100 books like A Stroll With William James

By Jacques Barzun,

Here are 100 books that A Stroll With William James fans have personally recommended if you like A Stroll With William James. 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 Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

Donald J. Robertson Author Of Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

From my list on modern books on Marcus Aurelius.

Who am I?

I am an author and cognitive-behavioural psychotherapist. I am one of the founders of the Modern Stoicism nonprofit organisation and the president and founder of the Plato’s Academy Centre in Athens, Greece. I’ve published six books on philosophy and psychotherapy, mostly focusing on the Stoic philosophy and its relationship with modern psychology and evidence-based psychotherapy.

Donald's book list on modern books on Marcus Aurelius

Donald J. Robertson Why did Donald love this book?

The French philosopher and historian, Pierre Hadot, was the first modern author to systematically describe the “spiritual exercises” found in ancient Greek and Roman philosophical texts. This book is the most popular scholarly analysis of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius available. It provides essential information on the underlying structure of Marcus’ writing and how it fits into the broader system of Stoic philosophy. Although an academic work, most nonacademics find Hadot very readable. 

By Pierre Hadot, Michael Chase (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Inner Citadel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius are treasured today--as they have been over the centuries--as an inexhaustible source of wisdom. And as one of the three most important expressions of Stoicism, this is an essential text for everyone interested in ancient religion and philosophy. Yet the clarity and ease of the work's style are deceptive. Pierre Hadot, eminent historian of ancient thought, uncovers new levels of meaning and expands our understanding of its underlying philosophy.

Written by the Roman emperor for his own private guidance and self-admonition, the Meditations set forth principles for living a good and just life. Hadot probes…


Book cover of The Transcendentalists

Russell B. Goodman Author Of Wittgenstein and William James

From my list on philosophy and human life.

Who am I?

Russell Goodman is a Regents Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of New Mexico. Russell loved the remark by the philosopher Wittgenstein that "James was a good philosopher because he was a real human being". This list is inspired by that statement. Russell picked books that he loves and admires and would happily read again, and which explore in their various ways what it is to be a human being.

Russell's book list on philosophy and human life

Russell B. Goodman Why did Russell love this book?

When I began writing about Emerson – not a usual task for a philosopher -- and was trying to figure out who the American Transcendentalists were, Barbara Packer’s brilliantly written study of the movement came to my assistance. She covers it all, from the background in European Biblical criticism and the idea that the sacred books of the world’s religious traditions are forms of poetry, to the Annus Mirabilus of 1836 when Emerson published Nature; to figures like Margaret Fuller, whose electrifying Conversations sparked a homegrown American feminism, Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May), and, of course, Emerson’s young friend, Henry David Thoreau, author of Walden and Resistance to Civil Government.

By Barbara L. Packer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Barbara L. Packer's long essay ""The Transcendentalists"" is widely acknowledged by scholars of nineteenth-century American literary history as the best-written, most comprehensive treatment to date of Transcendentalism. Previously existing only as part of a volume in the magisterial ""Cambridge History of American Literature"", it will now be available for the first time in a stand-alone edition. Packer presents Transcendentalism as a living movement, evolving out of such origins as New England Unitarianism and finding early inspiration in European Romanticism. Transcendentalism changed religious beliefs, philosophical ideas, literary styles, and political allegiances. In addition, it was a social movement whose members collaborated…


Book cover of Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius

Adrián Gordaliza Vega Author Of The End of Everything: A society in transition

From my list on biographies for the contemporary reader.

Who am I?

I am a graduate in Philosophy with a Masters degree in Contemporary Culture so this theme is enormously interesting for me. My passion has been shifting from literature to contemporary society and culture in general. I love to find the connexions between the current state of affairs and the past. I honestly think that if we look at the lives and times of the great thinkers we can get hints about the state of contemporary society. Understanding what makes us behave and think the way we do it is my main motivation. 

Adrián's book list on biographies for the contemporary reader

Adrián Gordaliza Vega Why did Adrián love this book?

The figure of Ludwig Wittgenstein has always been quite enigmatic for me.

The enormous contradictions of his life and the intensity of it are difficult to understand in the abstract. Ray Monk's biography contextualizes the life and work of the Austrian philosopher who set out to solve all the problems of philosophy.

