Behind every wellness-obsessed woman is a giant stack of books (as legions of #shelfies will attest).
But for each of the fitness instructors, entrepreneurs, and healers below, there’s a title that stands out as the one—the perspective-shifting, idea-sparking tome that rocked her world and sent her down a new, healthier path.
Some of these books are rooted in science, some in spirituality. They’ve helped their owners heal eating disorders, salvage relationships, and navigate racial divides. The one thing they all have in common? Wellness stars keep coming back to them again and again—and you might, too.
Clear some space on your nightstand and scroll down for the life-changing books these wellness influencers swear by.
Lauren Ash, creator of Black Girl in Om
The wellness book that is currently changing my life is Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace by Angel Kyodo Williams. Williams is a Zen Buddhist priest and practitioner, and shares the beauty of Buddhist philosophy in a practical way through her lens as a contemporary black woman. I’ve found some of her anecdotes relating to acknowledging and eliminating fear very useful in the face of our current political climate.
Lacey Stone, celebrity fitness trainer featured on Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian
The Spontaneous Fulfillment Of Desire by Deepak Chopra is one of my all-time favorites. It’s about trusting life and going with the flow. Having a goal is awesome, but if you’re so focused on the result, you miss the journey—which is your life. It also teaches you to look at obstacles as teachers that are telling you to change course…or to woman up and get stronger.
Jeannette Ogden, creator of Shut the Kale Up
The wellness book that changed my life is The Body Book by Cameron Diaz. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read it, and I’ve gotten useful tips and information each time. When I first bought the book I was struggling with an eating disorder, [and] it helped me understand me and love the skin I live in. I recommend it to everyone.
Erin Telford, breathwork facilitator and energy healer
Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss was a game-changer for me. Someone gave me a copy during my senior year in high school, and I remember reading it and finally feeling understood. The idea that the Western medical system wasn’t the only model—and was, in fact, a very poor and deficient model for true healing—was something that I knew intuitively, but it felt so good to have it validated. It opened me up to the vastness of what we could do as individuals to self-heal and even prevent “dis-ease” from happening.
Lauren Imparato, yoga instructor and author of Retox
Open by Andre Agassi is an incredible story of resilience. How to fight through pain and the commentary of others—[including] those nasty, harsh voices of your mind. Agassi reminded me to always stand my ground, no matter how enticing the offer looks, and to never give in to what others say and think. It’s very Retox, actually. Like I say, “I am me. I love me. It’s in me.”
Tonya Lewis Lee, producer, author, and founder of Movita Organics
I’ve had a couple of books that’ve had a very significant impact on me, but in terms of wellness, I have to say Ernest Holmes’ The Science of Mind. I never approached it from a religious point of view—it was more about spirituality and what I wanted to attract to my life. So I did the practice of training myself to think positively and reading my affirmations out loud every day for a year. Every now and then, I go back for a refresher.
Cristen Barker, yogi and co-creator of The Chin Twins
Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr came out in 2011, when the juicing trend was just taking off in New York City. I escaped the city for a quiet weekend in Woodstock and found a signed copy of this book in a local bookstore. It opened up a new way of looking at how the food we eat affects the chemical make-up of our bodies. I always felt ill after eating, and this book started me on a path to wellness.
I remember reading the author’s story about how she left the hustle and bustle of city living for the mountains of Woodstock and thought what a pioneer she was. Six years later I, too, have left New York City for Woodstock. I’m always looking for her in town, but haven’t met her yet!
Kimberly Hise, yogi and co-creator of The Chin Twins
I came across The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra during a time in my life when I felt spiritually drained and without direction. It’s a simple message that the universe is filled with endless blessings and that when you find your purpose, your life will just flow without fear or attachment. After reading this book I decided to go through yoga teacher training, and I’ve found peace sharing the many messages of yoga.
Brandi Sellers-Jackson, doula and founder of Not So Private Parts
Birthing As Nature Intended was a game-changer for me—it’s a hypnobirthing book by Teresa Van-Zeller. After reading this while preparing for my little one, I felt so very empowered. For me, it further confirmed the power of the female body, and it spoke against fear and promoted drawing strength from within. I often find myself recommending this book to many of my clients within my doula practice.
Priscilla Tsai, founder of Cocokind skin care
I have so many favorites, but a recent book that has impacted me is How to Love Yourself (and Sometimes Other People) by Lodro Rinzler and Meggan Watterson. After attending a meditation class, I picked up this book at MNDFL in New York.
What separates it from most other books, in my opinion, is that it’s very actionable. Both authors guide readers on how to create healthier relationships in day-to-day life…starting with yourself! I’ve learned to not be so hard on myself, which is sometimes difficult as an entrepreneur. The book has also helped me begin a more concerted meditation practice.
For more new additions to your reading list, check out the 10 most exciting wellness books of 2017, and the super-inspiring memoir that’s been billed as the new Wild.
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