100 books like Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

By Shunryu Suzuki,

Here are 100 books that Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind fans have personally recommended if you like Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. 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.

Who am I?

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 The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

Arielle Ford Author Of The Love Thief

From my list on growing your soul and opening your heart.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved fairytales, whimsical stories, and mysteries. Plus, I’m passionate about mind-expanding, heart-opening books that offer me new ways to understand myself and the Universe we live in. And I particularly like books that show me ways to have more of what brings me joy and pleasure. When I can get all of this in a novel I’m in heaven.

Arielle's book list on growing your soul and opening your heart

Arielle Ford Why did Arielle love this book?

I was already familiar with two of the four agreements: “doing my best” and “keeping my word” but the idea of “never making assumptions,” and “not taking anything personally” were mind-blowing and they were a big gift to my nervous system. 

I now understand that no one is waking up in the morning plotting ways to make me miserable and if I am miserable it is often because I took something personally or made a wrong assumption!

By Don Miguel Ruiz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Four Agreements, bestselling author don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

•  A New York Times bestseller for over a decade
•  Translated into 46 languages worldwide
 
“This book by don Miguel Ruiz, simple yet so powerful, has made a tremendous difference in how I think and act in every encounter.” — Oprah Winfrey

“Don Miguel Ruiz’s…


Book cover of Be Here Now

Doug Motel Author Of What’s Working Now

From my list on getting out of your head and into your life.

Who am I?

In my journey, I've sought to blend my interest in ancient wisdoms into a coherent, accessible philosophy I call "Nowism." My aim has been to simplify and share complex teachings in a way that resonates and helps. Through my writing, performing, and speaking, I try to bring these concepts to life, hoping to ignite a spark of understanding and self-discovery in others. More than anything, before I leave this world, I want to contribute something (no matter how small) to the legacy of personal empowerment. I aspire to help people see the world more clearly, to understand themselves more deeply, and to find joy in the present moment.

Doug's book list on getting out of your head and into your life

Doug Motel Why did Doug love this book?

Be Here Now transcends the typical book format with its unique blend of illustrations and diagrams, creating an immersive experience.

It inspired me to practice a life-changing exercise: sitting, conjuring the feeling of being enough, without striving for more. This practice, sparked by the book's wisdom, led to a profound shift in how I perceive the world. While watering a garden, I experienced a moment of heightened awareness, where everything felt more electric and alive.

This transformative journey even inspired my TEDx talk 'Using the Present to Create the Future.' I highly recommend this book to anyone on a path of mindfulness and self-discovery.

By Ram Dass,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Be Here Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beloved guru Ram Dass tells the story of his spiritual awakening and gives you the tools to take control of your life in this “counterculture bible” (The New York Times) featuring powerful guidance on yoga, meditation, and finding your true self.

When Be Here Now was first published in 1971, it filled a deep spiritual emptiness, launched the ongoing mindfulness revolution, and established Ram Dass as perhaps the preeminent seeker of the twentieth century.

Just ten years earlier, he was known as Professor Richard Alpert. He held appointments in four departments at Harvard University. He published books, drove a Mercedes…


Book cover of The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

Donna Quesada Author Of The Buddha in the Classroom: Zen Wisdom to Inspire Teachers

From my list on spiritual journeys and the books you should take with you.

Who am I?

I’m now in my 25th year as professor of eastern philosophy at Santa Monica College. One of the things I love most about teaching this subject is the unconventional nature of the way I'm able to approach it. Unlike many other academic subjects, it lends itself to an experiential counterpart, so it’s a joy to share a few minutes of meditation before getting into any lectures or discussions. I share from my own personal experiences in different styles of meditation, which come from years of trainings in Kundalini and Hatha Yoga, as well as from my background in Zen.

Donna's book list on spiritual journeys and the books you should take with you

Donna Quesada Why did Donna love this book?

In my own book, The Buddha in the Classroom, I tell the story of my fortuitous and life-changing first encounter with this book, while in my first year of college. Foreshadowing my career as a teacher of eastern philosophy, it lit the fire of my ongoing interest in Zen and had a profound impact on my personal journey into meditation. I sensed that the ironic title held some precious secret. I would discover, within its pages, the magic that happens when we learn to lean into the unknown, rather than fight against it. Indeed, the search for assuredness in life only seems to perpetuate the angst that is at the root of all the anxiety that characterizes the human condition... at least for many of us! Through letting go, we become more free.

By Alan Watts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Acclaimed philosopher Alan Watts shows us how—in an age of unprecedented anxiety—we can find fulfillment by embracing the present and living more fully in the now. He is "the perfect guide for a course correction in life" (from the Introduction by Deepak Chopra). 

The brain can only assume its proper behavior when consciousness is doing what it is designed for: not writhing and whirling to get out of present experience, but being effortlessly aware of it.

Alan Watts draws on the wisdom of Eastern philosophy and religion in this timeless and classic guide to living a more fulfilling life. His…


Book cover of The Divine Romance: Collected Talks and Essays on Realizing God in Daily Life

Donna Quesada Author Of The Buddha in the Classroom: Zen Wisdom to Inspire Teachers

From my list on spiritual journeys and the books you should take with you.

