100 books like Big Magic

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Here are 100 books that Big Magic fans have personally recommended if you like Big Magic. 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 Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Angela Champ Author Of The Squiggly Line Career: How Changing Professions Can Advance a Career in Unexpected Ways

From my list on accelerating your career.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I’ve worked in many professions and industries, a common theme in all my jobs is that I love helping people succeed in their careers. I’ve started or sponsored employee networks that focused on professional development, I’m a certified coach that focuses on propelling a client’s career, and I am a conference keynote speaker on the topics of careers and leadership. Everyone deserves to have a great career that makes them want to jump out of bed on Monday morning and that provides a good living and lifestyle. I love to make that happen!

Angela's book list on accelerating your career

Angela Champ Why did Angela love this book?

I love this book for its idea and evidence that generalists, and not specialists, are often the most successful.

With examples of how those who cross domains are the most impactful inventors, it gives great hope for those broad thinkers who explore diverse experiences and careers to develop skills. It’s validation for those who haven’t quite figured out what they want to be when they grow up, with the idea that “frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers.” 

A must-read for job seekers and for human resources professionals.

By David Epstein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Fascinating . . . If you're a generalist who has ever felt overshadowed by your specialist colleagues, this book is for you' - Bill Gates

The instant Sunday Times Top Ten and New York Times bestseller
Shortlisted for the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
A Financial Times Essential Reads

A powerful argument for how to succeed in any field: develop broad interests and skills while everyone around you is rushing to specialize.

From the '10,000 hours rule' to the power of Tiger parenting, we have been taught that success in any field requires early specialization and many…


Book cover of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Shannan Martin Author Of Start with Hello: (And Other Simple Ways to Live as Neighbors)

From my list on cultivating empathy and connection in a divided world.

Why am I passionate about this?

A dozen years ago, my family moved from a homogeneous community where everyone looked, lived, and believed as we did to a vibrant neighborhood filled with difference and complexity. This shifted something deep inside me and ultimately changed the way I see the world and myself within it. It set me on a path toward understanding how authentic, ordinary community holds the power to transform our world. To live as neighbors is to draw near to each other. I have written three books on this central theme and plan to spend the rest of my life reaching for empathy as our best tool in reclaiming the goodness of humanity.  

Shannan's book list on cultivating empathy and connection in a divided world

Shannan Martin Why did Shannan love this book?

This book is an instant classic. It took me years to finish reading it because I did not want it to end.

Kimmerer’s writing appealed to the dreamer in me while also explaining the science of the natural world in ways that were unforgettable. This beautifully written book connected me to my physical home and the people around me. I will come back to it again and again. 

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Why should I read it?

45 authors picked Braiding Sweetgrass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take "us on a journey that is…


Book cover of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

Arielle Ford Author Of The Love Thief

From my list on growing your soul and opening your heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved fairytales, whimsical stories, and mysteries. Plus, I’m passionate about mind-expanding, heart-opening books that offer me new ways to understand myself and the Universe we live in. And I particularly like books that show me ways to have more of what brings me joy and pleasure. When I can get all of this in a novel I’m in heaven.

Arielle's book list on growing your soul and opening your heart

Arielle Ford Why did Arielle love this book?

I was already familiar with two of the four agreements: “doing my best” and “keeping my word” but the idea of “never making assumptions,” and “not taking anything personally” were mind-blowing and they were a big gift to my nervous system. 

I now understand that no one is waking up in the morning plotting ways to make me miserable and if I am miserable it is often because I took something personally or made a wrong assumption!

By Don Miguel Ruiz,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Four Agreements as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Four Agreements, bestselling author don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

•  A New York Times bestseller for over a decade
•  Translated into 46 languages worldwide
 
“This book by don Miguel Ruiz, simple yet so powerful, has made a tremendous difference in how I think and act in every encounter.” — Oprah Winfrey

“Don Miguel Ruiz’s…


Book cover of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content

Melanie Deziel

From my list on how writers can avoid being replaced by AI.

Why am I passionate about this?

Professionally, I’ve been a journalist, author, speaker, marketer, adjunct professor, consultant, startup founder, and more; but at my core, I’m a storyteller and a lifelong student. I read voraciously about creativity, writing, media, marketing, psychology, and design, and I’m fascinated by drawing connections between these things. (I’m still allowed to say “read” when I mostly consume audiobooks, right?) I’m currently focused on helping other creators and storytellers master their craft, refine their big ideas, and figure out their unique differentiators, through The Creator Kitchen, the mastermind program I run with fellow creator Jay Acunzo.

