100 books like Radical Acceptance

By Tara Brach,

Here are 100 books that Radical Acceptance fans have personally recommended if you like Radical Acceptance. 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 Nightingale

Mel Laytner Author Of What They Didn't Burn: Uncovering My Father's Holocaust Secrets

From my list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a foreign correspondent seven time zones from home when my father died of a sudden heart attack. My grief mixed with guilt for never having sat down with him to unravel his vague vignettes about life and loss in the Holocaust. I wondered, how did he survive when so many perished? How much depended on resilience, smarts, or dumb luck? As reporters do, I started digging. I uncovered a Nazi paper trial that tracked his life from home, through ghettos, slave labor, concentration camps, death marches, and more. The tattered documents revealed a man very different from the quiet, quintessential Type-B Dad I knew…or thought I knew. 

Mel's book list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II

Mel Laytner Why did Mel love this book?

This novel left me feeling both teary-eyed and ennobled. Superficially, it is about two French sisters living through the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. At its root, however, Hannah deconstructs the essence of survival.

I loved how her characters frame the book’s cosmic questions: What would you do to survive? What compromises would you make? Is it better to fight back aggressively or resist passively? The sisters are of different temperaments and personalities. Each answers these questions differently, painfully. I found myself haunted by these themes long after I put The Nightingale back on the shelf. You will, too.

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture, The Nightingale is a multi-million copy bestseller across the world. It is a heart-breakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the endurance of women.

This story is about what it was like to be a woman during World War II when women's stories were all too often forgotten or overlooked . . . Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac are two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals and passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path towards survival, love and freedom in war-torn France.

Kristin Hannah's…


Book cover of Unbroken

Mel Laytner Author Of What They Didn't Burn: Uncovering My Father's Holocaust Secrets

From my list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a foreign correspondent seven time zones from home when my father died of a sudden heart attack. My grief mixed with guilt for never having sat down with him to unravel his vague vignettes about life and loss in the Holocaust. I wondered, how did he survive when so many perished? How much depended on resilience, smarts, or dumb luck? As reporters do, I started digging. I uncovered a Nazi paper trial that tracked his life from home, through ghettos, slave labor, concentration camps, death marches, and more. The tattered documents revealed a man very different from the quiet, quintessential Type-B Dad I knew…or thought I knew. 

Mel's book list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II

Mel Laytner Why did Mel love this book?

If I didn’t know this was a true story, I would have dismissed Unbroken as some overblown Rambo novel. But it is true, and enthralling, and that’s what kept me turning pages.

Louis Zamperini, a 1936 American Olympian turned World War II Air Corp navigator, was shot down and captured by the Japanese. Because of his fame, Japanese guards singled him out for especially harsh treatment. Zamperini’s torment made me angry; his tenacity made me proud. Post-war trauma drove him to the bottle, as with so many veterans. That he overcame spiraling alcoholism through his renewed Christian faith makes for an inspiring story and gives fresh meaning to the very word “survivor.”

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of the bestselling and much-loved Seabiscuit, an unforgettable story of one man's journey into extremity. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War. The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood,…


Book cover of After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age

Guy Claxton Author Of The Heart of Buddhism: Practical Wisdom for an Agitated World

From my list on Buddhism that get to the heart of the matter.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a long-time meditator and student of Buddhism, and a retired but still active academic. I am a cognitive scientist specialising in the learnable aspects of real-world intelligence. My meditation ‘career’ started when I was an undergraduate studying psychology at Cambridge in the late 1960s, and has since taken me to America, India, and Japan, as well as to many retreats in the UK with visiting teachers from all the main branches of Buddhism. In my academic life, I have a doctorate in psycholinguistics from Oxford and have been Professor of the Learning Sciences at the University of Bristol and the Research Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning in Winchester. My books on the crossover between Eastern and Western Psychology include The Psychology of Awakening, Wholly HumanNoises from the Darkroom, and The Heart of Buddhism.