Who am I?

I’m now in my 25th year as professor of eastern philosophy at Santa Monica College. One of the things I love most about teaching this subject is the unconventional nature of the way I'm able to approach it. Unlike many other academic subjects, it lends itself to an experiential counterpart, so it’s a joy to share a few minutes of meditation before getting into any lectures or discussions. I share from my own personal experiences in different styles of meditation, which come from years of trainings in Kundalini and Hatha Yoga, as well as from my background in Zen.

Donna's book list on spiritual journeys and the books you should take with you

Donna Quesada Why did Donna love this book?

This is part of an anthology of collected talks by the beloved Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, which also includes Man's Eternal Quest and Journey to Self-Realization. They are what I keep in my own nightstand and what I open during times of trouble. And this one is my favorite of the three.

Paramahansa Yogananda is direct and loving in tone. This is the kind of book that doesn’t need to be read at once—you can open up to any page and find solace for any plight. The theme revolves around the importance of dropping the self-sabotaging bad habits that keep us from true joy.

By Yogananda, Paramahansa Yogananda,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Paramahansa Yogananda's Collected Talks and Essays present in-depth discussions of the fast range of inspiring and universal truths that have captivated millions in his Autobiography of a Yogi. Readers will find these talks alive with the unique blend of all-embracing wisdom, encouragement, and love for humanity that have made the author one of our era's most revered and trusted guides to the spiritual life.

In this anthology of talks, Paramahansa Yogananda speaks to the deepest needs of the human heart and soul. He shows how we can meet the daily challenges to our physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual well-being by…


Book cover of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Miles Borrero Author Of Beautiful Monster: A Becoming

From my list on living this wild and precious life to its fullest.

Who am I?

I’m a trans, Latinx yoga teacher, writer, and musician who transitioned at the age of 40. Before that, I’d spent most of my life trying to live by someone else’s rules…only to realize, when my dad was dying, that I was not truly living. The funny thing is, as an artist and teacher, I’d dedicated myself to helping others live their lives to the fullest but had not granted myself the same courtesy. Sometimes, our lessons are hard-won. The books on this list have been beacons of hope and treasure trove chests of inspiration for me, as I hope they will be for you, too. 

Miles' book list on living this wild and precious life to its fullest

Miles Borrero Why did Miles love this book?

This book is pure genius. I have listened to it at least once a year since it came out. Not only is it brilliant, inspiring and oozing in grounded positivity, but it is also the best manifesto I have read on creativity.

Chock-full of fantastic stories that delight the senses, it is funny, devastating, and irresistibly magical. Listening to it in Liz’s own voice is totally the way to go. She is so inviting and warm and makes me feel loved and held.

The best part is that she makes a sound case for my creativity, the fact that it matters and is a worthy undertaking, purely because it gives me joy and pleasure. This book changed my life.  

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

17 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…


Book cover of Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

Bodhipaksa Author Of This Difficult Thing of Being Human: The Art of Self-Compassion

From my list on finding and building compassion.

Who am I?

I went through a particularly hard time several years ago and to get through it I was forced to dig deep into what I’d learned about compassion and self-compassion over three decades of meditating. Because I’m a meditation teacher, I wanted to share with my students everything I learned about being kind and supportive toward myself as I went through the toughest challenges I’d ever faced so that they could benefit as well. That’s why I wrote This Difficult Thing of Being Human. Self-compassion has become the core of everything I’ve taught since then, and one of the wonderful things about it is that once you’ve shown yourself compassion, you automatically find yourself treating others with compassion too.

Bodhipaksa's book list on finding and building compassion

Bodhipaksa Why did Bodhipaksa love this book?

Sharon Salzberg is undoubtedly the preeminent teacher of lovingkindness meditation in the west, and probably the world. When I read her book I’d already been practicing this form of meditation for a dozen years, and yet dipping into it now reminds me of how much of my own teaching draws on Sharon’s pioneering work. If you want to learn to develop lovingkindness, which is the basis of compassion, Sharon’s book is the ideal place to start.

By Sharon Salzberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Throughout our lives we long to love ourselves more deeply and find a greater sense of connection with others. Our fear of intimacy—both with others and with ourselves—creates feelings of pain and longing. But these feelings can also awaken in us the desire for freedom and the willingness to take up the spiritual path.

In this inspiring book, longtime meditation practitioner and teacher Sharon Salzberg shows how the Buddhist path can help us discover the radiant, joyful heart within each one of us, drawing on Buddhist teachings, wisdom from various traditions, her personal experiences, and guided meditation exercises. With these…


Book cover of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know

Sharon M. Darmody Author Of Work Your Magic: Create a Better Business Community That Works for Everyone

From my list on how to make work, work again (to make sure that you and your workplace thrive).

Who am I?

