Improve your life with these valuable resources
The books and other resources below have been carefully selected by Jan Tucker to help you live a balanced, natural life based on the concepts of pure living. Jan has most of these in her personal library and still refers to many of them on her path to balance and peace. Enjoy!
Notes: The resources below are in categories for your convenience, arranged alphabetically to help you find what you need. Simply click on the book covers or the “see this book” buttons to review and/or purchase. This page includes affiliate links. The resources were carefully vetted and they are sincerely recommended. If you need a Fire tablet to read the ebooks, you’ll find one at the bottom of this page (formerly known as Kindle).
Tip: You can search for words related to what you need on this page or any other page using Ctrl+F on a PC or Command+F on a Mac.
This book, The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Vaasant Lad, BAMS, MASc, professor and director of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque and one of the foremost U.S. experts of Ayurveda, provides invaluable, easy-to-understand Ayurvedic remedies for all human ailments that you can put into practice immediately. Lad explains Ayurvedic concepts more completely and clearly than any other resource Jan has found.
Smart Nutrition and Weight Loss
This book, The Prime, Prepare and Repair Your Body for Spontaneous Weight Loss is about healthy eating and nutrition, not just about weight loss. It was written by my neurologist and ayurvedic practitioner, Kulreet Chaudhary, MD. I can’t say enough about her approach to health. She has helped me to completely clean up my diet and be conscious of anti-inflammatory eating. This book provides the best advice about how to get the proper nutrition to live a healthy life. Dr. C. says, “We’ve all heard the saying ‘you are what you eat.’ Well in The Prime, I’ll explain why one of the most important themes is actually you are what you digest. You’ll discover how your digestive system impacts your brain and your overall health.” The ebook is available for less.
Detoxify Your Home
This book, Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home by Christopher Gavigan with a foreword by Meryl Streep, is the most complete, step-by-step guide Jan has found to show you how to detoxify your home from the harmful chemicals found in 95% of the products we buy off-the-shelf. It’s about more than children. It’s about how you can live safely no matter who you are or who you live with. The book begins with the small steps you can take to create a healthier, less toxic and more environmentally sound home. Scientific evidence is mounting to link the chemicals we use our everyday products to environmentally-caused illnesses. The good news is, we can clean up our homes and have fun while we are making the switch to green, natural, organic products. In addition, all the products found at Jan’s online store were selected following the recommendations in this book as well as being researched using the product safety database provided by the Environmental Working Group. You’ll feel a lot better once you make the switch.
People’s Transformation Stories
Krishna Das Autobiography
This book, Chants of a Lifetime: Searching for a Heart of Gold is an intimate collection of stories, teachings, and insights from Krishna Das, who has been called “the chant master of American yoga” by the New York Times. Since 1994, the sound of his voice singing traditional Indian chants with a Western flavor has brought the spiritual experience of chanting to audiences all over the world. This is a unique book-and-CD combination that explores his fascinating path and creates an opportunity for just about anyone to experience chanting in a unique and special way.
Chants of a Lifetime includes photos from Krishna Das’ years in India and also from his life as a kirtan leader. The CD that is offered exclusively in the book consists of a number of “private” chanting sessions with the author. The recordings make it seem as if Krishna Das himself is present for a one-on-one chanting session. It will enable you to explore your own practice of chanting and develop a deepening connection with the entire chanting experience.
Watch or read our exclusive interview with Krishna Das for an in-depth perspective on his views.
Praise for Chants of a Lifetime
“Krishna Das opens a door to a world of boundless love. This is a book about a real and transformational path—including all of life’s challenges, inspiration, and uncertainty. It serves as an invitation to unwavering happiness.”
— Sharon Salzberg, the author of Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
“Knowing the sweet power and depth of Krishna Das’s singing, I was delighted to see, in this honest testament, how he got there. This book shows how Kirtan (singing the names of God) enters into our spiritual heart and then lights it up.”
