100 books like Lovingkindness

By Sharon Salzberg,

Here are 100 books that Lovingkindness fans have personally recommended if you like Lovingkindness. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ 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.

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 Mindfulness in Plain English

Nita Sweeney Author Of How to Make Every Move a Meditation: Mindful Movement for Mental Health, Well-Being, and Insight

From my list on why meditation is worth your time and effort.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a thirty-year meditator, certified meditation leader, and award-winning author, it’s my job to keep up on the latest books about mindfulness and Zen practice. Despite seeing new volumes being published regularly, I return to these books as great sources of solid practice information. Each of these authors explains meditation in accessible terms, easy for readers to follow and understand. I can’t remember who said that a confused reader is an antagonistic reader, but they are right. The books I’ve suggested offer clarity. They help readers begin or continue their practice and understand how and why meditation is worth their time.

Nita's book list on why meditation is worth your time and effort

Nita Sweeney Why did Nita love this book?

In this straightforward meditation manual, Bhante G. (as he is affectionately called) sets forth the hows and whys of mindfulness meditation. When I first learned to meditate, I found this simple but profound book the most accessible of the many books available. My husband and I were so impressed with Bhante’s wisdom that we brought him to Columbus, Ohio to teach a weekend retreat for our local mindfulness group. He was warm, caring, and funny. His personality comes across in this small, but mighty book.

By Bhante Henepola Gunaratana,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mindfulness in Plain English as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A masterpiece.”
—Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness in Plain English was first published in 1994, is one of the bestselling — and most influential — books in the field of mindfulness. It’s easy to see why.

Author Bhante Gunaratana, a renowned meditation master, takes us step by step through the myths, realities, and benefits of meditation and the practice of mindfulness. The book showcases Bhante’s trademark clarity and wit as he explores the tool of meditation, what it does, and how to make it work.
 
This book is:
A best-selling introduction to mindfulness Full of practical advice on developing a meditation practice…


Book cover of Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Lynda Allen Author Of Grace Reflected

From my list on life-changing world-rocking books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I think of myself as a listener and life in progress. As a poet and author, I’m always listening to the words that move through my heart. I’m also a spiritual seeker, always looking for the Divine in the world around me and almost always surprised by the ways it shows up when I’m paying attention. Yet, there’s another part of me that is a Jersey girl through and through, looking for humor or irreverence in the face of life’s challenges. All these aspects come together in an unusual harmony, creating an openness to being changed by the things that come into my life. Hence, a list of life-changing books.

Lynda's book list on life-changing world-rocking books

Lynda Allen Why did Lynda love this book?

Reading this book helped me change my life for the better. Putting Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings into practice in my daily life helped me live a more mindful, more peaceful life at a time of great transition in my personal life.

One of the things I love the most about this book is how simple it is to incorporate its practices into daily life. There are sections on how to be mindful about washing dishes or answering the phone! There are also sections that went much deeper, which dealt with how to be mindful of my emotions, which I have found so valuable in dealing with anxiety, difficult situations, and fear.

One of my favorite experiences related to this book was guiding a group of middle school-age kids through a discussion inspired by the “Tangerine Meditation.” Instead of a tangerine, we considered a piece of paper and talked about the…

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Peace Is Every Step as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'This is a very worthwhile book. It can change individual lives and the life of our society.' The Dalai Lama

Lucidly and beautifully written, Peace is Every Step contains commentaries and meditations, personal anecdotes and stories from Nhat Hanh's experiences as a peace activist, teacher, and community leader. It begins where the reader already is - in the kitchen, office, driving a car, walking in a park - and shows how deep meditative presence is available now. Nhat Hanh provides exercises to increase our awareness of our own body and mind through conscious breathing, which can bring immediate joy and…


Book cover of When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Elizabeth Reninger Author Of When Therapy Doesn't Work: A Mindfulness Guide to Emotional Repair

From my list on psychological healing and spiritual inquiry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve long been fascinated by the relationship between non-dual spiritual inquiry and the resolution of mental-emotional imbalances. On the one hand, our non-dual essence (the being-awareness that is aware of these words right now) remains wholly independent of and untouched by any phenomenal circumstances. It is non-phenomenal, unconditioned, causeless peace and joy. And yet, the human body-mind almost inevitably manifests physical and/or psychological imbalances that can be skillfully resolved. So, what’s the relationship between the enjoyment of our primordial perfection and the cultivation of this ephemeral yet still precious human body-mind? This is the question that I very much enjoy exploring. 

