Birthday Book Club

July 28, 2011
Powell's Books

Last Summer, I had this crazy idea that if I asked people to help me go down to the Gulf of Mexico to document the oil spill, people that had the money but not the time to get involved themselves would help out. I tested this theory on my birthday by putting a short video on my blog and Facebook page asking for help. I knew that people would be coming by Facebook and posting the obligatory Happy Birthday on my wall, and I wanted to use the opportunity to share something that would mean so much more to me.

And guess what? It worked. Really well.

I can’t say thank you enough for the people that stepped up to support Spirit of the Gulf Coast. This year, I have a bit of a different request.

What I want more than anything this year is for you to buy a book. Not for me though, for you.

Powell's BooksI’ve been blessed with some incredible book recommendations over the years, and some of these have been instrumental in shaping the course of my life as I move along this incredible journey of self discovery.

I picked 7 titles that I’ve talked about in one form or another before in the hopes that you get something out of them.

Check them out if you feel compelled, and by all means, share your thoughts in the comments below.

And a hat tip to Dave Ursillo for the germ of the idea for this post. His recent post on book recommendations is awesome!

So, without further ado, here are the books in my birthday book club:

A Philosopher's NotesA Philosopher’s Notes – Brian Johnson. This book was given to me recently by my good friend Jeff, who has a knack for connecting me with perfect resources. The book gives short, bite-sized nuggets of wisdom, and draws on some of the most inspirational writers, thinkers, leaders, etc. over the evolution of humanity. It’s short and punchy. Perfect for quick jolts of inspiration that are delivered in a fun, approachable, and actionable way.


Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight

The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight – Thom Hartmann. This one is heavy, but profound. It’s the book that ultimately got me motivated to go down to the Gulf last Summer and help spread the message of the serious issue of fossil fuel dependence and what we need to do about it. The author traces society’s evolution over thousands of years and how we got to the point of seeing the Earth as a something to exploit for our own gain instead of a living system that supports our very existence. Incredible read that can light a big fire of inspiration under you if you’re up for it.


The Power of NowThe Power of Now – Eckart Tolle. Arguably, this is the book that truly started me down the path of self-realization. Tolle illuminates the fact that the only moment that really matters is Now. The problem is that most of us go through life either stuck in the past as we dwell on what happened before and what we wish we had done differently, or longing for the future as we imagine all of the things that we will do ‘someday.’ Meanwhile, life passes us by. The Power of Now cannot be overstated. Must read.


Being in Balance

Being in Balance – Wayne Dyer. Jeff let me borrow the audio version of this last June for my trip to Vista Caballo. I have been replaying it over and over ever since. This is a live lecture series based on the book Being in Balance. Hearing Dr. Dyer read from the book, discuss his personal journey, and share the incredibly inspiring resources that let to its creation is one of my favorite sources of wisdom and hope. Remember the connectedness of all things through this powerful live recording.


The Art of Non-ConformityThe Art of Non-Conformity – Chris Guillebeau. Chris’s first book takes topics of entrepreneurship, travel, and giving back to the world, which he has written about on his blog over several years, and expands on them in an easy-to-digest guide for living life on your own terms. This book will appeal to those with an insatiable entrepreneurial spirit, and also those who feel trapped by their situations and need to find a way out.  Chris is a hero to millions around the world, yet he’s as humble and giving as anyone I know.


Igniting InspirationIgniting Inspiration – John Marshall Roberts. Pardon the pun, but this is to date one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read. Change makers who are frustrated by ‘the old way of thinking’ will love this very practical, actionable ‘Persuasion Manual for Visionaries.’ The author takes you through Worldviews and why they are important to understand in order to craft meaningful communications that produce results.