Guy's book list on Buddhism that get to the heart of the matter

Guy Claxton Why did Guy love this book?

Stephen Batchelor is an old and dear friend of mine – partly because I love his radical ‘take’ on Buddhism. He knows his traditional Buddhist stuff all right: he was a Tibetan Buddhism monk for eight years, and studied in a Korean Zen monastery for four. To some, he is a heretic because his books peel away the cultural superstitions that have befogged the Buddha’s original teachings – such as karma and reincarnation - and reveal a message that is as relevant and insightful today as it was two and a half millennia ago. But his deep and lightly-worn scholarship shines through and – to me at least – he is bang on: both down to earth and utterly inspirational.

By Stephen Batchelor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A renowned Buddhist teacher's magnum opus, based on his fresh reading of the tradition's earliest texts

Some twenty-five centuries after the Buddha started teaching, his message continues to inspire people across the globe, including those living in predominantly secular societies. What does it mean to adapt religious practices to secular contexts?

Stephen Batchelor, an internationally known author and teacher, is committed to a secularized version of the Buddha's teachings. The time has come, he feels, to articulate a coherent ethical, contemplative, and philosophical vision of Buddhism for our age. After Buddhism, the culmination of four decades of study and practice…


Book cover of The Way of Zen

Guy Claxton Author Of The Heart of Buddhism: Practical Wisdom for an Agitated World

From my list on Buddhism that get to the heart of the matter.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a long-time meditator and student of Buddhism, and a retired but still active academic. I am a cognitive scientist specialising in the learnable aspects of real-world intelligence. My meditation ‘career’ started when I was an undergraduate studying psychology at Cambridge in the late 1960s, and has since taken me to America, India, and Japan, as well as to many retreats in the UK with visiting teachers from all the main branches of Buddhism. In my academic life, I have a doctorate in psycholinguistics from Oxford and have been Professor of the Learning Sciences at the University of Bristol and the Research Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning in Winchester. My books on the crossover between Eastern and Western Psychology include The Psychology of Awakening, Wholly HumanNoises from the Darkroom, and The Heart of Buddhism.

Guy's book list on Buddhism that get to the heart of the matter

Guy Claxton Why did Guy love this book?

This was one of the first books on Buddhism I ever read: I have a battered and much-scribbled-on copy beside me that dates back to 1970. Like Stephen Batchelor he has been seen as an ‘outsider’ to the Buddhist establishment – he described himself ironically as a ‘genuine fake’ – but his psychological understanding, contemporary language and his vivid turn of phrase spoke to me then, and still do now, in a way that much of the more ‘religious’ and scholastic writings never have. For example, he points out that in a sea wave, the actual water isn’t going anywhere; it “only moves up and down, creating the illusion of a ‘piece’ of water moving over the surface. It is a similar illusion that there is a constant ‘self’ moving through successive experiences [and] constituting a link between them.” I would love to have met and listened to Watts, and…

By Alan Watts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The perfect guide for a course correction in life' Deepak Chopra

If we open our eyes and see clearly it becomes obvious that there is no other time than this instant

An insightful exploration into the origins and history of Zen Buddhism from pioneering Zen scholar Alan Watts. With a rare combination of freshness and lucidity, Watts explores the principles of Zen and how it can revolutionize our daily life.


Book cover of On Having No Head

Guy Claxton Author Of The Heart of Buddhism: Practical Wisdom for an Agitated World

From my list on Buddhism that get to the heart of the matter.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a long-time meditator and student of Buddhism, and a retired but still active academic. I am a cognitive scientist specialising in the learnable aspects of real-world intelligence. My meditation ‘career’ started when I was an undergraduate studying psychology at Cambridge in the late 1960s, and has since taken me to America, India, and Japan, as well as to many retreats in the UK with visiting teachers from all the main branches of Buddhism. In my academic life, I have a doctorate in psycholinguistics from Oxford and have been Professor of the Learning Sciences at the University of Bristol and the Research Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning in Winchester. My books on the crossover between Eastern and Western Psychology include The Psychology of Awakening, Wholly HumanNoises from the Darkroom, and The Heart of Buddhism.

