100 books like Love's Executioner

By Irvin Yalom,

Here are 100 books that Love's Executioner fans have personally recommended if you like Love's Executioner. 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 New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work

Charisse Cooke Author Of The Attachment Solution: How to develop secure, strong and lasting relationships

From my list on how to create a great relationship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was fortunate enough to meet my husband over 17 years ago, and we have packed a lot of life in since then. Along with two kids and a dog, we’ve had our fair share of tough moments: financial challenges, bereavement, family issues, marital disagreement, and traumatic life events that taught me just as much as my two decades-long career as a relationship psychotherapist has. This, combined with working with individuals, couples, and partners in search of what love means and how to practically go about achieving it, has clarified for me just how much we all need tools and teachings when it comes to matters of the heart.

Charisse's book list on how to create a great relationship

Charisse Cooke Why did Charisse love this book?

Terrence Real tells it like it is, and his frank and forthright manner is something I truly admire. I got so much from this book because it is practical and motivating. I felt challenged and empowered to be more loving in my relationships, to recognize my own unhelpful behavior, to understand that certain habits can destroy a loving partnership and that great relationships take time to build—and that’s okay.

It's full of bullet points and tools, which I appreciate and can apply more easily, and he also has a strong message for men in his book, something that is lacking in relationship well-being literature generally. 

This is a solid book that will help you in your relationships.

By Terrence Real,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In his extraordinary new book, Terrence Real, distinguished therapist and bestselling author, presents a long overdue message that women need to hear: You aren’t crazy–you’re right!

Women have changed in the last twenty-five years–they have become powerful, independent, self-confident, and happy. Yet many men remain irresponsible and emotionally detached. They don’t know how to respond to frustrated partners who just want their mates to show up and grow up.

Enter the good news: In this revolutionary book, Real shows women how to master the new rules of twenty-first-century marriage by offering them a set of effective tools with which they…


Book cover of Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

Bobby Palmer Author Of Small Hours

From my list on talking animals for grown ups.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a British author who has always had a fascination with magical realism and novels that blend the serious with the strange. For that reason, though I write literary fiction for adults, I take so much of my inspiration from children’s literature. There’s something so simple about how kids’ books stitch the extraordinary into the every day without having to overexplain things. I now live not far from the forest that inspired A. A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood, and my latest novel is set in and inspired by this part of rural England–with all the mystery and magic that a trip into the woods entails.

Bobby's book list on talking animals for grown ups

Bobby Palmer Why did Bobby love this book?

In this claustrophobic modern classic, a grieving father and Ted Hughes scholar finds himself haunted by an oily, unnerving, anthropomorphic crow.

I’m a fan of anything Porter writes, but his debut is deserving of the indelible mark it’s made upon the modern literary landscape. The crow is a character like no other, and Porter’s poetry brings this strange and beautiful bird to life.

By Max Porter,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Grief Is the Thing with Feathers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 NOVEL OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

Winner of the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize and the Sunday Times/Peter, Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year award and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Goldsmiths Prize.

In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother's sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.

In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This sentimental bird is drawn to the grieving family…


Book cover of Emma

Charisse Cooke Author Of The Attachment Solution: How to develop secure, strong and lasting relationships

From my list on how to create a great relationship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was fortunate enough to meet my husband over 17 years ago, and we have packed a lot of life in since then. Along with two kids and a dog, we’ve had our fair share of tough moments: financial challenges, bereavement, family issues, marital disagreement, and traumatic life events that taught me just as much as my two decades-long career as a relationship psychotherapist has. This, combined with working with individuals, couples, and partners in search of what love means and how to practically go about achieving it, has clarified for me just how much we all need tools and teachings when it comes to matters of the heart.

Charisse's book list on how to create a great relationship

Charisse Cooke Why did Charisse love this book?

Jane Austen would have made such a great therapist! Her razor-sharp observations, combined with profound insights into people and relationships, make this book an all-time favorite of mine. I love her descriptions of falling in (and out of) love and how fallible each of her characters is, reminding us of our humanity–especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

What also strikes me is how true it is that pride, image, and status can still play out in our more modern relationships today. This book feels very old-fashioned in places, but it warns us how easily we can hurt other people and damage relationships, sometimes irrevocably. There’s a lot to learn from Emma, and I enjoy seeing relationships depicted in fiction, where so much can be explored through a fascinating and absorbing story, too.

