Shirley’s Books

Shirley is a communicator. Her words have taken us along on a journey that has circled the globe and allowed us to follow her discovery of self, Higher Self, and spirituality.

A longtime outspoken advocate for civil rights and liberties, women’s rights, and spiritual understanding, Shirley MacLaine has sold more than 20,000,000 copies of her ten international bestsellers, which include her acclaimed work The Camino.

Out on a Leash: How Terry’s Death Gave Me New Life – 2017

Shirley MacLaine found perfect love—in the furry bundle of irresistible canine charms that was Terry. With her winning terrier ways and an endless wellspring of absolute love, Terry succeeded in doing what no one before her ever had: slowing Shirley’s nomadic lifestyle and leading her home.

Some of Shirley’s greatest pleasures included being with Terry on her New Mexico ranch or on a New York street, romping on the beach together, or sharing a long plane ride to a new location for making a film. With Terry by her side, Shirley was able to see the world in new ways she never thought possible.

In this utterly charming book, told in both Shirley and Terry’s voices, Shirley explores how her beloved Terry provided a window for exploring the true nature of love and how to truly and fully live in the moment. Updated with a brand new ending, the book relates in deeply moving language Terry’s last days, and the joy Shirley felt when her bond with Terry proved unbreakable and Terry contacts her from the other side.

A unique, witty, and ultimately wise memoir by one of the truly remarkable women of our time, Out on a Leash is the perfect gift for dog lovers and spiritual seekers everywhere.

Above the Line: My Wild Oats Adventure – 2016

A funny, fierce, imaginative memoir chronicling New York Times bestselling author and Academy Award winner Shirley MacLaine’s remarkable experiences filming Wild Oats in the Canary Islands and the extraordinary memories her time there brought forth of a past life on the lost continent of Atlantis.

Her agent told her not to get on the plane. The male leads weren’t even cast. The financing was shaky at best. The script had been re-written countless times. And yet something about Wild Oats lured Shirley MacLaine to the film’s location shoot in the far-off Canary Islands – and straight to the center of one of the most thrilling and paradigm-shifting adventures of her life.

The making of the film reads like a screwball comedy, as the cast and crew face unpredictable daily obstacles with ingenuity, grit, and personal sacrifice. Yet the chaos leads Shirley to a revelatory new understanding of the demise of one of history’s most elusive yet endlessly intriguing places. Scholars have long theorized that Spain’s Canary Islands are the remnants of the mighty lost continent of Atlantis. As the movie set descends into pandemonium, Shirley finds fascinating corollaries between the island’s cataclysmic fate and our own dangerous trajectory. Can we learn the lessons the citizens of Atlantis failed to comprehend?

The answer is borne out of recovered memories from Shirley’s past life on Atlantis and through a series of meditations that reveal the necessity of unfettered imagination when looking for bold new truths, rendering this evocative memoir essential reading for anyone seeking a broader understanding of what it means to be human – both where we came from and where we are going.

What If… A Lifetime of Questions, Speculations, Reasonable Guesses and a Few Things I Know For Sure – 2013

Taking this as her starting point, Shirley explores a wide range of matters-spiritual and secular, humorous and profound, earth-bound and inter-galactic, personal and universal. From big questions about family, friendship, politics, war, and religion, her gaze lifts even higher. A famous trailblazer in making topics like reincarnation and past life therapy mainstream, Shirley now takes the lead in opening her mind to crucial questions about the existence of life on other planets, what that means for those of us on earth, and about the true genetic ancestry of humankind. Along the way, she reflects on joining the talented cast of Downton Abbey, receiving the prestigious American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award, and introducing a new puppy into her formerly one-dog home.

From Shirley’s “What if” questions emerges a striking portrait of a constantly curious woman who thrills to new ideas and discoveries-all while enjoying one of the most extraordinary and enduring careers in Hollywood. As Shirley says, “I like to think I’m a person who is open to exploring anything, always questioning, trying to live free of preconceptions and blind certainties.” What if… captures the one and only Shirley MacLaine at her witty, acerbic, imaginative, and irresistible best.

