Marv's Reading List

Inspirational and General

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking By Susan Cain, 2013
Our world has been hijacked by noisy and articulate extroverts. The implied message is that personal success requires being as quick and snappy as many public figures. But in truth at least half of us—probably more—are introverts who prefer to go about our lives in a quiet and non-pushy way. By taking our time to quietly size-up and contemplate deeply, we have been the foundation of our world all through history. This book with its very modest title will change your worldview.

The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, MD, 2006
Louann Brizendine is a neuropsychiatrist and founder of the Women's and Teen Girls' Mood and Hormone Clinic. Her description of the impact of their inner chemistry on both women and the men in their lives is stunning. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who has a teen-age girl and to any women who wonders why hormones impact her life so profoundly. Beautifully written and filled with many aha! moments.

Aging with Grace—What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Leading Longer, Healthier, and More Meaningful Lives by David Snowdon PhD, 2001
A beautiful story about Alzheimer's research with the collaboration of a group of magnificent women. This book demonstrates how you can protect your brain as you age. Full of lessons about caring, generosity, and grace.

The Art of Living Single by Michael Broder, Ph.D., 1988
Single life, whether by choice or by happenstance, has many benefits and offers many challenges. Dealing with loneliness is one of the challenges. Broder takes every issue of single life, offering in-depth advice and practical tips for living single.

The Long Walk  by Slavomir Rowicz, 1997
A classic true story by a man who escaped from a Russian Gulag in 1941 and survived his year-long journey to freedom. An inspirational story about the hard work of escaping from imprisonment, whether by another or by our own inner jailer. A powerful lesson about a journey we all take.

Women Who Run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes PhD, 1992
Inspirational stories for women who are seeking to transform their lives. This is destined to become one of the great classics found on everyone's bookshelf. Inspiring for both men and women, this book contains stories that will transform your life.

 

Lessons from Neuroscience for Living a Happier Life

Change Your Brain, Change Your Body by Daniel Aman M.D., 2010
Daniel Aman is a physician and neuroscientist whose brilliant research in brain function has led to a series of helpful books about how we can improve our brains so that almost every aspect of our life is improved. I think that everyone would benefit from studying and applying this man’s work. If you embrace his wisdom, you will find that many of your problems will simply vanish. 

Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom by Rick Hanson, 2009
All of us have two brains—emotional and thinking. Most people do not know that the emotional brain is more in charge than thinking. This innovative synthesis between neuroscience and Buddhism is one of the clearest descriptions I have ever read of the emotional brain as a wild horse that drives our life and of how we can bring the beast under control.

A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis, M.D., Fari Amini, M.D., and Richard Lannon, M.D., 2000
This brief book is a definitive synthesis of everything scientists have learned about how the brain contributes to that universal and impossible-to-define experience we call love. It is a must-read for policy makers, psychologists, psychotherapy clients, and parents with young children. This is a book for everyone who wants to know the real story about love and relationships.

 

Living with Challenging People

Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life by Linda Martinez-Lewis PhD, 2008
All of us are narcissistic, meaning that we are centered on ourselves. But some folks are so centered on themselves they don't notice that others have needs or feelings. When you are in the company of a hardened narcissist, you feel like an audience whose job is to applaud that person’s greatness. You feel invisible. Most people expereince narcissism as an erosion of intimacy. This book will guide you in living with your own narcissism as well as the narcissism you find in those around you.

The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder: New Tools and Techniques to Stop Walking on Eggshells by Randi Kreger, 2008
Some people are emotionally chaotic. One minute they are loving, and the next they are emotionally out of control. They drive themselves and everyone around them crazy. Often their mode of operating is to be attacking and critical to you while at the same time demanding that you take care of them. This book is one of the many resources giving guidance about how to live with this chaotic disorder.

The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, Ph.D., 2005
Unfortunately, many people lack the ability to know that other people have emotions or a tender heart. At first these people seem delightful, engaging, and appealing. Eventually, however, they prove to be untrustworthy. Some of these folks will use their charm to manipulate others into very disagreeable and even dangerous situations. Such people are known as sociopaths. They have a pattern of promising to give you what you want while never actually delivering. Martha Stout claims that 1 out of 25 people fall into this category. She describes how they tick, how to recognize when you are entangled with one, and how to protect yourself. If you aren’ t familiar with how the sociopath works—and may work you—this is an absolute must read!

