100 books like Aging with Wisdom

By Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle,

Here are 100 books that Aging with Wisdom fans have personally recommended if you like Aging with Wisdom. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life

Katharine Esty Author Of Eightysomethings: A Practical Guide to Letting Go, Aging Well, and Finding Unexpected Happiness

From my list on aging well and flourishing as you age.

Who am I?

When I turned 80, I was in a bit of a funk until I began interviewing people in their eighties for my book. I was astonished to find how happy the vast majority of them were and what active and exciting their lives were leading. I realized that life after 70 and 80 was not the same today as in the past. As a psychotherapist, a social psychologist, a writer, a mother of four, and a grandmother of 10, I realized I was the perfect person to write about this good news. And for the last 8 years my mission has been to spread the word about aging today.

Katharine's book list on aging well and flourishing as you age

Katharine Esty Why did Katharine love this book?

Louise Aronson was a practicing physician who worked primarily with older patients before becoming a social critic. Now she focuses on ageism in our medical institutions and well as society in general. Her book, Elderhood, is a penetrating analysis of what it means to be older in the US and a critique of the anti-aging culture we live in. Her book is filled with her own observations and stories that show the reader what needs to change in our culture and institutions. Her model of the three stages of life—childhood, adulthood, and elderhood intrigued me.

By Louise Aronson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction
Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction
Winner of the WSU AOS Bonner Book Award

The New York Times bestseller from physician and award-winning writer Louise Aronson--an essential, empathetic look at a vital but often disparaged stage of life, as revelatory as Atul Gawande's Being Mortal.

For more than 5,000 years, "old" has been defined as beginning between the ages of 60 and 70. That means most people alive today will spend more years in elderhood than in childhood, and many will be elders for 40 years or more.…


Book cover of Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Martha W. Murphy Author Of CRU Oyster Bar Nantucket Cookbook: Savoring Four Seasons of the Good Life

From my list on the eclectic reader of nonfiction.

Who am I?

I’m a narrative nonfiction writer interested in a broad range of topics, including but not limited to: food and the people who bring it to us; travel and life in faraway places; human health and the role of medicine; memoir as one person’s story yet illustrative of the human spirit; and the unique and remarkable role dogs play in our lives. I am the same kind of reader: I read across a range of topics, mostly nonfiction. The bookshelves in my house and the record of titles I’ve checked out from my local library show an eclectic taste, as do the books I’m recommending here. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

Martha's book list on the eclectic reader of nonfiction

Martha W. Murphy Why did Martha love this book?

I read Atul Gawande’s first book, Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science, soon after it was published. I loved his writing, and as someone who reads (and writes) about health, healthcare, and medicine, I went on to read every book he’s written since then.

Being Mortal crossed my path at the same time my beloved father was making his way out of this life to whatever lies beyond.

Gawande’s book—an examination of modern medicine’s reluctance to acknowledge the “inescapable realities of aging and death” to focus on “what medicine can do often runs counter to what it should do”—hit close to home. But the book was the genesis for a much needed, ongoing national conversation on a topic that will, sooner or later, touch us all.  

By Atul Gawande,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Being Mortal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

'GAWANDE'S MOST POWERFUL, AND MOVING, BOOK' MALCOLM GLADWELL

'BEING MORTAL IS NOT ONLY WISE AND DEEPLY MOVING; IT IS AN ESSENTIAL AND INSIGHTFUL BOOK FOR OUR TIMES' OLIVER SACKS

For most of human history, death was a common, ever-present possibility. It didn't matter whether you were five or fifty - every day was a roll of the dice. But now, as medical advances push the boundaries of survival further each year, we have become increasingly detached from the reality of being mortal. So here is a book about the modern experience of mortality - about what it's…


Book cover of Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long and Well You Live

Star Bradbury Author Of Successfully Navigating Your Parents' Senior Years: Critical Information to Maximize Their Independence and Make Sure They Get the Care They Need

From my list on helping you or your loved ones age successfully.

Who am I?

I have worked in senior living for over 25 years. I was the administrative director of both an assisted living facility as well as a memory care facility and then I worked for over 18 years in one of the top national Life Care Communities in the country. During this time, I helped thousands of families navigate the complex and confusing world of senior living. I wrote my book to help families make educated and informed decisions and know what they could do before a crisis! It is not if your parents will need help, it is when! I am passionate about passing on the knowledge of my years in this field. 

Star's book list on helping you or your loved ones age successfully

Star Bradbury Why did Star love this book?

Many of the health problems formerly considered to be entirely due to the aging process such as memory loss, hearing decline, and even cardiovascular events are instead influenced by the negative age beliefs that dominate the United States.

In Japan, where age is celebrated and revered, the data is totally different. This book is a fascinating look at how our own personal beliefs about aging affect how we age. It is well worth reading and challenging yourself about your own aging concepts!

By Becca Levy,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Breaking the Age Code as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Yale professor and leading expert on the psychology of successful aging, Dr. Becca Levy, draws on her ground-breaking research to show how age beliefs can be improved so they benefit all aspects of the aging process, including the way genes operate and the extension of life expectancy by 7.5 years.

The often-surprising results of Levy’s science offer stunning revelations about the mind-body connection. She demonstrates that many health problems formerly considered to be entirely due to the aging process, such as memory loss, hearing decline, and cardiovascular events, are instead influenced by the negative age beliefs that dominate in the…


Book cover of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism

Katharine Esty Author Of Eightysomethings: A Practical Guide to Letting Go, Aging Well, and Finding Unexpected Happiness

From my list on aging well and flourishing as you age.

Who am I?

When I turned 80, I was in a bit of a funk until I began interviewing people in their eighties for my book. I was astonished to find how happy the vast majority of them were and what active and exciting their lives were leading. I realized that life after 70 and 80 was not the same today as in the past. As a psychotherapist, a social psychologist, a writer, a mother of four, and a grandmother of 10, I realized I was the perfect person to write about this good news. And for the last 8 years my mission has been to spread the word about aging today.

Katharine's book list on aging well and flourishing as you age

Katharine Esty Why did Katharine love this book?

Ashton Applewhite, an expert on ageism, shows how most of us have internalized negative images of old age and we have also misproven stereotypes of older people go unchallenged. This book opened my eyes to my own ageism and how it limited me and it book will probably open your eyes as well. The book is lively and full of interesting facts as well as solidly researched. I found Applebaum’s vision of a world without ageism to be inspirational.

By Ashton Applewhite,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked This Chair Rocks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Author, activist, and TED speaker Ashton Applewhite has written a rousing manifesto calling for an end to discrimination and prejudice on the basis of age.

In our youth obsessed culture, we’re bombarded by media images and messages about the despairs and declines of our later years. Beauty and pharmaceutical companies work overtime to convince people to purchase products that will retain their youthful appearance and vitality. Wrinkles are embarrassing. Gray hair should be colored and bald heads covered with implants. Older minds and bodies are too frail to keep up with the pace of the modern working world and olders…


Book cover of A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life

Linda A. Curtis Author Of Shunned: How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself

From my list on endings and beginnings.

Who am I?

Linda mentors individuals who are going through major life events to experience honorable closure and move into the future, unencumbered by the past. The best-selling author of Shunned – How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself  her work draws on contemporary neuroscience, wisdom traditions, social science, and her own life experience navigating ends large and small.

Linda's book list on endings and beginnings

Linda A. Curtis Why did Linda love this book?

This book by the revered Buddhist teacher was a balm to my soul at a time when I’d left all my previous religious beliefs behind and was searching for ways to think about good and bad, right and wrong. I did not become a Buddhist but here I discovered practical techniques, guided meditations, stories, and other gems of wisdom that eased my journey through the world.

By Jack Kornfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Path with Heart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jack Kornfield's A Path with Heart has been acclaimed as the most significant book yet about American Buddhism-a definitive guide to the practice of traditional mindfulness in America today.

On this audio edition, Kornfield teaches the key principles of Buddhism's cherished vipassana (insight) tradition, and puts them into direct service, with the unique needs of the contemporary seeker in mind.


Book cover of Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist, and Buddhist — One Woman's Spiritual Journey

Cyndi Lee Author Of May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing My Mind

From my list on Buddhist and yoga biographies and memoirs.

Who am I?

I've been a practicing yogi and Buddhist for 50 years. For me these lifelong practices started with reading, or as my Zen teacher calls it, being a “Book Buddhist.” Buddhism and Yoga are not typically called “faith-based” practices, but there is an element of faith — it is faith in the process. But you can’t have faith until you have experienced the benefits of practice. The unconventional lives of the yogis told in these books illustrate for all of us how we, too, can develop wisdom, joy, and compassion. I found each of these books really, really fun to read and I’ve gained much insight and inspiration for my own spiritual path.