By Jane Austen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Her masterpiece, mixing the sparkle of her early books with a deep sensibility' Robert McCrum, Observer

Although described by Jane Austen as a character 'whom no one but myself will much like', the irrepressible Emma Woodhouse is one of her most beloved heroines. Clever, rich and beautiful, she sees no need for marriage, but loves interfering in the romantic lives of others, until her matchmaking plans unravel, with consequences that she never expected. Jane Austen's novel of youthful exuberance and gradual self-knowledge is a brilliant, sparkling comic masterpiece.

Edited with an Introduction by FIONA STAFFORD


Book cover of The Golden Compass

A.A. Vora Author Of Spin of Fate

From my list on ethics in age appropriate ways for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m of Indian ethnicity and Japanese nationality, so it felt natural to write a book that drew inspiration from both cultures without being adjacent to either one. Like me, my book is a mixed bag. It features an original mythology with a unique religion and mythical beasts that you’ve (hopefully) never seen before. It’s also pretty heavy on themes and tries to provide some context to questions that baffled me as a kid: Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do war and violence exist? I can’t say that I’ve answered those questions, but I hope I’ve provided a multifaceted perspective into the conversation around them.

A.A.'s book list on ethics in age appropriate ways for kids

A.A. Vora Why did A.A. love this book?

I loved that this book doesn’t oversimplify challenging themes for a young audience. It mingles magic, action, and fascinating worldbuilding with some heavy philosophical and ethical undercurrents in a unique and compelling way.

The protagonist, Lyra, was a bit of a brat (in the best way), and I loved her mix of naivety and intelligence. I especially enjoyed the portrayal of dust as a conscious particle, and the most fascinating aspect for me was the study of its mysteries.

While I can’t comment on the specific religious undertones—I am not Christian and harbor no negative feelings against the church—I did appreciate the overarching conversation around religion as an institution.

By Philip Pullman,

Why should I read it?

28 authors picked The Golden Compass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The first volume in Philip Pullman's groundbreaking
HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy, now a thrilling, critically
acclaimed BBC/HBO television series. First published
in 1995, and acclaimed as a modern masterpiece, this first
book in the series won the UK's top awards for children's literature.

"Without this child, we shall all
die."

Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live
half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford.

The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands
of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight.

Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences
far beyond her own world...



This…


Book cover of Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

Charisse Cooke Author Of The Attachment Solution: How to develop secure, strong and lasting relationships

From my list on how to create a great relationship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was fortunate enough to meet my husband over 17 years ago, and we have packed a lot of life in since then. Along with two kids and a dog, we’ve had our fair share of tough moments: financial challenges, bereavement, family issues, marital disagreement, and traumatic life events that taught me just as much as my two decades-long career as a relationship psychotherapist has. This, combined with working with individuals, couples, and partners in search of what love means and how to practically go about achieving it, has clarified for me just how much we all need tools and teachings when it comes to matters of the heart.

Charisse's book list on how to create a great relationship

Charisse Cooke Why did Charisse love this book?

This book exploded my (at that stage–limited) understanding of relationships and might have even inspired me to become a therapist. It highlighted for me how complex human dynamics are and how vital it is for us to have self-awareness and stay accountable in our partnerships.

It was so ahead of its time, tackling subjects like people-pleasing and gaslighting long before they were a thing. Groundbreaking when it came out in 1986, it is still relevant today and a true classic. I have recommended this book countless times to clients and friends alike and return to it often for Melody Beattie’s compassion, wisdom, guidance, and clarity.

By Melody Beattie,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Codependent No More as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Is someone else's problem your problem? If, like so many others, you've lost sight of your own life in the drama of tending to someone else's, you may be codependent--and you may find yourself in this book.

The healing touchstone of millions, this modern classic by one of America's best-loved and most inspirational authors holds the key to understanding codependency and to unlocking its stultifying hold on your life.

With instructive life stories, personal reflections, exercises, and self-tests, Codependent No More is a simple, straightforward, readable map of the perplexing world of codependency--charting the path to freedom and a lifetime…


Book cover of 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think

Charisse Cooke Author Of The Attachment Solution: How to develop secure, strong and lasting relationships

From my list on how to create a great relationship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was fortunate enough to meet my husband over 17 years ago, and we have packed a lot of life in since then. Along with two kids and a dog, we’ve had our fair share of tough moments: financial challenges, bereavement, family issues, marital disagreement, and traumatic life events that taught me just as much as my two decades-long career as a relationship psychotherapist has. This, combined with working with individuals, couples, and partners in search of what love means and how to practically go about achieving it, has clarified for me just how much we all need tools and teachings when it comes to matters of the heart.

