Books

We have access to knowledge like never before, which is fantastic for anyone wanting to grow personally and collectively, but it also introduces challenges, such as “Where do I start?” or “If I only have limited time, what do I read (or listen to or watch)? To help solve this problem, we’ve curated a collection of some of our top book recommendations on the various topics we cover, such as mindfulness, mind-spirit, sustainability and wholistic health, that will effectively deepen your understanding of the core engaged living concepts.

Mindfulness

In Peace Is Every Step, spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh teaches readers how to find inner peace within each and every step of life, even when dealing with distractions.  Mindfulness in Plain English, written by Buddhist monk “Bhante G,” outlines the basics of mindfulness and meditation in ordinary language, making it accessible to a wide variety of people.  The Miracle of Mindfulness is full of anecdotes and exercises from Thich Nhat Hanh that can help any reader live in the present moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn offers an introduction to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), including five guided meditations, through Mindfulness for Beginners. I am here now is a compact journal full of dozens of fun and simple exercise that will help you be more mindful throughout your daily life. Suitable for teens as well as adults. 

 

The Mindful Way Through Depression teaches readers how to use mindfulness to combat mental attitudes that lead to depression. It includes a CD of guided meditations. The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion educates readers on how to use mindfulness techniques to practice self-compassion and deal with difficult emotions.  In Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn shows readers how to fight stress, anxiety, and pain with mindful yoga and meditation practices.                                            The Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens provides 37 exercises that teenagers can use to help them mindfully deal with the stress of day-to-day life.   In Looking at Mindfulness, French psychiatrist and meditation practitioner Christophe André presents 25 well-known paintings that he expects will help us understand the essential principles of mindfulness. 

 

Mind-spirit

In The Power of Now, spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle helps readers learn how to live in the present moment and find lasting peace and happiness. Worry No More offers up four practical steps for chronic worriers to take in order to help themselves stop fretting and consequently live a more contented life. In It’s Not Rocket Science, entrepreneur Mary Spio outlines seven traits people can work to develop in order to to become more successful in all areas of life. Vital Signs, full of personal anecdotes from the author, is a guide to developing a passionate mindset and avoiding the pitfalls of boredom and depression. In Super Mind, a clinical psychiatrist outlines how readers can use transcendental meditation to enhance their mental state and therefore live more emotionally satisfying, as well as successful, lives.                   

 

In A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle builds on his teachings from The Power of Now in order to explain how moving beyond the ego can help us create a more peaceful world. The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching is an introduction to the major principles of Buddhism and how they apply to everyday life.  Be As You Are is a collection of conversations between spiritual teacher Ramana Maharshi and some of the students who visited his ashram.  The teachings of Indian sage Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, revealed through conversations with his followers, are presented in I Am That Written by Rosamund Zander, who also co-authored The Art of Possibility, Pathways to Possibility shows readers how to transform their thought patterns in order to open up more positive possibilities in work and relationships.

 

Total Freedom is a collection of the best pieces of writing, including thoughts on freedom, truth, and peace, by 20th-century spiritual thinker Jiddu Krishnamurti.  The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha contains 152 translated discourses that feature the Buddha in conversation with Indian citizens from various walks of life.  Tao Te Ching includes translations of meditations by the ancient Chinese mystic philosopher and founder of Taoism, Lao Tzu.  The Miracle Power of Your Mind is a massive anthology containing minister Joseph Murphy’s best works, including 24 entire books.  Emotional Rescue, written by the renowned Tibetan Buddhist teacher Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, teaches readers to manage emotions so they can be beneficial rather than hurtful. 

 

In The Art of Stillness, avid traveller Pico Iyer shows readers how sitting quietly in stillness and solitude can be an adventure, too.    Staying Well With Guided Imagery teaches users the basics of guided imagery that anyone can use to enhance or maintain good physical and emotional health.  Transcendental Meditation is a guide to this particular meditative practice (also known as TM), which was introduced to the Western world by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.                                                      Meditate Your Weight serves up a 21-day meditation program, designed by a holistic health expert, that can contribute strongly and positively to the process of losing weight.  Within Dharma Parenting, two neuroscientists will teach you how to determine your child’s Ayurvedic brain/body type, and what parenting strategies are best for you to employ when dealing with each type. 

 

Conscious creativity

 The Artist’s Way contains a 12-week course that encourages readers to exercise their creativity and emphasizes the connection between creativity and spirituality. In Big Magic, best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert writes about creativity, passion, and mindfulness, with the intent to inspire others to exercise their creative muscles. Sophie’s World is an entertaining fiction novel that will also teach you about many of history’s most prominent philosophers, including Socrates, Plato, and Kant. Suitable for teens as well as adults. Mala of Love is a collection of 108 spirit-driven poems about loving written by poets, mystics, and other renowned spiritual figures.  Drawing upon stories from various faiths and cultures, the authors of Experiencing Spirituality use the concept of storytelling to illustrate significant facets of spirituality, such as wonder, listening, and forgiveness. 

 

In the translated fiction novel Siddhartha, a young man leaves his family home to embark on a spiritual journey. Drawing upon the teachings of Buddhism, including those of Gotama Buddha himself, he discovers some vital truths about the world.  Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist tells the fictional story of a shepherd boy who travels to Egypt in search of treasure, but ends up finding it within himself.  The Celestine Prophecy is an adventure story that details one man’s impulsive, inspired efforts to track down a prophetic manuscript about spirituality and the New Age. This book will also provide you with nine spiritual insights that can help you steer your life in a positive direction.  In The Teachings of Don Juan, which many believe to be a somewhat fictional work of anthropology, former apprentice Carlos Castaneda outlines the teachings and practices of Yaqui shaman Don Juan. In Breakfast with the Buddha, the first book in Roland Merullo’s series on Buddhism, the skeptical Otto Ringling is tricked into taking what turns out to be a transformational road trip with his sister’s spiritual guru, Rinpoche. 

