100 books like Beginners

By Tom Vanderbilt,

Here are 100 books that Beginners fans have personally recommended if you like Beginners. 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 Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Marc Lesser Author Of Finding Clarity: How Compassionate Accountability Builds Vibrant Relationships, Thriving Workplaces and Meaningful Lives

From my list on helping you live a meaningful and successful life.

Who am I?

I sometimes describe myself as a stealth Zen teacher working in the business world. I've founded and been CEO of three companies, including the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, a company I helped create and launch inside of Google's headquarters. I'm an executive coach and consultant to CEOs and leaders in the corporate and non-profit worlds. Prior to my business career I was a resident of the San Francisco Zen Center for 10 years. I'm the author of 5 books.

Marc's book list on helping you live a meaningful and successful life

Marc Lesser Why did Marc love this book?

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the experts there are few" is one of hundreds of gems from this collection of talks by Shunryu Suzuki, founding teacher of the San Francisco Zen Center.

Living a meaningful and successful life requires cultivating a full-functioning mind and body. Here are simple and profound instructions for seeing through the world of greed, aversion, and delusion. Suzuki provides guidelines for redefining meaning and success, going way beyond the usual self-help realm and toward a way of transforming how you see and live in the world.

By Shunryu Suzuki,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named one of the 100 Best Spiritual Books of the Twentieth Century (Spirituality & Practice)

A 50th Anniversary edition of the bestselling Zen classic on meditation, maintaining a curious and open mind, and living with simplicity.

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."

So begins this most beloved of all American Zen books. Seldom has such a small handful of words provided a teaching as rich as has this famous opening line. In a single stroke, the simple sentence cuts through the pervasive tendency students have of getting so close to Zen…


Book cover of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Miles Borrero Author Of Beautiful Monster: A Becoming

From my list on living this wild and precious life to its fullest.

Who am I?

I’m a trans, Latinx yoga teacher, writer, and musician who transitioned at the age of 40. Before that, I’d spent most of my life trying to live by someone else’s rules…only to realize, when my dad was dying, that I was not truly living. The funny thing is, as an artist and teacher, I’d dedicated myself to helping others live their lives to the fullest but had not granted myself the same courtesy. Sometimes, our lessons are hard-won. The books on this list have been beacons of hope and treasure trove chests of inspiration for me, as I hope they will be for you, too. 

Miles' book list on living this wild and precious life to its fullest

Miles Borrero Why did Miles love this book?

This book is pure genius. I have listened to it at least once a year since it came out. Not only is it brilliant, inspiring and oozing in grounded positivity, but it is also the best manifesto I have read on creativity.

Chock-full of fantastic stories that delight the senses, it is funny, devastating, and irresistibly magical. Listening to it in Liz’s own voice is totally the way to go. She is so inviting and warm and makes me feel loved and held.

The best part is that she makes a sound case for my creativity, the fact that it matters and is a worthy undertaking, purely because it gives me joy and pleasure. This book changed my life.  

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Big Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process - and showing us all just how easy it can be. By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear. Whether you long to write a book, create…


Book cover of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know

Sharon M. Darmody Author Of Work Your Magic: Create a Better Business Community That Works for Everyone

From my list on how to make work, work again (to make sure that you and your workplace thrive).

Who am I?

I think we can all agree we spend a lot of time at work. If we can help people to thrive at work, it makes such a big difference in their lives and it has such a ripple effect for the people around them. When we do well at work we do well at home. I have been working with people and organizations for over 25 years and over that time I have an instinct for the “temperature” of an organization. Work Your Magic helps you to diagnose what might be going wrong and then sets you up with a roadmap to make the changes that will make work, work again for you and your workplace.

Sharon's book list on how to make work, work again (to make sure that you and your workplace thrive)

Sharon M. Darmody Why did Sharon love this book?

If work is going to work again, we need to be curious. The world is moving fast and the issues we are facing are arguably more complex than ever before, so we must avoid at all costs the rigid my way or the highway thinking.

Sometimes it feels good when we lock a solution in quickly because we feel we have solved the problem perhaps ticked the box. I really encourage people to stay in the messy middle and to “think again” to make sure it is not the quick solution, but they stick with the problem solving so they get the best solution.