From Shirley MacLaine’s What If…

  • What if hope is the most dangerous emotion?
  • What if our political leaders actually led?
  • What if families are a form of government we either tolerate or revolt from?
  • What if each of us could remember our untapped origins in the cosmos?
  • What if a frog had wings? (Answer: He wouldn’t bump his ass so much.)What if all that we are is a result of what we have thought?
  • What if monogamy went out of style? (Answer: Show business would be in trouble.)
  • What if sex is a chemistry experiment?
  • What if we were as aware of our spiritual nutrition as our physical nutrition?
  • What if, for some reason, I couldn’t be creative and work?

I’m Over All That: And Other Confessions – 2011

The award-winning actress and bestselling author pens the funniest, most timely and most accessible book of her career, detailing all the things she’s over – and a few things she’s not. Shirley MacLaine is fearless – whatever the topic – show business, ageing, politics, family or the future of mankind and the universe. This is Shirley’s pithiest and funniest book to date.

“In this third act of my life, much has become clearer, so much is over, and I am over so much…”“I have learned to ease up on worry, scheming for films or rolls, planning for better surroundings, and feeling anger at all our leaders who operate politically rather than humanely. Yes, I am over all that. I’m over listening to advertisements, the latest fashions (I never was much for that), events I should attend in order to be seen, red carpet madness. I’m getting more and more free from the expectations of the external world. In fact the one worry I can’t seem to give up and get over is a lingering fear that being a reclusive, happy, older woman may not be entirely healthy. But who says so?

“I’m not over going to the movies, seeing live theater, hearing symphonies of music, eating a good dinner (I’m learning to dine out alone), attending a worthy charity event (for half an hour), visiting a sick friend, or taking treats or toys to the animal shelter…

One thing will always be a constant with me. I have a guiding sense of curiosity. I will never get over asking Why.”

At a certain time in life, we all come to realize what is truly important to us and what just doesn’t matter. For Shirley MacLaine, that time is now. In this wise, witty, and fearless collection of small observations and big-picture questions, she shares with readers all those things that she is over dealing with in life, in love, at home, and in the larger world… as well as the things she will never get over, no matter how long she lives.

Among the things that Shirley is over: people who repeat themselves (“when you didn’t care what they said the first time”); conservatives and liberals; ill-mannered young people; the poison of celebrity (“Why do so many people want to be famous when they see how it can destroy your life?”); being polite to boring people (“If they won’t stop talking, I go into a trance and meditate”); getting older in Hollywood (“How peaceful it is not to have to look particularly pretty anymore or to wear a size 6”).

In the opposite camp, there are some things Shirley will never get over: good lighting (“Marlene Dietrich taught me how to light myself”); gorgeous costars (“The vanity of male actors is an impossible wall to scale”); performing live (“Yes, it is better than sex”); and above all, brave people with curious minds (“Fear is the most powerful weapon of mass destruction”).

Along the way, she recalls stories of some of the true greats she has known – Alfred Hitchcock, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, the two Jacks (Lemmon and Nicholson) – and ruminates on the state of Hollywood past and present. She recollects her relationships and romances with politicians (including two prime ministers), scientists, journalists, and costars.

An unabashed seeker of truth and unrepentant free spirit, Shirley looks squarely at a world that can irritate, confuse, and provoke her, but that can also delight her with its beauty, humor, and future promise. Reading I’m Over All That will make you feel you have been reunited with an old friend who tells it like it is but never takes herself too seriously.

Shirley MacLaine may be over all that, but this irresistible book ensures that we will never get over her.

Sage-ing While Age-ing – 2007

“I’ve been a questioner all my life . . . ”

So begins bestselling author and award-winning actress Shirley MacLaine, as she invites readers to join her on the most powerful, provocative journey of her life. Over the years, Shirley has firmly established herself as a fearless, iconoclastic thinker and seeker of truth. Now, as she confronts the realities and rewards of growing older, she reflects on the greater understanding of her own place in the universe that her experiences have brought to her.

