Oprah Winfrey recommends3 min read

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The most influential woman in the world recommends her favorite self-help books

“The Four Agreements: APractical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz

– Oprah Winfrey

Also recommended by Jack Dorsey, Ellen DeGeneres

Four practices are all you need for a better life, insists Ruiz, and millions of readers have agreed with him. Seven years of being on the New York Times bestseller book list is quite an achievement, for a book describing just a few lifelong changes that need to be made: verbal integrity, questions without assumptions, a refusal to personalize, and making the best happen. As a surgeon with spiritual roots in the deep heart of Mexico, Ruiz weaves both practices in and out of this work. It has been promoted by Spiritually Fit Yoga and by Oprah, at the top of her favorites self-help books list.

“A Return To Love” by Marianne Williamson

– Oprah Winfrey

The fear of our own power keeps us from love, says Williamson, and the lack of love keeps us from healing. Miracles are the natural outcome of love, which provides the connection that leads to peace. Williamson also draws on scientific principles of quantum physics, saying that our ability to change our minds and state of consciousness can change the world (per the uncertainty principle developed by Werner Heisenberg). Those who enjoy books revealing the self-imposed limits of the mind that can be overcome may want to add this to their reading list, as Oprah has done. The quote attributed to Nelson Mandela, about our deepest fears not truly coming from inadequacy, is found originally in this book.

“To Kill AMockingbird” by Harper Lee

– Oprah Winfrey

A mixture between Huckleberry Finn and Gone with the Wind, Lee’s novel is just as good a story as a commentary on the positive and negative aspects of the deep South in America. It has appeared in high school English literature reading lists for years, and earned Lee a Pulitzer prize in 1961. The story centers around the family of Atticus Finch, a genteel but struggling lawyer in a small town of Alabama. His tomboy daughter (Scout) and son (Jem) fight through their own fascination and fear of a reclusive neighbor, as Atticus fights to free a black man from an unjust accusation. The novel’s court case may have foreshadowed the author’s recent copyright battle with her former publisher.

“Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston

– Oprah Winfrey

Hurston’s novel has been applauded for its strong African-American female protagonist, but was out of favor in the world of critics until the late 1970’s. One of its earliest champions was famous fellow author Alice Walker, writer of the Color Purple, who claims this book on her favorites list of all time. The story of Janie Crawford and the three main men in her life includes serious themes of survival and feminism, and Oprah highly identifies with Janie. Her eventual return to tell the story to Pheoby, in a small town of the Everglades in Florida, has elements of auto-biography, because it’s the same town of the author’s younger years.

“The Power Of Now” byEckhart Tolle

Also recommended by Pavel Durov

This Zen Buddhist work of philosophy has made quite an impression on a number of reading lists of famous celebrities, from Paris Hilton to Oprah Winfrey. As might be deduced from the title, Tolle promotes the perspective of living in the moment – but not in a shallow way. Styled as a spiritual teacher, Tolle goes beyond the practical necessity of living moment-to-moment, but says that the present is truly all that there is, and should be lived with intensity – because time is purely an illusion. The rejection of struggle by implementing mindfulness, and moving from inactive waiting to the integrity of action, are also intriguing themes.

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