— Ram Dass, the author of Be Here Now
Krishna Das Autobiography–DVD
This DVD, One Track Heart tells the story of Jeffrey Kagel (Krishna Das), who walked away from the American dream of rock ‘n’ roll stardom, turning down the lead singer slot in the band that would become Blue Oyster Cult. He sold everything and moved from Long Island to the Himalayan foothills in search of happiness and a little-known saint, Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaj-ji).
One Track Heart follows Kagel’s journey to India and back, his struggles with depression and drug abuse, and his eventual emergence as Krishna Das the world-renowned spiritual teacher, chant master and Grammy-nominated recording artist. Featuring interviews with Be Here Now author Ram Dass, Grammy-winning producer Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys, Metallica), New York Times bestselling author Sharon Salzberg, and two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee Daniel Goleman, as well as a score by Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis and Devadas, One Track Heart is the inspiring story of how one man’s journey continues to transform countless lives. See or read Jan’s interview with Krishna Das.
Kelly Carlin Autobiography
This book, A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George by his only offspring, Kelly Carlin, gives us a wonderful glimpse into the inner life of one of our most revered comedians who made us laugh at ourselves and our society throughout the past five decades. But that’s not the main point here.
The story is really Kelly’s story of being the adult in her tumultuous family, and surviving the turmoil of alcoholism, cocaine addiction, life-threatening health scares, and a crushing IRS debt. The family had a lot of love, but it was a real roller coaster ride.
We can all learn from Kelly’s story. She’s a deep thinker, as critical of society’s stupidity as George was, but, she has emerged from his shadow. She’s a trained therapist and practicing Buddhist who advocates the importance of having compassion for others whose views do not match our own. She’s actively performing, writing books, doing podcasts, and conducting webinars to help all of us find ways to cope with our crazy daily human lives.
Watch or read Jan’s exclusive interview with Kelly Carlin for an in-depth perspective on her views.
Remedy for Depression
This book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by Dr. David D. Burns and its companion handbook below, explains how anxiety, guilt, pessimism, procrastination, low self-esteem, and other downward spirals of depression can be cured without drugs. Psychiatrist David D. Burns, M.D. outlines his remarkable, scientifically-proven techniques you can put in place to immediately lift your spirits and help you develop a positive outlook on life. Recently updated, “Feeling Good” has been in print for more than 30 years (available now on Kindle). It has sold more than 3 million copies to date for good reason. In a recent national survey of mental health professionals, “Feeling Good” was rated number one, from a list of more than 1,000, as the most frequently recommended self-help book on depression. Burns’ “Feeling Good Handbook” (below) was rated number two in the same survey.
How to Find Happiness
This handbook, The Feeling Good Handbook by Dr. David D. Burns, helps you free yourself from fears, phobias and panic attacks; overcome self-defeating attitudes; discover the five secrets of intimate communication; put an end to marital conflict; and, conquer your procrastination and unleash your potential for success.
In “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” Dr David Burns introduced a groundbreaking, drug-free treatment for depression that has helped millions of people around the world. Now, in this long-awaited sequel, he reveals powerful new techniques and provides practical exercises that will help you cope with problems and learn how to make life a happier, more exhilarating experience.
Recovery and Learning to Let Go
This best selling book, Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself, by Melodie Beattie, can lead you out of the perplexing world of codependency. Codependency can involve addiction, but does not necessarily involve drug or alcohol addiction. There are many types of addiction. One of the telltale signs of codependency is controlling behavior. If you try to influence other people to act in certain ways or you try to arrange situations to your benefit in order to feel secure about life, take a look at this book to learn a much less frustrating way to live. Peruse Beattie’s many other books on Amazon to find the right one for you. Many have been updated.
This #1 best seller, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves. From the author, “Before I became a writer, I practiced corporate law for 7 years…from this you might guess that I’m a hardcore, wonderfully self-confident, pound-the-table kind of person, when in fact I’m just the opposite. I prefer listening to talking, reading to socializing, and cozy chats to group settings. I like to think before I speak (softly). I’ve never given a speech without being terrified first. And somehow I know that everything I’ve ever accomplished, in love and in work, I owe to these traits, annoying though they may sometimes be. I’ve explored this paradox in my book.”
