100 books like Into the Wild

By Jon Krakauer,

Here are 100 books that Into the Wild fans have personally recommended if you like Into the Wild. 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 Man’s Search for Meaning

TP Wood Author Of 77° North

From the list on stirring your heart and imagination.

Who am I?

It’s Saturday, 5 p.m. If you could peer back in time to the late ’60s, you’d find me plunked in front of our new colour RCA Victor, a Swanson TV dinner steaming before me, and the theme…da-da-DAAA-da-da-da-da-DAAAA, announcing my favourite show: Star Trek. I absorbed the logic of Mr. Spock, the passion of Dr. McCoy, and the fantastical world of Klingons, wormholes, and warp drives. Add to that a degree in history and English, and it set the stage for my passion to read and write in genres of science fiction and magical realism. I hope you find these books as stimulating and thought-provoking as I did.  

TP's book list on stirring your heart and imagination

Why did TP love this book?

Man’s Search for Meaning is a chronicle of twentieth-century evil, and how one man overcame it.

Viktor Frankl’s grisly ordeal in four Nazi death camps, and his capacity to survive their horrific conditions, is a mind-numbing account of our darkest period in history. This ninety-three-page narrative exposes an unparalleled genocide, and the power of the human spirit to transcend insurmountable odds.

By Viktor Frankl,

Why should I read it?

36 authors picked Man’s Search for Meaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the outstanding classics to emerge from the Holocaust, Man's Search for Meaning is Viktor Frankl's story of his struggle for survival in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Today, this remarkable tribute to hope offers us an avenue to finding greater meaning and purpose in our own lives.


By Hermann Hesse,

Book cover of Siddhartha

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

From the 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

Why did Marc love this book?

Siddhartha is a profound exploration of spirituality, self-discovery, and the pursuit of meaning in life.

It encourages readers to seek their own paths, embrace the present moment, and develop a deep sense of interconnectedness with the world around them. The books protagonist Siddhartha encounters various forms of suffering throughout his journey, and he comes to recognize the necessity and inevitability of pain and hardship in life.

The novel teaches that true wisdom and growth can arise from embracing and accepting suffering rather than trying to escape or avoid it.

By Hermann Hesse,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Here the spirituality of the East and the West have met in a novel that enfigures deep human wisdom with a rich and colorful imagination.

Written in a prose of almost biblical simplicity and beauty, it is the story of a soul's long quest in search of he ultimate answer to the enigma of man's role on this earth. As a youth, the young Indian Siddhartha meets the Buddha but cannot be content with a disciple's role: he must work out his own destiny and solve his own doubt-a tortuous road that carries him through the sensuality of a love…

Wind, Sand and Stars

By Antoine de Saint-Exupery,

Book cover of Wind, Sand and Stars

Kelly Cordes Author Of The Tower: A Chronicle of Climbing and Controversy on Cerro Torre

From the list on belief and finding meaning from the meaningless.

Who am I?

Some thirty years ago, on a frozen waterfall near an old logging town in Montana, my life changed forever. A friend took me climbing. Almost instantly, upon leaving the ground, the mountains became my singular passion. I lived in run-down shacks and worked dead-end jobs, freeing myself to travel and to climb. Along the way I stumbled into an editorial job with the American Alpine Journal, where I worked for twelve years, deepening my knowledge of mountains, including the incomparable Cerro Torre. I know that climbing is overtly pointless. What we gain from it, however—what it demands and what we give in return—has immeasurable power.

Kelly's book list on belief and finding meaning from the meaningless

Why did Kelly love this book?

Saint-Exupery’s descriptions of what he sees and feels during enthralling activities amid stunning landscapes left me enchanted. The feelings he captures extend beyond the mere act of flying and into human relationships and our quest for meaning, written in beautiful, often philosophical prose. He approached flying as a metaphor for life and the human condition. Even if I will never fly, he made me care. 

By Antoine de Saint-Exupery,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Wind, Sand and Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The National Book Award-winning autobiographical book about the wonder of flying from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of the beloved children's classic The Little Prince.

A National Geographic Top Ten Adventure Book of All Time

Recipient of the Grand Prix of the Académie Française, Wind, Sand and Stars captures the grandeur, danger, and isolation of flight. Its exciting account of air adventure, combined with lyrical prose and the spirit of a philosopher, makes it one of the most popular works ever written about flying.

Translated by Lewis Galantière.

"There are certain rare individuals...who by the mere fact of their existence put…

Book cover of The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt's New World

Patrick Dean Author Of Nature's Messenger: Mark Catesby and His Adventures in a New World

From the list on trailblazing explorers in the Americas.

Who am I?

Born and raised in Mississippi, I have long been fascinated with the natural history of the South and of the Americas in general. And as an outdoorsy guy, a NOLS graudate, mountain-biker, trail-runner, and paddler, I revel in reading accounts of the early days of Western exploration in the woodlands, mountains, and coastal regions of our hemisphere. Finally, as an avid reader and now author, I constantly seek out enthralling and wide-ranging narratives about exploration, outdoor adventure, and the natural world.

Patrick's book list on trailblazing explorers in the Americas

Why did Patrick love this book?