Sparked by the experience of moving into a new house, she is inspired to look back across the remarkable professional and personal milestones she has experienced so far. Surrounded by books, pictures, and the artifacts of a life well-lived, Shirley is able to recognize the profound power of synchronicity at work around her, discovering the invisible threads that stitch together the seemingly random events of her days, adding meaning even to the mundane.

Having grown older, she is increasingly concerned with the potential pitfalls of modern medicine. She shares personal insights into nutrition, homeopathy, and alternative medicine. Practical and bracing, here is advice for anyone looking to expand his or her understanding of health and well-being.

Moving beyond the physical, Shirley explores what has always interested her most – those things that are unseen. What is consciousness? What is the purpose of our lives? Are we alone in the universe? And perhaps the greatest mystery of all, what happens to us after death?

Filled with her trademark wit and candor, this is a fascinating, inspiring book that will delight and captivate Shirley’s fellow travelers everywhere.

Out on a Leash: Exploring the Nature of Reality and Love – 2003

Shirley MacLaine has found a perfect love in the furry bundle of canine charms that is Terry. With her winning terrier ways and an endless wellspring of love, Terry has succeeded in doing what no one before her ever has: slowing Shirley’s peripatetic travels, shifting the actress and author’s global axis to hearth and home. In fact, with Terry by her side, Shirley sees the world in new ways she never thought possible.

Together, they explore the nature of love and of time, having shared at least one previous life together in ancient Egypt. Together, too, they seek to understand world events. And in a unique and delightful twist, we see Terry’s point of view on Shirley’s domestic and inner life, as the terrier’s mistress continually questions the deeper nature of reality.

The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit – 2000

This is the story of a journey. It is the eagerly anticipated and altogether startling culmination of Shirley MacLaine’s extraordinary – and ultimately rewarding – road through life. The riveting odyssey began with a pair of anonymous handwritten letters imploring Shirley to make a difficult pilgrimage along the Santiago de Compostela Camino in Spain. Throughout history, countless illustrious pilgrims from all over Europe have taken up the trail. It is an ancient – and allegedly enchanted – pilgrimage. People from Saint Francis of Assisi and Charlemagne to Ferdinand and Isabella to Dante and Chaucer have taken the journey, which comprises a nearly 500-mile trek across highways, mountains, cities and fields. Now it would be Shirley’s turn.

For Shirley, the Camino was both an intense spiritual and physical challenge. A woman in her sixth decade completing such a grueling trip on foot in thirty days at twenty miles per day was nothing short of remarkable. But even more astounding was the route she took spiritually: back thousands of years, through past lives to the very origin of the universe.

Immensely gifted with intelligence, curiosity, warmth, and a profound openness to people and places outside her own experience, Shirley MacLaine is truly an American treasure. And once again, she brings her inimitable qualities of mind and heart to her writing. Balancing and negotiating the revelations inspired by the mysterious energy of the Camino, she endured her exhausting journey to Compostela until it gradually gave way to a far more universal voyage: that of the soul. Through a range of astonishing and liberating visions and revelations, Shirley saw into the meaning of the cosmos, including the secrets of the ancient civilizations of Atlantis and Lemuria, insights into human genesis, the essence of gender and sexuality, and the true path to higher love.

With rich insight and humility, and her trademark grace, Shirley MacLaine gently leads us on a sacred adventure toward an impressively transcendent climax. The Camino promises readers the journey of a thousand lifetimes.

My Lucky Stars: A Hollywood Memoir – 1995

An Academy Award-winning actress and the internationally bestselling author of Out on a Limb delivers her touching, warm, and headline-making memoir. In My Lucky Stars Shirley MacLaine talks candidly and personally about her four decades in Hollywood, especially about the men and women – her “lucky stars” – who touched and challenged her life.