Melanie's book list on how writers can avoid being replaced by AI

Melanie Deziel Why did Melanie love this book?

Ok, you caught me. I recommended the first edition of this book in a previous list. But this, my friends, is the second edition which, as the cover art indicates, is 10% funnier than the first.

Ann’s work is a testament to the power of honing your unique voice in a way that makes your work easy to identify, clearly differentiated, and dang near impossible to recreate well. Now that we’re battling it out against generative AI, not just other writers, this book serves as both an instructional guide and a case study on developing a distinct voice, in and of itself. 

By Ann Handley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Finally a go-to guide to creating and publishing the kind of content that will make your business thrive. Everybody Writes is a go-to guide to attracting and retaining customers through stellar online communication, because in our content-driven world, every one of us is, in fact, a writer. If you have a web site, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means that we are all relying on our words to carry our marketing messages. We are all writers. Yeah, but who cares about writing anymore? In a time-challenged world dominated by…


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 The Obstacle Is the Way

Joshua Womack Author Of You are not that funny: Stories from Cleveland Stand-Up

From my list on discipline, writing, and disciplined writing.

Why am I passionate about this?

The reason I’m so fascinated by stand-up and books on writing is because I have done both. For a brief time I was a comedian, and the lessons in creativity and writing I learned along the way helped me find the career of copywriting. I’m passionate about learning how great writers write, and more importantly, keep writing, even when they don’t feel like it. I like to be inspired with lessons I can bring with me to every Word doc I open up.

Joshua's book list on discipline, writing, and disciplined writing

Joshua Womack Why did Joshua love this book?

Ryan Holiday, like Steven Pressfield, is a no-nonsense writer whose words inspire you to start that project you’ve been putting off.

Already started it but running into some, well, obstacles? Holiday describes in his book how obstacles are a good thing and inspires us to look for creative solutions. This book made me reframe how I look at challenges, both personally and professionally.

By Ryan Holiday,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Obstacle Is the Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We give up too easily. With a simple change of attitude, what seem like insurmountable obstacles become once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Ryan Holiday, who dropped out of college at nineteen to serve as an apprentice to bestselling 'modern Machiavelli' Robert Greene and is now a media consultant for billion-dollar brands, draws on the philosophy of the Stoics to guide you in every situation, showing that what blocks our path actually opens one that is new and better.

If the competition threatens you, it's time to be fearless, to display your courage. An impossible deadline becomes a chance to show how dedicated you…


Book cover of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Craig Detweiler Author Of Honest Creativity: The Foundations of Boundless, Good, and Inspired Innovation

From my list on creativity and deepening your spirituality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I blame my mother. She took us to the public library every week and let us check out as many books as we could carry. Consequently, reading was a joy rather than a burden. The writing came after I got over my false assumptions about English Lit and Modern Poetry. As a screenwriter, I craft silly stories to make audiences laugh. That’s why I watch movies after an exhausting week. As an author, I gravitate towards non-fiction–trying to reconcile my artistry with my faith. I’ve written about movies, music, video games, technology, and art–with an eye toward lifting our spirits and comforting our aching souls.

Craig's book list on creativity and deepening your spirituality

Craig Detweiler Why did Craig love this book?

Every time I start a new project, I run through all the reasons not to begin. Perfectionism is such an enemy to creativity.

Anne Lamott offers practical, hard-won advice on the creative process, getting over our self-imposed hurdles bird by bird (one by one). I resonated with her encouragement to compose a lousy first draft that we can then start to edit and refine. I’m so glad she challenged us to turn off the radio buzzing in our own heads.

We may not be able to see where our creative endeavors will lead, but Anne brings humor and humanity to the frightening process of plunging ahead. 

By Anne Lamott,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Bird by Bird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An essential volume for generations of writers young and old. The twenty-fifth anniversary edition of this modern classic will continue to spark creative minds for years to come. Anne Lamott is "a warm, generous, and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps" (Los Angeles Times). 

