100 books like Mind and Nature

By Gregory Bateson, Gregory Bateson,

Here are 100 books that Mind and Nature fans have personally recommended if you like Mind and Nature. 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 Tao Te Ching

Neal Allen Author Of Better Days: Tame Your Inner Critic

From my list on books on spirituality for people who hate books on spirituality.

Why am I passionate about this?

Until my early 50s, I detested all things spiritual. These books showed up practically on their own, without dogma or jargon, mainly to convince me that the divine existed. They’re easy to read and open to interpretation. They tricked me into a spiritual life by making it seem logical and simply a place to explore at my leisure. I try to write things that are clear and simple, and these books persuaded me that the ineffable isn’t so hard to write about. Also, I could return to these books years later, and they still speak to me. Each is capable of opening something new to me later in life.

Neal's book list on books on spirituality for people who hate books on spirituality

Neal Allen Why did Neal love this book?

Most ancient wisdom texts require a lot of effort. I love the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Buddhist Discourses, Dogen, Plato, Krishnamurti, and so on. But to read them, I have to take some time out of my day.

This book is a scroll of 81 aphorisms. I can pick any one, spend a little time with it, and get on with my day.

Plus, it starts with a bang: “The Way that you hear about is not the real Way.” I am invited to be confused! That takes all the pressure off me to figure it out. 

By Lao Tzu, Gia-fu Geng (translator), Jane English (translator) , Toinette Lippe (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For nearly two generations, this bestselling translation of the Tao Te Ching has been the standard for those seeking access to the wisdom of Taoist thought. Now Jane English and her long-time editor, Toinette Lippe, have refreshed and revised the translation, so that it more faithfully reflects the Classical Chinese in which it was first written, while taking into account changes in our own language and eliminating any lingering infelicities. This beautiful oversized edition features over a hundred new photographs by Jane English that help express the vast spirit of the Tao. Also included is an introduction by the well-known…


Book cover of The Limits to Growth

Bruce Nappi Author Of Collapse 2020 Vol. 1: Fall of the First Global Civilization

From my list on the impending collapse of global civilization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an Eagle Scout selected for the 1964 North Pole expedition, graduate of MIT with both BS and MS degrees in Aero Astro – yes, a true MIT rocket scientist. I quickly took planning roles at the “bleeding edge” of technology: missiles, nuclear power, heart pumps, DNA sequencing, telemedicine… In every case, however, the organizations were plagued by incompetence and corruption. As an individual, I interacted with activist leaders in movements for: peace, climate, social justice, ending poverty, etc. Again, incompetence and corruption. Throughout, I dug for answers into the wisdom of the classics and emerging viewpoints. Finally. All that effort paid off. I found the “big picture”! 

Bruce's book list on the impending collapse of global civilization

Bruce Nappi Why did Bruce love this book?

Limits To Growth summarized the first major computer simulation of world society. It was comprehensive, including the influence of: human population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion. The results were sobering! It showed that, if major limits were not established for human population, pollution, and resource depletion, a severe collapse of human society would follow in the near future. What most people do not know is, the report was so disturbing it was accepted by the United Nations for action. It was so well received by world leaders that, by 1974, almost every world nation agreed to take major steps to set such limits. China, for example, established its one-child family policy. Ironically, the U.S. refused any commitment. By 1978, carbon industry disinformation killed all the commitments.

By Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis Meadows

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Limits to Growth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Examines the factors which limit human economic and population growth and outlines the steps necessary for achieving a balance between population and production. Bibliogs


Book cover of Deep Ecology for the Twenty-First Century: Readings on the Philosophy and Practice of the New Environmentalism

Rex Weyler Author Of Greenpeace: The Inside Story

From my list on ecology from an ecologist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rex Weyler is a writer and ecologist. His books include Blood of the Land, a history of indigenous American nations, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; Greenpeace: The Inside Story, a finalist for the BC Book Award and the Shaughnessy-Cohen Award for Political Writing; and The Jesus Sayings, a deconstruction of first-century history, a finalist for the BC Book Award. In the 1970s, Weyler was a co-founder of Greenpeace International and editor of the Greenpeace Chronicles. He served on campaigns to preserve rivers and forests, and to stop whaling, sealing, and toxic dumping.

Rex's book list on ecology from an ecologist

Rex Weyler Why did Rex love this book?

The best available summary of Deep Ecology. An anthology of seminal essays inspired by Norwegian philosopher and activist Arne Naess, who sought to create an ecological paradigm shift in society – his work influenced the Greenpeace founders. This collection includes essays by Naess, Chellis Glendinning, Gary Snyder, Dolores LaChapelle, Paul Shepard, and others, who examine the ecological tradition from Spinoza and Thoreau to Santayana and ecofeminism. 

By George Sessions,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Deep Ecology for the Twenty-First Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Every day, in newspapers and on television, we read and hear about the ongoing destruction of the environment: the greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion, deforestation, and air and water pollution. Deep Ecology offers a solution to the environmental crisis through a radical shift in human consciousness—a fundamental change in the way people relate with the environment. Instead of thinking of nature as a resource to be used for human needs, Deep Ecology argues that the true value of nature is intrinsic and independent of its utility. Emerging in the 1980s as an influential philosophical, social, and political movement, Deep Ecology…


Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

By Jim Brown,

Book cover of Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

Jim Brown Author Of Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my entire professional life quietly patrolling the frontiers of understanding human consciousness. I was an early adopter in the burgeoning field of biofeedback, then neurofeedback and neuroscience, plus theory and practices of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, plus steeping myself in systems theory as a context for all these other fields of focus. I hold a MS in psychology from San Francisco State University and a PhD from Saybrook Institute. I live in Mount Shasta CA with Molly, my life partner for over 60 years. We have two sons and two grandchildren.

Jim's book list on brain, mind, and consciousness

What is my book about?

In this thoroughly researched and exquisitely crafted treatise, Jim Brown synthesizes the newest understandings in neuroscience, developmental psychology, and dynamical systems theory for educators and others committed to nurturing human development.

He explains complex concepts in down-to-earth terms, suggesting how these understandings can transform education to engender optimal learning and intelligence. He explores the nature of consciousness, intelligence, and mind.

Brown then offers a model of optimal human learning through lifelong brain development within a supportive culture--drawing on the work of Piaget, Erickson, Maslow, Kohlberg, and Steiner--and how that work is being vastly expanded by neuroscience and dynamical systems thinking.

Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

By Jim Brown,

What is this book about?

In this thoroughly-researched and exquisitely crafted treatise, Jim Brown synthesizes the newest understandings in neuroscience, developmental psychology, and dynamical systems theory for educators and others committed to nurturing human development. He explains complex concepts in down-to-earth terms, suggesting how these understandings can transform education to truly engender optimal learning and intelligence. He explores the nature of consciousness, intelligence, and mind. Brown then offers a model of optimal human learning through life-long brain development within a supportive culture--drawing on the work of Piaget, Erickson, Maslow, Kohlberg, and Steiner--and how that work is being vastly expanded by neuroscience and dynamical systems thinking.


Book cover of Steady-State Economics

Rex Weyler Author Of Greenpeace: The Inside Story

From my list on ecology from an ecologist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rex Weyler is a writer and ecologist. His books include Blood of the Land, a history of indigenous American nations, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; Greenpeace: The Inside Story, a finalist for the BC Book Award and the Shaughnessy-Cohen Award for Political Writing; and The Jesus Sayings, a deconstruction of first-century history, a finalist for the BC Book Award. In the 1970s, Weyler was a co-founder of Greenpeace International and editor of the Greenpeace Chronicles. He served on campaigns to preserve rivers and forests, and to stop whaling, sealing, and toxic dumping.

Rex's book list on ecology from an ecologist

Rex Weyler Why did Rex love this book?

Want solutions? Start with our failed economic system. Daly, a World Bank senior economist, examines the economic restructuring necessary to live on a finite planet. He corrects the errors of classic economics by showing that a human economy is a subsystem embedded in a finite, fragile ecosystem, maintained by extracting limited resources and exporting waste. A steady-state economy accounts for the limits of both resources and waste. 

By Herman E. Daly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Steady-State Economics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


First published in 1977, this volume caused a sensation because of Daly's radical view that "enough is best." Today, his ideas are recognized as the key to sustainable development, and Steady-State Economics is universally acknowledged as the leading book on the economics of sustainability.


Book cover of Where Song Began: Australia's Birds and How They Changed the World

Benjamin Oldroyd Author Of Beyond DNA: How Epigenetics is Transforming our Understanding of Evolution

From my list on popular science books on biological evolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first read Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene in 1980. It blew me away and precipitated my transformation from bee breeder into evolutionary geneticist. Later, I realised almost all evolutionary biologists of my generation were similarly drawn to their careers by Dawkins’ book. Why? People like Dawkins have the astonishing ability to transform complex theories into engaging narratives, to ferret out weird and wonderful examples from nature, and to exploit them for their explanatory power. My "best books" all have this in common. Big ideas about evolution and genetics illustrated by examples. I think they are the best kind of ‘pop science’ in that they are written for lay people, yet they inspire professionals.

Benjamin's book list on popular science books on biological evolution

Benjamin Oldroyd Why did Benjamin love this book?

Quick, what’s the most melodious sound in the English countryside? Is it the nightingale or the skylark, perhaps? Maybe the coo-coo?

Songbirds are quintessentially northern hemisphere species, and their songs permeate literature, not just in Europe but also in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Of course, birds evolved in the global north. Right? Wrong! Low argues that songbirds, parrots, and pigeons first evolved in Australia and have spread out across the world.

It’s a controversial view, but as a proud Aussie, I’m happy to believe it. Even if it’s wrong, Low writes about birds with a passion that only the truly obsessed can pull off. If you love birds, you’ll love this book.

By Tim Low,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An authoritative and entertaining exploration of Australia's distinctive birds and their unheralded role in global evolution

Renowned for its gallery of unusual mammals, Australia is also a land of extraordinary birds. But unlike the mammals, the birds of Australia flew beyond the continent's boundaries and around the globe many millions of years ago. This eye-opening book tells the dynamic but little-known story of how Australia provided the world with songbirds and parrots, among other bird groups, why Australian birds wield surprising ecological power, how Australia became a major evolutionary center, and why scientific biases have hindered recognition of these discoveries.…


Book cover of The Ecology of Imagination in Childhood

David Sobel Author Of Wild Play: Parenting Adventures in the Great Outdoors

From my list on bonding your children with nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 1972, I started an early childhood center in the Monadnock Region in New Hampshire. The focus was on child-centered education, with an emphasis on working with children outdoors. I've spent the last 50 years continuing to connect children with nature in schools, nature centers, national parks, museums, and in families. I taught graduate courses in developmental psychology, cognitive development, place-based education and have done hundreds of professional development workshops for early childhood and elementary school teachers. As a father, I focused on connecting my own children with nature. My son is a ski coach and runs an ecotourism kayaking business. My daughter is a theater director and writes grants for an environmental non-profit. 

David's book list on bonding your children with nature

David Sobel Why did David love this book?

Cobb's Ecology of Imagination is tough sledding. It's academic, abstruse, and also remarkably insightful. I still don't understand all of what she's saying, but what I do understand is her portrayal of the importance of middle childhood, "between the strivings of animal infancy and the storms of adolescence—when the natural world is experienced in some highly evocative way, producing in the child a sense of some profound continuity with natural processes….” Our goal, as parents, should be to find ways for our children to feel that "profound continuity with natural processes" during the middle childhood years of ages six to twelve. 

By Edith Cobb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ecology of Imagination in Childhood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Is genius shaped by the imagination of childhood? Cobb's collection of autobiographies and biographies of creative people, as well as her observations of children's play, suggests just that. She sees the child to be innately connected with the natural world. Inner powers alone do not further the imagination. Her book remains an important philosophical meditation on the importance of children's deep experience of nature to their adult cognition and psychological well-being.


Book cover of The Mushroom Fan Club

Wendy BooydeGraaff Author Of Salad Pie

From my list on playing outside.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love the outdoors, and there are so many benefits to playing, imagining, and being outside. I grew up on a fruit farm in Southern Ontario, so I spent much of my growing years playing outdoors and enjoying the natural world. When I became a professional educator, I read the research about the very concrete benefits being outside every day has on young learners. Bring on the recess! Books have a way of sparking action. When we read about how someone else enjoys the outdoors, it makes us want to do the same. Books are inspiring.

Wendy's book list on playing outside

Wendy BooydeGraaff Why did Wendy love this book?

The Mushroom Fan Club is a quirky nonfiction book about hunting for mushrooms that will make you laugh! The mushrooms “look like aliens from outer space” and the illustrations prove it.  Facts, diagrams, and fun incidents the author has experienced with her children encourage the reader to try mushroom hunting. But even if you don’t want to hunt, mushroom by mushroom, Gravel will convince everyone that mushrooms are indeed very cool.

By Elise Gravel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Elise Gravel is back with a whimsical look at one of her family s most beloved pastimes: mushroom hunting! Combining her love of exploring nature with her talent for anthropomorphizing everything, she takes us on a magical tour of the forest floor and examines a handful of her favorite alien specimens up close. While the beautiful coral mushroom looks like it belongs under the sea, the peculiar Lactarius indigo may be better suited for outer space. From the fun-to-stomp puffballs to the prince of the stinkers?the stinkhorn mushroom?and the musically inclined chanterelles, Gravel shares her knowledge of this fascinating kingdom…


Book cover of The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples

Alan Smale Author Of Clash of Eagles

From my list on ancient North America.

Why am I passionate about this?

My twin passions are science and history, and I try to have it both ways by writing a mix of alternate history and hard SF. I grew up in Yorkshire, England, enjoyed lots of family vacations at Hadrian’s Wall and other Roman-rich areas, and acquired degrees in Physics and Astrophysics from Oxford, but I’ve lived in the US for over half my life and now work for NASA (studying black holes, neutron stars, and other bizarre celestial objects). My novella of a Roman invasion of ancient America, A Clash of Eagles, won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History and formed the starting point for my Clash of Eagles trilogy from Del Rey, and Hot Moon, my alternate-Apollo thriller set entirely on and around the Moon, will be published by CAEZIK SF & Fantasy in 2022.

Alan's book list on ancient North America

Alan Smale Why did Alan love this book?

Finally, expanding outward even further in space and time and going far beyond my Clash of Eagles series source material, Tim Flannery’s book covers the entire geological, ecological, and (yes) human history of the North American continent, from its formative years 65 million years ago through to its “discovery” by Europeans, and the effects those colonizing influences had on the peoples, flora, and fauna. I learned so much from this book that I still think about it almost daily, and especially so when I travel around today’s US in all its depth, breadth, and glory.

By Tim Flannery,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Eternal Frontier, world-renowned scientist and historian Tim Flannery tells the unforgettable story of the geological and biological evolution of the North American continent, from the time of the asteroid strike that ended the age of dinosaurs 65 million years ago, to the present day. Flannery describes the development of North America's deciduous forests and other flora, and tracks the immigration and emigration of various animals to and from Europe, Asia, and South America, showing how plant and animal species have either adapted or become extinct. The story takes in the massive changes wrought by the ice ages and…


Book cover of The Moonlit Garden

John Greenlee Author Of The American Meadow Garden: Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn

From my list on creating successful meadow and grass garden ecology.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an expert in grass ecology and champion of sustainable design, John Greenlee has created meadows not only in the United States, but throughout the world for over 30 years. Some of his most notable gardens include the Getty Museum, the Norton Simon Museum in Los Angeles, and the savannas at Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida. In addition to his consulting and design work for commercial and residential clients, John Greenlee enjoys sharing his knowledge by giving several presentations and lectures throughout the year on the use of natural lawns, native grasses, and meadow restoration.

John's book list on creating successful meadow and grass garden ecology

John Greenlee Why did John love this book?

Don’t be fooled by the small size of this very personal book by the incredible plantsmith Scott Ogden.

You would do well to find this book, now sadly out of print, as it focuses on the attributes of plants that are often overlooked. I’ve had it on my shelf for years and enjoy it constantly. Enjoying the garden at night is often an overlooked aspect of garden design.

Scott’s prose in this book is some of the finest garden writing ever written. Track down this book, you won’t be disappointed. Then walk outside and look at your garden at night with whole new eyes.

By Scott Ogden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Moonlit Garden, Scott Ogden introduces readers to the wonder of the evening garden. Written with charm and elegance, this book will appeal to those whose gardens are a source of intellectual stimulation as well as physical beauty and repose.


Book cover of Metazoan Life without Oxygen

Neil W. Blackstone Author Of Energy and Evolutionary Conflict: The Metabolic Roots of Cooperation

From my list on bioenergetics or how life makes a living.

Why am I passionate about this?

Evolution is the most general theory of biology that we have. I seek to employ evolutionary principles to provide a predictive framework for both current ecological interactions and interactions that occurred earlier in the history of life. A generation ago, the study of cooperation was revolutionized by the deceptively simple notion of “follow the genes.” Embracing another simple notion—follow the electrons—can have an equally large effect in illuminating cooperation. Connecting evolutionary biology to biochemistry, however, remains a challenge—many evolutionary biologists dislike biochemistry and are much more comfortable with the informational aspects of life (e.g., genes). The below “best books on bioenergetics” can help to bridge this gap.

Neil's book list on bioenergetics or how life makes a living

Neil W. Blackstone Why did Neil love this book?

Oxygen is critical to life as we know it, yet for much of the history of life oxygen was scarce to non-existent, and this continues to be the case in some modern environments. 

While anaerobiosis is only a minor inconvenience to many microorganisms, what about complex multicellular organisms such as animals (aka metazoans)? Beginning with aspects of the physical chemistry of oxygen, this volume fills in the fairly stereotypical ways that animals cope with oxygen limitation, both temporally and spatially. 

Notably, many animals have a much more sophisticated anaerobic metabolism than human beings.

By Christopher Bryant (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Metazoan Life without Oxygen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many multicellular animals do not require oxygen to live but respire anaerobically. Some of these have adapted to "hostile" environments, such as sulphide rich habitats, others live as parasites within host organisms, while others still can perhaps be said to look back on the early days of life on earth before anaerobic respiration had evolved. This comprehensive volume lays out detailed summaries of the strategies for anero- or anoxy-biosis employed by each major group of metazoan animals. It begins with a description of the physical chemistry of oxygen, followed by a dissertation on the perils - and opportunities - created…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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