85 books like Walden

By Henry David Thoreau,

Here are 85 books that Walden fans have personally recommended if you like Walden. 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 Siddhartha

Marc Lesser Author Of Finding Clarity: How Compassionate Accountability Builds Vibrant Relationships, Thriving Workplaces and Meaningful Lives

From my list on helping you live a meaningful and successful life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I sometimes describe myself as a stealth Zen teacher working in the business world. I've founded and been CEO of three companies, including the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, a company I helped create and launch inside of Google's headquarters. I'm an executive coach and consultant to CEOs and leaders in the corporate and non-profit worlds. Prior to my business career I was a resident of the San Francisco Zen Center for 10 years. I'm the author of 5 books.

Marc's book list on helping you live a meaningful and successful life

Marc Lesser Why did Marc love this book?

Siddhartha is a profound exploration of spirituality, self-discovery, and the pursuit of meaning in life.

It encourages readers to seek their own paths, embrace the present moment, and develop a deep sense of interconnectedness with the world around them. The books protagonist Siddhartha encounters various forms of suffering throughout his journey, and he comes to recognize the necessity and inevitability of pain and hardship in life.

The novel teaches that true wisdom and growth can arise from embracing and accepting suffering rather than trying to escape or avoid it.

By Hermann Hesse,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Here the spirituality of the East and the West have met in a novel that enfigures deep human wisdom with a rich and colorful imagination.

Written in a prose of almost biblical simplicity and beauty, it is the story of a soul's long quest in search of he ultimate answer to the enigma of man's role on this earth. As a youth, the young Indian Siddhartha meets the Buddha but cannot be content with a disciple's role: he must work out his own destiny and solve his own doubt-a tortuous road that carries him through the sensuality of a love…


Book cover of Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words

Brandon Wilson Author Of Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace

From my list on doing a pilgrimage and our search for meaning.

Why am I passionate about this?

Brandon Wilson is an author, photographer, explorer, and pilgrim. He is a voracious explorer of nearly one hundred countries, he has trekked many pilgrimage trails, including: the Camino de Santiago, Camino Catalan, Camino Aragonés and Via de la Plata across Spain, and twice the St. Olav’s Way across Norway and Sweden. Brandon and his wife Cheryl were the first Western couple to complete the 1100-kilometer pilgrim trail from Lhasa, Tibet to Kathmandu, and he was the first American to traverse the 1850-kilometer Via Francigena from England to Rome. In 2006, he and his French friend re-blazed the 4500-kilometer route of the First Crusades from France to Jerusalem, naming it the Templar Trail, to establish it as a path of peace.

Brandon's book list on doing a pilgrimage and our search for meaning

Brandon Wilson Why did Brandon love this book?

Peace Pilgrim was a true modern pioneer. For nearly thirty years, starting in 1953, she devoted her life to international peace, as she crisscrossed America on foot with her few belongings on her back, "Walking until given shelter and fasting until given food.” At a time when American school kids were hiding under their desks in fear of a nuclear attack, Peace Pilgrim bravely “walked the talk” about unabashedly spoke about the necessity of peace, a message which inspired generations.

By Peace Pilgrim,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Peace Pilgrim walked and spoke continuously across America from 1953 until her death in 1981. "Walking until given shelter and fasting until given food," she carried a simple yet powerfully enduring message of peace. A few of her friends later gathered her writings and talks into this first-person account of her experiences and beliefs. Peace Pilgrim has become a spiritual classic, with over half a million copies in print in nine languages. Includes news clippings, questions and answers, photographs, index.


Book cover of The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker's Guide to Making Travel Sacred

Brandon Wilson Author Of Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace

From my list on doing a pilgrimage and our search for meaning.

Why am I passionate about this?

Brandon Wilson is an author, photographer, explorer, and pilgrim. He is a voracious explorer of nearly one hundred countries, he has trekked many pilgrimage trails, including: the Camino de Santiago, Camino Catalan, Camino Aragonés and Via de la Plata across Spain, and twice the St. Olav’s Way across Norway and Sweden. Brandon and his wife Cheryl were the first Western couple to complete the 1100-kilometer pilgrim trail from Lhasa, Tibet to Kathmandu, and he was the first American to traverse the 1850-kilometer Via Francigena from England to Rome. In 2006, he and his French friend re-blazed the 4500-kilometer route of the First Crusades from France to Jerusalem, naming it the Templar Trail, to establish it as a path of peace.

Brandon's book list on doing a pilgrimage and our search for meaning

Brandon Wilson Why did Brandon love this book?

For many, travel reaches a point where it becomes something more than a moveable buffet and checks off a bucket-list. The Art of Pilgrimage helps you make this transition and realize you’re not alone. It traces the history of pilgrimage or mindful journeys with stories and anecdotes from past sojourners to a wide variety of locations for equally diverse reasons.

By Phil Cousineau,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Spiritual Traveler's Travel Guide

"A must read before a trip." Escape

"One of the greatest travel books I have ever read." Peter Feibleman, author of Lilly: Reminiscences of Lillian Hellman

#1 Bestseller in Atlases & Maps

The classic guide to making travel meaningful. The Art of Pilgrimage is a travel guide full of inspiration for the spiritual traveler.

Not just for pilgrims. We are descendants of nomads. And although we no longer partake in this nomadic life, the instinct to travel remains. Whether we're planning a trip or buying a secondhand copy of Siddhartha, we're always searching for a…


Book cover of The Pilgrimage Chronicles: Embrace the Quest

Brandon Wilson Author Of Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace

From my list on doing a pilgrimage and our search for meaning.

Why am I passionate about this?

Brandon Wilson is an author, photographer, explorer, and pilgrim. He is a voracious explorer of nearly one hundred countries, he has trekked many pilgrimage trails, including: the Camino de Santiago, Camino Catalan, Camino Aragonés and Via de la Plata across Spain, and twice the St. Olav’s Way across Norway and Sweden. Brandon and his wife Cheryl were the first Western couple to complete the 1100-kilometer pilgrim trail from Lhasa, Tibet to Kathmandu, and he was the first American to traverse the 1850-kilometer Via Francigena from England to Rome. In 2006, he and his French friend re-blazed the 4500-kilometer route of the First Crusades from France to Jerusalem, naming it the Templar Trail, to establish it as a path of peace.

Brandon's book list on doing a pilgrimage and our search for meaning

Brandon Wilson Why did Brandon love this book?

One method of discovery throughout millenniums and across cultures has been the act of pilgrimage. The act of traveling simply, reducing life to its essentials, and relying on the kindness of the Universe has a way of clarifying your thoughts and purpose. This anthology, of which I had the honor to contribute, brings together the experiences of 33 international walkers, pilgrims, scientists, writers, and explorers. Each walk a different path; each travel for different reasons on their quests. This inspired collection is bound to get you thinking about your own future walkabout.

By Tor and Siffy Torkildson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What is your Quest in life? "The Pilgrimage Chronicles: Embrace the Quest," created and edited by Tor and Siffy Torkildson, leads us on a series of pilgrimages and explorations to the far reaches of the planet in search of and to celebrate the meaning of life in 33 essays. "The Pilgrimage Chronicles" is a unique travel book; it is a journey into the hidden territories of the human spirit and heart. This is a book of quests, transformation, life lessons, spiritual awakening, and deep contemplative travel both physically and metaphysically. This spirited collection, from an array of accomplished writers, pilgrims…


Book cover of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Johanna van Zanten Author Of The Imposter

From my list on how the Second World War affected regular people and their families.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child with older sisters, I read their books beyond my age level under the blankets with a flashlight in bed at night. I became a reading addict. Raised in The Netherlands with the Second World War casting its large shadow on our lives, I only became interested, after my parents were gone, in how people survived and had to find their courage under impossible circumstances. They would never talk about those occupation years. My search into history led me to find the answers.

Johanna's book list on how the Second World War affected regular people and their families

Johanna van Zanten Why did Johanna love this book?

I loved this non-fiction book, and reading it, I often broke down in tears, realizing this personal and innocent true teenage story was all leading up to the tremendous death of millions of innocent people.

This is the only Anne Frank book that I recommend to everybody from a young age. It is THE introduction to the real events of World War 2.

By Anne Frank, B.M. Mooyaart (translator),

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Anne Frank as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

With 30 per cent more material than previous editions, this new contemporary and fully anglicized translation gives the reader a deeper insight into Anne's world. Publication of the unabridged Definitive Edition on Penguin Audiobook, read by Helena Bonham-Carter, coincides.


Book cover of A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

Vitaliy Katsenelson Author Of Soul in the Game: The Art of a Meaningful Life

From my list on that bring meaning to your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an investor who happens to love writing, music, and simply life in general. I was born in Murmansk, Russia, where I spent my first 18 years. My family moved to Denver in 1991, and I have lived there since. I’m CEO of IMA, a value investing firm where I have creative freedom to focus on things I love. I was so fortunate to stumble into writing; it has completely rewired my mind by providing a daily two-hour refuge for focused thinking. I am constantly on the lookout for new stories and fresh insights. Writing is what keeps me in student-of-life mode, and there is so much to learn!

Vitaliy's book list on that bring meaning to your life

Vitaliy Katsenelson Why did Vitaliy love this book?

This book is solely responsible for hooking me on Stoic philosophy, prompting my deep exploration of practical aspects of life in my own book and, most importantly, the application of them to my daily life. William’s writing is easy to follow, and his advice is very practical. I’d advise you to start reading the book from chapter four; and then when you are done with the book, come back to the first three chapters.

By William B. Irvine,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Guide to the Good Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives.

In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life. Using…


Book cover of The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don't Need

Sam Pizzigati Author Of The Case for a Maximum Wage

From my list on why we need a world without billionaires.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the 1950s next door to Long Island’s iconic Levittown. All my aunts and uncles lived in similar modest suburbs, and I assumed everyone else did, too. Maybe that explains why America’s sharp economic U-turn in the 1970s so rubbed me the wrong way. We had become, in the mid-20th century, the first major nation where most people—after paying their monthly bills—had money left over. Today we rate as the world’s most unequal major nation. Our richest 0.1 percent hold as much wealth as our bottom 90 percent. I’ve been working with the Institute for Public Studies, as co-editor of Inequality.org, to change all that.

Sam's book list on why we need a world without billionaires

Sam Pizzigati Why did Sam love this book?

Our nation’s most insightful—and readable—sociologist? Boston College’s Juliet Schorr has my vote.

Over the past quarter-century, Schor has probably done more than anyone else in the world to bring grand conceptual constructs like income distribution down to the nitty-gritty of daily life.

Her 1999  best-seller, The Overspent American, strikingly exposes how inequality unleashes a “competitive consumption” dynamic that has us consuming ever more and enjoying life ever less. And that dynamic poses more dangers today than ever before.

As Schor put it in an interview with her I did some years back, we have “no chance” at achieving ecological sustainability “with the kind of extreme income distribution” that we have today. 

By Juliet B. Schor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Overspent American as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An in-depth look at the corruption of the American Dream, the follow-up to the the Overworked American examines the consumer lives of Americans and the pitfalls of keeping up with the Joneses. Schor explains how and why the purchases of others in our social and professional communities can put pressure on us to spend more than we can afford to, how television viewing can undermine our ability to save, and why even households with good incomes have taken on so much debt for so many products they dont need and often dont even want.


Book cover of How Much Is Enough?: Money and the Good Life

Emrys Westacott Author Of The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less Is More - More or Less

From my list on simple living and the good life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosopher who is especially interested in relating philosophy to everyday life. So I like to ask–and try to answer– questions such as: Why is frugality considered a moral virtue? Are there times when rudeness is justified? What makes some kinds of work shameful? I earned my Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin and am currently a Professor of Philosophy at Alfred University in Alfred, New York.

Emrys' book list on simple living and the good life

Emrys Westacott Why did Emrys love this book?

