100 books like A Guide to Rational Living

By Albert Ellis,

Here are 100 books that A Guide to Rational Living fans have personally recommended if you like A Guide to Rational Living. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Emperor's Handbook: A New Translation of the Meditations

Wendy Thomas Russell Author Of Relax It's Just God: How and Why to Talk to Your Kids about Religion When You're Not Religious

From my list on finding your own philosophy of life.

Who am I?

I’m drawn to the intersection of psychology, philosophy and pragmatism — a dynamic that can be found in the books I write, the conversations I enjoy, and the ways I choose to spend my down time. By getting in touch with my personal psychology (influenced by my brain chemistry, temperament and upbringing) and studying various philosophies (from the Stoics to Alain de Botton), I have begun to find my own truth and formulate my own best practices in life. I don’t always nail it — not by a long shot — but that’s why it’s called a practice. There are so many different ways to live a contented life. It can be awfully rewarding to locate your own.

Wendy's book list on finding your own philosophy of life

Wendy Thomas Russell Why did Wendy love this book?

I often joke that Marcus Aurelius is my brother from another mother. Sure, he was a Roman emperor who, if he’d lived, would be 1,900 years old this year, but the things he wrote in Meditations — his book on Stoic philosophy written for himself between 170 and 180 CE — are perfectly on point. I feel like he’s writing from inside my head, struggling with the same challenges I do. Of course, Aurelius is not so much like me as much as he’s like every human on the planet; he just happened to think and express himself in a direct, accessible way. His “epithets” – guiding principles for how he lived his life – inspired me to come up with my own epithets. Maybe they’ll do the same for you.

By C. Scot Hicks, David Hicks, Marcus Aurelius

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Emperor's Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

BEAR IN MIND THAT THE

MEASURE OF A MAN IS THE WORTH OF THE THINGS HE CARES ABOUT.

IF IT IS GOOD TO SAY OR DO

SOMETHING, THEN IT IS

EVEN BETTER TO BE CRITICIZED FOR

HAVING SAID OR DONE IT.

ARE MY GUIDING PRINCIPLES

HEALTHY AND ROBUST? ON THIS HANGS EVERYTHING.

Essayist Matthew Arnold described the man who wrote these words as "the most beautiful figure in history." Possibly so, but he was certainly more than that. Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire at its height, yet he remained untainted by the incalculable wealth and absolute power that had…


Book cover of Letters from a Stoic

Chuck Chakrapani Author Of Unshakable Freedom: Ancient Stoic Secrets Applied to Modern Life

From my list on Stoicism for beginners.

Who am I?

I am the Editor of the free online magazine The Stoic and the author of some twenty books on Stoicism. My day job is President, Leger Analytics, and I am also a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University. I am not a professional philosopher. I study and write about Stoicism because it helps us to live better, free of fear, anxiety, worry, or anger.

Chuck's book list on Stoicism for beginners

Chuck Chakrapani Why did Chuck love this book?

Seneca was one of the last of the ancient Stoics who lived during the time of Nero. Towards the end of his life, he wrote several letters to a young prefect, Lucilius. These letters were not just meant to be read by Lucilius but the generations to come as well. Seneca’s letters are well written and cover a wide range of topics as they relate to the art of living. These essays are a ‘how to’ guide to living.

Why this translation? Although there are 124 letters in all, modern translators tend to translate just a selection. Robin Campbell is no exception. I chose this translation because it is as good as any and it is not pricey.

By Lucius Seneca, Robin Campbell (translator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Letters from a Stoic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'It is philosophy that has the duty of protecting us ... without it no one can lead a life free of fear or worry'

For several years of his turbulent life, in which he was dogged by ill health, exile and danger, Seneca was the guiding hand of the Roman Empire. This selection of Seneca's letters shows him upholding the ideals of Stoicism - the wisdom of the self-possessed person immune to life's setbacks - while valuing friendship and courage, and criticizing the harsh treatment of slaves and the cruelties in the gladiatorial arena. The humanity and wit revealed in…


Book cover of Michel de Montaigne

Nelson Johnson Author Of Darrow's Nightmare: The Forgotten Story of America's Most Famous Trial Lawyer

From my list on tell a story previously untold.

Who am I?