Create New (Better) Habits
This New York Times best seller, Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything, by BJ Fogg, PhD, explains that TINY is MIGHTY. If you want to add some new activity to your life that’s hard for you to start, or if you want to replace a bad habit with a healthy one, this idea can help you quickly. I met a relative of BJ’s several years ago in a class, and she introduced me to this concept.
If you want to add a 2-hour workout to your day, start with 2 pushups!
B.J. Fogg brings his experience coaching more than 40,000 people to help you lose weight, de-stress, sleep better, or achieve any goal of your choice. You just need Fogg’s behavior formula: make it easy, make it fit your life, and make it rewarding. Whenever you get in your car, take one deep, gentle Qigong breath. Smile. Whenever you get in bed, turn off your phone. Give yourself a high five. This book can help you accomplish things you never thought possible.
I know because I use tiny habits myself. They’re like magic!
Not for Happiness
This book, Not for Happiness: A Guide to the So-Called Preliminary Practices, by Tibetan monk Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, was recommended by Krishna Das in his interview for Perfect Inner Peace. KD’s point was that if you want to seek enlightenment or set foot on a particular spiritual path to become happy (in this case, Buddhism)—”Get over it, because that’s not what’s gonna happen. …Real happiness has nothing to do with pleasure or pain. …It’s our own true nature and the causes for that are within us and not found outside.”
Comfort for the Soul
I’ve owned a copy of this timeless book, The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran, for decades since a friend gave me his slipcased edition (he later broke up with me and I needed it!). I return to Gibran’s simple yet profound wisdom whenever I need great advice about life along with a dose of comfort. One passage I have clung to in the past is “On Joy and Sorrow.” This passage is the greatest way to get encouragement when you’re going through a particularly heart-wrenching event in your life. It gives hope when you’re on the brink of giving up. It gives a completely different view of sorrow that will turn your life around. I love having this hard cover, special version. You can get it used, new or collectible at different price ranges. Please note below that the smaller edition is available hardcover (and new) for about the same price as the used version of this edition.
I refer to this book, The Quest, A Journey of Spiritual Rediscovery, by Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla, in several of my writings. I include it here because readers have been curious about it. It is a book I studied in a group at Unity Church early in my search for truth. The introduction describes the book as “A quest for the eternal truth behind all philosophy, all science, all religion–behind everything. It deals with universal spiritual roots, common to all humankind.” The “…priority [is] inner transformation rather than dogma and intellectual exercise.” Unity is a combination of Eastern and Western spiritual beliefs. Unity speaks of God and Jesus in a different way than traditional Western religions. This is a good beginners book, or for anyone who wants to understand the path offered by Unity Church. It touches on the spiritual teachings of yoga.
Wisdom of Yoga
Books by Paramahansa Yogananada
This book, Divine Romance, is the second volume in the trilogy of collected talks and essays by Yogananda. It is my favorite Yogananda book, because it answers so many of what I call “life questions,” such as how reincarnation works (and the fact that the topic of reincarnation was deleted from the Bible); why evil exists; physical, mental, and spiritual healing; how mind power can help you gain or lose weight; how to stop worrying; understanding where our departed loved ones are and so much more. The hard cover version is 454 pages packed with information to help you understand the life you are living from a yogic perspective.
Every year Yogananda’s Self Realization Fellowship (SRF) creates a new Inner Reflections Engagement Calendar to uplift you all year long. It is a spiral bound calendar featuring a gorgeous color photo for each week, which is selected to beautifully represent an accompanying spiritual quote by Yogananda or one of his close associates.
I display my calendar next to my meditation altar, read the quote aloud each time I meditate, and reflect on it silently. This calendar has been giving me the most inspirational, transformational thought for the week for more than 10 years. I cherish this and I think you will, too. It also makes a perfect gift for friends who are seeking comfort, balance, and peace.
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