My criteria for Oases on Demand is that I have checked it out my very own self, everything works out in the end, and no one is in any real pain. I want to see conflict and tension and a compelling arc with strong characters, don’t get me wrong… but I don’t want to question the meaning of life or the nature of humanity.


  • Uprooted. It was gripping! It was well developed! It was devoid of body drama (the main character wasn’t “unexpectedly the most beautiful girl in the land,” thank God) and it was LONG. Blessedly, beautifully long. You need this in your life.
  • A Man Called Ove. This book is about a 100-year-old man who escapes from his nursing home and decides that life is for LIVING. He goes on a romp around the countryside that made me happy from start to finish.
  • The Little Paris Bookshop. A man has a book shop on a barge and then one day decides to give it all up and float off down the Seine. He travels down the river and around the south of France to shakes off the ennui of a stuck-in-the-mud life and re-open to the potential of love. There’s a tiny bit of overwroughtness, but nothing that stops this from being a rich and textured escape novel.
  • The Art of Inheriting Secrets. This one was free with prime reading at a moment when my husband had decided $50 a month for books was too many dollars a month. I read it because it was free… AND I’M SO GLAD I DID!!! Step right into a world where it’s perfectly normal to inherit a massive English estate AND TITLE even though you are American! Oh, and let’s suddenly come into millions of dollars to renovate it. That’s how that would go, right? Also, why not fall in love with a best-selling author and eat inexpressibly good food every single day. Ah, real life. Such a treat.
  • Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. I am actually “reading” this one as an audiobook while I go for my daily walk. Now it’s set during Apartheid in South Africa so there’s no escaping the context, but Trevor is so matter-of-fact about it, and so earnest, caring and funny in his descriptions that it still meets my criteria.

TV Shows

  • The Great British Bakeoff < This is my go-to. It inevitably makes me feel like life is actually pretty darn good and sends me off to bake bread. Win-win.
  • Nailed It < Makes me feel better about how my own baking turns out!
  • Some good news. Every single episode of this makes me weep with relief.
  • The Office. <Enough Said
  • Psych < My favorite show of all time. Outrageous silliness mixed with true friendship
  • Phinneas and Ferb < I make an appearance in seconds 34 and 35. I’m the one on the left.

About the author

Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist and business coach who helps accidental entrepreneurs get more clients and have a bigger impact. She is the author of Great Work, the host of the Unleashing Your Great Work podcast, and the creator of the Great Work Journals. Amanda's TEDx talk has received almost two million views and has been featured on TED's Ideas blog and Ted Shorts. Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global.