10 books like The Alphabet Versus the Goddess

By Leonard Shlain,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Alphabet Versus the Goddess. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Big Magic

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Book cover of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

While I loved this author’s book Eat, Pray, Love, I have to choose her title Big Magic as my favorite of all time. It’s sort of a self-help book exploring the mysterious world of inspiration, but it reads like a memoir. She has a beautiful writing style that I admire. This is a blueprint to finding your own path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of. I like the title too!

Big Magic

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Big Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process - and showing us all just how easy it can be. By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear. Whether you long to write a book, create…

The War of Art

By Steven Pressfield,

Book cover of The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

For me, as an artist, there is no greater feeling than bringing a vision into reality and welcoming the formless into form. Having to wrestle with the angels of creativity and the demons of resistance is exhausting, soul-enlivening work. Steven Pressfield brilliantly describes and guides readers through this process in his seminal work The War of Art. Steven invites us to square our shoulders towards all that we’ve been resisting, as a means of facing the life we know we’re capable of and called to live. The book is divided into three parts, or books within the book: Book One is called, simply “Resistance: Defining The Enemy.” Book Two is titled “Combating Resistance: Turning Pro” and outlines the differences between an amateur and a professional, and Book Three is my personal favorite: “Beyond Resistance: The Higher Realm” where he waxes poetic about our connection to the Muses and the…

The War of Art

By Steven Pressfield,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The War of Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A succinct, engaging, and practical guide forsucceeding in any creative sphere, The War ofArt is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul.

What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do?

Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid theroadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dreambusiness venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece?

Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy thatevery one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer thisinternal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.

The War of Art emphasizes the resolve…


Resilience from the Heart

By Gregg Braden,

Book cover of Resilience from the Heart: The Power to Thrive in Life's Extremes

While this book is not written for artists or even about art, I found it very helpful for me as a painter. To achieve the best for my paintings, I realize I need to trust my intuition over intellect. If I get too intellectual about any of my ideas for a painting, the end result is not as fulfilling if instead, I follow my intuition or inner voice. Braden goes into depth in this book about having two sources of intelligence – the brain and the heart. I like his take on this which can also be thought of as right and left brain or intellect vs intuition. By thinking about Braden's ideas on our powerful heart-brain connection, I am able to tap into deeper modalities on what it is that I am painting about. Very interesting read that sticks with you for a long time and easily becomes a…

Resilience from the Heart

By Gregg Braden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Resilience from the Heart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We solve our problems based upon the way we think of ourselves and the world. From peak energy and peak debt to failing economies and the realities of climate change, everyday life is showing us where we've outgrown the thinking of the past. It's also showing us where big changes in the world mean big changes in our lives. Through dramatic shifts in our jobs, our relationship to money, our health, and even our homes, it's clear that our lives are changing in ways we've never seen, to a degree that we're not prepared for, and at speeds that we've…

Concerning the Spiritual in Art

By Wassily Kandinsky,

Book cover of Concerning the Spiritual in Art

This book is an absolute must-read for all painters. Kandinsky is known as the father of modern art who brought abstract painting into the realms of art history. As an important aside, there is now controversy over his title, as new information has come up about a woman painter Hilma af Klint, that preceded Kandinsky for abstract painting ideas. Even so, Kandinsky was the first to write about spirituality and art for painters. His ideas still feel fresh on how color plays an integral role to express emotion in painting. He originally wrote this book in German, and so the translation to English along with his determination to express inner motivation for painters, makes this read a bit of a challenge. A worthy task guaranteed to surprise even the savviest painter, on how Kandinsky points out our inner thoughts as contemporary painters, but more than a century ago.

Concerning the Spiritual in Art

By Wassily Kandinsky,

Why should I read it?

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


Nicely Said

By Nicole Fenton, Kate Kiefer-Lee,

Book cover of Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose

I’m picking this book because it’s actually useful for anyone in content, whether you’re a marketing strategist, UX writer, or content designer. It’s easy to read, and a lovely overview of creating more effective content – with guidance on how to adapt tone for different scenarios, and a brilliant exercise for proposition development. It was one of the first books I read about web content, and still one of the books I refer back to again and again.

Nicely Said

By Nicole Fenton, Kate Kiefer-Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Whether you're new to web writing, or you're a professional writer looking to deepen your skills, this book is for you. You'll learn how to write web copy that addresses your readers' needs and supports your business goals.

Learn from real-world examples and interviews with people who put these ideas into action every day: Kristina Halvorson of Brain Traffic, Tiffani Jones Brown of Pinterest, Randy J. Hunt of Etsy, Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom, Mandy Brown of Editorially, Sarah Richards of GOV.UK, and more.
Topics include:

* Write marketing copy, interface flows, blog posts, legal policies, and emails
* Develop…

Aegean Linear Script(s)

By Ester Salgarella,

Book cover of Aegean Linear Script(s): Rethinking the Relationship Between Linear A and Linear B

Linear A, the script that preceded Linear B in Crete, has long attracted attempts at decipherment. Ester Salgarella, who is a colleague of mine at Cambridge, would not claim to have deciphered Linear A, but her work on the script and its relation to Linear B is brilliant at reframing the question about the relationship between the two. If you read this after Andrew Robinson’s account of Linear A (in his Lost Languages book mentioned above), you might be surprised by how much progress has been made.  