Elizabeth's book list on psychological healing and spiritual inquiry

Elizabeth Reninger Why did Elizabeth love this book?

I love Pema Chodron’s down-to-earth directness and great sense of humor; this book offers both in abundance. Her words—infused with kindness and clarity—have reminded me, again and again, how to relax with whatever arises, welcoming the totality of my experience. I’ve learned that when I can do this, I can transform stressful situations into precious opportunities to cultivate kindness, compassion, and wisdom. 

I absolutely adore this book for insightful guidance on navigating life's inevitable difficulties. Pema gently urges us to embrace uncertainty and, through mindfulness and compassion, find peace even amidst chaos. What’s not to love about that?! 

By Pema Chödrön,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked When Things Fall Apart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pema Choedroen reveals the vast potential for happiness, wisdom and courage even in the most painful circumstances.

Pema Choedroen teaches that there is a fundamental opportunity for happiness right within our reach, yet we usually miss it - ironically, while we are caught up in attempt to escape pain and suffering.

This accessible guide to compassionate living shows us how we can use painful emotions to cultivate wisdom, compassion and courage, ways of communication that lead to openness and true intimacy with others, practices for reversing our negative habitual patterns, methods for working with chaotic situations and ways to cultivate…


Book cover of Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

Leslie Becker-Phelps Author Of The Insecure in Love Workbook: Step-by-Step Guidance to Help You Overcome Anxious Attachment and Feel More Secure with Yourself and Your Partner

From my list on helpful books for developing securely attached relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a life-long desire to help others, so it’s no surprise that I chose to become a psychologist. In my search for underlying causes and potential healing agents for emotional suffering, I have learned (and deeply feel) the importance of self-awareness, connection, and compassion for a sense of well-being. I’ve also found that attachment theory provides a great framework for pulling all of this together. Driven by my commitment to help people, I use my writing, YouTube channel, speaking, and therapy to share what I’ve learned. Just as my list of books has helped me on my path, I hope it helps you on yours!

Leslie's book list on helpful books for developing securely attached relationships

Leslie Becker-Phelps Why did Leslie love this book?

Of the many books that I’ve read on meditation, this is the one I most frequently recommend to my patients. I love its clear, concise, simple approach to meditation and mindfulness.

I love how it is arranged so that I can read just a few or several paragraphs at a time and get so much from them. For me, mindfulness is an essential skill in developing a healthy connection with oneself and others, a topic close to my heart. Sometimes, I will flip through the book for brief reminders of how to reconnect with me and with compassion. 

By Jon Kabat-Zinn,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Wherever You Go, There You Are as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Explains how anyone can use mindfulness--the art of living each moment fully as it happens--to reduce anxiety, achieve inner peace, and enrich life.


Book cover of The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering Into Peace, Joy, and Liberation

Lodro Rinzler Author Of Take Back Your Mind: Buddhist Advice for Anxious Times

From my list on how to learn Buddhism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lodro Rinzler has taught Buddhism for 20 years, starting when he was just 18 years-old. He is the author of seven meditation books including the best-seller The Buddha Walks into a Bar, and the co-founder of MNDFL meditation studios in New York City. His books Walk Like a Buddha and The Buddha Walks into the Office both have received Independent Publisher Book Awards. Named one of 50 Innovators Shaping the Future of Wellness by SONIMA, Rinzler's new book is Take Back Your Mind: Buddhist Advice for Anxious Times.

Lodro's book list on how to learn Buddhism

Lodro Rinzler Why did Lodro love this book?