Charisse's book list on how to create a great relationship

Charisse Cooke Why did Charisse love this book?

This book speaks to my soul. Wiest’s writing makes me feel enriched and nurtured as she talks about life and love in a magical, almost poetic way. Full of short and long essays, it’s easy to dip into this book for a grounding reminder, a calming voice, and a warm hug.

I sometimes read it in between my sessions with clients as it is so uplifting, even though it tackles serious subjects. I also adore that this was written when Wiest was a young woman (in her 20s), and it represents the hope and goodness we need in our increasingly hostile world. I feel inspired to be strong and gentle, mentally astute and emotionally awake, assertive and receptive, kind and firm, all at the same time.

By Brianna Wiest,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think, the global bestseller and social media phenomenon, is a collection of author Brianna Wiest's most beloved pieces of writing. Her meditations include why you should pursue purpose over passion, embrace negative thinking, see the wisdom in daily routine, and become aware of the cognitive biases that are creating the way you see your life. Some of these pieces have never been seen; others have been read by millions of people around the world. Regardless, each will leave you thinking: this idea changed my life.


Book cover of Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature

Ben Alderson-Day Author Of Presence: The Strange Science and True Stories of the Unseen Other

From my list on understanding the uncanny feeling of felt presence.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been either studying, researching, or teaching psychology since I was 16 – but before that, I was a reader. I have always been drawn to books that pose fundamental questions about the mind, and to this day I still go back to fiction and non-fiction that can generate ideas and hypotheses for new experiments. I’ve even used fictional stories in brain-scanning experiments to explore how the mind represents voices and characters: our findings show that we are experts at automatically simulating both the sound and the intention of other people when they talk in a story (even when the stories are very simple ones). 

Ben's book list on understanding the uncanny feeling of felt presence

Ben Alderson-Day Why did Ben love this book?

My book starts with a series of conversations with people who have psychosis and hear voices. Some people described to me a particularly unusual experience: the feeling of a voice being there, even when it wasn’t speaking.

As an undergraduate student one of the books that first got me thinking about these topics was Richard Bentall’s Madness Explained. It really opened my eyes to the possibilities of the mind and how we can think about experiences like hallucinations without necessarily pathologizing them.

This book was my gateway to then learning about things like the International Hearing Voices moment, which argues against an overly medicalized understanding of unusual experiences like voice-hearing. My book is quite wide-ranging, but I’ve tried to retain some of the ethos of Madness Explained in how I’ve approached the world of uncanny presences. 

By Richard P Bentall,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THIS BOOK WILL EXPLAIN WHAT MADNESS IS, TO SHOW THAT IT CAN BE UNDERSTOOD IN PSYCHOLOGICAL TERMS, AND THAT BY STUDYING IT WE CAN LEARN IMPORTANT INSIGHTS ABOUT THE NORMAL MIND. THE BOOK WILL ARGUE THAT TRADITIONAL APPROACHES TO MADNESS MUST BE ABANDONED IN FAVOUR OF A NEW APPROACH WHICH IS MORE CONSISTENT WITH THAT WE NOW KNOW ABOUT THE HUMAN MIND. OVER THE LAST CENTURY OR SO IT HAS BECOME SO COMMONPLACE TO REGARD MADNESS SIMPLY AS A MEDICAL CONDITION THAT IT HAS BECOME DIFFICULT TO THINK OF IT IN ANY OTHER WAY. BENTALL ARGUES INSTEAD THAT DELUSIONS, HALLUCINATIONS…


Book cover of South: The Endurance Expedition

Ben Alderson-Day Author Of Presence: The Strange Science and True Stories of the Unseen Other

From my list on understanding the uncanny feeling of felt presence.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been either studying, researching, or teaching psychology since I was 16 – but before that, I was a reader. I have always been drawn to books that pose fundamental questions about the mind, and to this day I still go back to fiction and non-fiction that can generate ideas and hypotheses for new experiments. I’ve even used fictional stories in brain-scanning experiments to explore how the mind represents voices and characters: our findings show that we are experts at automatically simulating both the sound and the intention of other people when they talk in a story (even when the stories are very simple ones). 

Ben's book list on understanding the uncanny feeling of felt presence

Ben Alderson-Day Why did Ben love this book?

Some of the most famous felt presences are those that occur in survival situations under the name of the “Third Man”.