 

Wholistic health

Healing With Whole Foods is a nutritional guide that draws on the principles of both Chinese and Western medicine, with a focus on the consumption of vegetables and whole grains.     Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs features an A to Z directory with information on more than 150 herbs, along with illustrations and photographs.  Dr. Vasant Lad’s The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies introduces readers to Ayurvedic medicine and offers up a variety of natural remedies for common human ailments.  Through Prescription for Nutritional Healing, certified nutritional consultant Phyllis Bulch provides readers with information on vitamins, minerals, herbs, and more.  Your Body and the Stars, a guidebook developed by an astrologist and a holistic physician, teaches readers to treat health issues in accordance with their zodiac signs and the sign each part of the body represents. 

 

The Good Karma Diet shows readers how choosing food in accordance with the ethical principles of karma can help improve your physical health.   The Whole Health Diet outlines an “anti-dieting” holistic diet plan with a focus on fixing problems of the mind and spirit in order to fix problems within the body. The Mindful Diet is a guide to cultivating an attitude of mindfulness in order to help you eat well, instead of overeating or entering into a yo-yo cycle of dieting. Your Brain on Nature details how your environment can affect your brain, and why spending time in nature leads to improved health and increased happiness. A Plant-Based Life is a guide to successfully consuming a diet based on plant-based and whole foods, and consequently improving your health, created by nutritionist Micaela Cook Karlsen. 

 

Sustainability

In Love Letter to the Earth, Thich Nhat Hanh draws readers’ attention to humankind’s relationship with the Earth and why it’s important that we continuously nurture it.     The Golden Spruce tells the true story of how a rare Sitka spruce, located on Canada’s West Coast, was shockingly cut down by a radical logger-turned-activist.  We all know the accumulation of trash is a big problem in many areas of the world, and in The Zero-Waste Lifestyle, Amy Korst offers up strategies that can help us generate less of this garbage. The Omnivore’s Dilemma describes in detail the three types of food consumed in first-world countries, and provides an analysis as to why choosing between types is such a complex decision.   Recent Colorado governor Bill Ritter, Jr. has partnered with the Center for a New Energy Economy in order to write this comprehensive book, Powering Forward, on the United States’ renewable energy revolution and the future of renewable energy. 

 

Introduction to Permaculture is a guide by biologist Bill Mollison that teaches the basics of greenhouses, gardening, and related topics.  Spiritual Ecology consists of a series of essays by Thich Nhat Hanh, Joanna Macy and other thinkers that propose a spiritual response to the contemporary ecological crisis.  Wild Earth, Wild Soul draws on past and present practices of indigenous peoples in order to show readers how to create a sustainable culture and physical world.  In The Dream of the Earth, historian Thomas Berry explains how humankind can build better relationships with the Earth and consequently, remedy ecological challenges.  This modernized version of a 1970s classic, the Mother Earth News Almanac, is chock full of environmentally friendly tips that, when put to use, will help you live a self-sufficient and sustainable home life. 

 

Participatory culture

Creating a Life Together furnishes readers with the practical knowledge, derived from primary sources, that is needed to create an eco-village or intentional community. Building United Judgment presents a number of techniques that will help groups establish consensus without a high level of unrest.                      In Mutual Aid, Pyotr Kropotkin makes reference to the history of humans and other animals to argue for the importance of cooperation among sentient beings.  Nonviolent Communication demonstrates to readers, through practical examples, how to be honest and get what you want without being aggressive with others.            The Activist’s Tao Te Ching explains how both the Tao Te Ching and the principles of Taoism in general have the potential to help us peacefully navigate challenges we encounter in the modern world. 

 

In The Art of Happiness at Work, the Dalai Lama XIV and Howard Cutler explain how we can apply Tibetan Buddhist principles to our careers and/or occupational lives in order to satisfy ourselves.  In The Slow Fix, Carl Honore highlights ways in which slowing our habitually hectic pace could help solve many of life’s problems.                      The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Soul is a collection of spiritually-infused stories, including a variety of narratives about volunteerism and service, that many readers will find inspiring and thought-provoking.      In Originals, author Adam Grant draws on studies and stories about memorable individuals to illustrate the benefits of being a non-conformist instead of following the status quo.            Within The Longest Mile, Christine Meyer, MD writes about how a team of runners were able to inspire an entire community to come together and make a difference in cancer patients’ lives. 

 

Travel-living

In Born to Run, an American journalist details his experiences with a little-known tribe of incredibly speedy long-distance runners who inhabit the Copper Canyons in northwestern Mexico.  One Thousand Wells tells the story of one young woman’s quest to build 1,000 clean-water wells in Africa, and the life lessons she learned along the way.  In Wild, a woman who has just lost her mother and her marriage makes the impulsive decision to trek more than 1,000 miles along America’s Pacific Crest Trail, a long and arduous challenge.                                      Author Garth Lean explores the idea of transformative travel from a theoretical perspective, examining the experiences of travellers both during and after their journeys in Transformative Travel in a Mobile World M Train presents the story of American artist, singer and poet Patti Smith’s life, which has included extensive domestic and international travel to locations such as Iceland, Mexico, and more.