Dance While You Can – 1991

At the age of fifty-seven, after nearly four decades in Hollywood, Academy-Award-winning actress and entertainer Shirley MacLaine is still moving us to laughter and tears in major film roles, still high-kicking on stage in live performances – and still searching for the truth within herself. In this, her most intimate memoir yet, she examines with courage and candor her feelings about aging, relationships, work, her parents, her daughter, and her own future as an artist and as a woman. “There was a hidden agenda in our family. Warren and I were not only driven to fulfill our parents’ unrealized dreams but, in the process, to prove Mother correct in her aspirations for us in spite of our father’s fears and his harshly critical attitude toward our efforts…We had to do it. We had to be there. We couldn’t disappoint her, or the audience, or ourselves…In other words, there was no way Warren and I wouldn’t become stars.” In Dance While You Can, Shirley examines the powerful familial forces that have shaped her life, legacies of a strong-willed mother whose own longing to be acknowledged propelled Shirley and her brother, Warren Beatty, to success, and of a father whose fear of failure inspired her always to prepare for the worst. She reflects on her relationship with her daughter, Sachi, and their separation during some of Sachi’s childhood years spent in Japan with her father. With affection and humor she recalls her own formative years in a Hollywood that made magic, not just money, learning her craft beside legendary stars like Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, Joan Crawford, and Debbie Reynolds, whose life in part inspired Shirley’s bravura role in Postcards From the Edge. Finally, Shirley writes with honesty and incisive detail about her decision to return to the stage with a new show. Finding it both frightening and liberating, she reveals how it felt to lose her footing, and her confidence, when a series of devastating injuries forced her into knee surgery and how she grew from the insecurity of aging and emotional anguish to stand on her own two feet with a new, more mature and centered perspective.

Going Within: A Guide for Inner Transformation – 1989

At last Shirley MacLaine reveals the secrets of her intimate journey of transformation. In three international bestsellers, Out on a Limb, Dancing in the Light, and It’s All in the Playing, multi-talented Shirley MacLaine described her own ongoing spiritual journey in search of inner harmony and self-transcendence. Now this celebrated actress, social activist, and outspoken thinker shares an enlightened program of spiritual techniques and mental exercises to become healthier, happier, and more attuned to the natural harmony of the world around and within-ourselves. In Going Within Shirley MacLaine answers many of the most challenging and important questions she has been asked about her experiences in seminars and interviews she conducted from coast to coast.

It’s All in the Playing – 1987

The fifth volume in one of the most extraordinary personal odysseys of the twentieth century. Don’t Fall Off the Mountain, You Can Get There From Here, Out on a Limb, Dancing in the Light and now the most intimate and compelling book of all, It’s All in the Playing. Oscar-winning actress, social activist, singular entertainer, best-selling author Shirley MacLaine has the courage to be both candid and controversial. In this book, she casts herself in her most challenging role yet – as seeker of personal and metaphysical truth. It began in Peru ten years ago and ended in Peru ten years later. But the steps along the way were the real story. In filming the miniseries Out on a Limb, Shirley MacLaine was forced to recreate herself ten years earlier. to journey back from Malibu to London, from Sweden to the mysterious landscape of Peru… to the places, the perceptions and profound emotions she experienced then. And to journey beyond, exploring new personal and cosmic dimensions, the choices of her lifetimes, who she was and who she would become. As the heart of Shirley MacLaine’s testament is a compelling challenge: we choose our own destinies, create our own illusions. We have the power to design the world in which we live, and the strength to remake ourselves in the image of our dreams.

Dancing in the Light – 1985

At a turning point in her life, comes her most revealing and exciting book yet. Outspoken, controversial, talented, and perceptive Shirley MacLaine now takes us on an intimate and fascinating personal odyssey. In 1984 she won an Oscar, starred on Broadway, wrote the best-selling Out on a Limb — and turned fifty years old. At this special time, in this special year, she was now ready to resume the spiritual journey she had begun in her early forties. In Dancing in the Light, Shirley MacLaine bares her innermost self and explores the lives, both past and present, which touched and affected her own. She sheds new light on her loves, her losses, her childhood, her passions, and her inner drives and ambitions.