Aegean Linear Script(s)

By Ester Salgarella,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aegean Linear Script(s) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When does a continuum become a divide? This book investigates the genetic relationship between Linear A and Linear B, two Bronze Age scripts attested on Crete and Mainland Greece and understood to have developed one out of the other. By using an interdisciplinary methodology, this research integrates linguistic, epigraphic, palaeographic and archaeological evidence, and places the writing practice in its sociohistorical setting. By challenging traditional views, this work calls into question widespread assumptions and interpretative schemes on the relationship between these two scripts, and opens up new perspectives on the ideology associated with the retention, adaptation and transmission of a…

The Orwell Mystique

By Daphne Patai,

Book cover of The Orwell Mystique: A Study in Male Ideology

The title says it all. I choose Patai’s withering account of Orwell’s irredeemable misogyny not because I think she is right but because I think she onto something in him and in his life and times. After Koestler, another dark corner.

The Orwell Mystique

By Daphne Patai,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One hundred years after the publication of Looking Backward, Bellamy remains a controversial figure in American literary and social history. The collection of essays in this volume, commemorating the novel's appearance in 1888, attests to his continued importance.

Too Much Flesh and Jabez

By Coleman Dowell,

Book cover of Too Much Flesh and Jabez

The only male author on this list, Coleman Dowell’s Southern Gothic tale is included because it contains some of the most nuanced writing of female characters I’ve ever encountered. Too Much Flesh tells the narrative of a well-endowed farmer named Jim, his petite wife Effie, and a young man, Jabez, whose mutual obsession with Jim leads to, well, something of a frenetic climax. A story within a story, the tale is told to us by a “spinster schoolteacher” (the book was published in 1977), Miss Ethel, who channels her sexual repression into this story of the farmer.

Neither Miss Ethel nor Jim’s wife, Effie, come across as one-dimensional—they feel and act like real people on the page. Dowell himself was gay and deftly handles this queer narrative in a way that is somehow both quiet and stunning, and makes an interesting case study for the time period and genre. And…

Too Much Flesh and Jabez

By Coleman Dowell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Too Much Flesh and Jabez as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Coleman Dowell's "Southern Gothic" is a novel about sexual repression. Miss Ethel, a spinster school teacher, decides to write what she calls a "perverse tale" about one of her former students, a Kentucky farmer named Jim Cummins. Endowing him with unnaturally large genitals, she spins a tawdry tale of his frustrated relationship with his petite wife. Expressing all the bitterness of "an old woman's revenge," Miss Ethel's tale is nonetheless a sensitive depiction of rural life in the early years of World War II.Dowell's masterful use of the tale-within-a-tale to explore psychological states makes "Too Much Flesh and Jabez" a…

Stone Butch Blues

By Leslie Feinberg,

Book cover of Stone Butch Blues

I read Stone Butch Blues in my 20s, while just a young pup of a butch myself. The story was a shock to the system, which both ripped my heart out and emboldened me. I love Feinberg’s brutally honest view of a truly revolutionary time in US History. While a work of fiction, Stone Butch Blues holds a mirror up to the US’s despicable underbelly. Some readers refuse to believe that the history shared in Stone Butch Blues ever happened, while others read it and think “Oh, look how far we have come,” without recognizing how far we still have to go.

Stone Butch Blues

By Leslie Feinberg,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Stone Butch Blues as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Reading the Romance

By Janice A. Radway,

Book cover of Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature

A man I was working with recommended this book to me, when he heard about my novel, while it was in the making. I got hold of this book and already after the first chapter I understood why. Janice Radway investigates how Harlequin novels have such a large audience. In essence it is because romance novels always end well, as opposed to life, that keeps being complicated. It taught me that I’m a very romantic person. This was something I had never regarded as a positive trait so of course I failed to see just how important romance was and is to me. By identifying with millions of women who read these romance novels, I gained a respect that I still feel is lacking in our culture: A respect for our emotions and the big role they play in our sense of satisfaction with life.  

Reading the Romance

By Janice A. Radway,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Reading the Romance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1984, Reading the Romance challenges popular (and often demeaning) myths about why romantic fiction, one of publishing's most lucrative categories, captivates millions of women readers. Among those who have disparaged romance reading are feminists, literary critics, and theorists of mass culture. They claim that romances enforce the woman reader's dependence on men and acceptance of the repressive ideology purveyed by popular culture. Radway questions such claims, arguing that critical attention ""must shift from the text itself, taken in isolation, to the complex social event of reading."" She examines that event, from the complicated business of publishing and…

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