I think we can all agree we spend a lot of time at work. If we can help people to thrive at work, it makes such a big difference in their lives and it has such a ripple effect for the people around them. When we do well at work we do well at home. I have been working with people and organizations for over 25 years and over that time I have an instinct for the “temperature” of an organization. Work Your Magic helps you to diagnose what might be going wrong and then sets you up with a roadmap to make the changes that will make work, work again for you and your workplace.

Sharon's book list on how to make work, work again (to make sure that you and your workplace thrive)

Sharon M. Darmody Why did Sharon love this book?

If work is going to work again, we need to be curious. The world is moving fast and the issues we are facing are arguably more complex than ever before, so we must avoid at all costs the rigid my way or the highway thinking.

Sometimes it feels good when we lock a solution in quickly because we feel we have solved the problem perhaps ticked the box. I really encourage people to stay in the messy middle and to “think again” to make sure it is not the quick solution, but they stick with the problem solving so they get the best solution.

By Adam Grant,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Think Again as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller

"THIS. This is the right book for right now. Yes, learning requires focus. But, unlearning and relearning requires much more-it requires choosing courage over comfort. In Think Again, Adam Grant weaves together research and storytelling to help us build the intellectual and emotional muscle we need to stay curious enough about the world to actually change it. I've never felt so hopeful about what I don't know."
-Brene Brown, Ph.D., #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dare to Lead

The bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals examines the critical art of rethinking:…


Book cover of Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning

Warren Berger Author Of The Book of Beautiful Questions: The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead

From my list on lifelong learning.

Who am I?

Warren Berger considers himself to be a “questionologist.” He has written three books on the power of asking questions, starting with the best-selling A More Beautiful Question and his follow-up, The Book Of Beautiful Questions. His expertise on questioning has been sought out by companies like Pfizer and Starbucks, as well as by the US Army and the NASA space program. He has written for The New York Times and Wired magazine, and he writes the “Questionologist” column for Psychology Today. Warren believes that lifelong learning is fueled by curiosity and questions.

Warren's book list on lifelong learning

Warren Berger Why did Warren love this book?

A big part of lifelong learning involves experimenting, trying new things, and picking up new skills. I must confess this can be challenging for me; I’m one of those people who sometimes gets frustrated or embarrassed when I try something new and find it doesn’t come easily to me. Maybe you’re the same way--if so, all the more reason to take inspiration from Vanderbilt’s book, which chronicles his efforts to learn how to play chess, surf, sing, juggle, and more. Woven in with those entertaining experiences are larger lessons about how we learn, and why it’s so beneficial to keep doing so. In the hands of a less skilled writer, a book like this--in which a journalist tries on a series of new hats--might seem gimmicky. But Vanderbilt is an insightful observer and storyteller who can even make traffic fascinating (that was the subject of a previous book of his,…

By Tom Vanderbilt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Beginners belongs on the list of books that have changed the way I understand my own limitations.'
Malcolm Gladwell

For many of us, the last time we learned a new skill was during childhood. We live in an age which reveres expertise but looks down on the beginner. Upon entering adulthood and middle age, we begin to shy away from trying new things, instead preferring to stay nestled firmly in our comfort zones.

Beginners asks the question: why are children the only ones allowed to experience the inherent fun of facing daily challenges? And could we benefit from embracing new…


Book cover of The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World

Jenny Foss Author Of Do This, Not That: Career

From my list on taking charge of your career.

Who am I?

As a kid, I dreamed of becoming a California beach lifeguard. Considering I grew up in Michigan, this was a rather aspirational choice. To my parents’ relief, my career goals shifted over time, as I realized my gift for writing. I became a journalist then went into marketing. But after years of cranking out corporate content, I (sadly) burned out on it, dropped everything, and became a recruiter. Within months, I missed writing – so much so that I started a career-related blog, which became a thriving business dedicated to helping people move their careers forward. Gratefully, this work led to an amazing assignment, writing Do This, Not That: Career

Jenny's book list on taking charge of your career

Jenny Foss Why did Jenny love this book?

It’s hard to not want instant gratification, especially in our “get what you want, and now” culture. We see the shiny objects and opportunities for a quick win, and we chase them. Unfortunately, as Dorie Clark maps out in The Long Game, this frenetic behavior isn’t helpful if you want to achieve big goals. 

I discovered this book when life was starting to feel like a giant game of Whac-a-mole. Sure, I was achieving success, but I could never seem to find the time to get to a couple of long-range projects that really matter to me. 

The Long Game gave me several tangible tips for staying focused on my long-term goals in a world that pushes me, and all of us, to grab for those immediate, more shallow victories.

By Dorie Clark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal Bestseller

Your personal goals need a long-term strategy.

It's no secret that we're pushed to the limit. Today's professionals feel rushed, overwhelmed, and perennially behind. So we keep our heads down, focused on the next thing, and the next, without a moment to breathe.

How can we break out of this endless cycle and create the kind of interesting, meaningful lives we all seek?

Just as CEOs who optimize for quarterly profits often fail to make the strategic investments necessary for long-term growth, the same is true in our own personal and professional lives. We need…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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