Out on a Limb – 1983

Her most controversial book is one you will never forget.  An outspoken thinker, a celebrated actress, a truly independent woman, Shirley MacLaine goes beyond her previous two bestsellers to take us on an intimate yet powerful journey into her personal life and inner self.  An intense, clandestine love affair with a prominent politician sparks Shirley MacLaine’s quest of self-discovery.  From Stockholm to Hawaii to the mountain vastness of Peru, from disbelief to radiant affirmation, she at last discovers the roots of her very existence…  and the infinite possibilities of life. Shirley MacLaine opens her heart to explore the meaning of a great and enduring passion with her lover Gerry; the mystery of her soul’s connection with her best friend David; the tantalizing secrets behind a great actor’s inspiration with the late Peter Sellers. And through it all, Shirley MacLaine’s courage and candor new doors, new insights, new revelations-and a luminous new world she invites us all to share.

You Can Get There From Here – 1975

You Can Get There From Here begins in the never-never land of Las Vegas where Ms. MacLaine is performing her one-woman show and tells an intimate tale of the fascinating world in which she lives.

Shirley MacLaine turned to new adventures. One was a trip on the campaign trail with George McGovern, which turned out to be, at best, mixed blessings. But as always, every experience leads Ms. MacLaine deeper into herself and a positive result. What she learned about political humanity, what she experienced in the eventual disarray and defeat, and, above all, what she discovered about people gives heart to her story.

The second adventure was her trip to the People’s Republic of China with a delegation of American women; another profound experience that led to self-rediscovery. What they saw and experienced in China was a deep shock to all of them. Shirley MacLaine, particularly, found a society which seemed both successful and happy in which there was no role for the individual creative impulse. It was a country that had torn down traditions thousands of years old in one generation and rebuilt a more workable society on new grounds – grounds completely alien to everything they, as Americans, had been taught to revere.

“In China I saw an entire nation, once degraded, corrupt, demoralized, and exploited, that was changing its very nature… I realized that if what we call human nature can be changed, then absolutely anything is possible. And from that moment, my life changed…”
~Shirley MacLaine

Don’t Fall Off The Mountain – 1970

This is no ordinary memoir by a movie star. Miss MacLaine is no ordinary movie star. There is, of course, the public career that has taken her the top of her profession – via roles in such films as The Apartment, Irma La Douce, Some Came Running – and removed her from a roach-ridden walkup in New York to a house with a view of the San Fernando Valley. She tells that story. But beyond her career, she has an insatiable curiosity about people and places, and a sense of identity with the entire human race, which has led her to decidedly un-Hollywood adventures.

Shirley MacLaine has lived among the Masai in Africa, wandered through India, lived in Japan, and climbed into the Himalayan mountain kingdom of Bhutan, where only a few Occidentals have ever penetrated. She has been caught in a revolution, and spent time behind the scenes in the red-light district of Paris to prepare for a movie role. She has taken an active role in politics and has vigorously involved herself in problems of race.

Married to a man who works for at least half a year in Tokyo, Miss MacLaine tells of their strange and wonderful marriage. She writes of growing up in Arlington, Virginia; of years of ballet lessons; of making the rounds in New York; and of the miracle of finally being discovered; of the thrill and private loss of becoming a public success. This is an adventure story, a personal odyssey, a jaundiced view of fame, and an appreciation of mankind.

“Miss MacLaine writes with grace and wit, whether the subject is the cliché-loving, middle-class Virginia family’ into which she was born, her 15 years of dancing lessons, her overnight leap from chorus line to movie contract, Hal Wallis, the Sinatra clan, Japan, India, Africa, Mississippi, Hollywood and other alien climes… What really distinguishes ‘Don’t Fall Off The Mountain’ is Miss MacLaine’s capacity and willingness to feel her way into ‘other’ realities… A brave and charming book.”
~John Leonard, New York Times