If you’re interested in learning about Buddhism, you don’t want to go the route of Buddhism for Dummies; you want to read the words of true Buddhist masters who are pioneers in the field of making this ancient tradition accessible and relevant to our modern world. The Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh is famous for his peaceful demeanor as well as making Buddhism applicable and meditation easy to grasp and practice. While all of his books are lovely (you can even check out the recent shorter books such as How to Love or How to Fight) this book goes over the foundations of what the Buddha taught so for our purposes it hits the top of the list.

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Thich Nhat Hanh shows us the connection between personal, inner peace, and peace on earth.' The Dalai Lama

In The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, Thich Nhat Hanh brings his gift of clear and poetic expression to an explanation of the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, and other basic Buddhist teachings. Thich Nhat Hanh's extraordinary contribution to Buddhism and to life is the way he makes these teachings and practices accessible to everyone, showing us how the very suffering that is holding us down can be the path to our liberation.


Book cover of The Heart of the Buddha: Entering the Tibetan Buddhist Path

Lodro Rinzler Author Of Take Back Your Mind: Buddhist Advice for Anxious Times

From my list on how to learn Buddhism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lodro Rinzler has taught Buddhism for 20 years, starting when he was just 18 years-old. He is the author of seven meditation books including the best-seller The Buddha Walks into a Bar, and the co-founder of MNDFL meditation studios in New York City. His books Walk Like a Buddha and The Buddha Walks into the Office both have received Independent Publisher Book Awards. Named one of 50 Innovators Shaping the Future of Wellness by SONIMA, Rinzler's new book is Take Back Your Mind: Buddhist Advice for Anxious Times.

Lodro's book list on how to learn Buddhism

Lodro Rinzler Why did Lodro love this book?

Moving from the Zen lineages over to another branch of this tradition, Tibetan Buddhism, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was famous for making the esoteric accessible. In this book he covers a wide variety of topics ranging from the four foundations of mindfulness over to advanced Buddhist views around taking vows and maintaining sacred outlook throughout one’s day. Bonus: there’s a section devoted to a number of modern day issues where he offers Buddhist teachings on relationships, art, and money.

By Chögyam Trungpa,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The basic teachings of Buddhism as they relate to everyday life—presented by the esteemed Tibetan meditation master
 
In The Heart of the Buddha, Chögyam Trungpa examines the basic teachings of Buddhism and places them within the context of daily life. Divided into three parts, the book begins with a discussion about the open, inquisitive, and good-humored qualities of the “heart of the Buddha”—an “enlightened gene” that everyone possesses. Next, Chögyam Trungpa moves to the stages of the Buddhist path, presenting the three vehicles—Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana—that carry the Buddhist practitioner toward enlightenment. Finally, he describes the direct application of Buddhist…


Book cover of Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

Lodro Rinzler Author Of Take Back Your Mind: Buddhist Advice for Anxious Times

From my list on how to learn Buddhism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lodro Rinzler has taught Buddhism for 20 years, starting when he was just 18 years-old. He is the author of seven meditation books including the best-seller The Buddha Walks into a Bar, and the co-founder of MNDFL meditation studios in New York City. His books Walk Like a Buddha and The Buddha Walks into the Office both have received Independent Publisher Book Awards. Named one of 50 Innovators Shaping the Future of Wellness by SONIMA, Rinzler's new book is Take Back Your Mind: Buddhist Advice for Anxious Times.

Lodro's book list on how to learn Buddhism

Lodro Rinzler Why did Lodro love this book?

I vacillated wildly on which of Pema Chödrön’s books to include here, as many of them cover Buddhism in such a way that the teachings are made modern and relevant to whatever readers are going through. This book, for example, covers the ancient lojong, or mind-training, slogans of the Buddhist master Atisha and shows how this very old text has a lot to say about how we can live a life based in mindfulness and compassion. I don’t think you can go wrong by picking up any of her books (or any books written by any of these authors, frankly), but this one fits best for our purposes for a strong introduction to the fundamental teachings of Buddhism.

