100 books like Skill in Action

By Michelle Cassandra Johnson,

Here are 100 books that Skill in Action fans have personally recommended if you like Skill in Action. 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 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Courtney Seiberling Author Of YOGA's YAMAS and NIYAMAS: 10 Principles for Peace & Purpose

From my list on the philosophy behind yoga.

Why am I passionate about this?

The physical practice of yoga transformed my relationship to my body, but the philosophy of yoga changed my life. When I began to study the Sutras, my mind became calmer; I had a greater capacity to listen and be patient in my relationships, and my quality of life improved. As I studied philosophy more, my perspective shifted from lack and blame to abundance and self-awareness. Knowing there is more to yoga than just the physical practice, I find it important to honor the tradition the way it was intended: as a whole system for the mind, body, and spirit to reduce the suffering of all beings.

Courtney's book list on the philosophy behind yoga

Courtney Seiberling Why did Courtney love this book?

We cannot understand what yoga is without studying The Yoga Sutras. The Sutras are the first documented text of yoga that describes how the mind works and how it gets in our way of seeing clearly. The Sutras tell us how to alter our thought patterns so we connect to the moment, see what’s really happening, and suffer less. They are the manual for the study and practice of yoga — ancient but still useful, concentrated, and meditative. They are a resource I come back to again and again and feel like an advice column from somewhere celestial. I’m partial to this translation because it was used in my teacher training, and after reading others, I find it the most down-to-earth while still honoring the tradition.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This valuable book provides a complete manual for the study and practice of Raja Yoga, the path of concentration and meditation. This new edition of these timeless teachings is a treasure to be read and referred to again and again by seekers treading the spiritual path. The classic Sutras (thought-threads), at least 4,000 years old, cover the yogic teachings on ethics, meditation, and physical postures, and provide directions for dealing with situations in daily life. The Sutras are presented here in the purest form, with the original Sanskrit and with translation, transliteration, and commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda, one of…


Book cover of Śrīmad Bhagavad Gītā

Courtney Seiberling Author Of YOGA's YAMAS and NIYAMAS: 10 Principles for Peace & Purpose

From my list on the philosophy behind yoga.

Why am I passionate about this?

The physical practice of yoga transformed my relationship to my body, but the philosophy of yoga changed my life. When I began to study the Sutras, my mind became calmer; I had a greater capacity to listen and be patient in my relationships, and my quality of life improved. As I studied philosophy more, my perspective shifted from lack and blame to abundance and self-awareness. Knowing there is more to yoga than just the physical practice, I find it important to honor the tradition the way it was intended: as a whole system for the mind, body, and spirit to reduce the suffering of all beings.

Courtney's book list on the philosophy behind yoga

Courtney Seiberling Why did Courtney love this book?

The Bhagavad Gītā is the main teaching of The Mahābhārata, an early epic of Indian thought. It’s about a warrior going into battle and not wanting to fight. His charioteer Krishna becomes his spiritual advisor, and the conversation shifts from the physical battlefield to the battle each of us fights within to figure out how to live a worthwhile life. Krishna answers the fundamental questions of existence and explains why we resist, what it means to be spiritual, and how to use karma (right action) and dharma (duty) as our armaments. The text is about acting and not retreating, about doing what is in front of us to do with awareness and heart.

Many other philosophy texts can be contemplative, quiet, and heady, but The Bhagavad Gītā is exciting, dynamic, and resourceful. This translation is the one my philosophy teacher recommends, and it is true to the Sanskrit and…

By Swami Dayananda Saraswati,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The reading of the Bhagavad Gītā verses with meaning should be looked upon as a part of one's daily prayer. One can easily cover one chapter in a sitting, daily. This inspiring routine will make this book your unfailing companion."Swami Dayananda Saraswati


Book cover of The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker's Guide to Extraordinary Living

Courtney Seiberling Author Of YOGA's YAMAS and NIYAMAS: 10 Principles for Peace & Purpose

From my list on the philosophy behind yoga.

Why am I passionate about this?

The physical practice of yoga transformed my relationship to my body, but the philosophy of yoga changed my life. When I began to study the Sutras, my mind became calmer; I had a greater capacity to listen and be patient in my relationships, and my quality of life improved. As I studied philosophy more, my perspective shifted from lack and blame to abundance and self-awareness. Knowing there is more to yoga than just the physical practice, I find it important to honor the tradition the way it was intended: as a whole system for the mind, body, and spirit to reduce the suffering of all beings.

Courtney's book list on the philosophy behind yoga

Courtney Seiberling Why did Courtney love this book?

Stephen Cope is a master at using real-life examples to show how yoga can be embodied. The Wisdom of Yoga follows five friends facing struggles with work and relationships and how they use yoga philosophy to change their perspectives and approaches. Cope is magnificent at explaining Eastern thought to Westerners. His book is easy to read and allows us to look at our own lives as we witness the journeys of others.  

By Stephen Cope,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For modern spiritual seekers and yoga students alike, here is an irreverent yet profound guide to the most sophisticated teachings of the yoga wisdom tradition–now brought to contemporary life by a celebrated author, psychotherapist, and leading American yoga instructor.

While many Westerners still think of yoga as an invigorating series of postures and breathing exercises, these physical practices are only part of a vast and ancient spiritual science. For more than three millennia, yoga sages systematically explored the essential questions of our human existence: What are the root causes of suffering, and how can we achieve freedom and happiness? What…


Book cover of Embrace Yoga's Roots: Courageous Ways to Deepen Your Yoga Practice

Courtney Seiberling Author Of YOGA's YAMAS and NIYAMAS: 10 Principles for Peace & Purpose

From my list on the philosophy behind yoga.

Why am I passionate about this?

The physical practice of yoga transformed my relationship to my body, but the philosophy of yoga changed my life. When I began to study the Sutras, my mind became calmer; I had a greater capacity to listen and be patient in my relationships, and my quality of life improved. As I studied philosophy more, my perspective shifted from lack and blame to abundance and self-awareness. Knowing there is more to yoga than just the physical practice, I find it important to honor the tradition the way it was intended: as a whole system for the mind, body, and spirit to reduce the suffering of all beings.

Courtney's book list on the philosophy behind yoga

Courtney Seiberling Why did Courtney love this book?

Susanna Barkataki is a teacher, inclusivity promoter, and yoga culture advocate with an active social media presence who compassionately and playfully nudges the West to honor the original tradition of yoga. Her book takes many of her teachings and presents them in one place. Her wisdom is essential for anyone who wants to understand what yoga is beyond the physical practice. For Westerners, her book is a generous offering and necessary to ensure we are being reverent with the practice of yoga and not appropriating it.

By Susanna Barkataki,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Embrace Yoga's Roots as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you want to be on the cutting edge of the future of yoga?

If you desire an authentic yoga practice embracing ancient yogic philosophy and traditions but don’t know how to embody that knowledge with integrity in today’s modern yoga culture, Embrace Yoga’s Roots is your guide to honor and not appropriate yoga.

"When we mistake yoga for a workout routine, reduce it to physical fitness or even do some of the deeper aspects of yoga without an eye to the whole system of liberation it offers, we rob ourselves and each other of the potential of this practice,"…


Book cover of Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

Megan Rosenbloom Author Of Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation Into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin

From my list on when life throws you a curveball.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a librarian, writer, and proponent of the death positive movement. I’ve found some people assume that being death positive means a certain callousness. For me the opposite is true: I’m an anxious ball of feelings both for myself and towards others, and the death positive mindset helps me cope better with life’s curveballs. I can say with a degree of certainty that we’ve all been pitched some doozies lately, so I wanted to offer up some books that nourish in times of darkness without turning away in denial.

Megan's book list on when life throws you a curveball

Megan Rosenbloom Why did Megan love this book?

The world is hell, so now what? By now we all know how easy it is to fall into despair. “Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting.” Solnit’s arguments and examples of a galvanizing hope are not naïve. They are nuanced, realistic, and give us something to cling to like a life raft as we scan for dry land.

By Rebecca Solnit,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hope in the Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At a time when political, environmental and social gloom can seem overpowering, this remarkable book offers a lucid, affirmative and well-argued case for hope.