This biography of Alexander von Humboldt is very worthy for a ton of reasons, but Humboldt’s explorations in the Americas between 1799-1804 get him on this list.

Thomas Jefferson called Humboldt “the most scientific man of the age” for good reason: Humboldt is considered the father of ecology, and of the study of the environment. One of the best narrative nonfiction books of recent years.

By Andrea Wulf,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Invention of Nature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



'A thrilling adventure story' Bill Bryson

'Dazzling' Literary Review

'Brilliant' Sunday Express

'Extraordinary and gripping' New Scientist

'A superb biography' The Economist

'An exhilarating armchair voyage' GILES MILTON, Mail on Sunday

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist - more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon.

His colourful adventures read…

Defiant Earth

By Clive Hamilton,

Book cover of Defiant Earth: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene

Chris Fitch Author Of Subterranea: Discovering the Earth's Extraordinary Hidden Depth

From the list on rethink nature.

Who am I?

Chris Fitch is a writer, geographer, and storyteller. Formerly a senior staff writer at Geographical, the magazine of the Royal Geographical Society, he has reported from Australia to Kenya, Arizona to the Galápagos Islands, covering global stories on climate change, ecological urbanism, wildlife conservation, cultural revitalisation, sustainable development, geopolitics, science, travel, and more.

Chris' book list on rethink nature

Why did Chris love this book?

A profoundly depressing but important explanation of the paradox that the more power humans gain over the Earth, the more the planet we call home will turn against us, a fundamental shift in humanity's relationship with nature, and making our existence ever more precarious.

By Clive Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Humans have become so powerful that we have disrupted the functioning of the Earth System as a whole, bringing on a new geological epoch the Anthropocene one in which the serene and clement conditions that allowed civilisation to flourish are disappearing and we quail before 'the wakened giant'. The emergence of a conscious creature capable of using technology to bring about a rupture in the Earth's geochronology is an event of monumental significance, on a par with the arrival of civilisation itself. What does it mean to have arrived at this point, where human history and Earth history collide? Some…

The World Without Us

By Alan Weisman,

Book cover of The World Without Us

Kevin Herbst Author Of The End of Heroes

From the list on SF&F for spring.

Who am I?

Starting with Tolkien’s novels as a child, I’ve devoured countless SF&F stories. My love of the genre, particularly high fantasy, combined with the irritatingly fashionable trend of so many fantasy authors to stop writing their stories partway through and leave we readers high and dry, motivated me to start writing, to see if I could create something that I was missing as I hunted for new material to read. As an intense hater of winter, spring always signified to me a time of hope, of new growth, of opportunity, of the ending of difficulty, and the start of a time when all things were possible. 

Kevin's book list on SF&F for spring

Why did Kevin love this book?

Much SF&F literature has explored the concept of what the world might look like with fewer (or no) humans.

Weisman’s well-researched book imagines how our environment would recover; how nature might take back control without humans around to continue wrecking it.

He imagines the primacy of nature in a fascinating way and manages to avoid the normative language that might be off-putting, drawing the reader into a place that might as well be 1000 light years away from Earth.

By Alan Weisman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The World Without Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Revised Edition with New Afterword from the Author

Time #1 Nonfiction Book of the Year

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award

Over 3 million copies sold in 35 Languages

"On the day after humans disappear, nature takes over and immediately begins cleaning house - or houses, that is. Cleans them right off the face of the earth. They all go."

What if mankind disappeared right now, forever... what would happen to the Earth in a week, a year, a millennium? Could the planet's climate ever recover from human activity? How would nature destroy our huge cities and our…


By Edward O. Wilson,

Book cover of Half-Earth

Dave Goulson Author Of The Garden Jungle

From the list on rewilding and the biodiversity crisis.

Who am I?

I have loved insects and other wildlife for all of my life. I am now a professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, UK, specializing in bee ecology. I have published more than 400 scientific articles on the ecology and conservation of bumblebees and other insects, plus seven books, including the Sunday Times bestsellers A Sting in the Tale (2013), The Garden Jungle (2019), and Silent Earth (2021). They’ve been translated into 20 languages and sold over half a million copies. I also founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in 2006, a charity that has grown to 12,000 members. 

Dave's book list on rewilding and the biodiversity crisis

Why did Dave love this book?

EO Wilson died just a few weeks ago, at the age of 92. It was a sad day for me, as he has always been one of my great heroes. “E.O.” was a fantastic scientist, a world authority on ants, and sometimes known as the “father of biodiversity”. In this book, he argues that we have no right to drive millions of species extinct and that our own future depends upon setting aside half the Earth for nature.    

By Edward O. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Half-Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

History is not a prerogative of the human species, Edward O. Wilson declares in Half-Earth. Demonstrating that we blindly ignore the histories of millions of other species, Wilson warns us that a point of no return is imminent. Refusing to believe that our extinction is predetermined, Wilson has written Half-Earth as a cri de coeur, proposing that the only solution to our impending "Sixth Extinction" is to increase the area of natural reserves to half the surface of the earth. Half-Earth is a resounding conclusion to the best-selling trilogy begun by the "splendid" (Financial Times) The Social Conquest of Earth…

The Alchemist

By Paulo Coelho,

Book cover of The Alchemist

Heather C. Markham Author Of Rough Waters: From Surviving to Thriving with a Progressive Muscular Dystrophy

From the list on developing your sense of adventure.