Nelson Johnson is a New York Times bestselling author (Boardwalk Empire) and has been fascinated with history and Clarence Darrow’s career all his life. From having practiced law many years and presided over 200(+) jury trials as a New Jersey Superior Court Judge, Nelson is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Darrow’s and his wife Ruby’s worst two years together. Nelson’s first four books have all prepared him to tell this story. It’s a tale that asks the reader to judge Darrow.

Nelson's book list on tell a story previously untold

Nelson Johnson Why did Nelson love this book?

For me, Montaigne’s thoughts on life and human foibles compare favorably with those of St. Augustine. His insights on the human condition are valuable to anyone inclined to self-reflection on one’s own frailties. Montaigne’s advice on coping with one’s mortality is worth heeding. He counsels that in order to deny death its sting, “…let us deprive death of its strangeness; let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more in our mind than death.” Yet our mortality is only one of many issues he discusses. Montaigne offers up wisdom on everything from fear, prayer and solitude, to the virtues of social intercourse, avoiding unwanted relationships, and educating children.

By Michel de Montaigne, J.M. Cohen (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Michel de Montaigne as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vintage paperback


Book cover of The Consolation of Philosophy

Liam Milburn Author Of A Stoic breviary: Classical wisdom in daily practice

From my list on for building self-awareness that you might not expect.

Who am I?

Building upon many years of privately shared thoughts on the real benefits of Stoic Philosophy, Liam Milburn eventually published a selection of Stoic passages that had helped him to live well. They were accompanied by some of his own personal reflections.

Liam's book list on for building self-awareness that you might not expect

Liam Milburn Why did Liam love this book?

This was a fellow who tried to do everything right, and yet, in the end, his whole worldly life seemed to go wrong. A senator, a scholar, and an advisor to a king, he found himself trapped in the usual sort of political machinations, and so was sentenced to death. He wrote this book while awaiting his execution. Lady Philosophy speaks to him, and he learns how his character matters more than his circumstances. 

“By Love are peoples too kept bound together by a treaty which they may not break. Love binds with pure affection the sacred ties of wedlock, and speaks its bidding to all trusty friends. O happy race of mortals, if your hearts are ruled as is the Universe, by Love!"

By Ancius Boethius, V.E. Watts (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Boethius was an eminent public figure under the Gothic emperor Theodoric, and an exceptional Greek scholar. When he became involved in a conspiracy and was imprisoned in Pavia, it was to the Greek philosophers that he turned. THE CONSOLATION was written in the period leading up to his brutal execution. It is a dialogue of alternating prose and verse between the ailing prisoner and his 'nurse' Philosophy. Her instruction on the nature of fortune and happiness, good and evil, fate and free will, restore his health and bring him to enlightenment. THE CONSOLATION was extremely popular throughout medieval Europe and…


Book cover of Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

Howard M. Guttman Author Of When Goliaths Clash: Managing Executive Conflict to Build a More Dynamic Organization

From my list on managing those "keep you up at night" organizational issues.

Who am I?

I am the principal of Guttman Development Strategies (GDS), an organization development firm that works with senior executives and their teams in major corporations globally to build horizontal, high-performance teams, provide leadership coaching, and develop leadership skills. I am a speaker and author of three acclaimed management books and dozens of articles in business publications.

Howard's book list on managing those "keep you up at night" organizational issues

Howard M. Guttman Why did Howard love this book?

I like the redemptive quality of this book. Moving from mediocre, merely good companies to great ones is not a function of organizational DNA but of holding fast to certain traits and practices.

Collins and his research team’s rigorous analysis provides a detailed analysis of the key factors that propelled 11 companies from so-so to exceptional. He begins with leadership, “Level 5 Leadership,” which squares with my own approach to organizational change, which happens first with the top executive team.

The eight key factors that he identifies are essential building blocks for any organization wanting to transition from business as usual to business as unusually successful.

By Jim Collins,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Good to Great as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

________________________________
Can a good company become a great one? If so, how?

After a five-year research project, Jim Collins concludes that good to great can and does happen. In this book, he uncovers the underlying variables that enable any type of organisation to make the leap from good to great while other organisations remain only good. Rigorously supported by evidence, his findings are surprising - at times even shocking - to the modern mind.