Monk's biography stands as a testament to Wittgenstein's enduring influence on our understanding of language, thought, and reality. 

By Ray Monk,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ludwig Wittgenstein as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Great philosophical biographies can be counted on one hand. Monk's life of Wittgenstein is such a one." The Christian Science Monitor.


Book cover of Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage

Brett Bourbon Author Of Everyday Poetics: Logic, Love, and Ethics

From my list on the ethics and art of getting lost and being found.

Who am I?

Poems irritated me as a child. They seemed parodies of counting, chants of rhythm, and repetition. I included them in my moratorium against reading fiction. On the other hand, I respected the alphabet, a kind of poem of pure form. It was orderly for no good reason and didn't mean anything. So I concluded that poems were meaningless forms that had their uses, but were not serious. I changed my mind, but it took a while—studying math and science, theology, and then philosophy and literature. I'm now a professor who studies and teaches modern literature and philosophy. I got my Ph.D. from Harvard, became a professor at Stanford, and teach at the University of Dallas.

Brett's book list on the ethics and art of getting lost and being found

Brett Bourbon Why did Brett love this book?

Any marriage can fall apart. We can become lost to each other. But we can also re-find each other.

In many ways, a marriage is constantly a remarriage. The philosopher Stanley Cavell, my Ph.D. advisor at Harvard, wrote a brilliant book about what he calls the remarriage comedies of the late 30s and early 40s.

The films are great on their own—The Philadelphia Story, The Awful Truth, etc—, but their power and wisdom becomes part of a profound philosophical conversation through Cavell’s inquiry and voice. My own book explores love and marriage in resonant, but different ways. 

By Stanley Cavell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During the '30s and '40s, Hollywood produced a genre of madcap comedies that emphasized reuniting the central couple after divorce or separation. Their female protagonists were strong, independent, and sophisticated. Here, Stanley Cavell names this new genre of American film-"the comedy of remarriage"-and examines seven classic movies for their cinematic techniques and for such varied themes as feminism, liberty, and interdependence.

Included are Adam's Rib, The Awful Truth, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, It Happened One Night, The Lady Eve, and The Philadelphia Story.


Book cover of The Principles Of Psychology

Allan Combs Author Of Consciousness Explained Better: Towards an Integral Understanding of the Multifaceted Nature of Consciousness

From my list on consciousness beyond the brain.

Who am I?

I am a teacher and professor of psychology and consciousness studies. I have been fascinated by the enigma of consciousness my entire adult life. Over the years I have written and taught in a number of different fields including biology, psychology, history, art, and philosophy, always looking to the nature of consciousness, and always exploring its spiritual dimensions. My writings include the present selection, Consciousness Explained Better, described by Ken Wilber as “the finest book on consciousness in modern times, bar none” and The Radiance of Being, that shared a book of the year award with Nobel laureate Roger Penrose’s book, The Emperor’s New Mind. 

Allan's book list on consciousness beyond the brain

Allan Combs Why did Allan love this book?

In my view, this is the finest book on consciousness ever written. William James was one of the leading minds of late 19th and early 20th century America. His book, published in 1890, was written as a textbook for his psychology class at Harvard. At that time “psychology” was understood to be the study of consciousness. Here James introduces consciousness as a “stream of thought,” an idea that later influenced many 20th century thinkers, including American philosopher Alfred North Whitehead and early quantum physicist Niels Bohr. It is written with an elegance and clarity of style to match that of his brother, the writer Henry James.

James’ broad interests in consciousness, seen in this book, is consistent with the fact that he was an original co-founder of The American Society for Psychical Research, and was deeply interested in mediumship and questions regarding mind beyond the brain.

By William James,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This edition of William James' masterwork, The Principles of Psychology, contains his original notes, illustrations, tables and charts which clarify the theory described and arguments made.


Appearing in 1890, The Principles of Psychology was a landmark text which established psychology as a serious scientific discipline. William James' compiled a convincing, lengthy and broad thesis, devoting detail and vigorous analysis in every chapter. The text's comprehensiveness and superb presentation played a pivotal role in bringing the science of mental health closer toward the scholarly mainstream.


The entire book is set out intuitively: there are two volumes, each of which has a…


Book cover of Alice James: A Biography

Megan Marshall Author Of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life

From my list on women’s writing on women’s lives.

Who am I?

I am the grown-up little girl who loved to read. I loved novels and children’s biographies—Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie, Annie Oakley. I imagined that if I could learn to write books that inspired readers and moved them to tears like my favorite books, I would have accomplished a great good. My first biography, The Peabody Sisters, took twenty years and won awards for historical writing. My second biography, Margaret Fuller, won the Pulitzer. But what matters more than all the prizes is when people tell me they cried at the end of my books. I hope you, too, will read them and weep over lives lived fully and well.    

Megan's book list on women’s writing on women’s lives

Megan Marshall Why did Megan love this book?

Alice James changed my life as a writer. It completely opened up the field of biography and pointed the way to the work I’ve been doing for almost four decades: writing women’s lives. Before Alice James, biographies had to be of famous people, usually men. Here was a book about the little sister of the great novelist Henry James and the eminent philosopher William James, a woman who had essentially done nothing with her own talent and brilliance except—luckily!—keep a diary. Jean Strouse read that diary and used it as the entry point for a whole book about the dynamics of an extraordinary family, about women’s choices in 19th century America, about invalidism and suppressed ambition. It’s a riveting psychological tale full of poignance and unexpected heroism.  

By Jean Strouse,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Alice James was the youngest child and only girl in a family that produced two of the most brilliant individuals in 19th-century America. Her elder brother, William, became the foremost psychologist of his time and her second brother, Henry, its greatest novelist. Her story reveals a troubled, highly intelligent woman who struggled to extract a sense of meaning and self from a life that had every outward appearance of failure. She was articulate, politically radical, funny, wise, difficult and intensely involved with her brothers and friends. This portrait sheds new light on the history of women, on the nature of…


Book cover of The Principles of Psychology, Vol. 1

Gloria Mark Author Of Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness and Productivity

From my list on attention and why it is the ultimate currency.

Who am I?

In 2000, I entered the University of California, Irvine as an assistant professor. Suddenly faced with multiple research projects, courses, committees, grant-writing, and student mentoring, I found myself switching screens and tasks like crazy. But I was also glued to my computer. I began to wonder if this was normal? Trained as a psychologist, I decided to study empirically what was happening to our attention. I began research over two decades on attention and discovered how our attention spans have shrunk over time (to a mere average of 47 seconds). Fast forward, I've continued to study our relationships with our technology, uncovering different types of attention and busting myths associated with focus and productivity. 

Gloria's book list on attention and why it is the ultimate currency

Gloria Mark Why did Gloria love this book?

There is no better place to start learning about attention than from The Principles of Psychology.

I have always been captivated by the writings and deep insight of William James, known as the father of psychology. This is not a pop science book by any means—it was written in the 19th century, and you’ll see how gorgeous the language is. If you don’t want to plough through all 720 pages, I suggest you start with Chapter VIII on Attention. As James says, “Everyone knows what attention is.” But do we really? You will find some amazing gems in it.

It is available for free by Project Gutenberg.

By William James,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"For the psychologist, standard reading, to all readers, a classic of interpretation." — Psychiatric Quarterly
This is the first inexpensive edition of the complete Long Course in Principles of Psychology, one of the great classics of modern Western literature and science and the source of the ripest thoughts of America’s most important philosopher. As such, it should not be confused with the many abridgements that omit key sections.
The book presents lucid descriptions of human mental activity, with detailed considerations of the stream of thought, consciousness, time perception, memory, imagination, emotions, reason, abnormal phenomena, and similar topics. In its course…


Book cover of The Complete Notebooks of Henry James

William H. Coles Author Of The Art of Creating Story

From my list on improving your prose writing and creation of fiction story.

Who am I?

I am an author of literary fiction and nonfiction on the creative writing process. My passion is to provide resources for writers who want to create stories as artful literature that will last. A few years ago, I created a website that contains all my fiction and non-fiction, a newsletter, a workshop, and a blog. The website has received over five million visits. I've published six novels, thirty-seven short stories, thirty essays, twenty-six interviews, and dozens of literary quizzes. My fiction has received over fifty+ awards. I’ve written and presented an online video course: Creating Literary Story with Thinkific. I continue to serve writers who are eager to improve.

William's book list on improving your prose writing and creation of fiction story

William H. Coles Why did William love this book?

It’s fair to say Henry James not only wrote from a stilted, often arcane, time, and that he was verbose to the extreme, and arrogant beyond most contemporary readers’ tolerances. Yet, he created stories that have lasted and served as resources for some of the greatest films of our time: The Golden Bowl, The Wings of the Dove, and Washington Square, for example. The notebooks, in general, are tough reading, and are meant only for reference. But there is insight galore in the thinking of James about writing and the novel that can aid any writer’s career.

By Henry James, Leon Edel, Lyall H. Powers

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Notebooks of Henry James as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

James's biographer and a leading James scholar provide the definitive edition of the writer's notebooks, which were discovered among his papers by Edel in 1937. Of the material here assembled, much was previously unpublished, including pocket diaries and dictated notes.


Book cover of On Garbage

Monica L. Smith Author Of Cities: The First 6,000 Years

From my list on why humans have so much stuff.

Who am I?

I’m an archaeologist, which means that I’ve been lucky enough to travel to many places to dig and survey ancient remains. What I’ve realized in handling those dusty old objects is that all over the world, in both past and present, people are defined by their stuff: what they made, used, broke, and threw away. Most compelling are the things that people cherished despite being worn or flawed, just like we have objects in our house that are broken or old but that we keep anyway.

Monica's book list on why humans have so much stuff

Monica L. Smith Why did Monica love this book?

Sh*t happens (bad relationships, business failures, burnt toast). That’s OK, says Scanlan, because making garbage is an essential part of any activity. In fact, you can’t get anywhere, or achieve any kind of personal or intellectual growth, without some detritus. To me, this explains why humans make so much trash of the kind that I’ve spent my life digging up in archaeological sites. And it makes me feel quite OK about spending a day writing stuff that might go straight into the shredder tomorrow…

By John Scanlan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the first work to examine the detritus of our culture in its full range; garbage in this sense is not only material waste and ruin, environmental degradation and so on, but also residual or 'broken' knowledge, useless concepts, the remainders of systems of intellectual and cultural thought. In this unique and original work (a kind of intellectual scavenging in its own right) the author shows why garbage is, perversely, the source of all that is valuable. The author considers how Western philosophy, science and technology attained mastery over nature through what can be seen as a prolonged act…


Book cover of Proust's Way: A Field Guide to in Search of Lost Time

Eric Karpeles Author Of Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to in Search of Lost Time

From my list on Marcel Proust and expanding your grasp of him.

Who am I?

I first read Swann’s Way when I was seventeen. Throughout the following five decades, In Search of Lost Time has always remained within reach, a parallel universe more enriching than words can express. As a painter, I’m drawn to Proust’s subtle use of paintings to reveal and mystify the relationship between what we see and what we know. I’ve spoken on Proust at Berkeley, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Houston, and was invited to give the annual Proust lecture at the Center for Fiction in New York as well as the Amon Carter Lecture on the Arts at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin.

Eric's book list on Marcel Proust and expanding your grasp of him

Eric Karpeles Why did Eric love this book?

"Like the Bible, In Search of Lost Time embodies its own sources, myths, and criticism. Like an archaeological site, the novel has come to stand for a state of civilization.” Roger Shattuck is masterful in reach and insight; his “field guide” is aptly named. The reader journeys alongside him to traverse the vast and incomparable terrain of a seven-volume novel. Full of wit and provocation, he leads us through thick and thin, and best of all, he allows our own reading of the great work to revive within us, illuminating the very experience of reading that Proust so brilliantly mined.

By Roger Shattuck,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Proust's Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For any reader who has been humbled by the language, the density, or the sheer weight of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time, Roger Shattuck is a godsend. Winner of the National Book Award for Marcel Proust, a sweeping examination of Proust's life and works, Shattuck now offers a useful and eminently readable guidebook to Proust's epic masterpiece, and a contemplation of memory and consciousness throughout great literature. Here, Shattuck laments Proust's defenselessness against zealous editors, praises some translations, and presents Proust as a novelist whose philosophical gifts were matched only by his irrepressible comic sense. Proust's Way, the…


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