The best compassion books

Who picked these books? Meet our 36 experts.

36 authors created a book list connected to compassion, and here are their favorite compassion books.
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What type of compassion book?



By Kristin Neff,

Book cover of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

Lauren Cook Author Of Generation Anxiety: A Millennial and Gen Z Guide to Staying Afloat in an Uncertain World

From the list on how to cope and live with anxiety.

Who am I?

I’ve lived with anxiety for most of my life. Whether it’s been with emetophobia (a phobia of vomit) or an intense bout of panic attacks, I know the story well. Now, as a psychologist, I’ve seen up close what works and what doesn’t. I love helping my clients and the audiences that I work with learn how to accept their anxiety, rather than try to make it go away. This is often counterintuitive at first but we can still live an empowered life, even with the anxiety present. When we do this, we’ve unlocked a whole new level of liberation where we can show up fully, worries and all. 

Lauren's book list on how to cope and live with anxiety

Discover why each book is one of Lauren's favorite books.

Why did Lauren love this book?

This book is a staple in the field of psychology and mental health and for very good reason.

So many of us struggle with being kind to our mind and we worry that we’ll truly fall apart if we are compassionate to ourselves. Dr. Neff brings the evidence-backed research to prove that self-compassion is the antidote to anxiety and it has incredibly restorative potential to help us not only get back to baseline, but truly feel better.

By Kristin Neff,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Self-Compassion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'Kristin Neff offers practical, wise guidance on the path of emotional healing and deep inner transformation.' Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance

Kristin Neff PhD, is a professor in educational psychology, and the world's expert on self-compassion. A pioneer who established self-compassion as a field of study, Kristin offers a powerful solution for combating negativity and insecurity - the symptoms of living in a high-pressure world.

Through tried and tested exercises and audio downloads, readers learn the 3 core components that will help to heal destructive emotional patterns…

Mindful Compassion

By Paul Gilbert, Choden,

Book cover of Mindful Compassion: How the Science of Compassion Can Help You Understand Your Emotions, Live in the Present, and Connect Deeply with Othe

Deirdre Fay Author Of Becoming Safely Embodied: A Guide to Organize Your Mind, Body and Heart to Feel Secure in the World

From the list on to heal trauma with yoga and meditation.

Who am I?

I am someone whose trauma history came out of the blue…while living in a yoga ashram, meditating, and training for triathlons. After almost seven years of ashram life I left, went to graduate school, and explored trauma, attachment, and wisdom traditions in inpatient and outpatient hospital settings, my private practice, and beyond.  I amassed skills sets in trauma treatment (as a supervisor under the guidance of Bessel van der Kolk and Janina Fisher), attachment theory (with Daniel Brown, PhD), compassion (Compassion Focused Therapy & Mindful Self-Compassion), body therapy (as a trainer for Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, practitioner in LifeForce Yoga and Self-Awakening Yoga), and Internal Family Systems.

Deirdre's book list on to heal trauma with yoga and meditation

Discover why each book is one of Deirdre's favorite books.

Why did Deirdre love this book?

This was another tough choice as Paul is a prolific writer, one of the earliest researchers and writers on the importance of compassion in healing. In this book, Paul teams up with a former Buddhist monk, Choden, to skillfully blend evolutionary and Buddhist psychology. Repeatedly, we are shown how compassion can be a powerful motivational force bringing about real, lasting change to end toxic self-criticism, heal trauma and shame, help us feel worthy and loveable, and be kinder to ourselves and others.  

By Paul Gilbert, Choden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Are you ready to transform your mind and emotions? To cultivate compassion, stability, self-confidence, and well-being? If so, get ready to change the way you experience your life with this highly-anticipated approach using mindfulness and compassion. Therapists have long been aware of mindfulness as a powerful attention skill that can help us live with greater clarity and awareness - but mindfulness alone is not enough to completely change the way a brain works. In order to fully thrive, we require motivation. Compassion, like anger or aggression, is an extremely powerful motivational force that can bring about real, lasting change. Written…


By Stephen Trzeciak, Anthony Mazzarelli,

Book cover of Compassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence That Caring Makes a Difference

Charlene Spretnak Author Of Relational Reality: New Discoveries of Interrelatedness That Are Transforming the Modern World

From the list on dynamic interrelatedness among people and with nature.

