100 books like Tao

By Alan Watts,

Here are 100 books that Tao fans have personally recommended if you like Tao. 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.

Who am I?

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 Thinking Body, Dancing Mind: Taosports for Extraordinary Performance in Athletics, Business, and Life

Diane Dreher Author Of The Tao of Inner Peace

From my list on Taoism and how you can apply it to your life.

Who am I?

Diane Dreher is the author of The Tao of Inner Peace, The Tao of Personal Leadership, and The Tao of Womanhood. She has been fascinated by Eastern philosophy since her childhood in the Philippine Islands. In addition to her doctoral degree in English from UCLA and master’s in counseling from Santa Clara University, she has studied Taoism, trained in aikido, and become a reiki master. She enjoys applying the lessons of Tao in her teaching, consulting, and international coaching practice.

Diane's book list on Taoism and how you can apply it to your life

Diane Dreher Why did Diane love this book?

This book takes the wisdom of Tao into the world of sports, combining Chung-liang Al Huang’s calligraphy and insights as a T’ai Ji master with sports psychologist Jerry Lynch’s use of Tao principles to coach professional, Olympic, and recreational athletes. Offering lessons from the enduring wisdom of Tao, along with exercises, affirmations, and encouragement, this book helps readers transcend the limits of Western dualism to discover a new path of joy and meaning in their athletic endeavors, careers, and personal lives.

By Chungliang Al Huang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thinking Body, Dancing Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written by a sports psychologist and a renowned T'ai Chi master, here is a guide to enriching all of life's pursuits through the practice of its simple mental tools and wisdom. Using stories of success from athletes and businesspeople, the authors present techniques and exercises to promote relaxation and enhance performance.


Book cover of The Tao of Leadership: Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching Adapted for a New Age

Diane Dreher Author Of The Tao of Inner Peace

From my list on Taoism and how you can apply it to your life.

Who am I?

Diane Dreher is the author of The Tao of Inner Peace, The Tao of Personal Leadership, and The Tao of Womanhood. She has been fascinated by Eastern philosophy since her childhood in the Philippine Islands. In addition to her doctoral degree in English from UCLA and master’s in counseling from Santa Clara University, she has studied Taoism, trained in aikido, and become a reiki master. She enjoys applying the lessons of Tao in her teaching, consulting, and international coaching practice.

Diane's book list on Taoism and how you can apply it to your life

Diane Dreher Why did Diane love this book?

John Heider’s book takes the wisdom of Tao into the world of leadership, offering timeless wisdom and practical advice for leaders. Readers will learn about the power of presence in relationships, as well as how to pay attention, trust the process, and stay centered in the midst of challenge and conflict to become more effective and inspiring leaders.

By John Heider,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

You can't lead without this classic, updated and in its 2nd edition.This bestselling masterpiece of practical philosophy will guide you to enhanced interpersonal relationships and the cultivation of enduring leadership qualities.Heider provides simplest and clearest advice on how to be the very best kind of leader: be faithful, trust the process, pay attention, and inspireothers to become their own leaders. The Tao of Leadership is a blend of practical insight and profound wisdom, offering inspiration and advice.Often used as a Management/Leadership training text by many Fortune 500 corporations, IBM, Mitsubishi, Prudential, GE, Intel, Converse, the Israeli Intelligence Corps, and more.


Book cover of Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

Margarette Allyn Author Of Running from Yesterday: A True Story of Hope, Courage and Love

From my list on making it fun to be a better person.

Who am I?

One of the most important lessons I learned from my grandma is that children have no fear or self-doubt unless they are taught to have these feelings, and then it's a choice to continue to believe in self-doubt. However, I was paralyzed by it after her death. I stopped being a carefree kid and started living through emotional survival. I lived a life of physical, mental, and emotional turmoil, and by a miracle, I was spared and given a chance to change it all. I am a dancer, writer, performer, and speaker, following every dream I've had. 

Margarette's book list on making it fun to be a better person

Margarette Allyn Why did Margarette love this book?

For starters, the title caught my attention; I was in a lot of emotional pain and doubted many of my decisions. I didn't realize I was seeking outward contentment and happiness for many years.

This book was written after I read The Secret. So, it was in the same genre of books I had started to read. I listened to Wayne Dyer on YouTube and loved his talks, and when I heard of the book, I felt it wouldn't hurt to read it.

I was drawn in with his simple way of pointing out that maybe we are the reason for our misery, and we, along with faith, can turn our lives in a different direction. Start by loving ourselves enough to know that we don't deserve misery. And no matter what someone else did to us in the past, forgiveness is possible, and healing starts right then and…

By Wayne W. Dyer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Five hundred years before the birth of Jesus, a God-realized being named Lao-tzu in ancient China dictated 81 verses, which are regarded by many as the ultimate commentary on the nature of our existence. The classic text of these 81 verses, called the Tao Te Ching or the Great Way, offers advice and guidance that is balanced, moral, spiritual, and always concerned with working for the good. In this book, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer has reviewed hundreds of translations of the Tao Te Ching and has written 81 distinct essays on how to apply the ancient wisdom of Lao-tzu to…


Book cover of Page Fright: Foibles and Fetishes of Famous Writers

Shane Joseph Author Of Circles in the Spiral

From my list on the writing life.

