In a world filled with endless books on every topic imaginable, how does one ever decide which books are actually worth buying a copy? Well, that is what the beautiful thing we know as the internet is for, where people like me share our favorites so you don’t have to take the time to filter through each and every one of them. I have been reading about mindfulness, meditation, personal growth, and reprogramming the subconscious mind for close to a decade now. Out of the dozens and dozens of physical and audiobooks I’ve listened to, this list of 14 is my tried and true favorites. Not only did I love, and re-read many of them twice, I have heard nothing but exceptional reviews of them from others. They are not in any particular order, although the first two mentioned are probably my two personal favorites.
Click on the book image or title to visit the Amazon.com page for each read.
This, for many readers, is the book that shakes their perception of thinking and mindfulness in general. Through my podcast and work in the personal development space, this book is the most commonly referenced as people’s entry point into the world of self-awareness and discovering their true intuitive voice. I first read this book in University while I was working in Northern Canada’s logging industry taking on hard labor to fund my education and adventurous lifestyle. This, as mentioned above, was my entry point. It was the very first piece of content I ever read around being a better version of why I was. This book was life-changing, to say the least. It woke me up and made me understand how to truly observe my thoughts. It forced me to analyze my world and the perceptions I was choosing for my world. It made me understand the concept of choice in general in a new and profound way. For anybody who does not know Eckhart Tolle quite yet, this man is one of the most amazing teachers of our time. This book will change the way you look at the world, and at yourself. Give this a read and get ready to dive into the rabbit hole of goodness.
I put this book up here in the first position because it was quite possibly the most awakening book I have ever read. Originally suggested to me by Tim Ferris in multiple episodes of his podcast, I finally gave this book a read this past fall and was pleasantly surprised. This read it about waking people up. About encouraging the reader to look at their life objectively, from that detached angle where they can truly understand that nearly everything they think and do is conditioning from their life experiences. Not only does it provide the opportunity to enhance this special sense of awareness, the book includes steps and lessons for how to live authentically, free and to think for ourselves as we move forward. I would recommend this is the most important book to read for anybody out there who is dabbling with information in the space of self-awareness, mindfulness, personal development or consciousness. In addition to all this, the book is less than 200 pages long, so it’s not the biggest time commitment either. A quick and easy read that has something in it for everyone.
Written by renowned psychiatrist and educator of Buddhist philosophy Mark Epstein, Advice Not Given is a book about assessing, analyzing and dropping the excess of ego we carry with us in nearly every aspect of our lives. Though it arises more strongly in some areas than others, the book is a careful assessment of how the presence of this ego impacts our results, both professionally and personally. In addition to these lessons, in this book, you will find a wonderful explanation of Mark’s self analyzation in the early years of his mindfulness training and practice. He tells the story of how he first found meditation, what it has done for him, and shares the details of several examples of how mindfulness-based cognitive exercises have helped numerous of his psychotherapy clients over the years. For me, this was a very pleasant read. Mark’s blend of traditional Buddhist lessons mixed with information about the practical benefits of mindfulness for modern North Americans struck a chord with me. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing how a variety of mindfulness-based practices have helped his clients through harsh personal struggles of their own as well.
Emily Fletcher is a legend of meditation teaching in the modern era. This book along with a few podcast episodes where she promoted the new book is what influenced me to level up the regularity of my meditative practice to include sit multiple times each and every day. In this book, Emily dives into the scientific evidence of what exactly it is that the ancient practice of meditation does to the brain. What evades the understanding of most people, including many regular meditators, is that this exercise is incredibly good for the physiology of the brain. Regular practice improves the cognitive performance of the brain. It is like a bicep curl for the mind. This book lays out the facts, as well as the pointers for anybody who wants to understand the benefits or practice them. For myself personally, I enjoyed that this book is very factual, and less based on philosophy and origins. I would recommend this read for anybody who knows that understanding the benefits of meditation is sure to spark their motivation to remain consistent.