The name comes from a line in The Wasteland, by T.S. Eliot, in which he recalled the story of Antarctic explorers being accompanied by a phantom figure. Tat story was Ernest Shackleton’s: at the end of the ill-fated Endurance expedition, Shackleton experienced something like a felt presence when crossing the interior of South Georgia Island to save the rest of his crew.

He recounts the story of the whole expedition in South, and it’s an amazing read. When I was writing my book, I was really struck by how good a psychologist Shackleton was: he was constantly trying to understand and motivate his crew, while being acutely aware of the impact of the situation and the environment around them.

At several points he directly comments on…

By Ernest Shackleton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First appearing in 1919, “South: The Endurance Expedition” is the gripping account of those who traveled with Sir Ernest Shackleton on his third expedition to Antarctica. In August1914, Shackleton set out with a crew of twenty-eight aboard the ship “Endurance” in an effort to become the first men to cross the vast Antarctic land mass, a grand plan that was given the lofty title “The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.” At the same time the “Endurance” set out into the Weddell Sea so that a group of six, including Shackleton, could traverse the vase continent, another ship, called “The Aurora” landed on…


Book cover of Becoming Myself: A Psychiatrist's Memoir

Will Meyerhofer Author Of Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy

From my list on Irvin Yalom.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a psychotherapist, with a private practice, and the author of several books. Like me, Yalom is a psychotherapist as well as an author, and the best of his writing takes place in that heightened zone where emotions seem to crackle because two people are sustaining an authentic contact, actually being “there” with one another – like the very best, life-changing moments in psychotherapy. I dreamt last night about Irvin Yalom. So yeah, Yalom can get into your head, in a good way.

Will's book list on Irvin Yalom

Will Meyerhofer Why did Will love this book?

An absolutely gorgeous autobiography that never for a moment bogs down in the details, but soars above the timeline of Yalom's life by concerning itself chiefly with glimmers of insight, events that have lived on in his unconscious and formed him into the healer he became. Like all of Yalom's best work, I found myself reading it slowly, savoring every word. The honesty, if you open yourself to it, and accept that he really is telling you the honest to god truth, smacks you in the face like few authors I've ever encountered. I kept thinking, if I do enough psychotherapy for long enough, I might be able to pull off this degree of self-knowledge.

By Irvin D. Yalom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'When Yalom publishes something - anything - I buy it, and he never disappoints. He's an amazing storyteller, a gorgeous writer, a great, generous, compassionate thinker, and - quite rightly - one of the world's most influential mental healthcare practitioners' Nicola Barker, Guardian Best Books of 2017

'Wonderful, compelling and as insightful about its subject and about the times he lived in as you could hope for. A fabulous read' Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone

Irvin D. Yalom has made a career of investigating the lives of others. In Becoming Myself, his long-awaited memoir, he turns his therapeutic…


Book cover of The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients

Will Meyerhofer Author Of Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy

From my list on Irvin Yalom.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a psychotherapist, with a private practice, and the author of several books. Like me, Yalom is a psychotherapist as well as an author, and the best of his writing takes place in that heightened zone where emotions seem to crackle because two people are sustaining an authentic contact, actually being “there” with one another – like the very best, life-changing moments in psychotherapy. I dreamt last night about Irvin Yalom. So yeah, Yalom can get into your head, in a good way.

Will's book list on Irvin Yalom

Will Meyerhofer Why did Will love this book?

Probably the best place to start with Yalom, this book is a must-read for therapists, and I recommend it regularly to anyone getting started in the business, or even contemplating pursuing a career in psychotherapy. The hardest guide to write about psychotherapy is the book about “technique” - not the highfalutin theory laced with opaque language book, but the hands-on, “this is what you say when someone says this” or “here's what you can do when you run into someone in this sort of situation” book.  This is that book, and only Yalom, with his immense experience and humility, could pull off this slender guide, packed with the wisdom of decades of working, alone, in a room with another human being in pain.  I return to this book regularly and always find something new and useful in his words.

By Irvin D. Yalom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Gift of Therapy is the new book from the bestselling author of Love's Executioner. The culmination of master psychiatrist Dr Irvin Yalom's forty-five years' work as a therapist, this book illustrates through real case studies how patients and therapists alike can get the most out of therapy. Presented as eighty-five 'tips' for 'beginner therapists', Yalom shares his own fresh approach and the insights he has gained while treating his patients. Personal, and sometimes provocative, Yalom includes some unorthodox suggestions: - Let the patient matter to you - Acknowledge your errors - Create a new therapy for each patient -…


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