Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Are You Up for The Three Book Diet?

Three Book Diet

Can you imagine reading and re-reading just three books for an entire year?

That’s Chris Brogan’s proposal.  Brogan says we move speedily from one book to the next one without integrating or implementing the ideas contained in the previous one.  We are information gluttons.

Brogan wants to change this tendency in himself and he’s inviting us along.  He wants to see how deeply he can go in his practice and experience. He wants his learning to matter and to influence his life.

So Brogan created the Three Book Diet.  The challenge begins November 1st, 2012 and runs until November 2013.

I’m attracted by the idea of going deep instead of skimming the surface.  The simplicity of the Three Book Diet also seems like an ideal way to declutter the mind.  When you do a serious meditation retreat, for example, you don’t read books.

Three books!  A Year!  It’s a worthy question for consideration.  The answer will clearly reflect what’s truly important to you in life right now.  And that’s worthwhile to remember.

But honestly, I don’t know that I could keep to the Three Book Diet for a year.  I constantly refer to and re-read sections in two priceless books on meditation, essential for my work as a meditation instructor. I often review or read books related to blog posts in the making.  And, I do manuscript evaluations for budding authors and entrepreneurs.

The Three Book Diet:  My Picks

If I didn’t have to count these work related reads, some of which may be cheating, my top picks would be:

  1. Turning Pro, Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work by Steven Pressfield – for motivation and encouragement as a writer.
  2. Focus, A Simplicity Manifeto in the Age of Distraction by Leo Babauta – for practical ways to cut down on distraction.  If you are curious, you can download 27 chapters of Focus for free by using the link.
  3. Fearless Simplicity, The Dzogchen Way of Living Freely in a Complex World by Tsoknyi Rinpoche – to fine tune my understanding of basic and advanced meditation.

I know these are the books that will help me go to the core, change my habits, and create more simplicity and spaciousness in my life and mind.  Although I’m not ready to commit to The Three Book Diet for a year, I can commit to deeply engaging with these three books.

Intrigued by challenge?  Read the guidelines for the The Three Book Diet.

Are you on for the Three Book Diet?  What books would you choose?

Thank you so much for reading and sharing!  If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe for free updates by email.  With love,  Sandra

Image:  Twice25



Treasure What You Love, Then Let It Go


Make Your Mark in Every Moment


  1. Wow. Interesting concept. I agree with the principle. I know that often I devour a book with great intentions and move on to the next without implementing what I learned in the first. I definitely need to be more mindful of this. I’m not sure if I can commit to 3 books for a year, but I’m going to give it some thought.

    Dan @

    • Hi Dan,

      I agree this is the key point: to be mindful when we read and integrate what we learn! Thanks for highlighting that.

  2. I can’t imagine doing this! There are books that do deserve careful reading and re-reading, of that there is no question. But to leave out lighter reading, and reading for just plain fun? A resounding no! There’s a lot that is enjoyable to read that is not read for information. Like you, I read others’ manuscripts as well. Of course, if this is Brogan’s version of going on a meditative retreat, that would require extreme limits in stimuli. But the selection of books ought to be balanced, I think, or there is danger of brainwashing oneself with the same messages being read again and again and again. That would be counterproductive, stressful, and quite possibly dangerous, depending on the books selected.

    • Hi Meg,

      Yes, I think this would be quite impossible for the book lovers among us. I confess, it never occurred to me to read just for fun as I rarely do that anymore. I appreciate your bringing that perspective to the conversation. That’s an interesting point that instead of going deeper this might just limit one instead. Much to churn on here! Thanks for your thoughts.

    • No. I’m not the least bit enticed to reduce my reading to 3 books for an entire year. Meg said it all for me too.

  3. I can’t imagine it, mostly b/c of my work. Like you, I consult on manuscripts, and I read for the classes I teach and to stay current in my specialties. I do love the idea of limiting o/s-of-work reading, though, I’m not sure I would stick with it! I’d probably select a short-story anthology, Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (I’ve committed to reading it in 2013), and Finnegans Wake, which I’ve been wanting to study.

    • Hi Beverly,

      Yes, it would be impossible when our work depends upon reading to a large extent. But, like you, I do like the idea of limiting what I read, absorbing it, and revisiting it to deepen even further. Those are great choices!

  4. The three books I would choose would be: Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”; Don Miguel Ruiz “The Four Agreements”; Louise Hay “You Can Heal Your Life”. I chose books that reflect diversity yet deal with depth; I bet immersion into these themes would be life changing.

    However, like Meg, I read for fun and like Beverly I read for work; I couldn’t imagine eliminating those from my life. Having said that though, I will contemplate the concept, because my experience is that when I do the things I cannot imagine, my life expands in magnificent ways! Thank you for the wonderful prompt!