Cyndi's book list on Buddhist and yoga biographies and memoirs

Cyndi Lee Why did Cyndi love this book?

Jan Willis is one of our most respected American Buddhist teachers and scholars. Like so many Americans who identify as Buddhists, Jan Willis’ story begins with a Christian background. Willis was raised in the Baptist church in Alabama where she endured Jim Crow racism and later marched with MLK, Jr. She writes about the obstacles she faced in her Ivy League education and how she eventually met her Buddhist guru in India. This story is so resonant for me because it reminds me that we can evolve and grow on our spiritual journey without rejecting any part of who we already are. I read this book when it was published in 2001 and it continues to inspire me as a Buddhist, an American, and a writer.

By Jan Willis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jan Willis is not Baptist or Buddhist. She is simply both. Dreaming Me is the story of her life, as a child growing up in the Jim Crow South, dealing with racism in an Ivy League college, and becoming involved with the Black Panther Party. But it wasn't until meeting Lama Yeshe, a Tibetan Buddhist monk living in the mountains of Nepal, that she realized who the real Jan Willis was, and how to make the most of the life she was living.


Book cover of After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path

Jon Marro Author Of The Keepers of Color: A Creative Hero's Journey Into the World Within

From my list on to help you become unafraid of the dark.

Who am I?

From the time I could hold a crayon, I was drawing. I often don’t know how I truly feel about something until I make art about it. Led by imagination and curiosity, I'm a seasoned traveler in liminal spaces and love guiding people between the mystical and the mundane. With 20-plus years of experience as an Artist and Creative Director, I've discovered that solutions to any problem can be found through triumphs in imagination and a willingness to view the situation from a different perspective. By peeking into my own shadow, darkness, and hidden places, I've gained a profound reverence for the human soul and deeper compassion for what it is to be alive.

Jon's book list on to help you become unafraid of the dark

Jon Marro Why did Jon love this book?

“There is no such thing as enlightened retirement” states the book’s opening chapter. Taking a compassionate “chop wood, carry water” approach to life, After The Ecstasy, the Laundry reminds us that there is always work to be done and wisdom to gain. That after the honeymoon comes the difficult task of sustaining and nurturing a marriage, that after winning an elected seat in office, comes the hard part of governing an organization or political body. After the bliss of any ecstasy, comes the prosaic of the everyday – or the “laundry” as the title suggests. I particularly love this book because it grounds me in the menial, tedious task of the everyday. As an artist and a dreamer, I can be prone to escaping in my imagination, and this book serves as a loving and fierce reminder that our real work is always here and now.

By Jack Kornfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked After the Ecstasy, the Laundry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When does enlightenment come? At the end of the spiritual journey? Or the beginning? On After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, Jack Kornfield-author of the modern classic on American Buddhism, A Path with Heart-brings into focus the truth about satori, the awakened state of consciousness, and enlightenment practices today.

"Perfect enlightenment" appears in many texts, Kornfield begins. But how is it viewed among Western teachers and practitioners? To find out, Kornfield talked to more than 100 Zen masters, rabbis, nuns, lamas, monks, and senior meditation students from all walks of life.

The result is this extraordinary look at the hard work…


Book cover of The Essential Sangharakshita: A Half-Century of Writings from the Founder of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order

Maitreyabandhu Author Of Thicker than Blood (Friendship on the Buddhist Path)

From my list on Buddhism, meditation, and philosophy.

Who am I?

Maitreyabandhu started attending classes at the London Buddhist Centre (LBC) in 1986. He was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order in 1990 and given the name Maitreyabandhu. Since then he has lived and worked at the LBC, teaching Buddhism and meditation, and leading retreats. He has written three books on Buddhism, Thicker than Blood: Friendship on the Buddhist Path, Life with Full Attention: A Practical Course in Mindfulness, and The Journey and the Guide: A Practical Guide in Enlightenment. Maitreyabandhu is also a prize-winning poet having written three poetry collections with Bloodaxe Books. Maitreyabandhu founded PoetryEast in 2010 where he interviews well-known artists and writers, including Antony Gormley, Wendy Cope, and Colm Tóibín. He is the co-founder, with Dr. Paramabandhu Groves, of Breathing Space, the LBC’s health and wellbeing project.

