Sneak Peek at the Finalists for the 2011 Books for a Better Life Awards!

On Thursday night, I attended the Books for a Better Life Awards kick-off reception, where they announced the finalists for the 2011 Awards. The awards will actually be presented in March 2012, but this event gave me a sneak peek of all the fantastic books that are being honored. Though the Books for a Better Life awards are not related to Books for Better Living, we were excited to go and see which books were chosen as finalists. The Books for a Better Life Awards are in their 16th year and support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. To date, they have raised over $1.8 million for the New York City – Southern New York Chapter, including support services and educational programs. What better way to give than by honoring books that inspire and improve your life?

The awards honor books in the Childcare/Parenting, Green, Inspirational Memoir, Motivational, Personal Finance, Psychology, Relationships, Spiritual, and Wellness categories. Here are just some of the finalists in a few of the categories:

Enjoy Every Sandwich Cover

Enjoy Every Sandwich by Lee Lipsenthal, M.D.—Inspirational Memoir 

As medical director of the famed Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Lee Lipsenthal helped thousands of patients struggling with disease to overcome their fears of pain and death and to embrace a more joyful way of living. The power of those beliefs was tested in July 2009, when Lee was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. As Lee and his wife, Kathy, navigated his diagnosis, illness, and treatment, he discovered that he did not fear death, and that even as he was facing his own mortality, he felt more fully alive than ever before. Sadly, Lee passed away recently, but his story will live on as an inspiration to others.

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The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson Ph.D—Childcare/Parenting 

In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson demystify the meltdowns and aggravation, explaining the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. The “upstairs brain,” which makes decisions and balances emotions, is under construction until the mid-twenties. And especially in young children, the right brain and its emotions tend to rule over the logic of the left brain. No wonder kids can seem—and feel—so out of control. By applying these discoveries to everyday parenting, you can turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and foster vital growth.

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The Four Desires by Rod Stryker—Motivational 

According to ancient Yogic tradition, your soul has four distinct desires:
• The desire for purpose, the drive to become who you are meant to be
• The desire for the means (money, security, health) to prosper in this world
• The desire for pleasures like intimacy, beauty, and love
• The desire for spiritual fulfillment and lasting freedom

Learning to honor these four desires is the key to happiness, and to a complete and balanced life. But how can you discern what will truly satisfy your desires? How can you increase your capacity to achieve them? What if your desires seem to conflict with one another? Is it really possible to live a spiritual life while also wanting material pleasures and success? Rod Stryker has distilled his broad teachings into a roadmap for becoming the person you were meant to be. It is filled with revealing true stories, provocative exercises, and practices for unlocking your inner guidance.

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A Bittersweet Season by Jane Gross—Relationships 

Jane Gross teaches you how to care for an aging or elderly parent, a very real situation that people deal with everyday. Just a few of the vitally important lessons in caring for your aging parent—and yourself:

  • As painful as the role reversal between parent and child may be for you, assume it is worse for your mother or father, so take care not to demean or humiliate them.
  • Avoid hospitals and emergency rooms, as well as multiple relocations from home to assisted living facility to nursing home, since all can cause dramatic declines in physical and cognitive well-being among the aged.
  • Do not accept the canard that no decent child sends a parent to a nursing home. Good nursing home care, which supports the entire family, can be vastly superior to the pretty trappings but thin staffing of assisted living or the solitude of being at home, even with round-the-clock help.

Spousonomics Cover

Spousonomics by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson—Relationships 

With Spousonomics, Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson offer something new: a clear-eyed, rational route to demystifying your disagreements and improving your relationship. The key, they propose, is to think like an economist.

That’s right: an economist.

Economics is the study of resource allocation, after all. How do we—as partners in a society, a business, or a marriage—spend our limited time, money, and energy? And how do we allocate these resources most efficiently? Spousonomics answers these questions by taking classic economic concepts and applying them to the domestic front.

 For the full list of finalists, click here. What books inspire you? Are there any you would add to the list?


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  1. […] Award for Inspirational Memoir! By Katie Conneally  Add a comment Related ArticlesSneak Peek at the Finalists for the 2011 Books for a Better Life Awards!Why I Chose Foreign Surrogacy to Have ChildrenEvolving Love: Make Changes in Your Life to Find "The […]

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