Who am I?

I have been a writer for more than twenty years and have favored pursuing “truth in fiction” rather than “money in formula.” As author Edward St. Aubyn quotes: “Money has value because it can be exchanged for something else. Art only has value because it can’t.” I find books about writers are closer to my lived experience and connect me intimately with both the characters and their author.

Shane's book list on the writing life

Shane Joseph Why did Shane love this book?

Without having to query Google that serves up writers in a single file, this book is a delightful repository of the entire “who’s who” of literature, particularly of little-known factoids, served up as a rich smorgasbord that you want to devour without end. It proves that “the pen is the tongue of the mind,” even though “writing is a dog’s life,” and is a comfort to writers to know that others, more famous than them, have skirted the edges of penury, fame, and madness. You will also laugh a lot, in relief, I think.

By Harry Bruce,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A witty round-up of writers' habits that includes all the big names, such as Dickens, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Hemingway
At public events readers always ask writers how they write. The process fascinates them. Now they have a very witty book that ranges around the world and throughout history to answer their questions. All the great writers are here — Dickens, dashing off his work; Henry James dictating it; Flaubert shouting each word aloud in the garden; Hemingway at work in cafés with his pencil. But pencil or pen, trusty typewriter or computer, they all have their advocates. Not to mention the…


Book cover of On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

Melanie Deziel

From my list on how writers can avoid being replaced by AI.

Who am I?

Professionally, I’ve been a journalist, author, speaker, marketer, adjunct professor, consultant, startup founder, and more; but at my core, I’m a storyteller and a lifelong student. I read voraciously about creativity, writing, media, marketing, psychology, and design, and I’m fascinated by drawing connections between these things. (I’m still allowed to say “read” when I mostly consume audiobooks, right?) I’m currently focused on helping other creators and storytellers master their craft, refine their big ideas, and figure out their unique differentiators, through The Creator Kitchen, the mastermind program I run with fellow creator Jay Acunzo.

Melanie's book list on how writers can avoid being replaced by AI

Melanie Deziel Why did Melanie love this book?

I first read this book when I was pursuing my Master’s in Arts Criticism, and found it to be a wonderfully approachable guide to honing the more creative and intangible skills of writing, not just the more tactical things like grammar and punctuation.

The latest edition (from 2016, with the blue cover) is even better than the previous one, since it includes sections on more personal and memoir-style writing, which is going to be key for differentiating from the bots. (At least until the bots start having lived experiences to draw from in their writing.)

By William Zinsser,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked On Writing Well as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On Writing Well has been praised for its sound advice, its clarity and the warmth of its style. It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in the age of e-mail and the Internet.

Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts or about yourself in the increasingly popular memoir genre, On Writing Well offers you fundamental priciples as well as the insights of a distinguished writer and teacher. With more…


Book cover of Writing the Natural Way: Turn the Task of Writing Into the Joy of Writing

G. Elizabeth Kretchmer Author Of Writing Through the Muck: Finding Self and Story for Personal Growth, Healing, and Transcendence

From my list on to get you writing.

Who am I?

As a published author with an MFA in Writing, I know how hard writing can be in terms of how to find a muse, employ an elusive craft, and deal with the soul-shaking consequences of digging deep. But as a survivor of life, including multiple moves, broken relationships, alcoholism, illness, and debilitating grief, I've also experienced the transformative power of writing. I took that belief into the community, and developed writing workshops for cancer survivors, women facing domestic violence, and many other people wrestling with trauma and illness, often recommending some of these books in my workshops. And along the way, I’ve witnessed time and again what the written word can do. 

G.'s book list on to get you writing

G. Elizabeth Kretchmer Why did G. love this book?

Writing professor Gabriele Rico knows how to take the fear out of writing, which is why this book became such a powerful best-seller and why I love to read and recommend it. Among the many strategies and techniques she offers in Writing the Natural Way, one of my favorites is her brainstorming strategy called clustering, which gives us permission to wander and bypass the critical censorship we are often hindered by. In turn, this fuels creativity and prompts us to make associations among ideas, memories, and feelings that are otherwise seemingly diverse or disorganized. She also firmly believes that, although writing can be a painful process, it’s not what hurts us that matters but rather it’s how we deal with the pain, and it’s through an honest expression of our truth that we can grow and heal.

By Gabriele Lusser Rico,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shows all writers how effective writing can be as natural as telling a story to a friend, and as easy as daydreaming.