By Adam Grant,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Think Again as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller

"THIS. This is the right book for right now. Yes, learning requires focus. But, unlearning and relearning requires much more-it requires choosing courage over comfort. In Think Again, Adam Grant weaves together research and storytelling to help us build the intellectual and emotional muscle we need to stay curious enough about the world to actually change it. I've never felt so hopeful about what I don't know."
-Brene Brown, Ph.D., #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dare to Lead

The bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals examines the critical art of rethinking:…


Book cover of The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World

Jenny Foss Author Of Do This, Not That: Career

From my list on taking charge of your career.

Who am I?

As a kid, I dreamed of becoming a California beach lifeguard. Considering I grew up in Michigan, this was a rather aspirational choice. To my parents’ relief, my career goals shifted over time, as I realized my gift for writing. I became a journalist then went into marketing. But after years of cranking out corporate content, I (sadly) burned out on it, dropped everything, and became a recruiter. Within months, I missed writing – so much so that I started a career-related blog, which became a thriving business dedicated to helping people move their careers forward. Gratefully, this work led to an amazing assignment, writing Do This, Not That: Career

Jenny's book list on taking charge of your career

Jenny Foss Why did Jenny love this book?

It’s hard to not want instant gratification, especially in our “get what you want, and now” culture. We see the shiny objects and opportunities for a quick win, and we chase them. Unfortunately, as Dorie Clark maps out in The Long Game, this frenetic behavior isn’t helpful if you want to achieve big goals. 

I discovered this book when life was starting to feel like a giant game of Whac-a-mole. Sure, I was achieving success, but I could never seem to find the time to get to a couple of long-range projects that really matter to me. 

The Long Game gave me several tangible tips for staying focused on my long-term goals in a world that pushes me, and all of us, to grab for those immediate, more shallow victories.

By Dorie Clark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal Bestseller

Your personal goals need a long-term strategy.

It's no secret that we're pushed to the limit. Today's professionals feel rushed, overwhelmed, and perennially behind. So we keep our heads down, focused on the next thing, and the next, without a moment to breathe.

How can we break out of this endless cycle and create the kind of interesting, meaningful lives we all seek?

Just as CEOs who optimize for quarterly profits often fail to make the strategic investments necessary for long-term growth, the same is true in our own personal and professional lives. We need…


Book cover of The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose

Runa Magnus Author Of Branding Your X-Factor: How the Secret to Success is Already In Front of Your...

From my list on unleashing your highest potential.

Who am I?

I was born, raised, and living in Iceland, the country that has been number 1 in the world for gender equality for decades. I am a leadership & personal branding coach, mentor, and Ambassador for the New Paradigm for Gender Equality. My mission is to empower people to become better, bolder, and brighter as the leading light in their industry by branding their x-factor, that gift what they were born to be.

Runa's book list on unleashing your highest potential

Runa Magnus Why did Runa love this book?

In the book: The Passion Test, you gain a deeper understanding of your true passion and purpose in life. The authors, Janet and Chris, take you as the reader into a simple yet powerful process for one to live a life of purpose. The book is fun and valuable for anyone who wants to live a more authentic life filled with love and purposeful events. I know Oprah loved this book, and so did I!

By Janet Bray Attwood, Chris Attwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The inspirational and life-changing New York Times bestseller that will help you discover the meaning behind your life.

Can a simple test change a person's life? Through their New York Times bestseller The Passion Test, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood have inspired thousands to shape their lives by discovering their passions and living according to what matters most to them. Readers can identify their top five passions by taking the Test, and then learn exactly how to align their lives with their priorities by following the Attwoods' easy-to-follow step-by-step program of action.

Combining powerful storytelling and profound wisdom from…


Book cover of Unfollow Your Passion: How to Create a Life That Matters to You

Ilise Benun Author Of The Creative Professional's Guide to Money: How to Think About It, How to Talk About it, How to Manage It

From my list on business books for creative professionals.

Who am I?

