Back in 1999, Ellen DeGeneres appeared on Oprah to discuss her life following the cancellation of her weekly sitcom Ellen. The comedian, actress and activist said that she “read a lot of good books” to help deal with depression, and recommended a then little-known title called The Four Agreements.

Written by Mexican-born Don Miguel Ruiz, the book is based on ancient Toltec teachings for finding inner peace. Of it, DeGeneres has said: “As soon as I read it, I felt that if I applied these four agreements, I really could change my life, and I did start noticing a difference.” Following her endorsement, The Four Agreements was a New York Times bestseller for more than a decade, and has been translated into 40 different languages since.

DeGeneres has praised many other books in interviews and on her talk show since, most of which touch on personal growth, mindfulness and healing. Read on for a list of titles she’s recommended, and complement with her interview with Don Miguel Ruiz on the book that changed her life.


Cheese Trap by Neal Barnard

“If you care about your health and animals, you’re not gonna wanna miss this book.” -ED

The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun

Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Dr. Wayne Dyer

“The title says it all.” -ED

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

“Jonathan is one of my favorite authors, and this book is absolutely incredible…The book is about a brilliant 9 year old boy named Oskar who’s father died on September 11th. Oskar is an inventor with an incredible imagination who tries to find the lock that belongs to a mysterious key he finds in his father’s closet.”

House by Diane Keaton

“Diane Keaton is equally obsessive about architecture and design – in this book, she presents the work of some of her favorites. It’s all beautiful.”

My Gentle Barn: Creating a Sanctuary Where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope by Ellie Laks

Interiors: Atelier AM by Alexandra Misczynski &Michael Misczynski

“I really respond to design work that isn’t overly precious—where objects from a range of periods and styles are put into conversation, in a totally unexpected way. This design team is masterful at that mix.” -ED

Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple by Chris Morrow & Russell Simmons

“People ask the secret to my success & I tell ’em. Bronzer. Meditation is important too. That’s why I love this book.” -ED

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (also rec’d by Yoko Ono)

“I love The Four Agreements so much that it feels like my book. It feels so personal.” -ED

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

“It’s about the life of a race car driver, told from the perspective of his dog, Enzo! Trust me, you’re gonna love this story — even those who are skeptical about talking canines. Your family will love it. Your friends will love it. And call me a gambler, but I’d put money on the fact that even your cats will want you to read it to them again and again.” -ED

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

“Love her writing. Can’t put it down.” -ED

Axel Vervoordt: Living with Light by Axel Vervoordt

“Axel Vervoordt is kind of everything: Every time I think I’m finally done with a room, I open one of Axel’s books and am inspired to start over completely.” -ED

(via Goop, PinterestTwitter; Photo by Ken McKay)

Categories: Actors Comedians

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