Book cover of How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America

Peter Lovesey Author Of The Last Detective

From my list on the secrets of great mystery writing.

Who am I?

My introduction to mystery writing was a competition for a first crime novel. I was lucky enough to win with Wobble to Death, about a Victorian long-distance race. When I went to collect the prize, I was startled to be asked if I was already at work on the next one. The publishers Macmillan had started a crime list and were looking for a career writer. I knew practically nothing about the genre and had to give myself a crash course. How I needed the support of books like these! After five years, I had the confidence to give up the day job and have made my living from mystery writing for almost fifty years. 

Peter's book list on the secrets of great mystery writing

Peter Lovesey Why did Peter love this book?

Although I’m a Brit, I joined the Mystery Writers of America early in my career and benefited enormously from the friendships I made. This newly published volume is a virtual encyclopedia of the advice their experts are willing to share. With more than seventy contributors, it covers the field and more, including mysteries for children, graphic novels, and true crime. None of it is treated as gospel. I laughed out loud when I found the chapter "Always Outline" by Jeffery Deaver, followed by "Never Outline" by Lee Child. Even the follow-up process of reaching out to readers is explained in "Building Your Community" by Louise Penny. This is a must-visit workshop for anyone serious about the craft.

By Mystery Writers of America,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Write a Mystery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the most successful mystery writers in the business, an invaluable guide to crafting mysteries-from character development and plot to procedurals and thrillers-a must-have for every aspiring mystery writer.

Mystery Writers of America (MWA) is known for providing unparalleled resources on the craft, art, and business of storytelling, helping writers of all levels improve their skills for nearly a century. Now, this new handbook helps authors navigate the ever-shifting publishing landscape-from pacing, plotting, the business side of publishing, to the current demand for diversity and inclusivity across all genres, and more.

Featuring essays by a new generation of bestselling experts…


Book cover of Write Away: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life

Catherine Maiorisi Author Of A Matter of Blood

From my list on mysteries that feature two detectives.

Who am I?

I write the NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli Mystery series featuring Corelli and her partner Detective P.J. Parker. Most mysteries have a single main character so I’m passionate about finding other authors who write mysteries with two professional investigators as main characters. It’s fascinating to see how authors writing the same type of characters handle them and what they do about character growth over the course of the series. To me, watching two characters react to each other, seeing their relationship change over the course of a book or a series is much more interesting than reading about a single detective.

Catherine's book list on mysteries that feature two detectives

Catherine Maiorisi Why did Catherine love this book?

When I sat down to write my first novel I knew I wanted to model my characters on George’s Lynley and Havers but I couldn’t even start writing because I had no idea how to structure a novel, particularly a mystery. As fate would have it, George released her book on writing, Write Away, around that time. In it, she described her process with examples from her own books and it was exactly what I needed. This book provided the essential tools I needed to write. 

By Elizabeth George,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Write Away as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Elizabeth George is one of the most successful writers of crime fiction in the world. Her twelve novels have appeared on bestseller lists in the UK, USA and Australia, and several of them have been dramatised by BBC Television as the Inspector Lynley Mysteries. She has also written a collection of short stories and edited a crime anthology.

Now she shares this wealth of experience with would-be novelists, and with crime fiction fans. Drawing extensively on her own work, and that of other bestselling writers including Stephen King, Harper Lee, Dennis Lehane and many others, she illustrates her points about…


Book cover of High-Value Writing: Real Strategies for Real-World Writing

Anne H. Janzer Author Of 33 Ways Not to Screw Up Your Business Emails

From my list on for boosting business writing skills.

Who am I?

After spending years as a freelance writer and content marketer, I turned my attention to exploring the inner workings of why writing works and how it fails. I’m an unabashed nonfiction geek on a mission to help people make a positive impact with their words—whether they’re writing emails, blog posts, or nonfiction books. 

Anne's book list on for boosting business writing skills

Anne H. Janzer Why did Anne love this book?

Erin Lebacqz is an experienced business writing teacher, and her practical and practiced bent shows in this book. It offers solid advice for clear and effective writing, covering topics like word choice, sentence structure, and more. The numerous examples will serve people new on the job as well as those who simply want to sharpen their skills and tighten their prose.

Even as someone who writes about writing, I found fresh approaches and ideas in this book. For example, Lebacqz suggests that as writers, we should act like “hosts” for our readers. I love that. 

By Erin Lebacqz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked High-Value Writing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Write to both inform and connect, and use intentional word choice to avoid misunderstandings and build strong relationships. Get confident about your business writing, emailing, posting on socials, and all the other ways you connect with the people you know through writing.

Down-to-earth, conversational, and brief, High-Value Writing: Real Strategies for Real-World Writing helps you manage the writing challenges you face at work and elsewhere in life. The book provides strategies, tips and tricks, examples, revision examples, and lots of practical advice you can apply in your writing this week.

Learn to make writing choices you feel good about; and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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