.
PS: If you’re looking for just the right book to give yourself or other musician friends for the holidays, the third edition of my book Beyond Talent: Creating a Successful Career in Music may be just the thing.
With new examples and inspirational exercises throughout—and a special emphasis on tools for getting past the inner struggles that hold so many musicians back—this is the classic updated for today’s musician.
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