On this page, I offer a carefully curated collection of favourite resource recommendations to help you HANDCRAFT a sustainable life and small business.
I’ve set a boundary for myself of 7 resource recommendations per section which motivates me to periodically come on back to change things up. The decision to exclude fiction from this list is rooted in my desire to keep the list lean. However, I want to say that story changes me and calls me to growth as much as non-fiction and it infuses my ordinary life with pleasure which is equally valuable. This is my justification for a tiny little exception: I love this fiction series and this novel was an incredibly powerful and healing read for me in the messy season I’m in.
Some resources may include a referral link. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases which means if you purchase a book or resource on Amazon through my referral link, I earn a tiny commission that helps me run this site. I encourage supporting your local Indie shops or library when possible (like me, you may live in a small town without bookstores). You’ll notice that on my sidebar I also usually keep a rotating list of a few books from my shelves or reading stack to offer ongoing reading inspiration.
Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.–Lemony Snicket
RESOURCE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR YOUR SUSTAINABLE LIFE AND SMALL BUSINESS
Topical Resource Pages
I’ve pulled together posts, interviews, and other resources to help you grow and learn on the topics of living whole and brave after loss, mental health, the how of happiness, showing up through fear, embracing imperfection, learning that you are enough, and slow, seasonal and simple living. You can access these pages here.
Personal Growth & Happiness
Happy Go Money by Melissa Leong: Melissa writes with a sense of humour that I enjoy – it makes money talk even more enjoyable. This book combines and light exploration of happiness research with easy to understand info/encouragement about using our money wisely. I also appreciate that Melissa is Canadian (many money books only refer to American stats/details) but this book is relevant for anyone in North America.
I’m cheating with this one and instead of linking to just one book, I’m sharing a list of Anti-Racism Resources & Action Items for White People. I’m making my way through many of these.
The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King: This book offers “a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian–White relations in North America since initial contact. Ranging freely across the centuries and the Canada–U.S. border.”
Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga: From the description “Using a sweeping narrative focusing on the lives of the students, award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against Indigenous communities.”
Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett: Within the first two chapters had underlined and otherwise marked it up more than most books altogether. This is a book that gets you thinking and nodding along – full of wisdom and insight.
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown: Let’s be honest; anything by Brené Brown is worth reading. Like Big Magic, this book was further inspiration to me to ditch comparison and just step out and offer my small gifts. Good stuff.
Why Bother? by Jen Louden: This book met me where I’m at in this season of life. I took my time going through it because on almost every page there was a thought, a quote, one simple idea that helped me feel seen and heard. It’s my most underlined and marked up book of 2020 so far.
Slow, Simple, Sustainable Living
52 Mondays: Seasonal Mindfulness Journals: This is a set of four journals – Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter Sessions are available. Each week offers you a reflection plus three prompts to help you “pause & consider” so you can show up fully – with joy and on purpose – to your imperfect and beautiful life. All proceeds of the winter journal go to establish an art scholarship in my son’s name.
12 Tiny Things: Simple Ways to Live a More Intentional Life by Heidi Barr and Ellie Roscher: Lucky me, I got an advanced digital copy of this book to read but because I really, truly liked it I also pre-ordered my own hard-copy. This book could equally fit under health & wellness; it offers encouragement and small choices we can make to care for ourselves well and practice the truth that one tiny little step at a time has the power to change our lives.
Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver: I’m a decluttering and “let go of what was to make space for what will be” kinda gal and this book is a great reminder to ask ourselves what we’re holding onto that is no longer serving us. Courtney makes the argument that maybe LESS in life would mean MORE – more love, space, freedom, or joy.
The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders: This was an enjoyable read. I like peering into people’s lives to learn how they think or what motivates their behaviour. Cait shares how her emotional and lifestyle process to pare down and quiet the internal noise that led her to overspend and hide behind her stuff.
Living More with Less by Doris Janzen Longacre: I have my mom’s old/original copy of this book that was the first intentional living book I read. Along with the example of my parents, this book inspired me way back in university to aim for an intentional, sustainable, conscious or values-aligned life. My favourite comfort food originates from the accompanying More with Less Cookbook.
The Way of the Happy Woman by Sara Avant Stover: Sara divides her book into seasonal wisdom, reflections, and lifestyle suggestions. A lovely invitation to slow down, notice, and tune into the season we are in.
A Woman’s Book of Life – The Biology, Psychology, and Spirituality of the Feminine Life Cycle by Joan Borysenko, Ph.D.: This is interesting and affirming and encourages us to look for the wisdom in every season. Joan helps us acknowledge and then walk in the gifts of being a woman. I’d love an updated version of this book.