Who am I?

A sense of adventure is what gets me out of bed every morning. What will the day hold? I have no idea, but some of it is within my realm of control. Will I let myself get sucked into the Doldrums, or will I courageously reach out to a friend to say that I need help? I believe deeply in the interconnectedness of all things, and that part of my personal destiny is to be a part of that connection for others. Even in the daily struggles that come with using a power wheelchair, I keep working hard and following my vision and see where the adventure takes me.

Heather's book list on developing your sense of adventure

Why did Heather love this book?

Coelho’s book is an allegorical adventure of a young shepherd who dreams of buried treasure in a far-off land. The predominant themes are having a destiny, the idea of a universal plan, the interconnectedness of all things, the value of simplicity, and that fear is an obstacle.

As I read through, I had to decide who I was: the dreaming shepherd, the interpreting gypsy fortune teller, the fearful crystal merchant, the intellectual Englishman, the wise alchemist, or the beautiful Fatima who simply believes the shepherd will return and does not put conditions on him.

At the core of the book is the advice given to our shepherd hero that, "when you really want something to happen, the whole universe will conspire so that your wish comes true.” I choose daily to see life as a grand adventure, to believe the whole universe is conspiring on my behalf, and to have…

By Paulo Coelho,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked The Alchemist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A global phenomenon, The Alchemist has been read and loved by over 62 million readers, topping bestseller lists in 74 countries worldwide. Now this magical fable is beautifully repackaged in an edition that lovers of Paulo Coelho will want to treasure forever.

Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. This is such a book - a beautiful parable about learning to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life's path and, above all, follow your dreams.

Santiago, a young shepherd living in the hills of Andalucia, feels that there is…

The Bhagavad Gita

By Eknath Easwaran, Vyasa,

Book cover of The Bhagavad Gita

Duff McDonald Author Of Tickled: A Commonsense Guide to the Present Moment

From the list on to help you find your true self.

Who am I?

That’s the eternal question, isn’t it? Out here in the manifestation, I am Duff McDonald, author and journalist, father of Marguerite, husband of Joey, and general man about town. I’m a Canadian who moved to the U.S. to go to college and never went back. But who am I, really? I am the same thing as everyone else, a speck of consciousness in the possibility machine, a perfect creation. This whole thing has divine origins, something I only realized not that long ago, and it set me free. I can’t wait to see what happens next. I have, of late, discovered that maximizing one’s awareness is the main quest of a human life.

Duff's book list on to help you find your true self

Why did Duff love this book?

The Bhagavad Gītā is one of India’s most revered spiritual books for good reason: It contains everything you need to know. A dialogue between the warrior, Arjuna, and his chariot driver, Krishna — who also happens to be an incarnation of the divine — it’s a gripping drama, an instruction manual for life, and one of the most concise articulations of the search for higher meaning that’s ever been written. For English speakers, I recommend the translation and commentary by Eknath Easwaran, which goes down easy.

By Eknath Easwaran, Vyasa,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Bhagavad Gita, "The Song of the Lord," is probably the best known of all the Indian scriptures, and Easwaran's clear, accessible translation is the best-selling edition. The Gita opens dramatically, with prince Arjuna collapsing in anguish on the brink of a war that he doesn't want to fight. Arjuna has lost his way on the battlefield of life, and turns to his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, the Lord himself. Krishna replies in 700 verses of sublime instruction on living and dying, loving and working, and the nature of the soul. This book includes an extensive and very readable introduction,…


By Christopher Hitchens,

Book cover of Mortality

Loren Mayshark Author Of Death: An Exploration: Learning To Embrace Life's Most Feared Mystery

From the list on the art of living and dying.

Who am I?

Loren Mayshark is the author of three non-fiction books. His first book Death: An Exploration won the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Award in the category of Death & Dying and was selected as the honorable mention recipient for the book of the year in the 2016 Foreword INDIES Awards in the category of Grief/Grieving (Adult Nonfiction). Mayshark has a BA in World History with a minor in World Religion from Manhattanville College.

Loren's book list on the art of living and dying

Why did Loren love this book?

Hitchens was a man on a mission with a razor sharp intellect. These precious words written while Hitchens was losing a fatal battle with cancer are fascinating and he touches on some profound ideas. I was especially struck by the conviction of a man who was a staunch atheist unflinchingly prepared for a godless death. Hitchens was not only witty, but inspirational and courageous.

By Christopher Hitchens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The starting point of this book was when Christopher Hitchens found he was being deported 'from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady'. Over the next year he underwent the brutal gamut of cancer treatment, enduring huge levels of suffering and eventually losing the power of speech.

Mortality is at once an unsparingly honest account of the ravages of his disease and the climax of a lifetime's work of fierce debate and peerless prose. In this confrontation with mortality Hitchens writes eloquently of his fear of losing the ability to write,…

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