By Pema Chödrön,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Start Where You Are as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Start Where You Are is an indispensable handbook for cultivating fearlessness and awakening a compassionate heart, from bestselling author Pema Choedroen. With insight and humour, she presents down-to-earth guidance on how to make friends with ourselves and develop genuine compassion towards others.

This book shows how we can 'start where we are' by embracing rather than denying the painful aspects of our lives.

Pema Choedroen frames her teachings on compassion around fifty-nine traditional Tibetan Buddhist maxims, or slogans, such as: 'Always apply a joyful state of mind', 'Always meditate on whatever provokes resentment' and 'Be grateful to everyone'.

Working with…


Book cover of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

Lauren Cook Author Of Generation Anxiety: A Millennial and Gen Z Guide to Staying Afloat in an Uncertain World

From my list on how to cope and live with anxiety.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve lived with anxiety for most of my life. Whether it’s been with emetophobia (a phobia of vomit) or an intense bout of panic attacks, I know the story well. Now, as a psychologist, I’ve seen up close what works and what doesn’t. I love helping my clients and the audiences that I work with learn how to accept their anxiety, rather than try to make it go away. This is often counterintuitive at first but we can still live an empowered life, even with the anxiety present. When we do this, we’ve unlocked a whole new level of liberation where we can show up fully, worries and all. 

Lauren's book list on how to cope and live with anxiety

Lauren Cook Why did Lauren love this book?

This book is a staple in the field of psychology and mental health and for very good reason.

So many of us struggle with being kind to our mind and we worry that we’ll truly fall apart if we are compassionate to ourselves. Dr. Neff brings the evidence-backed research to prove that self-compassion is the antidote to anxiety and it has incredibly restorative potential to help us not only get back to baseline, but truly feel better.

By Kristin Neff,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Self-Compassion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION WITH A NEW FOREWORD FROM KRISTIN NEFF

'Kristin Neff offers practical, wise guidance on the path of emotional healing and deep inner transformation.' Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance

Kristin Neff PhD, is a professor in educational psychology, and the world's expert on self-compassion. A pioneer who established self-compassion as a field of study, Kristin offers a powerful solution for combating negativity and insecurity - the symptoms of living in a high-pressure world.

Through tried and tested exercises and audio downloads, readers learn the 3 core components that will help to heal destructive emotional patterns…


Book cover of The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Kara Loewentheil Author Of Take Back Your Brain: How a Sexist Society Gets in Your Head--and How to Get It Out

From my list on women to feel confident, powerful, and brave.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a professional feminist since I had a profession. I spent the first half of my career advocating for women's equality as a reproductive rights attorney and academic. I’ve spent the second half teaching women how to liberate themselves from the inside out as a feminist mindset coach, host of the UnF*ck Your Brain podcast, and founder of The School of New Feminist Thought. These books were all crucial in helping me create more confidence and more power to impact the course of my own life, and I know they will help you do the same. 

Kara's book list on women to feel confident, powerful, and brave

Kara Loewentheil Why did Kara love this book?

Like many women, I struggled with perfectionism for much of my life and believed I always needed to do everything correctly to be accepted, loved, and safe.

I read this book as part of my journey to deconstruct the thought patterns that kept me feeling anxious, people-pleasing everyone, and always feeling bad about myself. This book helped me understand that being “perfect” wasn’t an objectively good thing to try to be, nor was it even possible.

It helped me understand the ways in which trying to be perfect or appear perfect made it impossible to actually be myself and make authentic connections as my true self. 

By Brené Brown,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Gifts of Imperfection as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In hardback for the first time, this tenth-anniversary edition of the game-changing #1 New York Times bestseller features a new foreword and brand-new tools to make the work your own.

For over a decade, Brene Brown has found a special place in our hearts as a gifted mapmaker and a fellow traveller. She is both a social scientist and a kitchen-table friend whom you can always count on to tell the truth, make you laugh and, on occasion, cry with you. And what's now become a movement all started with The Gifts of Imperfection, which has sold more than two…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in meditation, compassion, and Buddhism?

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