What do books about dog brains, a year spent in a tiny French village, mindfulness at work and in our daily lives, and new perspectives on mental and physical health have in common? They all involve some sort of transformation—to our thinking, to our behavior. Here’s a list of some of the Rewire Me editors’ favorite books of 2013.
How Dogs Love Us, by Gregory Berns
Neuroscientist Gregory Berns trained his dog Callie, and a dozen others, to stand perfectly still in an MRI machine. (Hot dogs and earmuffs were involved.) The goal was to see if the dogs’ brain centers lit up with emotions in the same way humans’ did. (Spoiler alert: They did.) In How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain (New Harvest, 2013), Berns suggests that his MRI evidence could and should be the catalyst for treating dogs and other animals, particularly primates, more humanely.
Mindfulness, by Joseph Goldstein
What we generally call mindfulness comes from the Buddhist vipassana (insight) tradition, and one of the first people to bring vipassana to an American audience was Joseph Goldstein. Since 1967, he has studied and practiced different forms of meditation with eminent teachers from India, Burma, and Tibet. In Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening (Sounds True, 2013), Goldstein explains and illuminates what mindfulness can bring to our lives.
The Slow Fix, by Carl Honoré
We tend to think of Rewire Me moments as sudden flashes of insight—but Carl Honoré’s The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter, and Live Better in a World Addicted to Speed (HarperOne 2013) explains why that isn’t always the case. Often the quick fix just makes things worse. His book is a roadmap to genuine transformation, for rewiring the way we overcome both individual and universal obstacles. The good news is the world is full of Slow Fixes. You just have to take the time to find and learn from them.
Clean Gut, by Dr. Alejandro Junger
In Clean Gut: The Breakthrough Plan for Eliminating the Root Cause of Disease and Revolutionizing Your Health (HarperOne, 2013), cardiologist Dr. Alejandro Junger teaches readers how to flush food sensitivities out of hiding, reduce chronic inflammation, and rid the body of toxins—all ways to reverse disease and sustain lifelong health.
I Have Cancer. And I’ve Never Felt Better! by Tracy Krulik
I Have Cancer. And I’ve Never Felt Better! (CreateSpace, 2013) is the story of one woman’s wild journey from unraveling a medical mystery that took nine years to solve, to navigating the science and art of medicine in search of the right treatments, to finally awakening to a healthier, more balanced life—with cancer. Just as millions of people live healthy lives with chronic diseases like diabetes and even HIV, Tracy Krulik tells how she learned to do the same in her fight against cancer, using her bike and a plant-based diet as weapons.
Polishing the Mirror, by Ram Dass
Spiritual trailblazer Ram Dass has explored the depths of consciousness for over five decades and is the author of the classic Be Here Now. In Polishing the Mirror (Sounds True, 2013), he explores ways to polish the mirror of the soul: by discovering who we are, why we are here, and reflecting fully the light of our true nature.
by Dr. Jeffrey B. Rubin
Meditative Psychotherapy: The Marriage of East and West (Abiding Change Press, 2013), by Dr. Jeffrey B. Rubin, is highly recommended reading for anyone pursuing spiritual or emotional growth. Rubin has wed meditation and psychoanalysis in his own psychotherapy practice, and his writings richly illustrate how this unlikely couple bring out the best in each other—and how, together, they can become a crucible for self-transformation.
In A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit (Hay House, 2013), Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan introduces readers to mindfulness experts and advocates in medicine, social work, education, and academia, and describes the programs they’ve created that help teachers, caregivers, and first responders have greater impact while avoiding burnout. “Deep down,” Ryan writes, “most Americans want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.” A Mindful Nation shows how we can do just that.
Too often our jobs become something we endure because we have to, but have stopped being a source of joy. In Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace (Workman Publishing, 2013), Sharon Salzberg—one of America’s favorite meditation teachers and an authority on Insight Meditation and Lovingkindness practice—offers ways to rewire this dynamic.
Home Away, by Launa Schweizer
Launa and Bill Schweizer carried through on a promise they had made to each other many years ago: Someday, when they had children, they would live overseas. Successful professionals in their late thirties with two small children, they quit their jobs, found renters for their house, and moved to the south of France for a year. Home Away: A Year of Misapprehensions, Transformations, and Rosé at Lunch (CreateSpace, 2013) is a loving record of the colors, smells, tastes, and cultural adjustments of taking up residence in the tiny village of Aups.
8 Keys to Stress Management,
by Elizabeth Anne Scott
Stress management shouldn’t be stressful! Elizabeth Scott, a blogger and wellness coach, blends ancient tradition and modern science with practical advice in 8 Keys to Stress Management (W. W. Norton, 2013). Her goal is “to help you shift your whole experience of stress in your life.”