The best books for inner and outer kindness

The Books I Picked & Why

The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self

By Alice Miller

The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self

Why this book?

This book literally changed my life. It explores the question of why so many people who could be considered successful and thriving on the outside still have intense feelings of alienation and emptiness.

I myself had a childhood where I often felt alone and misunderstood. Isolated at school, and constantly trying to live up to the expectations of my family at home. Then as a young adult, I would do things I’m not particularly proud of. I would ask myself, “Why am I doing this!?” It was a question I could never answer until I read this book. What Alice Miller does with her writing here is explain why we do what we do and how our unique pasts have led to each of us behaving the way we do.


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You Are the One: A Bold Adventure in Finding Purpose, Discovering the Real You, and Loving Fully

By Kute Blackson

You Are the One: A Bold Adventure in Finding Purpose, Discovering the Real You, and Loving Fully

Why this book?

Kute has been a dear friend of mine and has made a huge impact on my life. He is one of the wisest, most spiritual men I know, and he guided me through India as my life coach, teaching me more about myself and the world than I had ever known. I love the idea that to be kind, first, you have to be kind to yourself, and this book really helped me learn that. Reading You Are the One was a vital part of my journey to feeling less alone.


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Be Here Now

By Ram Dass

Be Here Now

Why this book?

I have always been drawn to two things that are huge themes in this book, meditation and counter-culture. Ram Dass is a fascinating figure, and in many ways, his journey feels like it mirrors my own. We were both stuck in a place we did not want to be anymore. Both of us were successful but wanted something else from life. Then a spiritual awakening helped each of us expand our minds and feel less alone. What’s brilliant is that reading about Ram Dass’ awakening helped inspire mine!


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Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

By Nelson Mandela

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

Why this book?

Mandela is one of my all-time heroes. A great man and leader who was treated with unfathomable cruelty yet never wavered in his beliefs or in his grace. He spent 27 years unjustly imprisoned yet invited his jailers to his inauguration. It is important to me to follow our heroes, and to try to model ourselves over the great men and women who have come before us.  If Mandela could endure all he had to go through, and still end up achieving all he did, there is no reason any of us can’t do all we set our minds and hearts to. And if Mandela could find it in himself to be kind and forgive his offenders, we can all follow his lead. 


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Into the Wild

By Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild

Why this book?

Right off the bat, let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, this story has a tragic ending that most of us already know. But in this book, Jon Krakauer beautifully tells the story of a man who lived doing exactly what he wanted. It’s the amazing true story of a man who left everything he had behind to find himself. It’s clear from everything I’ve recommended so far that this is a theme that really speaks to me. I also believe that the ending, as tragic as it is, gives us a lot to learn about the many pitfalls we can avoid on our own journeys.


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