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Dear Dr. Debra,
Itís that time of year again when I want to stock up on books and CDs that will motivate and inspire me.  Iíve read some of the books youíve suggested in the past and found them helpful.  Can you make some new suggestions?
An Eager Learner
Dear Eager Learner,
First of all, Iím going to commend you for reading and listening to inspiring literature. (See previous suggestions in my archived column, Uplifting Motivational Publications.) Iím sure itís helping you to be a better person and achieve more of your goals.
Iíd love to give you some new suggestions. I havenít had as much reading time this year as usual because Iíve been doing so much consulting work.  However, Iíve been using Joel Osteenís, Becoming a Better Person, as my morning prayer/meditation reading. 
I discovered Joel Osteen when I was flipping TV channels, and something he said caught my attention enough to keep listening.  For a few minutes I couldnít figure out if he was a motivational speaker or a minister (although heís both.)  He didnít sound like any television evangelist Iíd ever heard.  Although he mentioned God, he didnít try to hit you over the head with sin or damnation.  He spoke of positive concepts and told interesting stories. He had a unique way of combining motivational concepts with some positive scripture and belief in God.  If he had a church in Southern California, instead of Texas, Iíd have immediately started attending services.
Iíve been recommending Becoming a Better Person to all my clients, and gave it out as Christmas presents.  Luckily, the book came out on CD a few weeks before Christmas, so I bought it for my boyfriend, who doesnít tend to read books.  Iíve only listened to a few minutes, but the CD, read in Joelís educated Texas twang, is just as compelling as the book.  Both the book and CD will be lapped up by spiritual people.  But even if youíre not spiritual, you will find a lot to inspire you in the book.
Another new favorite book, Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert, was recommended by one of my clients.  Sheíd heard about it on a talk show, touted as the new The Secret, meaning The Secret was the in book for 2007 and Eat, Pray, Love is the in book for 2008.
In book or not, Liz Gilbert writes a fascinating, honest, spiritual memoir about taking a year off from a life full of mistakes, unhappiness, and depression and spending four months each in Italy, India, and Indonesia on a journey of self-discovery and mental/emotional healing.  Even those who donít like memoirs will find the book reads like a novel, full of interesting people, quirky humor, and a candid revelation of personal humanity.
 Since Iíve been on the road a lot, Iíve been listening to CDs of books on tape or of lectures/workshops given by inspirational speakers.  Surprisingly, this year, my reading/listening choices have been influenced by gifts or suggestions from clients, employees at consulting jobs, or friends.
I started listening to CDs when I found myself having to do a one and a half to two hour commute in nasty LA traffic to get to a consulting job.  Already tired from having to get up earlier than normal, I found myself arriving at the job exhausted and feeling a little grumpy.  NOT the way I wanted to feel.  I started listening to The Secret on CD and found myself arriving at work full of excitement and energy.
From there, I experimented with other books on CD given me by others, theyíre good, but not enough for me to recommend.  But thereís lots more out there, and Iíll be grateful to hear reader recommendations.
Today I listened to the CD of a service of Agape International Spiritual Center, given me by another client.  Michael Bernard Beckwith is the founder and Spiritual Director.  (If youíre familiar with The Secret, than youíll know him.)  I loved the sermon, and one of the songs really made me think about something I need to work on.  I plan on ordering more sermons from
I hope thatís enough recommendations to keep you busy for a while.
Dr. Debra

Feel free to write me with your questions

Debra Holland, Ph.D., is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in relationships and communication techniques.

To read previous 'Ask Dr. Debra' articles, please visit www.wetnoodleposse.com, where Dr. Debra is a regular contributor, or click here to view the archives.





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