    • I love hearing your ideas, Joy. I’ve been wanting to read “The Artist’s Way” for a long time. So you see, it’s so hard for me to commit to the three book diet. I also love how you are willing to contemplate the idea and are so open to possibility. You are a big inspiration!

  5. Sandy

    I couldn’t resist. I just ordered the book “Fearless Simplicity, the Dzogchen Way of Living Freely in a Complex World.”

    I’ve read “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron and have re-read it one time. I bought it shortly after my daughter, Dawn, passed. It helped somewhat – but I feel as if my mind was so ‘fogged up with grief’ (for lack of a better phrase) at the time, that I couldn’t actually ‘connect’ with the words.

    The words “fearless simplicity” jumped out at me as soon as I saw them. My world has been turned upside down lately and I think I’d like to read about learning to ‘live freely’ – if that is at all possible for me to do. I’ve come this far and so I must continue on my journey. There is so much going on within my family right now (my 14 yr old grandson is now suffering from depression and anxiety due to the trauma of the sudden loss of his Mom) and I sometimes feel as if I’m trying to help all my grandchildren – but I’m forgetting about ‘myself’.

    I feel like just taking some time out to really read a book that might be beneficial to me – really taking my time in order to grasp/absorb the wording and concept.

    Thanks for the idea, Sandra. I think, tho, that I might only be able to handle the ‘one book diet’.

    With gratitude,

    • Hi Sandy,

      I hope you like Fearless Simplicity! I’ve read When Things Fall Apart and it’s really helped me. I could read it again and again. The main point though is this sense that you have of continuing on your journey. If this is not the right book for you, I trust you will find the right one. Equally important, I am so happy you are planning to take some time for yourself. Taking time to care for and nourish yourself will make it possible for you to be more helpful to your grandchildren. When you come from a place of self-nourishment, they will feel more nourished too. When you feel centered you will have more clarity too. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandson. He is in my prayers and I hope he will be able to heal and emerge with more love and wisdom despite this huge sadness and challenge.

      The ‘one book diet’ sounds perfect. May your reading time be filled with blessings and insight.

  6. jean sampson

    Yikes! This is a wild concept! Interesting, but I don’t know if I could do it.
    If I could read any ONE book for a year, it would be the dictionary, because I love words and I want to know more of them. I might also choose a poetry book that I loved and use all of the words in the book to completely re-write the book. Maybe three times!!
    Weird, huh? 🙂

  7. Sandra: Hey! How are you? I hope your days are graceful and filled with happiness! As of lately, I have been reading the holy bible and was going to try and read into through in 8 months, but for the average person it takes a year. Then I was going to try and read the through holy quran and half a year. ( : Hopefully, I can achieve my goals!

    Best Wishes,
    William Veasley

    • Hi,

      I’m good! I hope you are too. I can’t think of anything better than reading sacred texts. I think you are onto something good. I’m sure you will achieve your goals, but even if you didn’t complete the books, there would be so much richness and blessing in the process so much would be achieved along the way. Thanks for this idea. Sending you loads of aloha.

  8. The three books I always have around are: You can heal you life by Louise Hay, A Dream Interpretation book and a Bible.

  9. Hi Lisa,

    Those are inspiring choices. Sacred texts are essential in my life! Thanks for sharing your three essential books.

  10. Hi Sandra,

    This idea of reading and rereading only three books in a year doesn’t appeal to me at all. I understand the benefit of going deeply into key books, but I have too many books to read on my list to postpone reading all but three for a year. As a matter of fact, my goal is to read one book per week.

    I will reread some books because they require rereading, such as Pressfield’s War of Art and Turning Pro, as well as Stephen King’s On Writing. But in addition to those I am two books short of finishing Alexander McCall Smith’s delightful No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series as part of my light, entertaining reading.

    Besides, like you and some of the commenters, I read my clients’ manuscripts as part of my work and have plans to read and review many books written by my colleagues.

    Count me out on this one.

  11. Xintia

    I do love to read too much to restrict myself, and if I tried my choices would more likely be literature rather than overt self-help or business books. That said, the concept of spending more time “sitting” with a book and its ideas, actually reading it with undivided attention rather than devouring it along with my cereal … definitely a goal for the coming year.

    On the flip side: my father was a POW during WWII, and all he – or anyone – had to read were the Bible and the Quran. He read first one, then the other, back to back, repeatedly, for 18 months before he was freed at the end of the war. I have often thought about that, what a strange combination of circumstances – simultaneous immersion in both the hell of war and two of the great spiritual works. My father was not a religious man, but he was a very diffident, humble one. He also never, ever, stopped reading – most of my visual memories of him involve a book in his hand and his nose in the book.

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén