100 books like The State of Affairs

By Esther Perel,

Here are 100 books that The State of Affairs fans have personally recommended if you like The State of Affairs. 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 Man’s Search for Meaning

Ricardo Sunderland Author Of The Energy Advantage: How to Go from Managing Your Time to Mastering Your Energy

From my list on non fiction mastering your energy.

Why am I passionate about this?

My purpose is to help leaders connect to and manage their energy. I help them bring coherence to how they lead and reach their full societal impact. For more than a  decade, I have coached 300 of the most senior leaders at some of the largest and most recognizable companies in the world. My recommended to-read book list represents crucible moments in my life and my calling to learn about human energy. Representing different lenses, which are key to adding to a mix of ingredients, allows the reader to drink a potion that will exalt all your buckets (physical, mental, emotional & spiritual) of energy holistically. 

Ricardo's book list on non fiction mastering your energy

Ricardo Sunderland Why did Ricardo love this book?

Besides being one of the best psychologists in mankind's history, Viktor is a masterful storyteller. It's as if I was transported to Auschwitz at the time, where Viktor was imprisoned along with thousands of Jews; in a very compelling way, he leaves no hint of a doubt that it was thanks to his meaning in life that he was able to survive, and the minute that others let go of theirs, they let go of life itself.

In addition, Viktor also shares his logotherapy framework and how it was updated after his terrible experience. If you doubt the power of doing the work to search for your life’s meaning, this book is a must-read. 

By Viktor Frankl,

Why should I read it?

42 authors picked Man’s Search for Meaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the outstanding classics to emerge from the Holocaust, Man's Search for Meaning is Viktor Frankl's story of his struggle for survival in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Today, this remarkable tribute to hope offers us an avenue to finding greater meaning and purpose in our own lives.


Book cover of Middlemarch

Fathali Moghaddam Author Of The Psychology of Revolution

From my list on why revolutions fail.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a deep passion for the psychology of revolution because my family has experienced revolution in our country of birth, and I have expertise on this topic because, as a psychologist, I have extensively studied revolutions for decades. This is a topic seldom studied by modern psychologists, perhaps because most research psychologists live in Western countries and have not experienced revolutions. Western psychologists have no experience with revolutions. The last book published with the title of my book, The Psychology of Revolution, came out in 1894! I am very enthusiastic about putting together this diverse reading list, which is made up of research books, novels, and a poetry collection.

Fathali's book list on why revolutions fail

Fathali Moghaddam Why did Fathali love this book?

I am recommending George Eliot’s novel (published in parts 1871-72) because I believe it is as good as any of the great Russian novels and probably the best novel written in English. Eliot (real name Mary Ann Evans) was herself a revolutionary person. In 19th century England, she worked as an independent woman, lived with a married man (she eventually married him), and later married a man a lot younger than herself. Her novel is set in the early part of the 19th century when the aftereffects of the French Revolution were strongly felt in England, and there was even fear of revolution among the English aristocracy. The 1832 parliamentary reforms gave political power to the new middle class, and change was underway. Middlemarch is a fictional town, where the banker, mayor, and other middle-class professionals are rising in influence.

At the center of the novel is a medical doctor…

By George Eliot,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World'

'One of the few English novels written for grown-up people' Virginia Woolf

George Eliot's nuanced and moving novel is a masterly evocation of connected lives, changing fortunes and human frailties in a provincial community. Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfilment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; Dr Lydgate, whose pioneering medical methods, combined with an imprudent marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamond, threaten to undermine his career; and the religious hypocrite Bulstrode, hiding scandalous crimes from his…


Book cover of Loose Ends: Primary Papers in Archetypal Psychology

Beth Hedva Author Of Betrayal, Trust and Forgiveness: A Guide to Emotional Healing and Self-Renewal

From my list on betrayal.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a psychologist and university professor teaching internationally, I’ve had opportunities to listen to people’s stories globally, and impart wisdom gleaned from my own cross-cultural experiences. Invitations to share ranged from teaching others inner and spiritual healing methods to being Reader’s Digest’s “Online Ask an Expert about Infidelity”, to training local recovery workers during the two deadliest disasters of this century. Therefore, I cannot say I ‘chose’ to become an expert on betrayal. It chose me. From childhood on, betrayal gave me opportunities to personally experience and learn from interpersonal infidelities, health crises, social injustice, and mass trauma. The school of hard-knocks tests us first—then we get the teaching.

Beth's book list on betrayal

Beth Hedva Why did Beth love this book?

Hillman’s essay on Betrayal sat inside my belly like an irritating grain of sand that turned into a pearl of inner Wisdom. He said trust cannot be fully realized without betrayal because prior to betrayal we are naive. It is only after betrayal when we know the risks—only then, is genuine trust established. However, this is not about trusting your ‘betrayer’ …it is about learning to trust yourself — your inner source of wisdom and creativity that inspires you to create value out of all of life’s experiences, and rewards you with the courage to create your life anew, independent of circumstance.

Though Hillman focused on father betrayal wounds, the message is universal: “Forgiving is not forgetting…it is the remembrance of the wrong within a wider context."

By James Hillman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Blending case histories with myth, clinical fact with imaginative meaning, this book, with its profound appreciation of history and biography, of the arts, ideas, and culture, trains the senses to perceive the face of the soul. In papers on abandonment, nostalgia, betrayal, schism, failure, and masturbation, Hillman shows that pathology belongs intrinsically to the psyche and that it reveals the unchanging, necessary, fecund depths of human nature. A brief note on story pleads for a 'story sense,' a deeply therapeutic awareness of how mythic persons and archetypal events influence the psyche by conditioning perceptions, generating meanings, and shaping our lives,…


Book cover of Myths, Rites, Symbols: A Mircea Eliade Reader, Volume 1

Beth Hedva Author Of Betrayal, Trust and Forgiveness: A Guide to Emotional Healing and Self-Renewal

From my list on betrayal.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a psychologist and university professor teaching internationally, I’ve had opportunities to listen to people’s stories globally, and impart wisdom gleaned from my own cross-cultural experiences. Invitations to share ranged from teaching others inner and spiritual healing methods to being Reader’s Digest’s “Online Ask an Expert about Infidelity”, to training local recovery workers during the two deadliest disasters of this century. Therefore, I cannot say I ‘chose’ to become an expert on betrayal. It chose me. From childhood on, betrayal gave me opportunities to personally experience and learn from interpersonal infidelities, health crises, social injustice, and mass trauma. The school of hard-knocks tests us first—then we get the teaching.

Beth's book list on betrayal

Beth Hedva Why did Beth love this book?

Among the proliferation of contemporary self-help books, Myths, Rites and Symbols elucidated what I consider to be a 'missing link’. As Eliade described ancient and indigenous initiatory rites of passage I discovered there are specific stages of transformative growth after the shock of betrayal. Initiation ceremonies often begin with isolation and separation—an existential crisis designed to train a novice (and the reader) to confront symbolic death and embrace the unpredictable vicissitudes of life’s ordeals as spiritual tests. The process awakens self-discovery and inner wisdom, which inspires a spiritual rebirth, renewed creativity, and a purpose-driven return to life.

Eliade planted a seed in my imagination: reframe separation as a ‘sacred separation’—and use the shock of betrayal (and its many ordeals) as part of a grand, personal ceremony of initiation.

By Mircea Eliade,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Myths, Rites, Symbols as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Dangerous Friend: The Teacher-Student Relationship in Vajrayana Buddhism

Beth Hedva Author Of Betrayal, Trust and Forgiveness: A Guide to Emotional Healing and Self-Renewal

From my list on betrayal.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a psychologist and university professor teaching internationally, I’ve had opportunities to listen to people’s stories globally, and impart wisdom gleaned from my own cross-cultural experiences. Invitations to share ranged from teaching others inner and spiritual healing methods to being Reader’s Digest’s “Online Ask an Expert about Infidelity”, to training local recovery workers during the two deadliest disasters of this century. Therefore, I cannot say I ‘chose’ to become an expert on betrayal. It chose me. From childhood on, betrayal gave me opportunities to personally experience and learn from interpersonal infidelities, health crises, social injustice, and mass trauma. The school of hard-knocks tests us first—then we get the teaching.

Beth's book list on betrayal

Beth Hedva Why did Beth love this book?

Dangerous Friend is an Eastern wake-up call for Western ‘seekers’ and ’would-be spiritual teachers’. Drawing from Vajrayana teachers, Rig’dzin Dorje clarifies betrayal is a “final portal of freedom…in which we are able to question…our narcissistic determination to maintain the illusion of duality.” As a transpersonal psychologist, I’ve noticed sometimes Western seekers who hunger for enlightenment imagine devotion to their Spiritual Teacher will give them a ticket to ride a wave of bliss into nirvana.