Trapped in the Mirror by Elan Golomb, 1995
If you feel your parents were so wrapped up in themselves they never listened deeply to you, then this book is for you.

 

Sex

Slow Sex By Diana Richardson, 2011
The virus of hurry-hurry has infected our sex lives at a dreadful price. In this masterful book, Diana delicately and with very explicit instructions opens up the magic of truly great sex. Just like sleeping and exercise take time, sex demands focused time and intention if we want to experience it fully. If you want to find the antidote to the stress of our drive-by lives, be sure to read this book. I recommend it to many of my clients.

Bonk by Mary Roach, 2008
The curious coupling of science and sex—funny, informative, liberating. You will never view sex in the same way after reading Mary Roach's book. See her lecture on YouTube.

Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel, 2007
Most couples in long-term relationships complain that sex was outstanding for the first year or so and then dwindled to something perfunctory or even nonexistent. Psychotherapist Esther Perel explains why this happens and how to restore sexual vitality to its original position in your relationship. You will see yourself in her case descriptions.

Pornified: How Pornography Is Damaging Our Lives, Our Relationships and Our Families by Pamela Paul, 2006
The flood of pornography is so pervasive that some people can get caught up in it in ways that interfere with their lives. This sobering book warns us to protect our children and ourselves from getting trapped by pornography. This trap can seriously interfere with a healthy sexual life and real relationships. A must-read for parents and for anyone who has become caught in a sexual addiction.

Sexual Energy Ecstasy: A Practical Guide to Lovemaking Secrets of the East and the West By David Ramsdale and Ellen Ramsdale, 1993
I think this is one of the best sex manuals available. It is informative, explicit, playful, and very wise.  It is a great book for a couple to read aloud to each other. Even though it has been out for years, I still recommend this book highly.

 

How to Strengthen a Marriage

Building a Love That Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage by Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz, 2008
A clear and easy-to-read book that lays out tried and true methods to make a loving relationship work.  Apply this wisdom, and you will never need a marriage counselor.

Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage by John Gottman PhD, 2007
John Gottman is the premier researcher on what it takes to make a marriage work. His books—studied all over the world—contain discoveries about the nuts-and-bolts of what holds a marriage together and how people inhabit their relationships. His work is transforming the field of marriage counseling.

The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing by Beverly Engel, 2002
Sometimes a partner is so subtly abusive you cannot put your finger on why you feel so guilty or anxious or depressed. You may think you’re a bad person or that your partner is a monster. While you certainly need serious counseling, this book may be very helpful to both of you along the way.

True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh, 1997
This seemingly simple and yet profound teaching by the great Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh describes the need for "deep listening" in order for love to spring up in our hearts and in our relationships. I find this a beautiful little book.

The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond by Patricia Evans, 1996
Many people are verbally abusive, and the abused spouse often feels both awful and helpless to stop it. If you think you are verbally abused, this book will help you.

Keeping the Love You Find  by Harville Hendrix PhD, 1992
A classic about unearthing family-of-origin and personality issues that interfere with intimacy and how to creating a healthy male-female relationship.

 

Divorce and Loss

The Truth About Children and Divorce: Dealing with the Emotions So You and Your Children Can Thrive by Robert Emery PhD, 2004
When you get a divorce you have the resources to restructure your life. But your children are dependent upon you for the structure they need to grow up. When the family disintegrates they are in a crisis—up a creek without a paddle—before they have the skills to make it on their own. Divorce impacts everyone in the family. Your children will appreciate that you have read this book.

How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Harold Bloomfield, M.D., Melba Colgrove, Ph.D., and Peter McWilliams, 2000
If you need inspiration and guidance to help yourself through the loss of a loved one, this book will very gently and carefully lead you through this process, every step of the way. It is practical, loving and poetic.

Crazy Time: Surviving Divorce and Building a New Life by Abigail Trafford, 1992
If you are going through a divorce, it probably feels like a bomb went off in your life. The first thing I recommend is to go out and buy this book. It will become your emotional bible while you talk with your attorney, your counselor, and your friends.

 

If you have questions, do call me at 206-364-9494 or drop me a line at marv@marvthomas.com.

 

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