10 books like Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

By Shunryu Suzuki,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Four Agreements

By Don Miguel Ruiz,

Book cover of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

Like every book on my list, I did a lot of underlining and scribbling in the margins when I read The Four Agreements. For me, there are fundamental truths in this small, simple book. “Find your voice to ask for what you want. Everybody has the right to tell you no or yes, but you always have the right to ask” (p. 72). “Humans punish themselves endlessly for not being what they believe they should be” (p. 19). “You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you” (p. 60). It can be challenging to “find your voice” as a woman, especially in recovery from addiction when guilt, shame, and relationship challenges can complicate things even further.  I found the insights in this book easy to grasp and to use.

The Four Agreements

By Don Miguel Ruiz,

Why should I read it?

7 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…

Be Here Now

By Ram Dass,

Book cover of Be Here Now

I was 28 years old and living in Seattle in 1971 when this "counterculture bible" was first published. Reading about meditation, dropping acid, and searching for my "true self," I decided it was time to take my spiritual journey seriously.  Discovering Eastern philosophy, the power of breath, ancient yoga techniques, and "being here now" resonated strongly. A psychologist told me of a near-death experience that he, Ram Dass, and four others experienced with a small plane's engine failure while flying to an island off the Washington State coast. The psychologist and others knew fear. Ram Dass began laughing long and loud! "Isn't this great?" he yelled. "What a way to go!" They didn't crash, thank God.  

Be Here Now

By Ram Dass,

Why should I read it?

6 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…

The Wisdom of Insecurity

By Alan Watts,

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

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.

The Wisdom of Insecurity

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…

The Divine Romance

By Paramahansa Yogananda, Yogananda,

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

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.

The Divine Romance

By Paramahansa Yogananda, 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…


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…

Lovingkindness

By Sharon Salzberg,

Book cover of Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

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.

Lovingkindness

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…

Think Again

By Adam Grant,

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

A central question for anyone who wants to make change in organizations and society: when and how do people change their minds? Adam Grant brings a fantastic mix of empirical findings, rich storytelling, and his own experience as a scholar and consultant to this question. How can we learn to be more flexible in our own thinking, in response to new evidence in a rapidly changing world? How can we create the conditions where others change their minds? How can our society enter a mode of learning and scientific problem solving, beyond the polarization that gets us so stuck? In this book I found valuable insights and guidance on all of these questions. 

Think Again

By Adam Grant,

Why should I read it?

6 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:…

Beginners

By Tom Vanderbilt,

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

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,…

Beginners

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…


The Long Game

By Dorie Clark,

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

Dorie Clark has a way of identifying the challenges that derail careers and then proposing clear, nail-on-the-head solutions that can be executed. The Long Game clarifies that we can achieve our goals if we define our goals and then are purposeful in taking a long-game view and creating the environment that can support those goals. We need to focus, persist, and make space for thinking. I have followed the guidance in this book to help me achieve some very specific goals that were previously vague ideas.

The Long Game

By Dorie Clark,

Why should I read it?

3 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…


The Complete Illustrated Guide to Zen

By Seigaku Amato,

Book cover of The Complete Illustrated Guide to Zen

A delightful introduction to traditional Zen practice in the West. Seigaku Amato introduces us to the intricacies of monastic practice adapted into Western communities with humor, insight, and pictures?

The Complete Illustrated Guide to Zen

By Seigaku Amato,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Illustrated Guide to Zen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An introduction to Zen unlike any you’ve seen before—inspired by manga and graphic novels.

The Complete Illustrated Guide to Zen offers a comprehensive overview of Soto Zen Buddhism in a delightfully captivating way. Complete with dynamic, detailed illustrations, Soto Zen Priest Seigaku Amato uses a semi-narrative style to take you on a visual tour of Buddhism and, using specifics to illuminate universals, dives deep into the practices and forms of Soto Zen.

Whether you are just taking your first step or have been practicing Zen for years, this creative and profound book will be a constant companion and guide on…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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