10 books like Tao

By Alan Watts,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Tao. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Tao Te Ching

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

Book cover of Tao Te Ching

There’s a class of books sometimes called “ancient texts” or “accumulated wisdom.” The idea is that they represent distilled knowledge that was passed down orally for hundreds or thousands of years before the invention of writing froze them in their present forms. To represent this collection, I’ve chosen the Tao Te Ching. It’s short — 81 brief chapters — and talks about things that concern us today, like how to handle anxiety and how to lead groups of people. But a word of caution: These texts will repay serious study and contemplation, but don’t take them too seriously. For one thing, compare two translations and you’ll wonder if they’re working from the same ancient manuscript. And for another, embrace the notion that once you think “this is it,” then it isn’t it (another ancient idea to ponder). 

Tao Te Ching

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

Why should I read it?

6 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…


Thinking Body, Dancing Mind

By Chungliang Al Huang,

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

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.

Thinking Body, Dancing Mind

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.


The Tao of Leadership

By John Heider,

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

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.

The Tao of Leadership

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.


Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

By Wayne W. Dyer,

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

In a yearlong journey of discovery, psychologist and author Wayne Dyer steeped himself in the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching. The result is this book of 81 chapters, offering his reflections on the 81 chapters of the Tao. Combining meditations, exercises, and personal examples, each chapter encourages readers to release their preconceptions, transcend duality, recognize their oneness with all creation, and discover their deepest sense of themselves as the wisdom of Tao becomes a living presence in their lives.

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

By Wayne W. Dyer,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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…


If You Want to Write

By Brenda Ueland,

Book cover of If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

Writers often struggle to think of themselves as “writers” because the world has us believing that we can only carry that title if we are successfully published, and of course words such as “success” and even “published” can be fraught with subjective controversy. One of the lessons I learned from Brenda Ueland, among other great thinkers, is that we need to focus first on our own authenticity and only much, much later dare we think about what the world might have to say. This allowed me to let go and move on and trust myself on my writing path. It wasn’t easy, but as emphasized in If You Want to Write, we will be all right if we believe in our inner richness.  

If You Want to Write

By Brenda Ueland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Brenda Ueland was a journalist, editor, freelance writer, and teacher of writing. In If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit she shares her philosophies on writing and life in general. Ueland firmly believed that anyone can write, that everyone is talented, original, and has something important to say. In this book she explains how find that spark that will make you a great writer. Carl Sandburg called this book the best book ever written about how to write. Join the millions of others who've found inspiration and unlocked their own talent.


How to Write a Mystery

By Mystery Writers of America,

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

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.

How to Write a Mystery

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…


If You Want to Write

By Brenda Ueland,

Book cover of If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

Sometimes the hardest part of writing is believing in an idea and jumping into it with heartfelt energy. This classic, written in 1938, gave me hope when I started on my book-writing journey 20 years ago, and it still occupies a place of honor on my bookshelf. I referred to it with fresh eyes when I jumped into nonfiction. Gotta love a book that boldly states that “everybody is talented, original and has something important to say.” Ueland shows fresh ways to connect with readers through your words and to connect with yourself as a writer.

If You Want to Write

By Brenda Ueland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In her 93 remarkable years, Brenda Ueland published six million words. She said she had two rules she followed absolutely: to tell the truth and not to do anything she didn't want to do. Her integrity shines throughout her bestselling classic on teh process of writing - a book that has inspired thousands to discover, or rediscover, their own creativity. Carl Sandburg called it the best book ever written about how to write.''


Writing the Natural Way

By Gabriele Lusser Rico,

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

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.

Writing the Natural Way

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.


Page Fright

By Harry Bruce,

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

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.

Page Fright

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…


On Writing Well

By William Zinsser,

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

This is the “classic guide to writing nonficition,” says the cover, and it’s true. Reading it fueled my own motivation to develop practical ways for people to improve their own writing with easily learned techniques, shortcuts, and “insider” tips. Zinsser’s most recent update is the 30th Anniversary Edition, 2006, so don’t expect coverage of contemporary media. The book is journalism-based and later chapters focus on writing articles, but the first few chapters remain golden. “Clear thinking becomes clear writing,” Zinsser says. “Simplify, prune, and strive for order.” His best gift to us: demonstrating how to cut any copy to its core. Beyond helping readers with the mechanics, he reminds us of the need for humanity and warmth in writing.

On Writing Well

By William Zinsser,

Why should I read it?

2 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…


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