Book Review: The Essential Wayne Dyer Collection (Wayne Dyer)

The day of my mother’s surgery, I went to a bookstore. I was seeking a book that could help her reframe how she viewed life. She hadn’t been taking great care of herself for a few years. She had stopped exercising (which she was never very enthusiastic about), she stopped eating as well as she needed to, she ignored signs that pointed to the need to see a doctor (like shortness of breath and leg pain), among other things. She claimed that she couldn’t do any of these things because she needed to prioritize my father and I. (I was never clear on exactly what we needed that got in the way of her taking care of herself. We were just more interesting and, I think, a good distraction from self-care.) I finally got her to see, the day before her surgery, that if she took better care of herself that was taking care of my father and I, because we needed her healthy and living.

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I had been listening to Wayne Dyer’s podcast and reading some of his articles for a year or so. Dyer (1940-2015) was a professor of educational counseling at St. John’s University in New York. After publishing books on the psychology associated with self-improvement, Dyer began exploring the spiritual aspect of human experience.

Dyer’s writing is very easy to absorb and doesn’t beat you over the head with self-help pdemands. His writing is reflective without being self-absorbing. I thought a book or two by Dyer would be a nice recovery gift for my mother. I was hoping she might think about how she could make heath more of a priority than it had been.

The store didn’t have the books I was looking for. As I searched through the Dyer titles they did have, I met a woman in the same book aisle. She said that she was a fan of Dyer’s books and told me that her cardiologist recommended that all of his patients read Dyer’s work as part of their treatment plan. I got the name of the cardiologist for my mother. I thought that doctor sounded miles more in touch with what cardiac patients needed than my mother’s current cardiologist, who discussed restaurants with her instead of her health and, I later found out, never encouraged my mother to exercise at all.

I found The Essential Wayne Dyer Collection and thought that it offered a good cross-section of his work and a variety of options. The collection consists of three of Dyer’s books: The Power of Intention, Inspiration, and Excuses Begone. I purchased the collection and went home to wait for the surgeon’s phone call with my father.

I never did get to give the book to my mother. She died four days later.

I adopted the book as part of my library and carted it with me when I moved five months after her death. I stared at the book for several months before I decided to dive into it myself. I originally bought the book to help someone reflect on their presence in the world. The purpose of the purchase really hadn’t changed. The person who needed to read it did.

I was beginning to rebalance and build my post-loss life. I needed clarity concerning what I wanted in this new life and how I was going to intentionally achieve it. I also needed to move out of the way of excuses I was hearing from grief supporters (who thought I should limit life to being my father’s caretaker) and the soundtrack in my head that was beginning to believe them.

The Power of Intention explores the role of intention in our actions. Dyer presents intention as an energy that we can tap into in our effort to co-create our lives.

Inspiration examines our feelings that there must be more to life and discusses our desire to reconnect with our soul space. Dyer offers practical ways in which we may achieve an inspired life.

Excuses Begone! discusses how we can rid ourselves of habits that have prevented us from achieving success in life. Dyer offers steps for how we can do away with crutches that prevent us from moving forward.

Dyer’s writing style is gentle and encouraging. He also frequently reminds readers that he was not born with all the advantages in life. For anyone who believes they are doomed to a position in life, Dyer may offer a kind reminder that you can change your life despite difficulties.

Dyer’s nurturing advice plus my own desire to move out of stuckness helped propel my rebalancing endeavors. While the three books target different themes, the underlying premise is the same: if you can change and grow your perspective (of yourself and the world you inhabit), change will come. The books alone won’t compel someone to action, the desire and willingness to shed unhelpful beliefs and perspectives is required. Self-help books aren’t miracle workers, but with self-motivation, you could make some small miracles happen along your healing path.

This is a collection best read by a griever who has a spiritual life (not necessarily an organized religion, but a view of the world as containing spirit into which we may tap), who can enact changes with little outside guidance, and who has some idea of the life they would like to have (or at the very least, the changes they would like to make in life).

The books that make up The Essential Wayne Dyer Collection do not have to be read as a collection. Each book can be purchased separately. If you are looking for a place to begin with Dyer’s work, selecting one (or more) of these titles is a good place to start. Click here to see The Power of Intention and Excuses Begone! in my store. Inspiration can be found at

The collection (or the individual books) could make a good consolation gift from a grief supporter. The gentleness of the text allows for them to be read in any mood and they can be read at any point in the grief path. (An ebook version is available here on

The Essential Wayne Dyer Collection is a great set for the griever who is ready to work on rebalancing post-loss life.

This post contains affiliate links. See my affiliate program disclosure.

Published by ancarroll

Alexandra N. Carroll is an author, grief advocate, crafter, mother, and partner. She writes on grief and self-care from her home in Vermont. Her forthcoming book concerns how to untangle life-after-loss through the creation of a strong self-care plan.

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