Oprah Winfrey Reveals The Book That Changed Her Life—And It Was Never In Her Book Club

Oprah Winfrey has a book club selection for you, even if it never made the list during her TV book club on The Oprah Winfrey Show. According to CNBC, during Oprah’s recent speech at Skidmore College she dropped a must-read title and told the graduates why it was a life-changer for her.

Winfrey told the Skidmore grads the book that changed her life was The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav. Fans of Oprah’s daytime talk show may remember that Zukav was a frequent guest on the show.

Oprah revealed that Zukav’s book “talks about how every action is followed by a reaction,” but what struck the media mogul, even more, was the revelation that “before there’s even a thought or an action, there is an intention.”

“Something struck me about that,” Winfrey told the class.

“That an intention precedes every thought and every action and the outcome of your experiences is determined by the intention.”

Oprah went on to reveal that the principal of intention is “literally what saved and changed the trajectory of my living.”

Oprah explained that when she first read the book, she was a people pleaser who had just started making some real money. With acquaintances suddenly coming out of the woodwork, Winfrey admitted she had trouble saying no—until the book gave her the confidence to do so.

“I started to make my decisions on what I intended, not just on what someone else wanted me to do or what I thought would please them,” Oprah explained.

“And so I started to apply this intentional living and intentional thinking to everything in my life.”

Winfrey said she even instructed Oprah show producers not to bring her show ideas unless she could not find her “thread of truth in.”

Winfrey dished on the Pillsbury Bake-off Oprah Winfrey Show cooking segment she did before reading Zukav’s book in which a contestant won a million dollars. Oprah now admits she didn’t like the recipe.

“We had a famous cooking contest on and somebody won a million dollars, and I don’t know how they did,” says Winfrey.

“The truth is when I tasted it, my face said everything…That’s why I stopped cooking [segments] because I couldn’t pretend to like the food.”

Oprah also talked about a more important episode that was based on the principle of intention. The episode, which featured a mother talking about her murdered daughter’s life, and not her death, won the show its first Emmy Awards. Oprah went so far as to say that the reason her talk show was No. 1 for 25 solid years is “because we intended to be.”

This isn’t the first time Oprah has shared the love about the book The Seat of the Soul. In a LinkedIn interview with CEO Jeff Weiner, Oprah revealed that “intention” is the number one principle that rules her life. The negativity she felt after an early Oprah show featuring white supremacists was enough for Winfrey to make a major change.

“So after reading Gary’s book, I had a big meeting with all my producers and I said, ‘We are now going to become an intentional television show,'” Winfrey revealed. “The idea behind it — the vision — is that we are going to be a force for good, and that is going to be our intention.”

As part of her positive vibe, the queen of talk started Oprah’s Book Club back in 1996 with the fiction selection, Jacqueline Mitchard’s The Deep End of the Ocean. But a decade later, the club was embroiled in controversy after a supposed non-fiction memoir, James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, was found to be greatly embellished.


Two years later, author Gary Zukav became a frequent fixture on Oprah’s show, making a whopping 36 appearances to discuss the concepts in his 1989 book The Seat of the Soul. Decades later, Oprah Winfrey still lives her life with intention—and she wants you to, too.

[Featured Image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images]