Philosophies of simple living are often addressed primarily to the individuals who is seeking happiness. This is largely true, for instance, of both Epicureanism and Stoicism. How Much Is Enough? shows how the questions raised by such philosophies also bear on the economic policies and political culture of rich, modernized societies. The basic argument of the book is that it is foolish for these societies to strive for endless economic growth. They are already wealthy enough to provide the basic conditions of the good life for all their citizens, including a radical reduction in the hours that people need to work. But this isn't happening because capitalism continually inflames people's misguided desire for more stuff and higher status. So the machine just keeps on pointlessly creating desires while plutocrats keep creaming off the wealth of society which could otherwise be distributed more equitably and more rationally. The book offers a…

By Robert Skidelsky, Edward Skidelsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Much Is Enough? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A provocative and timely call for a moral approach to economics, drawing on philosophers, political theorists, writers, and economists from Aristotle to Marx to Keynes

   What constitutes the good life? What is the true value of money? Why
do we work such long hours merely to acquire greater wealth? These
are some of the questions that many asked themselves when the
financial system crashed in 2008. This book tackles such questions
head-on.  
   The authors begin with the great economist John Maynard Keynes.
In 1930 Keynes predicted that, within a century, per capita income
would steadily rise, people’s basic needs would…


Book cover of The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle

Emrys Westacott Author Of The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less Is More - More or Less

From my list on simple living and the good life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosopher who is especially interested in relating philosophy to everyday life. So I like to ask–and try to answer– questions such as: Why is frugality considered a moral virtue? Are there times when rudeness is justified? What makes some kinds of work shameful? I earned my Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin and am currently a Professor of Philosophy at Alfred University in Alfred, New York.

Emrys' book list on simple living and the good life

Emrys Westacott Why did Emrys love this book?

This is an entirely different kind of book to those listed above. From 1990 to 1996 Amy Dacyczyn, a self-styled "frugal zealot," put out a monthly newsletter, The Tightwad Gazette. It contained all sorts of tips, tricks, strategies, and advice on how to pinch pennies. This book brings all her articles together in a single volume. For anyone committed to living simply–which usually means living cheaply–it is a goldmine. True, not all her recommendations met with my family's approval: mixing real maple syrup 50-50 with fake maple syrup received multiple thumbs down. But browsing through it is great fun, and on almost any page you'll find a salutary reminder of how you could be more frugal. And as we all know, frugality is associated with wisdom and with happiness.

By Amy Dacyczyn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At last—the long-awaited complete compendium of tightwad tips for fabulous frugal living!

In a newsletter published from May 1990 to December 1996 as well as in three enormously successful books, Amy Dacyczyn established herself as the expert of economy. Now The Complete Tightwad Gazette brings together all of her best ideas and thriftiest thinking into one volume, along with new articles never published before in book format. Dacyczyn describes this collection as "the book I wish I'd had when I began my adult life." Packed with humor, creativity, and insight, The Complete Tightwad Gazette includes hundreds of tips for anyone…


Book cover of I Capture the Castle

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta Author Of Ark

From my list on living big in small spaces.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an American author who lived three years in a backyard tiny house with my family: husband, two young children, and a part-time dog. We wanted to live a bigger life, focused on our favorite activities and most important relationships. I wrote this book during the first spring of COVID-19, partly as a way to record my family’s experience weathering a pandemic in under 300 square feet, and partly as a way to explore the ways that children can be resourceful when life gives them a pinch. I've been a writer for most of my life, and I love to teach writing. Ark is my first middle-grade novel, and my lucky thirteenth book to publish!

Elisabeth's book list on living big in small spaces

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta Why did Elisabeth love this book?

Granted, nobody would call a castle a small space, but the world of 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain—the narrator of this full-of-life novel-in-journal-form—is hemmed in by her father’s writer’s block and his innate dislike of neighbors, resulting in their family’s life of dwindling gentile poverty in a dilapidated rented castle.

Much of the novel’s long-lasting enchantment is how Cassandra makes the best of the stone walls that contain and border her life. Cassandra has a wonderful imagination and a knack for seeing her life as a story. A very funny and wise coming-of-age story about how our homes shape our world-views.

By Dodie Smith,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked I Capture the Castle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

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

A wonderfully quirky coming-of-age story, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, author of The Hundred and One Dalmatians is an affectionately drawn portrait of one of the funniest families in literature.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition is illustrated by Ruth Steed, and features an afterword by publisher Anna South.

The eccentric Mortmain family have been rattling around in a…


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