A teacher must betray a student’s fantasies, attachments, and delusions, (including those about their teacher), in favor of devotion to the teachings. Despite a desire to have others be accountable to us, and responsible for us, this book confirms the necessity to cultivate Self-compassion and awareness—and to turn inward for liberation.

By Rig'dzin Dorje,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Although Tibetan Buddhism continues to grow in popularity, the crucial relationship between teacher and student remains largely misunderstood. Dangerous Friend offers an in-depth exploration of this mysterious and complex bond, a relationship of paramount importance in Tibetan Buddhist practice.

According to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the student must have complete trust in the teacher (the "dangerous friend") if he or she is to achieve any understanding. It is the teacher's responsibility to uphold the integrity of the tradition, the basis of which is compassion for all beings, by transmitting it properly to an appropriate student. Likewise, it is the student's responsibility…


Book cover of Howards End

James B. Gilbert Author Of The Legacy

From my list on understanding and misunderstanding each other.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have had two careers and two lives. Beginning as a historian of American culture, I have become a writer of fiction. That I have turned to fiction now is because I have so many of my own stories to explore and relate. And what I love most about writing novels and the short pieces I compose is the possibility to create living characters who sometimes surprise me with what they believe and do, but always, I know, emerge from the very deepest corners of my imagination and the issues that I feel compelled to examine and resolve.

James' book list on understanding and misunderstanding each other

James B. Gilbert Why did James love this book?

I loved this book because it marvelously portrays the unintended and harmful effects of social class.

Everything about this work, including the dialogue, the setting, and the characters, is compelling. I think its lasting effect was to impress upon me the way an author can write about something tragic and sad and yet leave me with the feeling that I have encountered a great story.

By E.M. Forster,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Howards End as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

"Howards End" is E. M. Forster's classic story of the varying struggles of members of different strata of the English middle class. The story centers around three families; the Wilcoxes, who made their fortune in the American colonies; the Schlegels, three siblings who represent the intellectual bourgeoisie; and the Basts, a young struggling lower middle-class couple. "Howards End", one of Forster's greatest works, is a classic dramatization of the differences in life amongst the English middle class.


Book cover of Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason

Julie Metz Author Of Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal

From my list on for women recovering from betrayal or divorce.

Why am I passionate about this?

Though I’ve been a great reader since childhood, I sometimes describe myself as an accidental writer—I came to this work later in my life, following the events that I write about in my first memoir Perfection. Before I became a writer, I did spend many years in the publishing business designing book covers, so I appreciate all sides of the work of bringing books to readers. My favorite books help me enter new worlds for a time and re-reading favorites is like visiting a faithful friend. My recommendations here are a mix of both memoir and fiction and include some of my “desert island” favorites. I hope you enjoy them!

Julie's book list on for women recovering from betrayal or divorce

Julie Metz Why did Julie love this book?

This is another book I wish I’d been able to read when my marriage ended. In this memoir, Gina Frangello writes about the explosion of her own marriage, the cause of which was her secret affair. This might seem like a surprising choice, but in so many ways it gets to the heart of why modern marriages come apart. So many women, myself included, entered into marriage committed to the idea of following codes and rules that were not our own. This author bravely excavates the reasons for her affair without punishing herself, but taking responsibility. In this way it is a sister memoir to Rachel Cusk’s Aftermath. This is not a book about widowhood at all, but I recommend it because it can offer fresh perspective on marriage and relationships…for next time.

By Gina Frangello,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blow Your House Down as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice • A Good Morning America Recommended Book • A LitReactor Best Book of the Year • A BuzzFeed Most Anticipated Book of the Year • A Lit Hub Most Anticipated Book of the Year • A Rumpus Most Anticipated Book of the Year • A Bustle Most Anticipated Book of the Month
 
"A pathbreaking feminist manifesto, impossible to put down or dismiss. Gina Frangello tells the morally complex story of her adulterous relationship with a lover and her shortcomings as a mother, and in doing so, highlights the forces that shaped, silenced,…


Book cover of The Transit of Venus

Julie Metz Author Of Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal

From my list on for women recovering from betrayal or divorce.

Why am I passionate about this?

Though I’ve been a great reader since childhood, I sometimes describe myself as an accidental writer—I came to this work later in my life, following the events that I write about in my first memoir Perfection. Before I became a writer, I did spend many years in the publishing business designing book covers, so I appreciate all sides of the work of bringing books to readers. My favorite books help me enter new worlds for a time and re-reading favorites is like visiting a faithful friend. My recommendations here are a mix of both memoir and fiction and include some of my “desert island” favorites. I hope you enjoy them!