If you haven’t yet heard of Dan Harris, Dan is the American news anchor who famously had a quick but noticeable nervous breakdown on live television. Following this experience, he came to realize the extreme amount of stress and emotional repression he was prone to in his everyday living. To build his resilience against the demands of a high paced career, as well as a rebound from the anxiety attack on live television, Dan gave meditation a try. Starting with a long silent retreat of over a week, Dan dove in headfirst, enjoying all the noticeable benefits of doing so. This book is an excellent telling of his experience with chronic anxiety and stress, and how he found and integrated meditation to his professional and personal life. As the title suggests, his trademark phrase for describing the practice is that it makes you “10% Happier”. A statement I would say is modest for most people but certainly true. If you knew with complete certainty that one small thing could make your health better as well as make you 10% happier, why wouldn’t you do it? That is the premise of the book. Dan is an amazing writer in general, but this book is one of the best reads for anybody wondering or still deciding whether meditation is right for them. This book is relatable, readable, understandable and humble.
This book is an accumulation of stories and scientific examples about the science of truly “letting go”. In the information shared by Dr. Hawkins, he describes the physiological changes that happen in the body when the mind truly learns to detach from those things it holds on to so intensely. Surprisingly, this topic of the mind-body connection is actually well researched and has loads of evidence that there is something more to the relationship than modern medicine. For me, this book was an incredible introduction and guide to the concept of letting go of not only past emotional trauma, but of perspectives, grudges, and more. Through the art of letting go, we actually free our minds in ways that are more significant than we can possibly comprehend without explanation. It is only in letting go of the previous experiences that have shaped our perspectives and worldviews that we can look ahead with a truly open mind. The art of allowing something to be the way that it is or to have occurred the way that it did without trying to control, change, resist or dwell on it is a skill and a practice. This book is a must-read for anybody interested in the psychological and physiological benefits of mindfulness and meditation.
This book is widely known as the most famous written work of Shunryu Suzuki, one of the first great Asian teachers to bring his lessons to North America. This man is the cause of a large portion of the wave of mindfulness, spirituality and self-awareness lessons that have since flooded their way across North America as well. In this book, you will find lessons on the true and original intentions of meditation. It is a full review of zen practice, all the way from the posture, to the breathing, to the viewpoints of true nonduality. I was first given this book by a friend’s father. He gave me a brand new copy 5 years ago when first hearing that I was studying mindfulness. It was only recently that I finally busted it open, and I am glad that I did. This book is packed with lessons and perspectives to help anybody bring a more traditional sense of discipline to their meditative practice. The lessons I learned in this book have helped me level up my game noticeably and I would highly recommend this read for other avid meditators. The book itself is medium-small in size, so it is definitely an easy and low commitment read.
This book is all about taking control of our thoughts, to take control of our reality. Unbeknownst to most of us, the vast majority of our actions, emotions and therefore results, come from the depths of our subconscious mind. Our outer world is nothing more than a reflection of the thoughts we allow, and consciously choose to engage with. The beauty of this reality lies in the understanding that we are in fact capable of choosing which thoughts we want to think. In taking the time to observe and listen to the state of our thoughts we provide ourselves with the opportunity to choose which ones to allow and disallow. Just as with everything else in life, thoughts are, in the end, nothing more than habit. Teaching our minds to think in beneficial ways is how we reprogram our subconscious for better circumstances and output.
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams And Reaching Your DestinyBy Robin Sharma
Unlike all the other books up until this point, it is a fiction story, though it is based on real experiences from numerous real people who have indeed existed. In this wonderful tale of a man reconnecting with his authentic purpose and passion in life, Robin Sharma gives us readers the opportunity to learn as a third party, witnessing the transformation of an overworked lawyer. His story is not only inspiring and relatable for many of us, but it is also jam-packed with lessons and opportunities for us readers to contemplate our own livelihood as professionals, family members, and creators. I personally loved this book for its easy reading quality in combination with the lessons it provides. I read this book right at the peak of my career obsession. It was a book that grounded me in who I truly am. It reminded me of what I truly want, and why I was doing what I was. I would recommend this book to anybody whatsoever who finds themself on the search for more meaning in their life, regardless of how fulfilled or challenged they may feel.