The Spontaneous Fulfillment of DesireThe Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire – Deepak Chopra. This is the book that’s currently on my bedside table. I’ve been reading a little bit each night, and am absolutely loving it. In the book, Deepak takes us through the phenomenon of coincidence and the idea that we can tap into the ‘non-local’ intelligence at any time by paying attention to what’s happening around us. We can create the reality we want if we know how to direct our attention and intention. This book shows the way.


Place Of SpiritPlace of Spirit – Simone Lipscomb. Simone and I hit it off immediately this Spring when we were introduced by a mutual friend based on our respective experiences documenting the oil spill last year.  Simone is a good friend, great client, and most of all an outstanding photographer and writer. Place of Spirit takes her magnificent photography and pairs it with thoughtful written passages that highlight our inextricable connection with the Earth and its creatures.  A must for any nature lover.


That’s it. That’s all you have to do. Just order one of these books and read it (or listen if you like audio versions). I happen to think that this simple act will help make our world a better place. That’s the best birthday gift I could ever ask for.

Can I count on you to be one of the ones that takes action on this? 

Let me know what you think about any or all of the above, or if you have any others you would like to suggest.



Photo: Powell’s Books – Portland, Oregon 


  • Reply Kim Skinner-Clark July 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    They all look like great recommendations, Brandon.  I’m going to go with Igniting Inspiration.  Thank you for such a thoughtful birthday gift from you to your readers.  You “want” the kindest things!

    • Reply Brandon Sutton July 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm

      Great choice, Kim.  And thank you for the kind words.  I hope to see you soon over at the Hub.  🙂

  • Reply Jenpapril July 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Great concept Brandon! I love it!  I enjoyed the Power of Now a few years ago and based on your recommendation I think the A Philosopher’s Notes and the Chris Guillebeau book sound excellent!  I’ve put them on my reading list.  Thanks! Jen

    • Reply Brandon Sutton July 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm

      Excellent – glad you enjoyed the list, Jen. You’ll have to let me know what you think about Philosopher’s Notes and AONC once you’ve read them. 

  • Reply Anonymous July 28, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Igniting Inspiration. Seems very fitting for this visionary who butts heads with “old ways of thinking” Great idea. Happy to help.

    Happy birthday!  xoxo, Lori

    • Reply Brandon Sutton July 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      Thanks, Lori! You’ll love Igniting Inspiration.  One of the most practical book of insights I’ve read in a long time.

  • Reply Jenny July 31, 2011 at 4:24 am

    Thanks for the recommendations, I’ve added a few of them to my reading list. : ]

    • Reply Brandon Sutton July 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm

      Right on, Jenny.  You’ll have to let me know what you think once you’ve read a couple. 🙂

  • Reply Staying Young July 31, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    […] Throughout my 20s, I worked my butt off and barely took any vacation time.  I didn’t do much traveling and although I was enjoying what I was doing, there were definitely a lot of constraints that I tolerated.  It wasn’t until I turned 30 that I felt like I was truly living. The years since that milestone have been some of the best I can remember. By the way, if you missed my birthday wish last week, I did a fun little post about it here. […]

  • Reply Atari88 August 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      I’m extremely inspired with your writing abilities as smartly with the structure for your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing. it is rare to peer a nice blog like this one nowadays..

    • Reply Brandon Sutton August 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      Thank you for the kind words.  I hope you’ll subscribe to get future posts.  🙂 

      Believe it or not, this was a free theme.  Judi and her team at New Tricks did some customization on it, but overall it’s not far off structurally from the original. It’s called Sight.  Thanks again for the note!

  • Reply Bonnie Wolf August 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Great idea Mr B!  Hope your birthday brought lots of enlightened readers out there!  Lone Survivor has been recommended to me so I’ll pass that one along.

    • Reply Brandon Sutton August 2, 2011 at 3:39 am

      Thanks, Bonnie! The feedback has been great.  Hopefully some good books are in the mail.  🙂  Thanks for the tip on Lone Survivor.  Sounds like an intense book for sure.

    Leave a Reply to Atari88 Cancel Reply