Who am I?

My formative immersion in nature during eleven summers at a girls’ camp in the Hocking Hills of southeastern Ohio showed me that everything in the physical world, including humans, is dynamically interrelated at subtle levels. As an adult, I’ve followed post-mechanistic sciences that explore this invisible truth, a theme that runs through several books I have written. Since the early 2000s, a new wave of discoveries, this time in human biology, reveals that we are composed entirely of dynamic interrelationships, in and around us, which affect us continuously from conception to our last breath. These discoveries are quickly being applied in many areas. I call this new awareness the Relational Shift. 

Charlene's book list on dynamic interrelatedness among people and with nature

Discover why each book is one of Charlene's favorite books.

Why did Charlene love this book?

During the past twenty years, hundreds of studies have found that practicing medicine with compassion, caring, and good information-sharing brings significantly better empirical results than usual. In short, relational dynamics affect our measurable physical condition. For instance, biopsy wounds and surgical wounds heal faster if the patients receive compassionate care from their doctors and nurses. Similarly, diabetes patients receiving compassionate care are far less likely to develop metabolic complications. These relational findings should revolutionize medicine, especially considering the hefty savings in healthcare costs. For now, though, “Research shows that physicians routinely miss emotional clues from patients and routinely miss 60-90% of opportunities to respond to patients with compassion.” These two doctors write in an enjoyable conversational style, sharing their own stories as well as the irrefutable data.  

By Stephen Trzeciak, Anthony Mazzarelli,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A 34-year-old man fighting for his life in the Intensive Care Unit is on an artificial respirator for over a month. Could it be that his chance of getting off the respirator is not how much his nurses know, but rather how much they care?

A 75-year-old woman is heroically saved by a major trauma center only to be discharged and fatally struck by a car while walking home from the hospital. Could a lack of compassion from the hospital staff have been a factor in her death?

Compelling new research shows that health care is in the midst of…

Book cover of The Self-Compassion Workbook for OCD: Lean Into Your Fear, Manage Difficult Emotions, and Focus on Recovery

Drew Linsalata Author Of Seven Percent Slower - A Simple Trick For Moving Past Anxiety And Stress

From the list on understanding and overcoming anxiety.

Who am I?

I am a podcaster, author, and psychoeducator in the field of anxiety and anxiety disorders. I am also—as of 2022—a graduate student in clinical mental health counseling on the way to becoming a licensed psychotherapist. My own experience with anxiety and depression over 25+ years has fueled a passion for the theory and mechanics behind anxiety disorders and how they are treated. It would appear that my superpower is not only understanding these things, but also explaining them in a way that people can then understand for themselves. If that means I can help, then I’m happy to be doing what I do every day.

Drew's book list on understanding and overcoming anxiety

Discover why each book is one of Drew's favorite books.

Why did Drew love this book?

I love this book because Kim Quinlan takes a somewhat nebulous concept and explains it in very practical and engaging terms. People struggling to overcome OCD often wind up beating themselves up and treating themselves very un-kindly, making a difficult situation even more difficult. Kimberley strikes many chords in this book in the way she explains why being kind and compassionate to yourself is so important when working to overcome OCD. She doesn’t stop there. She offers many excellent, practical ways that one can explore and practice self-compassion. A must-read for anyone dealing with OCD.

By Kimberley Quinlan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Self-Compassion Workbook for OCD as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A compassionate guide to help you manage OCD symptoms, overcome feelings of shame and stigma, and revitalize your life!