Guy's book list on Buddhism that get to the heart of the matter

Guy Claxton Why did Guy love this book?

One person I was lucky enough to meet and study with, though, was a very English Englishman called Douglas Harding: an ex British army officer who has some transformative experiences whist serving in India and spent the rest of his life devising smart, simple and profound ways to induce the same experiences in others. For example: point with your right index finger at the tip of your nose, and pay close attention to your actual experience of what the finger (which you can see) is pointing at (which you can’t). If you are lucky, you’ll be quite disconcerted! It was only some years after his wake-up call that Douglas realised that he had discovered Zen Buddhism for himself.

By Douglas Edison Harding,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Having No Head as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Reason and imagination and all mental chatter died down... I forgot my name, my humanness, my thingness, all that could be called me or mine. Past and future dropped away... Lighter than air, clearer than glass, altogether released from myself, I was nowhere around.' Thus Douglas Harding describes his first experience of headlessness, or no self. First published in 1961, this is a classic work which conveys the experience that mystics of all times have tried to put words to.


Book cover of The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

Guy Claxton Author Of The Heart of Buddhism: Practical Wisdom for an Agitated World

From my list on Buddhism that get to the heart of the matter.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a long-time meditator and student of Buddhism, and a retired but still active academic. I am a cognitive scientist specialising in the learnable aspects of real-world intelligence. My meditation ‘career’ started when I was an undergraduate studying psychology at Cambridge in the late 1960s, and has since taken me to America, India, and Japan, as well as to many retreats in the UK with visiting teachers from all the main branches of Buddhism. In my academic life, I have a doctorate in psycholinguistics from Oxford and have been Professor of the Learning Sciences at the University of Bristol and the Research Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning in Winchester. My books on the crossover between Eastern and Western Psychology include The Psychology of Awakening, Wholly HumanNoises from the Darkroom, and The Heart of Buddhism.

Guy's book list on Buddhism that get to the heart of the matter

Guy Claxton Why did Guy love this book?

This little book is the best introduction to the practice – and benefits – of mindfulness I know. It is easy to make meditation more complicated than it needs to be, and Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh keeps drawing you back to the simple essence of the practice, and to the peaceful aura of the present. Just above my computer screen I have one of his postcards pinned to the wall. “Here I am, sitting in this room, aware of the chair, aware of the sitting, aware of the breathing – aware of this precious moment.” What an effective stress-buster – bringing me back from the maelstroms of thoughts inside my head to the simple, pleasurable fact of just being alive, here, now, and enabling me to reset the emotional dashboard!

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the best available introductions to the wisdom and beauty of meditation practice. --New Age Journal

In this beautiful and lucid guide, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercise as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness--being awake and fully aware. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness.


Book cover of The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

Kevin Davies Author Of Editing Humanity: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing

From my list on CRISPR and genome editing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a British science editor and author of a string of books on the scientific, medical, and social implications of advances in genetics research. I trained as a geneticist but found more personal satisfaction wielding a pen rather than a pipette. I’m especially drawn to science stories that have medical implications for the public and a strong narrative thread. Prior to writing Editing Humanity, I covered the race for the BRCA1 breast cancer gene (Breakthrough), the Human Genome Project (Cracking the Genome), and the rise of personal genomics (The $1,000 Genome). I’m currently writing a biography of sickle cell disease, arguably the most famous genetic mutation in human history.

Kevin's book list on CRISPR and genome editing

Kevin Davies Why did Kevin love this book?

I have seldom read a book with as much zeal as The Code Breaker, written by the famous biographer and historian, Walter Isaacson, whom I’d met on the CRISPR conference circuit.

Isaacson focuses on Doudna’s life and science, but also introduces the reader to a large cast of characters, including Doudna’s former colleague and fellow Nobelist, Emmanuelle Charpentier. He even has a crack at running a CRISPR experiment himself.