I have made it my business to teach basic business skills to creative professionals who should have learned them in school but, alas, did not because it’s not taught in school. This has for years perpetuated a “starving artist” mentality amongst creative professionals, who are naturally talented and could easily bring their creativity to the business side of their business, if only they knew how. That’s the mission I’m on with all of my work through marketing-mentor.com

Ilise's book list on business books for creative professionals

Ilise Benun Why did Ilise love this book?

Essential Skill #2 for Creatives: Practicality, not Passion

Creative professionals tend to be “passionate practitioners” but if you need to “love” every single aspect of your business, you won’t get very far. That’s why I love Terri’s book. It’s the funniest business book I’ve read! Part comic autobiography, part business handbook, Unfollow Your Passion provides practical, clear, and excellent advice. It also happens to be beautifully written, the stories so compelling and hysterical that you’ll learn the practical skills in spite of yourself. The message of this book – forget about passion – is so important, something I’ve espoused for years, but not nearly as eloquently and clearly as Terri has.

By Terri Trespicio,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Unfollow Your Passion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the Best Feel-Good Books of 2021 by The Washington Post

A hilarious and honest not-quite-self-help book in the vein of Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies and I Used to Have a Plan.

Every person on the planet wants their life to mean something. The problem is that you've been told there's only one way to find that meaning.

In Unfollow Your Passion, Terri Trespicio-whose TEDx talk has more than six million views-questions everything you think you need: passion (fun, but fleeting), plans (flimsy at best), and a bucket list (eye roll), to name a few.

Instead, she shows…


Book cover of It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle

Lisa Bonnice Author Of Castle Gate

From my list on exploring ancestral/generational trauma and healing.

Who am I?

I’m a program host with The Shift Network and have interviewed hundreds of experts on the topics of ancestral healing, mediumship, and the “veil between the worlds.” I was drawn to these topics because of my discoveries of ancestral trauma in my family tree, including an ancient curse and a fiery mine disaster. Eventually, I realized we ALL have generational trauma. Just watch the news—we’re all acting out from inherited trauma, and we need to heal our own stuff in order to heal the global condition. I feel like it’s my life’s work to heal my family’s trauma-based dysfunctions and spread the word to others doing the same work.

Lisa's book list on exploring ancestral/generational trauma and healing

Lisa Bonnice Why did Lisa love this book?

This is the first book I read on the topic of inherited trauma, and it blew my mind.

The author offers many examples of patterns that are handed down from past generations, along with a worksheet that helps you dive into your own family patterns. It’s easy to read and understand, and it is truly life-changing information. It’s the first book I always recommend whenever anyone asks.

I had the opportunity to interview Mark Wolynn, and his knowledge and experience are far-reaching and so very helpful in illuminating those puzzling things that have defied explanation.

By Mark Wolynn,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked It Didn't Start With You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inherited family trauma is currently an area of growing interest, as science increasingly explores what we know intuitively: that the effects of trauma can pass from one generation to the next, and that the answers to some of our greatest life problems often lie not within our own story, but in the experiences of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and extended family. Here, pioneer Mark Wolyn shows readers how they can overcome inherited trauma and reclaim their lives.


Book cover of Glow in the F*cking Dark: Simple Practices to Heal Your Soul, from Someone Who Learned the Hard Way

Julie Chavez Author Of Everyone But Myself: A Memoir

From my list on to feel less alone in the world.

Who am I?

I’m an author and elementary librarian living in Northern California. My mind is a busy neighborhood: there are all sorts of thoughts and feelings running around up there like hordes of naughty unsupervised children. I need books to ground me, to encourage me to slow down, to help me feel and release those emotions. As an elementary librarian, I’m a voracious reader, but I only choose to return to the most necessary, beautiful books. These authors comfort me through their words, pulling forth laughter, tears, and the knowledge that I’m not so crazy after all. Or, if I am, I’m not the only one.

Julie's book list on to feel less alone in the world

Julie Chavez Why did Julie love this book?

Tara was the best friend I needed when I picked up this book.

I felt like I was sitting on the couch across from her while she gave me all sort of kind, direct, no-nonsense advice. She reminded me to be good to myself, and taught me that I’m worthy of my own care and attention. Just seeing the spine of this book on my shelf makes me feel less alone. I can hear her encouraging voice. (See? I am a little crazy!)