Good to Great achieves a rare distinction: a management book full of vital ideas that reads as well as a fast-paced novel. It is widely regarded…


Book cover of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

Howard M. Guttman Author Of When Goliaths Clash: Managing Executive Conflict to Build a More Dynamic Organization

From my list on managing those "keep you up at night" organizational issues.

Who am I?

I am the principal of Guttman Development Strategies (GDS), an organization development firm that works with senior executives and their teams in major corporations globally to build horizontal, high-performance teams, provide leadership coaching, and develop leadership skills. I am a speaker and author of three acclaimed management books and dozens of articles in business publications.

Howard's book list on managing those "keep you up at night" organizational issues

Howard M. Guttman Why did Howard love this book?

The insights in this groundbreaking book apply across the board, from social and family life to interacting and managing others in organizational life.

What factors are at play when people of high IQ flounder while those who are more modestly endowed succeed? Goleman argues that the difference is Emotional Intelligence, which, as he explains, comprises empathy, effective social skills/communication, self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation.

I’ve watched too many of the allegedly best and brightest, tough-minded executives flame out because they failed to rein in emotional impulse, read others’ feelings, or handle interpersonal relationships. The skills are learnable, and in today’s asymmetric, hybrid, matrixed organizations, they are essential for success.

By Daniel Goleman,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Emotional Intelligence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The groundbreaking bestseller that redefines intelligence and success Does IQ define our destiny? Daniel Goleman argues that our view of human intelligence is far too narrow, and that our emotions play major role in thought, decision making and individual success. Self-awareness, impulse control, persistence, motivation, empathy and social deftness are all qualities that mark people who excel: whose relationships flourish, who are stars in the workplace. With new insights into the brain architecture underlying emotion and rationality, Goleman shows precisely how emotional intelligence can be nurtured and strengthened in all of us.


Book cover of In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies

Howard M. Guttman Author Of When Goliaths Clash: Managing Executive Conflict to Build a More Dynamic Organization

From my list on managing those "keep you up at night" organizational issues.

Who am I?

I am the principal of Guttman Development Strategies (GDS), an organization development firm that works with senior executives and their teams in major corporations globally to build horizontal, high-performance teams, provide leadership coaching, and develop leadership skills. I am a speaker and author of three acclaimed management books and dozens of articles in business publications.

Howard's book list on managing those "keep you up at night" organizational issues

Howard M. Guttman Why did Howard love this book?

This elegantly written book is chock-a-block with real-life examples and balances rigorous conceptual discussion with practical tips for moving organizations from mediocrity to excellence.

I especially like the author's distillation of eight practical tips that separate successful companies from the wannabes, including a bias for action, staying close to the customer, and “sticking to the knitting.” These were ahas! at the time and have since become timeless “musts” for well-run companies.

By Thomas J. Peters, Robert H. Waterman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Search of Excellence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The "Greatest Business Book of All Time" (Bloomsbury UK), In Search of Excellence has long been a must-have for the boardroom, business school, and bedside table.

Based on a study of forty-three of America's best-run companies from a diverse array of business sectors, In Search of Excellence describes eight basic principles of management -- action-stimulating, people-oriented, profit-maximizing practices -- that made these organizations successful.

Joining the HarperBusiness Essentials series, this phenomenal bestseller features a new Authors' Note, and reintroduces these vital principles in an accessible and practical way for today's management reader.


Book cover of Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used

Howard M. Guttman Author Of When Goliaths Clash: Managing Executive Conflict to Build a More Dynamic Organization

From my list on managing those "keep you up at night" organizational issues.

Who am I?

I am the principal of Guttman Development Strategies (GDS), an organization development firm that works with senior executives and their teams in major corporations globally to build horizontal, high-performance teams, provide leadership coaching, and develop leadership skills. I am a speaker and author of three acclaimed management books and dozens of articles in business publications.

Howard's book list on managing those "keep you up at night" organizational issues

Howard M. Guttman Why did Howard love this book?

Consultants come in many flavors. Some are content consultants; others focus on technology; still others deal with the “soft side.” Regardless of how consultants work their magic, this book lays out clearly and in fair detail the ABCs of “flawless” consulting.

The key question is: How can consultants leverage their impact in the absence of control? I find this book a valuable guide to answering this tough question. It covers the waterfront from the contracting process to overcoming client resistance to providing feedback, which is often a major roadblock to a consultant’s success.