As described in many reviews of the book, A New Earth is “a profoundly spiritual manifesto for a better life”. This book is an uplifting, good vibe inducing guide to the definite and predictable ways our ego tries to mess up our passion and positivity for further comfort and control. This book is a powerful motivator for each and every reader to wake up to the true purpose of their life. Who are we? What are we here for? Why? All important questions, but many of us never take the time to even ask. For those who may not know where to start, I have a suggestion. Start with this book. It will take you on a wild ride of powerful perspectives of mindfulness, lessons, and methods from which you can begin. True transformation takes something. It takes dedication and commitment. If you are looking for a change, or just an amazing book to pick up for a few hundred pages, this book is a must buy.
This book revolves around a few key concepts: that we are all one, that we are more than enough just as we are, that we are all connected as one and that our way or perspective is entirely subjective. There is no one right way to be, think, or view the world. Each way is simply a different way of endless ways. Neale has shared on numerous occasions that this book was conceived during one of the darkest times in his life. During this time, he asked God his questions. Why? Why now? What did it happen this way? What came to him was serious about realizations. Whether it was indeed the words of God, or whether it was his own expanding understanding of the nature of reality and his place in it, the output is an inarguably fascinating book. This read is filled with esoteric and wise perspectives that can help anybody gain more clarity on who they are and who they are becoming. I would recommend this book to the intermediate or advanced student of mindfulness, meditation, and spirituality. This book is paradigm-shifting and is certain to open something new inside each of us.
In Paulo Coelho’s fictional tale of a young man deciding to pursue his true life’s path, you will find an enigmatic story filled with hidden meaning and lessons. This story describes in a fictional capacity, what it takes to live a life that is nobody’s but your own. A life that is defined by following your heart and soul, and most importantly how to overcome the challenges that inherently come along with that decision. This book is highly renowned for the enchanting simplicity of the teachings found when reading between the lines.
For those who are unfamiliar with the infamous Ram Dass, in his previous profession, Mr. Dass went by the name Richard Alpert. He was a well-renowned psychologist at Harvard University before including psychedelics into his research on the human mind and therapy. After becoming a strong advocate for utilizing natural psychedelic substances for mental healing and clarity, he was fired from the university. This moment ended up becoming the catalyst in a long spiritual journey throughout India and the rest of the world, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience into his teachings back home in North America. Many of my favorite thinkers and professionals including Aubrey Marcus have openly stated their consideration that Ram Dass may be one of the humans on our planet today who are the closest to so-called ‘enlightenment’. This book is in part, an autobiography of his life path, as well as an organized collection of some of his most impactful and memorable lectures. If you are ready for this story, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to dive in. You may have to re-read some of his statements, but they will hit hard when you truly comprehend the messages he is trying to tell.
Highly regarded as one of the most important meditation books ever written for modern times, this read is filled with concepts, guided sessions, meditation and mindfulness tips, as well as koans and other gems of wisdom. Rooted in Buddhist philosophy, this book links traditional Buddhist perspectives with the modern North American lifestyle and value system. A central theme of this read is on the inherent results that are present in a life of meditative practice, along with the transcendent benefits meditators often see, feel, and experience in all other areas of their lives. This book is a truly informative read that is jammed to the brim with inspiration and motivation to live a powerful life of love, acceptance and mental clarity. Jack Kornfield is known as one of the forefathers of meditation in modern times, having taught many of today’s most influential mindfulness authors and educators. Pick up this book to understand why all of them regard this man’s work so highly.