The Exquisite Risk, by Mark Nepo // Books That Changed My Life

The Exquisite Risk, by Mark Nepo // Books That Changed My Life

In this week’s installment of Books That Changed My Life, I talk about a book I never finished. The Exquisite Risk, by Mark Nepo rocked my world in a way I wasn’t aware existed. After watching Mark speak on an episode of Super Soul Sunday, I bought one of his books on amazon for about $5 or so. A random book, I just wanted to read, and this man’s presence on Oprah’s show inspired me, so why not?

The Exquisite Risk: Daring To Live An Authentic Life, is all about daring to live your whole unique self, to sing your authentic true song, and to be you unforgivingly. As writes, “In these fast-paced times, the exquisite risk facing each of us every day is to slow down and “still our own house” so that we may experience life rather than simply manage it. In The Exquisite Risk, poet and teacher Mark Nepo encourages readers to become quiet enough and open enough to listen to what truly matters—our own hearts, our loved ones, the wonders of nature—in order to live a life with nothing held back. In rich, lyrical prose, Nepo shares his own spiritual path, including a battle with illness that helped him understand how only by daring to embrace all that life has to offer can we come to a deeper appreciation of its meaning and beauty.”

I mentioned that I never finished this book, and I must admit that I didn’t. Not only did I not finish the book, I misplaced it in a move (and lord do I need to get a new copy!). This book awakened me in a really special way. I knew and agreed with a ton of the messaging and lessons, but “Boy!” the writing.


Whooh, the writing… The way that Mark Nepo writes is indescribably beautiful to me. It’s deep and not in the way us millennials go, “Ooh, that was deep.” in the way that you just feel it in your core deeper than you knew existed, it’s poetic, and incredibly experienced — wise in less of a universal way (though the principles are still incredibly universal), but a very personal soul bearing way.

The way Mark Nepo writes is how I wish to write one day in my career. I have a knack for poetry, I strive to pull depth and wisdom and truth out of people, and Mark Nepo’s writing is the perfect example of what I mean when I say that is what I want to write and express through my career.


As I mentioned previously, I discovered Mark on ‘accident’ through Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Something Mark said that really drew me in was, “We are broken open or we willfully shed, and usually it’s a mix of both.” Mark is talking about the 2 most prevalent ways human beings grow here, and he hits the nail right on the head with it. You’ll notice if you watch the attached video below, that the way he speaks is very soulfully wise, and still soft and human.


Mark also speaks of a philosophy in another clip from his Super Soul Sunday episode, to be the poem rather than the poet. Just let that one sink in.

Thank you, Mark Nepo for creating your work. It awakened me to the kind of writer I thrive to be someday. Though I never did finish The Exquisite Risk your work has shifted my life forever, and I am beyond grateful for it.

~Riley Reign

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