Bari Tessler Linden, MA, is a financial therapist, mentor coach and entrepreneur.  Bari founded The Art of Money, which is a year-long money school – which integrates lessons such as money healing, money practices and money maps.  So respected is Bari’s work, that she has been featured on, as well as in US News & World Report, Reuters Money, Experience Life Magazine and many more.  If you’re a fan of the work of Bari Tessler Linden, you’ll be glad to know that you can purchase her book The Art of Money: A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness.  I was excited to speak with Bari and learn about the books that inspired her.  Please enjoy my interview with Bari Tessler Linden…

When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?

I tell people I’m a Financial Therapist. 95% of the time, people immediately laugh and say, “Oh, I need that!” Or, “my husband/mother/cousin/daughter/neighbor needs that!”  I am a Financial Therapist, entrepreneur, storyteller, and dark chocolate lover. I have taught my Art of Money methodology for over 15 years, first in small groups and now through a year-long, online money school with members around the globe, called The Art of Money. My first book, The Art of Money: A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness, came out this June.

My methodology integrates three phases: Money Healing, Money Practices, and Money Maps, weaving together personal, couples, and entrepreneurial teachings into one complete tapestry.  This deep money work can look like unravelling old emotional patterns, opening up lines of communication with partners, taking brave baby steps forward with practical financial To Do’s, getting savvier about business models, claiming your value, and on and on. This work is deep, practical, and intimate stuff, informed by my somatic psychology background and driven by mindfulness practices.  Ultimately, I help people use their money relationship as a doorway into greater self-awareness, compassion, confidence, peace of mind, and happiness.

the alchemistWhat are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, to my dear son who just turned 8. I’ve read this book a few different times, over the years. My son is fascinated by the story, and it’s sparking wonderful discussions between us.

When you think about your childhood, what book comes to mind?

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume.

What did you want to be when growing up?

As a kid, I wanted to be a Solid Gold Dancer. As a pre-teen, I wanted to be a business woman. As a late teen/early 20-something, I wanted to be a psychotherapist. I feel my work is a combination of all three. And for this, I am supremely grateful.

What do you think your school aged self would think of the present day you?

I think she would be impressed by how I’ve been able to thrive – not despite being a sensitive, creative, unconventional woman, but because of it. She would be proud of how I’ve created work-in-the-world that I love, that’s built around my unique gifts, quirks, and skillsets, and is financially successful. She would be grateful that I have created a deeply loving and fulfilling marriage. And she would be incredibly surprised that I eventually ubecame a mama, something I never thought I would do.

If you could wrap up a single book and gift it to yourself as you left education – which book would it be?

Honestly, I would give myself the book I just authored and published, The Art of Money: A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness! The methodology I put in this book, which I spent 15 years honing, was truly the missing piece in my education. And this is true for so many people, regardless of economic background: we simply aren’t taught how to manage money (let alone our emotions around it), in age-appropriate increments, from grade school on up. This is the book I so sorely needed. It didn’t exist … so I created it.

Does your reading have routine? Is there a particular time or place that you like to read?

I tend to go through periods when I devour books … and then take a break. Since my son was born, 8 years ago, I’ve had less time to read, but I still try to find time. I read on planes, I read during family vacations, and I read most nights in bed, before falling asleep.  This year, I had a reading nook built into my bedroom. I have dreamt of this for years, and it makes me so happy!

My husband and I also take turns reading to our son when we put him to bed at night, so we alternate books. I read him all of the How to Train Your Dragon books. My husband read him the Chronicles of Narnia books, and they’ve now started on the Harry Potter series.

Which book has had the biggest impact on your career so far?

I’ve learned my most important career lessons through experiential learning, not books. When I was training to become a Somatic Psychotherapist at my wonderful graduate program at Naropa University, we were all asked to be our own case studies. So I learned through studying myself, through movement practice, and through many practice therapy sessions with other students, using a variety of modalities.

That said, my career was impacted by a few authors and books from that time period, including:

anna kareninaDo you have any books that you strongly associate with someone important in your life?

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. My beloved Poppy (my grandfather) was Ukranian and loved Tolstoy. I read Tolstoy for him.

What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?

Well, since I’m in the middle of my book tour for my own, first book, The Art of Money: A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness, of course I’m recommending this to everyone I know … and everyone they know!  Before I had published my own book, one of the books I most often recommended to students was The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist.

Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction?

I like a mix of both. I primarily read really great novels, literary fiction, and memoirs. I adore memoirs.

Do you think reading is important?

YES!! Growing up, I spent a lot of time in libraries, in bookmobiles that visited my neighborhood, and in independent bookstores in Chicago. I enjoyed hanging out amongst the bookshelves and card catalogues, reading all of the titles, almost as much as reading. I did both for hours and hours on end.  Reading is such an important tradition, to me, and I’m grateful to pass this on to my son.

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

Do you prefer real books or digital books?

Definitely real books. My husband tried to get me to read a book on Kindle. He set up the whole thing … and I tried one page and just couldn’t do it. I need to hold a book in my hands, smell it, and turn the paper pages. It’s a whole felt experience, for me.

mans search for meaningName a book that you feel every human should have to read by law.

Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life?

Oh, there are just too many! I can’t name just one. I would feel awful for the ones I left out.

Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston.

Henry and June by Anaïs Nin.

Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson.

Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.

The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon by Tom Spanbauer.

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard.

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb.

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Why Be Happy, When You Can Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson.

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman.

Blood Bones Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton.

The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit.

Coming to My Senses: A Story of Perfume, Pleasure, and an Unlikely Bride by Alyssa Harad.

What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?

I’m not sure exactly what’s next, but I keep being drawn back to books about (or set during) World War II and the Holocaust. I keep trying to understand this part of my lineage.  And, it’s important for me to take breaks from this, and alternate themes.

Recently, after reading a few Holocaust novels in a row (Tatiana De Rosnay by Sarah Key, All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer, and Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum), I read Wild Comfort by Kathleen Dean Moore. Moore is a naturalist, seeking solace in the world of emotions and grief through the natural world, and it was the perfect book to help me transition back into the current time.

If you’d like to learn more about Bari Tessler, you can find her on her website and Twitter.