Books Make a Better Life

The other evening I had the great pleasure of attending the 16th Annual Books for a Better Life Awards at the TimesCenter in New York City.  The Awards were given to the best self-improvement books of 2011.  Nominated titles fall into ten categories–all designed to inspire and improve our lives.  The proceeds from the event benefit the New York City – Southern New York Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for research, support services, and educational programs.

I was there as a member of the publishing industry and supporter of the event, but I was also honored to be inducted into the Awards Hall of Fame.  This is a very special recognition for me as it marries two things for which I’m passionate about:  inspirational books and a cause that’s close to my heart because I’ve watched friends suffer with MS.

If you’ve read this blog before, you know that personal development is a huge interest of mine.  Most every week I listen to motivational speeches and read books that will help me grow in work or in life.  I’m fortunate to be in a business whose mission is helping books reach readers.  After all, whether a self-help book or a moving piece of fiction, I believe that all books can be transformative and inspiring.

Before I share the winning books, I want to also congratulate Shelley Peterman Schwarz.  She received the MS Awareness Award.  Shelley has published numerous books and articles about living with a chronic illness.  Meet her and you immediately see that her winning attitude and spirit power her life like few without illness can match.  All of us who were at the event were inspired by her.


I haven’t read all of the books that were nominated or won an award, but I definitely plan on adding several to my reading list.  Here are the 2011 Books for a Better Life nominated titles and Award winners (listed in ALL CAPS):


10 Mindful Minutes by Goldie Hawn with Wendy Holden

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.


 First Book

In Stitches by Anthony Youn, M.D. with Alan Eisenstock

Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer

The Anti-Romantic Child by Priscilla Gilman

The Long Goodbye by Meghan O’Rourke

DAY OF HONEY by Annia Ciezadlo (from Free Press)


Oceana by Ted Danson

The Nature Principle by Richard Louv

The Ripple Effect by Alex Prud’Homme

World without Fish by Mark Kurlansky

THE NEIGHBORHOOD PROJECT by David Sloan Wilson (from Little, Brown and Company) 

Inspirational Memoir

History of a Suicide by Jill Bialosky

How to Get Out of Your Own Way by Tyrese Gibson

Learning to Breathe by Priscilla Warner

One Hundred Names for Love by Diane Ackerman

ENJOY EVERY SANDWICH by Lee Lipsenthal, M.D. (from The Crown Publishing Group) 


Better By Mistake by Alina Tugend

Life Gets Better by Wendy Lustbader

The Art of Uncertainty by Dennis Merritt Jones

The Four Desires by Rod Stryker


Personal Finance

Financial Recovery by Karen McCall

Lost and Found by Geneen Roth

The Laws of Prosperity by E. Bernard Jordan

The Smartest Portfolio You’ll Ever Own by Daniel R. Solin

CLARK HOWARD’S LIVING LARGE IN LEAN TIMES by Clark Howard with Mark Meltzer and Theo Thimou (from Avery Books)


Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson (featured in our Best Covers of 2011 post)

The Secret Life of Pronouns by James W. Pennebaker

The Sibling Effect by Jeffrey Kluger

Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney

THE GEEKS SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH by Alexandra Robbins (from Hyperion Books)


A Bittersweet Season by Jane Gross

How to Talk to an Autistic Kid by Daniel Stefanski

Missed Connections by Sophie Blackall

The Secret Lives of Wives by Iris Krasnow

SPOUSONOMICS by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson (from Random House) 


Finding Your Way in a Wild New World by Martha Beck

Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg

Waiting by Marya Hornbacher

Zen Mind, Zen Horse by Allan J. Hamilton, M.D.

HOLY GHOST GIRL by Donna M. Johnson (from GothamBooks) 


Better Each Day by Jessica Cassity

Healing Spices by Bharat B. Aggarwal, Ph.D. with Debora Yost

Lunch Wars by Amy Kalafa

The Happiness Diet by Tyler Graham and Drew Ramsey, M.D.

THE LONGEVITY PROJECT by Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D. and Leslie R. Martin, Ph.D. (from Hudson StreetPress)



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