Think before you speak. Read before you think.– Fran Lebowitz
mind-body Health & Wellness
Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife by Barbara Bradley Hagerty: The author interviews experts in neuroscience, psychology, biology, genetics, and sociology to explore how to show up to midlife and beyond with curiosity and joy.
The Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal: My absolute favourite non-fiction book of 2016. Kelly challenges the idea that we have been sold, that all stress is bad. This book definitely shifted my stress mindset and I have been able to apply what I gleaned from Kelly to the work I do in classes and with clients.
Wild Power by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: Alexandra and Sjanie help us tune into the wisdom of our body and natural rhythms, harness this knowledge to calm our nervous system, live with more peace around the ebb and flow of life, and otherwise live with whole and well.
The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution by Trudy Scott: Trudy is a nutritionist who speaks to food, mood, and women’s health. This small but useful book has sat on my shelf and been referred to for years. “The foods we eat can impact our brain chemistry and emotions. But most of us don’t realize how much our diets influence our moods, thoughts, and feelings until we make a change.”
Beyond the Label: 10 Steps to Improve Your Mental Health with Naturopathic Medicine by Dr. Christina Bjorndal: Dr. Chris has lived experience with Bipolar and suicidality and now helps others live with optimal physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Brain-Training for the Highly Sensitive Person: If you’ve identified that you’re an HSP and want to learn how to reduce anxiety and overwhelming emotion so you can live your best life, I recommend Julie Bjelland’s 8-week program.
It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand by Megan Devine: My son died by suicide recently. Child loss and suicide are excruciating and North American culture doesn’t do a great job of making space for grief or truth-telling. If you’re grieving (or love someone who is) I highly recommend this book and Megan’s work.
Business or Voice & Vision
The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson: I’ve always loved learning about personality type, habit formation, WHY people operate the way they do. I’ve had fun with Myers Briggs and many other tests but finally dove into the Enneagram and am so glad I did.
Being Boss: Take Control of Your Work and Live Life on Your Own Terms by Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon: Not just a business book but a practical read for anyone wanting to live on purpose. Love it.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott: This is a book worth reading every few years. I love Anne’s honest, straightforward way of writing about life. She challenges me and makes me feel safe all at once.
Brand Brilliance by Fiona Humberstone: I love this book. It has great information about colour theory and branding. It’s pretty and genuinely useful when building an intentional business.
Fired Up & Focused by Racheal Cook. Racheal seems kind and practical – I learn something from each of her podcast episodes and her book is down to earth and full of valuable information for people wanting to end overwhelm and get clear on their most important tasks.
The 3 Word Rebellion by Dr. Michelle A. Mazur. I like that Michelle self-published this book but also I agree that a strong, compelling, 3-word rebellion can stop the scrolling and draw people to your work. I wouldn’t say I have this figured out for my own business necessarily, but it’s an idea worth pondering.
The Creative Doer by Anna Lovind: Anna offers an honest and realistic roadmap for women who are hungry to build creative lives and do the work they feel called to. I definitely feel seen in this book because it’s written from the perspective of a woman and mother, like me, walking her talk and determined to build a sustainable life and business.
Purpose & Values-based living
Purposeful Printable Pack $17: 11 worksheets purposefully designed to help inspire and support you in living a life of purpose, health, and joy. I keep this in my Life Management Binder and check in with them regularly to live with intention and because we progress in what we track!
I ALWAYS carry a small Moleskin notebook in my purse – to capture words, phrases, ideas, or to-do lists as I think of them.
These are not inexpensive especially when shipping to Canada (I always get charged customs) but I do love my red Full Focus Planners. If I wasn’t running a business and couldn’t charge these as a business expense, I’d choose something else. You use one journal per season which works well with my seasonal approach to life/small business and they build in thoughtful practices that feel important to me – like identifying my top 3 priorities for the day and having a weekly check-in.
Essentialism by Greg McKeown: I think this should be considered a classic in the realm of simple or purposeful living. Worth coming back to over and over again.
The One Thing by Gary Keller: I’m not interested in copying people or chasing all the shiny things and this book is yet another that helps me come back to what is MOST important and let go of the rest.
Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin: This is the book that introduced me to Gretchen’s Four Tendencies – a simple model for determining how we respond to inner and outer expectations (very useful in life, work, and our relationships!).
Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer: This little book could have easily fit into the Personal Growth category too. I’ve borrowed Let Your Life Speak a couple of times from the library so bought my own copy because it’s time for a re-read and anything worth reading three times is a keeper. Parker shares about his own dark night of the soul and finding his way forward.
NOW WHAT? In addition to this page of resource recommendations, you may also like the post 8 Affirming Books that Helped me Love Life More or you can learn from the topical resource pages I’ve pulled together for you.