Julie's book list on for women recovering from betrayal or divorce

Julie Metz Why did Julie love this book?

In this masterpiece, we follow two sisters from post-World War Two onward through love, betrayal, marriages, and widowhood. She manages to cover a good part of adult female experiences as lovers and wives and beyond. But truly, this is a book worth reading and re-reading because with every new pass, you’ll find something new to marvel at. The twists and turns of the plot are subtle…this is sentence by sentence prose amazingness. The book was published in the 1980s but it feels edgy and modern in its way of slipping into the minds of the two sisters as they make their way through the challenges of their lives. Somehow Shirley Hazzard manages to inject a dark story with so much humor. It’s one of those laughing and crying at the same time reads. And once you’ve read it, we can discuss!

By Shirley Hazzard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The Transit of Venus is one of the great English-language novels of the twentieth century." - The Paris Review

Finalist for the National Book Award
Winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award

The award-winning, New York Times bestselling literary masterpiece of Shirley Hazzard-the story of two beautiful orphan sisters whose fates are as moving and wonderful, and yet as predestined, as the transits of the planets themselves

The Transit of Venus is considered Shirley Hazzard's most brilliant novel. It tells the story of two orphan sisters, Caroline and Grace Bell, as they leave Australia to start a new life…


Book cover of He Said He Would Be Late

Nicole Hackett Author Of The Perfect Ones

From my list on the non-Instagrammable parts of motherhood.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was pregnant for the first time, I knew exactly the sort of mother I was going to be. I had read all the articles, bookmarked all the tastefully filtered Instagram posts. But then I had my son, and I realized almost immediately how little I knew. It turns out that while those tender Instagram moments do happen (and they truly are magic), there are just as many moments that can only be described as: WTF? My novel, The Perfect Ones, goes deep behind the screens of two Instagram influencers and their messy, conflicting, and fundamentally human feelings on motherhood. Here are five more books about the parts that don’t make the Instagram grid.

Nicole's book list on the non-Instagrammable parts of motherhood

Nicole Hackett Why did Nicole love this book?

This novel does the very scary thing of looking postpartum directly in the eye.

It follows new mom Liz Bennet along her increasingly unhinged search for clues about her husband’s suspected infidelity. Most moms (hopefully!) won’t relate to Liz’s specific situation, but Justine Sullivan paints a terrifyingly realistic portrait of the madness of those first years of new motherhood.

By Justine Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Liz Bennett knows that she is one of the lucky ones. Wealthy and charming, Arno is a supportive husband to Liz and a doting father to their daughter, Emma. A rising banker at a top firm in the Boston area, he is the picture of perfection, rounding off their idyllic New England life. But when Liz sees a text on Arno's phone with a kissy-face emoji, her anxiety kicks into overdrive and she begins to worry that her luck has run out.

Plagued by persistent skepticism and countless sleepless nights, Liz decides she must uncover the truth about her husband…


Book cover of A Happy Marriage

Joanne Serling Author Of Good Neighbors

From my list on the truth about love and marriage.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a novelist, essayist, and short story writer who finds domestic life as fascinating and complex as any board room battle or historical event. I love books about marriage and family because so few people are willing to talk honestly about them. Finding a great book is like meeting a new friend who is willing to tell you their secrets and then share hard-won advice. 

Joanne's book list on the truth about love and marriage

Joanne Serling Why did Joanne love this book?

It’s been nearly ten years since I first read this book and I can still remember what the characters were wearing in the first chapter. Now that’s visceral storytelling! The author’s ability to capture his intense obsession with his future wife is familiar, poignant, and heart-warming. Yglesias’ portrayal of the couple’s long and, at times, bumpy marriage, makes this one of the most complex and honest portrayals of a marriage that I have ever read. That this is also a book about cancer and death does nothing to diminish the feelings of hope and gratitude embodied on every page. 

By Rafael Yglesias,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Happy Marriage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Happy Marriage is both intimate and expansive: It is the story of Enrique Sabas and his wife, Margaret, a novel that alternates between the romantic misadventures of the first weeks of their courtship and the final months of Margaret's life as she says good-bye to her family, friends, and children -- and to Enrique. Spanning thirty years, this achingly honest story is about what it means for two people to spend a lifetime together -- and what makes a happy marriage.

Yglesias's career as a novelist began in 1970 when he wrote an autobiographical novel at sixteen, hailed by…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in adultery, marriage, and infidelity?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about adultery, marriage, and infidelity.

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