By Tessa Greenspan (as told to Nanette Wiser)

My bookshelf and nightstand never have enough room for books I want to read or re-read. Right now, looking for ways of encouraging people to stay positive in negative times, I’ve revisited some of my favorite authors that have helped me now and in the past. Read the books, sign up for their newsletters and check out their websites.

If you are looking for a positivity syllabus, start with these books. Here are some of the lessons I learned; let me know yours.

How Successful People Think  (John C. Maxwell): John Maxwell is one of the most prolific writers and trainers. He has expert in business and can help you look for possibilities in every situation. He offers Real tips on what will help you succeed such as “Practicing unselfish thinking brings personal fulfillment. Think about them not you.”  In a recent blog, he wrote: One of the attributes of a leader is the ability to see more and before others see. If it sounds like a leader should be able to see the future, that’s exactly the point. Leaders need to be attuned to the world around them—everything from the market to the culture at large.

Happiness is a Choice (Barry Neil Kaufman):  I love this book. I went every year to his Option Institute. for a week long program of self-development.  From his work, you learn the importance of loving yourself; we have a choice every day. You don’t need experts:  “You have your own answers,” he says.  Kaufman’s mantra? “Take everything you thought you knew about human behavior … and give it one giant twist.” His ground-breaking work on autism “Son Rise” is amazing.

The ”Be Happy” Attitudes  (Robert Schuller):  I feel that you more you put these things in your mind, the better you function in life and business. This is a spiritual guidebook. Many seek happiness in wealth, fame, relationships, even drugs-and, of course, they fail. How CAN we be happy serves up eight universal positive mental attitudes that have been used for their healing value through the ages. “The Be (Happy) Attitudes include 1) I Need Help-I Can’t Do It Alone and 2) I’m “Really Hurting-But I Am Going To Bounce Back.

Attitude is Everything (Keith Harrell): This is a great book. Your attitude is what creates everything. The book shows how to change your attitudes that are stumbling blocks. Learn about dealing with deadlines, maintaining control in spite of what’s in front you. The message? It’s not easy; you’ve got to constantly be working on changing your life and attitudes.

Feeling the Fear and Do It Anyway (Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.): We all have fears, and there are processes for working through those fears and changing your mind. I learned to let go of limiting beliefs, feel the fear and do it anyway.  The message? Change from pain to power with concrete techniques to turn passivity into assertiveness. Dr. Susan Jeffers, teaches you how to stop negative thinking patterns and re-educate your mind to think more positively.

Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill): The granddaddy of motivational thinking about what makes someone a success and winner? The 13 principles core philosophy is that thoughts are things. Thinking in a certain way gives you the power to magnetize and attract anything you desire in life. Start attracting wealth and abundance by reading this book, now updated with new interviews and examples.

Courage to Find the Fire Within (Peter Hobler): I have an autographed copy of this book. It’s about finding the courage to push beyond your fear and to learn and love the processes for moving forward. Unrealized potential can be a source of constant frustration and create days that lack solid meaning. What would it take to wake up and recognize your value? The Courage Coach, Peter Hobler uses his life-transforming style to empower readers to move past their subconscious fears, setting them firmly on the path to success. I couldn’t agree more.

You Were Born Rich (Bob Proctor): I went to a week long conference in Toronto last year with my book that I wrote in 1 month. I wanted to ask Proctor to write the forward, and he did, much to my delight. Proctor believes we all have everything within us that we need to succeed and the book offers processes and motivates the reader to find success in their lives.

Happiness Is Free (Hale Dwoskin & Lester Levenson): This is really good and it’s easier than you think. We have to choose and learn how to be happy. When I feel fear and limitations, this book has shown me how to let it go. You have to own negative feelings and disappointments, not hide them.  A personal coach once told me: “Don’t let fear go into your house. Put your fear in the bowl underneath your bed and give it to God.”

Law of Attraction (Michael J. Losier): One of my favorite books, I reread it and think about my highlighted sections. It’s about the science of attracting what you want and the tools for attracting opportunity and success work for me. Make yourself an attractive box and put what you want to happen in it and it will.

The Biology of Belief (Bruce Lipton): The book shows how we can develop and change our beliefs. Thoughts are things. We can change all of this by learning the processes of how to do it through  neurolinguistic programming (how you choose words reinforces good and bad beliefs). A game-changer.

Search Inside Yourself (Chade-Meng Tan): There are courses worldwide in these teachings that help you search your core, discover your true self and achieve lightness and joy. The book incorporates meditation and processes for achieving your true self, including not suppressing emotions. Learn to deal with triggers and let go.  My favorite take-away? You cannot live your life for other people or you will be sad.  With this book, you can learn to clear your mind and experience a deep sense of calm whenever you want,

Beyond the Power of Your Subconscious Mind (C. James Jensen): My favorite of all time. This is the work of Dr. Joseph Murphy and The Power of the Subconscious Mind, Jensen updated it. How you can rewire your brain. A book that will help you to change your mind and work with subconscious mind is the stumbling block…and processes. When you ask the right question, why am I so happy…my subconscious mind becomes ally.

Happy for No Reason (Marci Shimoff):  I love all the books on happiness. I’ve been to her workshops before she was well-known to learn her happiness action steps and how to change your mind. Lots of great examples and baby steps, including speaking positively to yourself and others.  My favorite is her example that if you say “You make me sick I hate you” around your plants…it’s real energy and the plants droop. Look at what it could do for people not just plants.

How to Feel Great About Yourself and Your Life (Martin English): This is a step by step guide to positive thinking that will help you identify and control bad attitudes.

Nanette Wiser is a multimedia journalist and media consultant.

Author and motivational speaker Tessa Greenspan is one of the most influential women in business today. The former owner of Sappington Farmers Market in St. Louis for 28 years, Greenspan sold the business to pursue a successful speaking and writing career. Her recent memoir has become an international bestseller: “From Outhouse to Penthouse – Life Lessons on Love, Laughter and Leadership,” is available on Amazon here.  This inspired personal story, struggle to overcome obstacles and life lessons is especially poignant.  “Failure is not an option,” is Greenspan’s motto.  Her lectures on positivity in business and life include tips and processes for transforming personal and professional relationships during these challenging times. Her podcast, “Tuesdays with Tessa,” runs 10 am CT, hosted by Dr. Deb Carlin. Contact her at [email protected] and visit her at