What is the most influential book you have ever read?

I’ve been a book worm since I was a little girl, with my head permanently buried inside one fantastical adventure or another.

It wasn’t until I entered university that I started to expand my reading tastes into non-fiction, and then, as life progressed, into the realm of self-help.

So I think you get the picture. I’ve read a lot of books, and so choosing the most influential book I have ever read is a real challenge.

So much so, I couldn’t choose one. Luckily for me there are two books that jump out as having provided guidance, inspiration and helped to define my life.

[Note: for this post I’ve stuck to non-fiction. If you ask me about fiction, I’ll always go with The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton].

Women Who Run With the Wolves – Clarissa Pinkola Estes

One day in February 2013 I woke up lost, listless, and sad. After surviving a hellish 2012 where I nearly lost my partner from a devastating accident, I started 2013 believing I had truly found myself. This turned out to be a temporary period of elation as life started crumbling around me again.

And so I stopped writing. I stopped blogging. I stopped taking photos. I stopped eating well. I stopped caring. I stopped everything aside from crying. I was doing a hell of a lot of crying.

Women Who Run With The Wolves

And then I came across Women Who Run With the Wolves which triggered an epiphany of sorts.

Now I wasn’t a big non-fiction reader. I generally struggled to make it through an entire self-help book even though my bookshelf was full of them. However Women Who Run With the Wolves triggered the lifting of a fog that threatened to engulf me and destroy my life and relationship. It’s so surreal how something comes into your life at such a crucial point.

Whether it was the universe, god, Kismet, craving or coincidence… I can’t argue with the fact that over the last few years I have received numerous ‘signs’ at critical points in my life. This may be because I am more open and receptive than I once was. I am also older and wiser. Or there is something bigger at play. Whatever it is, I am grateful for it.

Though fairy tales end after ten pages, our lives do not. We are multi-volume sets. In our lives, even though one episode amounts to a crash and burn, there is always another episode awaiting us and then another. There are always more opportunities to get it right, to fashion our lives in the ways we deserve to have them. Don’t waste your time hating a failure. Failure is a greater teacher than success. ditizidol forte

The Miracle of Mindfulness – Thich Nhat Hanh


Don’t let this tiny book deceive you. It’s small but boy does it pack one (mindful) punch!

Spawned from a letter written by Buddhist Monk and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Thich Nhat Hahn (pronounced Tik · N’yat · Hawn), The Miracle of Mindfulness describes the practice of mindfulness through anecdotes whilst providing practical exercises with the aim to help people arrive at greater sense of self-understanding and peacefulness, regardless of their religious beliefs.

The Miracle of Mindfulness helped me carry the practice of mindfulness beyond the classroom into my home, and continues to remind me of the core principles of living life mindfully.

…I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognise: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes. All is a miracle.

What the most influential book you have ever read? I’d love to hear about it and I’m sure I’d love to read it!

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About Janine Ripper

I’m a mental health advocate, writer, blogger, digital marketer and mentor. I share my mental health ‘journey’, one of depression, anxiety, PTSD, burn out and recovery, as well as resources, advice and tips about self-care, wellness and how to survive being an adult!