The best books that are spiritual dynamite

Who am I?

I am Srikumar Rao – best selling author, TED speaker, and elite coach. I have spent more than five decades studying the teachings of the world’s greatest masters and distilling them into exercises that enable successful individuals to reach entirely new orbits of accomplishment while remaining serene as a Zen monk. My course, Creativity and Personal Mastery, was among the highest-rated and most popular at many of the world’s top business schools and is the only one to have its own alumni association. My work has been covered by major media worldwide and my talks have been viewed by tens of millions on all six continents.

I wrote...

Modern Wisdom, Ancient Roots: The Movers and Shakers' Guide to Unstoppable Success

By Srikumar Rao,

Book cover of Modern Wisdom, Ancient Roots: The Movers and Shakers' Guide to Unstoppable Success

What is my book about?

Bite-sized pieces but the ideas detonate in your mind and lift your consciousness. Ponder on them and they will transform your experience of life. Stress will slink out of the back door as joy comes flooding in by the front. You become incredibly resilient and bounce back from adversity so fast that an external observer may not even know you had suffered a setback. You emanate serenity so strongly that others want to hang out with you and want to be like you. You no longer chase success, but it begins to hound you. Worry and anxiety become things of the past as you float through a benevolent universe that always has your back.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Be Here Now

By Ram Dass,

Book cover of Be Here Now

Why did I love this book?

This is one of the two books that defined the entire era of hippies and flower children in the sixties and seventies. (The other is The Whole Earth Catalog by Stewart Brand.)

The first part of the book is a highly readable first-person account of how Richard Alpert, Harvard psychologist, went to India, met his guru, and became Ram Dass. The next section has hundreds of cryptic sayings in artistic depictions on brown paper.

These are drawn from Eastern traditions and challenge your notions of what is ‘real’. The third and final section is a series of essays on topics like happiness, yoga, transmuting energy, and so on.

By Ram Dass,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Be Here Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beloved guru Ram Dass tells the story of his spiritual awakening and gives you the tools to take control of your life in this “counterculture bible” (The New York Times) featuring powerful guidance on yoga, meditation, and finding your true self.

When Be Here Now was first published in 1971, it filled a deep spiritual emptiness, launched the ongoing mindfulness revolution, and established Ram Dass as perhaps the preeminent seeker of the twentieth century.

Just ten years earlier, he was known as Professor Richard Alpert. He held appointments in four departments at Harvard University. He published books, drove a Mercedes…

Book cover of The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Why did I love this book?

Singer was a Ph.D. student who dropped out because he was so drawn to meditating for hours each day that his studies seemed pointless.

And then he built a software company that generated revenues of several hundred million dollars annually. His path as an entrepreneur was as unconventional as you can get and an affirmation that you can be active in the world and on an explicit spiritual journey. 

By Michael A. Singer,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Untethered Soul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Who are you? When you start to explore this question, you find out how elusive it really is. Are you a physical body? A collection of experiences and memories? A partner to relationships? Each time you consider aspects of yourself, you realize that there is much more to you than any of these can define. In this book, spiritual teacher Michael Singer explores the question of who we are and arrives at the conclusion that our identity is to be found in our consciousness, the fact of our ability to observe ourselves and the world around us. By tapping into…

Book cover of Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality

Why did I love this book?

DeMello was a Jesuit priest and a psychologist.

His workshops were legendary and had a deep impact on thousands. His books have touched millions. He was eclectic and open-minded and readily acknowledged the power of spiritual practices from traditions outside the Church.

For this, his books were removed from Catholic bookstores and a warning issued that his writings could mislead young minds. He was passionate about truth and cavalier about dogma.

By Anthony De Mello,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Awareness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

De Mello's spiritual classic remains at the top of the Fount bestsellers more than five years after its original publication.

Book cover of A Search in Secret India

Why did I love this book?

This is the book that introduced the Indian sage Ramana Maharshi to the Western world.

An enlightened being, Ramana Maharshi’s teachings have transformed the lives of millions and his influence is growing around the world.

Brunton was a spiritual seeker who came to India in colonial times and toured widely. His accounts of meetings with holy men and charlatans comprise about two-thirds of the book and they are entertaining.

The final third is about his meeting with Ramana Maharshi and the impact the silent sage had on him and how his fevered, relentlessly restless mind finally became quiescent. This book is required reading for my course.

By Paul Brunton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Search in Secret India as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'He found many marvelous things...But now and then a man of real spirituality set his feet on the way that finally led him to what he had looked and hoped for.' New York Times Book Review

The late Paul Brunton was one of the twentieth century's greatest explorers of and writers on the spiritual traditions of the East. A Search in Secret India is the story of Paul Brunton's journey around India, living among yogis, mystics and gurus, some of whom he found convincing, others not. He finally finds the peace and tranquility which come with self-knowledge when he meets…

Book cover of The Way of a Pilgrim: And the Pilgrim Continues His Way

Why did I love this book?

No one knows who the Pilgrim was.

He was not educated. He was not learned. He was not wealthy. He had a crippled arm and various infirmities. He was a simple soul who saw the good in everyone and constantly sought teachers who could show him how to pray properly.

His account of his spiritual journey reveals an inner state of such exaltation that millions have been touched and inspired. Eastern Christianity first became widely known in the West through this diary of an unassuming soul.

By Helen Bacovcin (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Way of a Pilgrim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This enduring work of Russian spirituality has charmed countless people with its tale of a nineteenth-century peasant's quest for the secret of prayer. Readers follow this anonymous pilgrim as he treks over the Steppes in search of the answer to the one compelling question: How does one pray constantly? Through his journeys, and under the tutelage of a spiritual father, he becomes gradually more open to the promptings of God, and sees joy and plenty wherever he goes. Ultimately, he discovers the different meanings and methods of prayer as he travels to his ultimate destination, Jerusalem.

The Way of a…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in spirituality, Buddhism, and Christianity?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about spirituality, Buddhism, and Christianity.

Spirituality Explore 259 books about spirituality
Buddhism Explore 259 books about Buddhism
Christianity Explore 553 books about Christianity