By Tara Schuster,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Glow in the F*cking Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The author of the runaway hit Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies shares honest and practical lessons for healing your past and owning your future so you can radiate strength, bravery, and joy when life gets dark.

“A revealing and powerful book that lit me up from the inside out.”—GLENNON DOYLE, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Untamed

Tara Schuster thought she was on stable ground. For years, she’d worked like hell to repair the emotional wounds inflicted during what she refers to as her “mess-wreck disaster” of a childhood. She’d brought radical healing rituals and self-love into her life.…


Book cover of Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything

Sonia Frontera Author Of Relationship Solutions: Effective Strategies to Heal Your Heart and Create the Happiness You Deserve

From my list on freeing you from the pain of a toxic relationship.

Who am I?

Sonia Frontera is a divorce lawyer with a heart. She is the survivor of a toxic marriage who is now happily remarried. Sonia integrates the wisdom acquired through her personal journey, her professional experience and the lessons of the world’s leading transformational teachers and translates it into guidance that is insightful and practical. Through the years, Sonia has supported domestic violence survivors as an advocate, speaker, and empowerment trainer.

Sonia's book list on freeing you from the pain of a toxic relationship

Sonia Frontera Why did Sonia love this book?

Much of the pain experienced in toxic relationships stems from lack of forgiveness–forgiveness of our partners as well as ourselves. In this book, Iyanla Vanzant comes to the rescue with simple yet powerful strategies that help readers gain clarity and free themselves from the toxicity of unforgiveness. The book contains a 21-day workbook and a CD with guided meditation exercises for every day of your forgiveness journey. I experienced increased inner peace and freedom within days of sharing this journey with Vanzant.

By Iyanla Vanzant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Today, too many of us stay stuck in stagnant intimate, family or workplace relationships, imprisoned by memories of what others have done to us or not done for us. Weighed down by toxic thoughts and emotions, we are quick to judge, self-righteous about what we feel and slow to pardon.

In Forgiveness, New York Times bestselling author and legendary life coach Iyanla Vanzant challenges us to liberate ourselves from the energetic blockages and wounds of the past.

Her powerful 21-Day Forgiveness Practice, which is also offered as an OWN Lifeclass, combines inspirational stories and intensive journal work with the revolutionary…


Book cover of Eyes Wide Open: Overcoming Obstacles and Recognizing Opportunities in a World That Can't See Clearly

Traci Medford-Rosow Author Of Unblinded: One Man's Courageous Journey Through Darkness to Sight

From my list on people who have triumphed over extreme adversity.

Who am I?

When I was young, my mother became addicted to Valium. Following years of the inevitable traumas associated with living with addiction, my mother committed suicide six weeks before my wedding. I am an accidental writer, having chosen the law as my primary profession. On its face, my first book, Inflection Point: War and Sacrifice in Corporate America is a behind-the-scenes exploration of high-profile litigation in Big Pharma. However, it is really the story of my personal struggle to come to terms with my own feelings of loss and abandonment as a result of my mother’s passing. In writing this book, I not only healed, but found a second professional passion.

Traci's book list on people who have triumphed over extreme adversity

Traci Medford-Rosow Why did Traci love this book?

Lidsky suddenly became blind as an adult and had to rebuild his life from the ground up. Overcoming the physical, as well as the emotional, obstacles to suddenly losing his eyesight, Lidsky charts his journey from the top to the bottom and back to the top again. Since reading Lidsky’s story and co-authoring Coughlin’s book, I have found gratitude in small things, despite my own personal struggles. More than once, I have said to myself, “If they can keep going in the face of sudden blindness, so can I.”

By Isaac Lidsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eyes Wide Open as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this New York Times bestseller, Isaac Lidsky draws on his experience of achieving immense success, joy, and fulfillment while losing his sight to a blinding disease to show us that it isn’t external circumstances, but how we perceive and respond to them, that governs our reality.

Fear has a tendency to give us tunnel vision—we fill the unknown with our worst imaginings and cling to what’s familiar. But when confronted with new challenges, we need to think more broadly and adapt. When Isaac Lidsky learned that he was beginning to go blind at age thirteen, eventually losing his sight…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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