“Superb writing advice…. Hilarious, helpful, and provocative.” —The New York Times Book Review

For a quarter century, more than a million readers—scribes and scribblers of all ages and abilities—have been inspired by Anne Lamott’s hilarious, big-hearted, homespun advice. Advice that begins with the simple words of wisdom…


Book cover of Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Lin Wilder Author Of Plausible Liars: A Dr. Lindsey McCall Medical Mystery

From my list on preparing for writing/walking/thinking/acting against the crowd.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer who just published a book I didn’t have any interest in writing. I didn’t like the subject matter, so I had no interest in doing the research to create credible characters and a cohesive plot.

Lin's book list on preparing for writing/walking/thinking/acting against the crowd

Lin Wilder Why did Lin love this book?

This book had me laughing from the first paragraph.

I had no plan to write novels then. I just wanted to write in a beautiful leather journal a good friend gave me to record my thoughts on my trip to Greece. It was a trip I’d planned with others, one in particular. But when he decided to leave, I went anyway. Alone.

A friend of mine knew the trip would be emotionally and technically difficult. Travelling alone in a non-English-speaking country can be dicey. She hoped that this book would provide relief from the debris of my personal life. And it did.

By Natalie Goldberg,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Writing Down the Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Experience a modern classic on writing as you've never heard it before. With nearly one million copies of Writing Down the Bones in print, Natalie Goldberg has helped change the way writing is practiced in homes, schools, and workshops across America. Through her heartfelt personal reflections and her ingenious Zen-based exercises, Goldberg makes writing available to you as a tool for personal expression, self-exploration, and healing.

In this enhanced reading of her seminal work, Goldberg offers new commentary about the creative, spiritual, and practical dimensions of writing. Join her as she looks back on her life, sharing the story of…


Book cover of Art Matters: Because Your Imagination Can Change the World

Dinty W. Moore Author Of The Mindful Writer

From my list on for inspiring beginning writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dinty W. Moore is the author of the writing guides The Story Cure, Crafting the Personal Essay, and The Mindful Writer, among many other books. He has published essays and stories in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Southern Review, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere, and has taught master classes and workshops across the United States as well as in Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, and Mexico.

Dinty's book list on for inspiring beginning writers

Dinty W. Moore Why did Dinty love this book?

Gaiman is always wonderfully positive on the subjects of experimentation, failure, and persistence, and with advice such as “The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” This inspiring book is made even better by the accompanying four-color artwork from his longtime illustrator, Chris Riddell.

By Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Seize the day in the name of art. This creative call to arms from the mind of Neil Gaiman combines his extraordinary words with deft and striking illustrations by Chris Riddell.

'Like a bedtime story for the rest of your life, this is a book to live by. At its core, it's about freeing ideas, shedding fear of failure, and learning that "things can be different" ' INSTITUTE OF IMAGINATION

Be bold. Be rebellious. Choose art. It matters.

Neil Gaiman once said that 'the world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before'. This little book…


Book cover of Letters to a Young Poet

Anna Pasternak Author Of The American Duchess: The Real Wallis Simpson

From my list on books to touch your heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a nonfiction writer who aims to bring heart to my writing. If I can move the reader and enable them to connect to their inner world, then I consider that I have been successful. As I consider my purpose is rehabilitating women whom history has mistreated, my way into these misunderstood women is to examine their inner lives. What moves them and how they manage to survive and surmount their own heartbreak is the question that I am most interested in.

Anna's book list on books to touch your heart

Anna Pasternak Why did Anna love this book?

This book became a lifeline for me when I was going through an unhappily difficult and extremely stressful time. I felt as if it was written for me as a form of salve for my lack of trust in myself and my life at this point.

Rilke is wise, knowing, and reassuring about the vicissitudes of our emotional journeys. He encouraged me to hold onto myself in an emotional sense. To seek my own inner counsel and to not panic when my life seemed to unravel. I love his discourse on faith, solitude, trust, and his dissection of what it is to be an artist.

I found this a profoundly important and moving book when I was wavering about the bigger picture of life.

By Rainer Maria Rilke, MD Herter Norton,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Letters to a Young Poet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Born in 1875, the great German lyric poet Rainer Maria Rilke published his first collection of poems in 1898 and went on to become renowned for his delicate depiction of the workings of the human heart. Drawn by some sympathetic note in his poems, young people often wrote to Rilke with their problems and hopes. From 1903 to 1908 Rilke wrote a series of remarkable responses to a young, would-be poet on poetry and on surviving as a sensitive observer in a harsh world. Those letters, still a fresh source of inspiration and insight, are accompanied here by a chronicle…


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