Maitreyabandhu's book list on Buddhism, meditation, and philosophy

Maitreyabandhu Why did Maitreyabandhu love this book?

Buddhism is still misunderstood in the modern world. It can seem all fuzzy ‘being-in-the-moment’ meditation or a rather cold, analytical non-self philosophy. Sangharakshita is the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Order and my own teacher (I knew him personally). This book collects together some of his essential teaching and thought, illuminating ancient Buddhism wisdom for a modern world.

By Urgyen Sangharakshita, Emily Stout,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Profoundly knowledgeable and articulate, and equally at home with science, philosophy, myth, art, and poetry, Urgyen Sangharakshita uses every inner avenue to communicate the timeless Dharma to the Western mind. Engaging both the intellect and the heart countless times in a single chapter, the author draws remarkably apt examples from sources as diverse as Orwell, Aeschylus, and Jane Austen. This distilled volume is a primer to the breadth and depth of Buddhist thought and practice.


Book cover of Long Quiet Highway: Waking Up in America

Teena Raffa-Mulligan Author Of Just Write: An easy guide to story writing

From my list on books that helped shape me as a writer.

Who am I?

I can’t remember a time in my life without stories in it. I grew up in an English/Italian family where everyone’s tales about their lives captured my imagination. Books also opened a window into the wonderful world of stories and my ambition to be a writer was born. I decided to write for children in 1971 after our son was born. Ten years of rejections later, my author dream came true and my first picture book was published. It was a stranger danger story that attracted some publicity, which led to invitations to speak at schools. Inspiring children to go on their own story writing adventure has become one of my greatest joys.

Teena's book list on books that helped shape me as a writer

Teena Raffa-Mulligan Why did Teena love this book?

Natalie Goldberg is an internationally acclaimed teacher of writing and Zen practice and her autobiography Long Quiet Highway resonated deeply with me. I’ve considered myself a spiritual seeker since the age of 13 and knew from much earlier that writing is an intrinsic part of my creative expression. Yet I had never considered these two important aspects of my life together. After I read this book, my workshop presentations for adults took a different direction where I was no longer teaching what I knew but sharing a learning experience together. 

By Natalie Goldberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Long Quiet Highway as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A moving memoir of a journey of self-discovery through Zen Buddhism
In this autobiographical work, Natalie Goldberg takes us on a journey from her suburban childhood to her maturation as a writer. From the high-school classroom where she first listened to the rain, to her fifteen years as a student of Zen Buddhism, Natalie Goldberg’s path is by turns illuminating, disciplined, heartbreaking, hilarious, and healing. Along the way she reflects on her life and work in prose that is both elegant and precise, reminding the reader of what it means to be fully alive. This ebook features an illustrated biography…


Book cover of The Fruitful Darkness: A Journey Through Buddhist Practice and Tribal Wisdom

Jon Marro Author Of The Keepers of Color: A Creative Hero's Journey Into the World Within

From my list on to help you become unafraid of the dark.

Who am I?

From the time I could hold a crayon, I was drawing. I often don’t know how I truly feel about something until I make art about it. Led by imagination and curiosity, I'm a seasoned traveler in liminal spaces and love guiding people between the mystical and the mundane. With 20-plus years of experience as an Artist and Creative Director, I've discovered that solutions to any problem can be found through triumphs in imagination and a willingness to view the situation from a different perspective. By peeking into my own shadow, darkness, and hidden places, I've gained a profound reverence for the human soul and deeper compassion for what it is to be alive.

Jon's book list on to help you become unafraid of the dark

Jon Marro Why did Jon love this book?

I have to admit, part of me squarely into midlife, is still scared of my own shadow. This was the first book I read after my father passed away, and not only was it the perfect guide through the grief, loss, and rite of passage, but also a homecoming of sorts. Roshi Joan Halifax has clearly wandered the vastness of her own inner landscape and offers up treasures from the dark, mysterious depths. She makes it clear, that yes, darkness exists. And also, yes, evil and other unspeakable things may hide within it. But upon her travels and fearless exploration, she has found other luminous gifts that only the soul houses, and only a valiant seeker could discover. The Fruitful Darkness as she calls it is akin to the night sky filled with stars, the fertile soil with seeds, or the womb brimming with new life. It is alive, inviting…

By Joan Halifax,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Buddhist teacher and anthropologists Joan Halifax delves into - the shadow side of being, found in the root truths of Native religions, the fecundity of nature, and the stillness of meditation.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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