This book should be required reading for all consultants, especially those who are new to the task. 

By Peter Block,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flawless Consulting as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An expert discussion of the timeless fundamentals and latest tools that form the foundation of successful influencing

Renowned consultant and author Peter Block delivers the latest and fourth edition of his best-selling Flawless Consulting, an intuitive and insightful step-by-step guide to the five phases of effective consulting. The book offers a deep exploration of the skills, tools, and behaviors required to successfully influence others. You'll see exactly what you need to say and do to help others achieve their goals, whether you are an internal or external consultant or anyone in a leadership position who wants to build effective partnerships…


Book cover of Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Peter Vernezze Author Of Blogging The Plague: Camus, Covid-19, and the Current Chaos

From my list on psychotherapy and its philosophical origins.

Who am I?

As an emeritus professor of philosophy now working as a licensed therapist, I feel uniquely qualified to span the two worlds of philosophy and psychotherapy. In addition to dozens of academic articles which no one has ever read, I’ve published books on modern China, ancient Greek Stoicism, Bob Dylan, and the TV show The Sopranos, which at least a few people seem to have picked up.

Peter's book list on psychotherapy and its philosophical origins

Peter Vernezze Why did Peter love this book?

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is premised on the belief that our thoughts are at the root of our negative feelings, and to alter those feelings, we need to alter our thoughts. The connection between reason and emotion can be traced back to Stoicism. Hence it is no surprise that the late Dr. Albert Ellis, the developer of the very similar Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, used to have a quote from the Stoic philosopher Epictetus on his webpage. In addition, the Cognitive Distortions which form the heart of CBT can mostly be found in The Art of Thinking (1662) by Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole.

By Judith S. Beck,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cognitive Behavior Therapy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hundreds of thousands of clinicians and graduate students have relied on this text--now significantly revised with more than 50% new material--to learn the fundamentals of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Leading expert Judith S. Beck demonstrates how to engage patients, develop a sound case conceptualization, plan individualized treatment, structure sessions, and implement core cognitive, behavioral, and experiential techniques. Throughout the book, extended cases of one client with severe depression and another with depression, anxiety, and borderline personality traits illustrate how a skilled therapist delivers CBT and troubleshoots common difficulties. Adding to the third edition's utility, the companion website features downloadable worksheets…


Book cover of Good Morning, Monster: A Therapist Shares Five Heroic Stories of Emotional Recovery

Vicki Atkinson Author Of Surviving Sue

From my list on the power of memoir writing to promote healing.

Who am I?

I believe in the power of personal narratives and the memoir genre as tools to foster healing and forgiveness. As a licensed professional counselor with a doctorate in adult education, I devoted years toward better understanding the fractured relationship I had with my mother, eventually uncovering the source of her pain and trauma. My mother’s mental health and addiction issues were muddied by the shame she carried for years, as a terrified secret keeper, full of self-loathing. Although I was often the target of her anger, I found a pathway to compassion that mended my heart and provided an example of intergenerational healing for my own daughter.

Vicki's book list on the power of memoir writing to promote healing

Vicki Atkinson Why did Vicki love this book?

Good Morning, Monster is a beacon of a book. Bolstering my interest in writing about mental health, resiliency, and survivorship. Dr. Gildiner showcases five compelling case studies of patients she’s served. 

Written with candor and compassion, Good Morning, Monster provides encouragement to writers to engage in their own storytelling to uncover tales of triumph in the face of individual or family mental health challenges.  Each case study provides a glimpse of vulnerability, demonstrating the unique human capacity for healing.

Despite the heaviness of the topics, Dr. Gildiner gives the reader rare insight into trauma and recovery buoyed by love and hope.

By Catherine Gildiner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Good Morning, Monster as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As seen on Good Morning America's SEPTEMBER 2020 READING LIST and FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2020!

"We need to read stories about folks who have been through hell and kept going... Fascinating." ―Glennon Doyle, A Favorite Book of 2020 on Good Morning America

"Gildiner is nothing short of masterful―as both a therapist and writer. In these pages, she has gorgeously captured both the privilege of being given access to the inner chambers of people's lives, and the meaning that comes from watching them grow into the selves they were meant to be." ―Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe…


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