This exquisite work traces a history of activism and social change over the past five decades - from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the worldwide marches against the war in Iraq. Hope in the Dark is a paean to optimism in the uncertainty of the twenty-first century. Tracing the footsteps of the last century's thinkers - including Woolf, Gandhi, Borges, Benjamin and Havel - Solnit conjures a timeless vision of cause and effect that…


Book cover of Getting to Maybe: How the World Is Changed

Niki Harré Author Of Psychology for a Better World: Working with People to Save the Planet

From my list on living well together.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a psychologist with environmental interests people often ask me about hope. It goes something like this: “Climate change is pushing us toward disaster! What is your source of hope?”  I finally figured out that I only have one source of hope. It is that we, as people, are able to work together just well enough to keep it all afloat. There’s a lot involved in working together – learning to listen with compassion, run good meetings, empower everyone to give of their best, and rebuild trust when it starts to break down. I’ve been researching these topics in community settings for the past 15 years. 

Niki's book list on living well together

Niki Harré Why did Niki love this book?

This was the book that introduced me to complex systems. Many people have become familiar with complex systems in recent years as we’ve been exposed to talk of feedback loops and probability through discussions on climate change. Little inputs can make a big difference and big inputs sometimes collapse under the weight of their own inertia. This book has one of those titles that work their way into your imagination – getting to maybe?

It does not suggest you set goals and work, head down, towards your personal mission. It suggests that you take a look around, gather with others, invite ideas based on people’s passions, and get started. It is all about experimenting and learning together. Then, maybe, something will good will happen. The book offers plenty of inspiring examples of significant social change as a result of genuine innovation and listening to many voices.

By Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman, Michael Patton

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A practical, inspirational, revolutionary guide to social innovation

Many of us have a deep desire to make the world around us a better place. But often our good intentions are undermined by the fear that we are so insignificant in the big scheme of things that nothing we can do will actually help feed the world’s hungry, fix the damage of a Hurricane Katrina or even get a healthy lunch program up and running in the local school. We tend to think that great social change is the province of heroes – an intimidating view of reality that keeps ordinary…


Book cover of Liquid Modernity

Richard R. Weiner Author Of Sustainable Community Movement Organizations: Solidarity Economies and Rhizomatic Practices

From my list on understanding regimes of law and political economy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rich Weiner co-edited this featured volume with Francesca Forno. He is a political sociologist with a strong foundation in the history of political and social thought. He has served for twenty-two years as dean of the faculty of arts and sciences. His focus has been on non-statist political organizations and social movements with a perspective of middle-range theorizing enriched by three generations of Frankfurt School critical theory of society.

Richard's book list on understanding regimes of law and political economy

Richard R. Weiner Why did Richard love this book?

Describes in depth a brave new world of uncertain constant acceleration and continued change in institutions and social relations.

I like the way Bauman depicts a condensing resonance, a new way of “being in the world.” Specifically, this is an increasing fluidity and fragmentation of social solidarities, where nothing is secure and where everything can be made redundant.

A world that Ulrich Beck, even before the new century, referred to as “the Second Modernity.”

By Zygmunt Bauman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this new book, Bauman examines how we have moved away from a a heavya and a solida , hardware--focused modernity to a a lighta and a liquida , software--based modernity. This passage, he argues, has brought profound change to all aspects of the human condition. The new remoteness and un--reachability of global systemic structure coupled with the unstructured and under--defined, fluid state of the immediate setting of life--politics and human togetherness, call for the rethinking of the concepts and cognitive frames used to narrate human individual experience and their joint history. This book is dedicated to this task. Bauman…


Book cover of The Age of AI: And Our Human Future

Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan Author Of The Role of the Arab-Islamic World in the Rise of the West: Implications for Contemporary Trans-Cultural Relations

From my list on the frontier risks facing humanity in the 21st Century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosopher, neuroscientist, geostrategist, and futurologist. My work at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, St. Antony’s College, and the World Economic Forum (as a member of the Global Future Council on the Future of Complex Risks) focuses on transdisciplinarity, with an emphasis on the interplay between philosophy, neuroscience, strategic culture, applied history, technology, and global security. I am particularly interested in the exponential growth of disruptive technologies, and how they have the potential to both foster and hinder the progress of human civilization. My mission is rooted in finding transdisciplinary solutions to identify, predict and manage frontier risks, both here on earth and in Outer Space.

Nayef's book list on the frontier risks facing humanity in the 21st Century

Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan Why did Nayef love this book?

This book is a timely primer on the promise and peril of artificial intelligence (AI) authored by an unlikely coalition of insightful thinkers: a 100-year-old diplomat, a former Google chief executive, and an M.I.T. professor.

They present an interesting overview of the range of AI technologies and their likely impact on many spheres of life, from medicine and the military to health care and urban development.

The result is an accessible, thought-provoking book that asks important questions about the role of machine learning in changing human society, for good and ill.

By Henry A. Kissinger, Eric Schmidt, Daniel Huttenlocher

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Three of the world’s most accomplished and deep thinkers come together to explore Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the way it is transforming human society—and what this technology means for us all.

An AI learned to win chess by making moves human grand masters had never conceived. Another AI discovered a new antibiotic by analyzing molecular properties human scientists did not understand. Now, AI-powered jets are defeating experienced human pilots in simulated dogfights. AI is coming online in searching, streaming, medicine, education, and many other fields and, in so doing, transforming how humans are experiencing reality.

In The Age of AI,…


Book cover of For the City Yet to Come: Changing African Life in Four Cities

Marina Karides Author Of Sappho's Legacy: Convivial Economics on a Greek Isle

From my list on to get stranded with on an island.

Why am I passionate about this?

Iʻve been travelling to islands before realizing I was seeking them. It was my political convictions that brought me to Haiti and Cuba, and later to Indonesia and Thai Islands due to my philosophical interests. When I headed to Greece for the first time it was to Corfu and the Peloponnese, my lineage, but also to Ithaca, Crete, the Cyclades, and eventually to Lesvos. Now I live in Hawaiʻi. I was attracted to the poetics of island landscapes, but as a scholar of space, society, and justice, I also understood that islands hold distinct sets of constraints and opportunities that require further study with intersectional and decolonial perspectives.

Marina's book list on to get stranded with on an island

Marina Karides Why did Marina love this book?

This is a spectacular and detailed book—think city as island—that can engross you over and over again. Simone, development activist and scholar, carries us into four African cities and shares the grassroots efforts of people coming together to create systems of trust for economic exchange and meeting social needs—without or outside the state and capital. It is the potential for alternatives that makes this book so attractive to me and inspired my own work on convivial economics. Simone helps us to see that new ways of being and acting collaboratively can spring up and offer a blueprint for how we can move forward in solidarity.

By AbdouMaliq Simone,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked For the City Yet to Come as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Among government officials, urban planners, and development workers, Africa's burgeoning metropolises are frequently understood as failed cities, unable to provide even basic services. Whatever resourcefulness does exist is regarded as only temporary compensation for fundamental failure. In For the City Yet to Come, AbdouMaliq Simone argues that by overlooking all that does work in Africa's cities, this perspective forecloses opportunities to capitalize on existing informal economies and structures in development efforts within Africa and to apply lessons drawn from them to rapidly growing urban areas around the world. Simone contends that Africa's cities do work on some level and to…


Book cover of Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next)

Jordan Flaherty Author Of No More Heroes: Grassroots Challenges to the Savior Mentality

From my list on challenging capitalism, racism, and patriarchy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I produced dozens of hours of film and television, including for Al Jazeera’s Emmy, Peabody, and DuPont-award-winning program Faultlines; as well as short and long-form documentaries for Democracy Now and teleSUR, and reporting in The New York Times and Washington Post. I’ve written two books based on my journalism, No More Heroes: Grassroots Responses to the Savior Mentality and Floodlines: Community and Resistance From Katrina to the Jena Six. I produced the independent feature film Chocolate Babies, which was recently added to the Criterion Collection. My latest film is Powerlands.

Jordan's book list on challenging capitalism, racism, and patriarchy

Jordan Flaherty Why did Jordan love this book?

During this moment of pandemic and other crises caused by capitalism, many people have turned to mutual aid as an attempt to help their neighbors and communities. As Spade writes, “Left social movements have two big jobs right now. First, we need to organize to help people survive the devastating conditions unfolding every day. Second, we need to mobilize hundreds of millions of people for resistance so we can tackle the underlying causes of these crises.” This book explains both why and how we can create structures that will change the world. 

By Dean Spade,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Around the world, people are faced with crisis after crisis, from the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change-induced fires, floods, and storms to the ongoing horrors of mass incarceration, brutal immigration enforcement, endemic gender violence, and severe wealth inequality. As governments fail to respond to-or actively engineer-each crisis, ordinary people are finding bold and innovative ways to share resources and support vulnerable members of their communities. This survival work, when done alongside social movement demands for transformative change, is called mutual aid.

This book is about mutual aid: why it is so important, what it looks like, and how to do…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in yoga, philosophy, and presidential biography?

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