The best books about self-realization, curiosity, exploration, struggle, and the magic of success

Ralph Lamson Author Of Emergence In All Seasons
By Ralph Lamson

Who am I?

During an intensely productive period as a licensed clinical psychologist, I invented virtual reality immersion therapy described in US Patent 6425764 and authored Virtual Therapy: prevention and treatment of psychiatric conditions by immersion in virtual reality environments. UCSF Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Dr. Lawrence Lurie wrote: “Ralph’s vision is of the whole world, the context is history from the beginning of time. The author quotes Emerson, Dante, Chaucer, Jung and many more from before and after the invention of the printing press. The originality, language, and world view make this book interesting reading. The story is well told in verse, pictures, quotations, and more. I enjoyed the vast expansiveness of the story and the details of many people’s lives.”


I wrote...

Emergence In All Seasons

By Ralph Lamson,

Book cover of Emergence In All Seasons

What is my book about?

This book is about the emergence of thinking, belief, and behavior. It answers such questions as: “What is emergence?” “I wonder how to find fulfillment?” “I wonder how others survived loss?” “I wonder if it is possible for me to emerge with mind, emotion, and body into something imagined? “How do I gain insight and inner peace?” 

This book of hope is fuel for imagination and exploration. It presents biographies, colorful visual meditations, emergence successes, warnings about mental health and chemical dependency detours, and creates readiness for healing.

The books I picked & why

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Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control

By Albert Bandura,

Book cover of Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control

Why this book?

This book helped me find hope and a path away from anxious thoughts and self-defeating beliefs. And, it helped me focus on academic studies which lead to a valued career as a clinical psychologist. The exercise of control is a model which asserts that daily thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are in the control of each person. The model of learning deemphasizes human pathology. In the Exercise of Control, I found specific strategies helpful to excise doubt, confusion, and fear. With his tools, public speaking became desirable rather than something dreaded. The book lays a foundation for the discovery of self-knowledge. He is recognized as one of the greatest psychologists of all time.

Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control

By Albert Bandura,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Self-Efficacy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The renowned psychologist Albert Bandura's theory is that those with high self-efficacy expectancies (the belief that one can achieve what one sets out to do) are healthier, more effective and generally more successful than those with low self-efficacy expectancies. The author begins with a discussion of theory and method and then examines how belief in one's abilities affects development, mental functioning and health, with examples from the areas of psychopathology, athletics, business and international issues. The book is ideal for upper-level courses in social, developmental, clinical or organizational psychology as well as business, education, counselling and political science.


Saint Joan

By Bernard Shaw,

Book cover of Saint Joan

Why this book?

Saint Joan is a story of youthful self-realization. I liked the description of its characters, the folly of leadership, and the theme of determined assertion to be recognized. The dialogue of its characters resonates with the words of Bernard Shaw. She was ‘the girl’ whose confrontations with the powerful led to an early death. I entered the pages to find Saint Joan an appealing and cautious tale of personal vanity, overconfidence, and confrontation with power. The curious will have to decide what lessons can be learned from this story. She’s an upstart who lectured, talked down, and overruled statesmen and prelates.

The book concerns the protest of an individual against the threat of power. Joan “Yes, they told me you were fools (speaking to inquisitors). You promised me my life, but you lied…I still hear the wind in the trees, the larks…angel voices floating to me. But without these things I cannot live; and by your wanting to take them away from me, or from any human creature, I know that your counsel is that of the devil, and that mine is of God." Joan is a historical figure who emerges with courage against powers that want to diminish her thinking, beliefs, and way of life.  

Saint Joan

By Bernard Shaw,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Saint Joan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'What other judgment can I judge by but my own?' Charting the meteoric rise and fall of Joan of Arc and her mission to drive the English from France, Shaw's Saint Joan draws directly on the medieval records to cut through the sentiment that characterized previous literary treatments of her story. A powerful example of a new kind of history play, its staging of dissent and social constraint, personal responsibility and female assertion, as well as fervent adherence to a cause, gave it a powerful modernity in its own day and continuing resonance in ours. Acclaimed internationally, this instant modern…


The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo

By Irving Stone,

Book cover of The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo

Why this book?

Irving Stone aimed high when telling us the story of Michelangelo. Emergence in all seasons is not restricted to time, person, psychology, or philosophy. Michelangelo said “Life is to be enjoyed. Life is to be worked. Dawn, Day, Dusk and Night.” Irving “His sculpture, David, had been young, knowing he could conquer everything he set out after; Moses was ripe in years, but with the inner strength to move mountains. He always wanted his figures to represent something important. Michelangelo wanted his marble to emerge with emotion as he had emerged in art, mind, and life.

The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo

By Irving Stone,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Agony and the Ecstasy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Irving Stone's classic biographical novel of Michelangelo-the #1 New York Times bestseller in which both the artist and the man are brought to vivid, captivating life.

His time-the turbulent Renaissance, the years of poisoning princes, warring Popes, and the all-powerful de'Medici family...

His loves-the frail and lovely daughter of Lorenzo de'Medici, the ardent mistress of Marco Aldovrandi, and his last love, his greatest love-the beautiful, unhappy Vittoria Colonna...

His genius-a God-driven fury from which he wrested brilliant work that made a grasp for heaven unmatched in half a millennium...

His name-Michelangelo Buonarroti. Creator of the David, painter of the ceiling…


The Observing Self: Mysticism and Psychotherapy By Arthur J. Deikman

By Arthur J. Deikman,

Book cover of The Observing Self: Mysticism and Psychotherapy By Arthur J. Deikman

Why this book?

This book lets readers in on a closely held source of power. Medicine established the existence of a brain. Psychiatry and psychology present models of the mind. Religion focuses on spirit. One function of the mind is its capability to observe thinking as it unfolds. Meditation practices have known this for thousands of years. If an action can be modified by observing the intention of the mind, there may be fewer impulsive and destructive acts. There may also be heightened creative acts. Dr. Deikman wrote, "I have written The Observing Self not only for the mental health professional, but also for the general reader interested in a clear understanding of both psychotherapy and mysticism." The Library Journal wrote, "An extremely interesting, thoughtful, and challenging book, highly recommended." 

The Observing Self: Mysticism and Psychotherapy By Arthur J. Deikman

By Arthur J. Deikman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Observing Self as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Observing Self, noted psychiatrist Arthur J. Deikman lucidly relates how the mystical tradition can enable Western psychology to come to terms with the essential problems of meaning, self, and human progress.


The Power Of Concentration

By Theron Q. Dumont,

Book cover of The Power Of Concentration

Why this book?

The Power of Concentration is a practical guide for developing concentration. I liked this book because it helped me through graduate school when stress was high. The book contributes to a discussion of positive psychology. Concentration is placed within the grasp of each person. The author links concentration to the development of desirable habits while overcoming bad habits." Theron Q. Dumont noted, "Concentration is paying attention to a chosen thought." His work is relevant today given distractions from many corners of life. 

The Power Of Concentration

By Theron Q. Dumont,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Power Of Concentration as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This course of lessons will stimulate and inspire you to achieve success; it will bring you into perfect harmony with the laws of success. It will give you a firmer hold on your duties and responsibilities. All your real advancement must come from your individual effort. Success is assured when you are able to concentrate for you are then able to utilize for your good all constructive thoughts and shut out all the destructive ones. It is of the greatest value to be able to think only that which will be beneficial.


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