The success of this book has likely done more than anything to educate the public on the transformative promise of CRISPR.

By Walter Isaacson,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Code Breaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The best-selling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns.

In 2012, Nobel Prize winning scientist Jennifer Doudna hit upon an invention that will transform the future of the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA.

Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions. It has already been deployed to cure deadly diseases, fight the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, and make inheritable changes in the genes of babies.

But what does that mean for humanity? Should we be hacking our own DNA to make us less susceptible to disease? Should…


Book cover of The Physician

Markus Raffel Author Of The Flying Man: Otto Lilienthal-History, Flights and Photographs

From my list on daring adventures with historical content.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am working and lecturing on experimental aerodynamics since decades and started flying hang gliders and powered aircraft long ago. And the older I got, the more I became fascinated by daring adventures with historical content, especially related to the history of flight and the early aeronautical pioneers. But the most I was fascinated by Otto Lilienthal, the man who worked systematically towards flight before and finally succeeded flying with nothing else than willow wood, fabric, and steel wires, materials that existed already long before. Inspired by his attitude and courage I started investigating and flying museum made authentic replicas in California to prove their flying qualities a second time.

Markus' book list on daring adventures with historical content

Markus Raffel Why did Markus love this book?

The Physician is exciting, imaginative, and easy to read.

Noah Gordon describes places, people, and treatments of the 2nd century so vividly that you feel as you were there. Not only do you see the individual characters in front of you, but you hear their screams and smell the general stench of excrement, dirt, and sweat that a medieval city brought with it.

In addition, one experiences the spatial confinement in which one lived at that time, virtually on one's own body. I especially liked the part set in the Orient, where the Middle Ages and the exotic are combined in a very exciting way. It is no longer the Catholic Church, but Islam and Judaism that determine the daily life of the people.

By Noah Gordon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rob Cole, a penniless orphan in 11th-century London, is possessed by a mysterious power - he can sense death. A mere apprentice, he dreams of controlling the forces of life and death, of mastering the knowledge that will earn him the title of physician.


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 Self-Compassion Workbook for OCD: Lean Into Your Fear, Manage Difficult Emotions, and Focus on Recovery

Drew Linsalata Author Of Seven Percent Slower - A Simple Trick For Moving Past Anxiety And Stress

From my list on understanding and overcoming anxiety.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a podcaster, author, and psychoeducator in the field of anxiety and anxiety disorders. I am also—as of 2022—a graduate student in clinical mental health counseling on the way to becoming a licensed psychotherapist. My own experience with anxiety and depression over 25+ years has fueled a passion for the theory and mechanics behind anxiety disorders and how they are treated. It would appear that my superpower is not only understanding these things, but also explaining them in a way that people can then understand for themselves. If that means I can help, then I’m happy to be doing what I do every day.

Drew's book list on understanding and overcoming anxiety

Drew Linsalata Why did Drew love this book?

I love this book because Kim Quinlan takes a somewhat nebulous concept and explains it in very practical and engaging terms. People struggling to overcome OCD often wind up beating themselves up and treating themselves very un-kindly, making a difficult situation even more difficult. Kimberley strikes many chords in this book in the way she explains why being kind and compassionate to yourself is so important when working to overcome OCD. She doesn’t stop there. She offers many excellent, practical ways that one can explore and practice self-compassion. A must-read for anyone dealing with OCD.

By Kimberley Quinlan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Self-Compassion Workbook for OCD as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A compassionate guide to help you manage OCD symptoms, overcome feelings of shame and stigma, and revitalize your life!

If you're one of millions who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you're all-too-familiar with feelings of anxiety, panic, shame, and uncertainty. In addition, the stigma associated with OCD can make you feel unworthy of receiving the compassion and kindness you need and deserve. You may even experience unwanted intrusive thoughts that result in harsh self-judgment-which can actually hinder your recovery and lead to additional mental health problems. So, how can you break this destructive cycle and start feeling better?

The Self-Compassion…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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