If you're one of millions who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you're all-too-familiar with feelings of anxiety, panic, shame, and uncertainty. In addition, the stigma associated with OCD can make you feel unworthy of receiving the compassion and kindness you need and deserve. You may even experience unwanted intrusive thoughts that result in harsh self-judgment-which can actually hinder your recovery and lead to additional mental health problems. So, how can you break this destructive cycle and start feeling better?

The Self-Compassion…

The Empathy Effect

By Liz Neporent, Helen Riess,

Book cover of The Empathy Effect: Seven Neuroscience-Based Keys for Transforming the Way We Live, Love, Work, and Connect Across Differences

Richard E. Boyatzis Author Of Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth

From the list on building leadership skills through models.

Who am I?

As a professor and scientist, using my Intentional Change Theory (ICT), I have studied sustained desired change of individuals, teams, organizations, communities, and countries since 1967. I have authored more than 200 articles and 9 books on leadership, competencies, emotional intelligence, competency development, coaching, neuroscience, and management education (including the international best-seller, Primal Leadership with Daniel Goleman and Annie McKee and the recent Helping People Change with Melvin Smith and Ellen Van Oosten). I run several Coursera MOOCs, including Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence which has over a million enrolled from 215 countries.

Richard's book list on building leadership skills through models

Discover why each book is one of Richard's favorite books.

Why did Richard love this book?

Of all of the competencies that repeatedly predict effective leadership and creating and maintaining of key relationships, is empathy. At the heart of any relationship and perhaps the only antidote to rampant narcissism in our society is empathy. As a prominent psychiatrist and scholar, Helen chronicles decades of research and explains the neural mechanisms that enable us to relate to others, build better relationships ad even inspire others. Her personal stories and those of patients and colleagues make the research come alive with compassion and meaning.

By Liz Neporent, Helen Riess,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"We are all connected on a neurobiological level far more than we have previously realized. Consciously or not, we are in constant, natural resonance with one another's feelings. When we are engaged in shared mind awareness, the possibilities for mutual aid and collaborative problem solving abound."
-Helen Riess, MD

A Revolutionary Guide for Understanding and Changing the Way We Connect

Empathy is undergoing a new evolution. In a global and interconnected culture, we can no longer afford to identify only with people who seem to be a part of our "tribe." As Dr. Helen Riess has learned, our capacity for…

Into the Magic Shop

By James R. Doty,

Book cover of Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart

Dominique Antiglio Author Of The Life-Changing Power of Sophrology: Breathe and Connect with the Calm and Happy You

From the list on self-awareness from a Sophrologist.

Who am I?

Dominique Antiglio is a Qualified Sophrologist, former Osteopath, and best-selling author based in London. Sophrology is a simple practice for mental well-being supporting everyone to tap into the unlimited resources of consciousness and become empowered in daily life. Having used Sophrology to overcome her own issues as a teenager, Dominique is passionate about how each one of us can find resilience and meaning through difficult times. She is a world-leading Sophrologist, founder of BeSophro, a leading Sophrology clinic in London and a Sophrology platform so everyone can learn to practice the method based on relaxation, breathing, visualisation and movement. Dominique gained her Master's in Caycedian Sophrology under Professor Caycedo.

Dominique's book list on self-awareness from a Sophrologist

Discover why each book is one of Dominique's favorite books.

Why did Dominique love this book?

We are born with so much untapped potential and Dr Doty’s techniques can really help us transform our lives through a series of visualisation and relaxation exercises. From humble and difficult beginnings Dr. Doty has had considerable achievements in his lifetime and has been so generous in sharing what he has learned over the years. Being a neurosurgeon, Dr. Doty has a wealth of experience of the inner workings of the mind. His self-development journey brought him to create amazing tools to increase confidence, positivity, and self-expression.

By James R. Doty,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Into the Magic Shop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The award-winning New York Times bestseller that inspired BTS's K-pop song 'Magic Shop'.

The day that 12-year-old James Doty walked in to his local magic shop is the day that changed his life.

Once the neglected son of an alcoholic father and a mother with chronic depression, he has gone on to become a leading neurosurgeon, based at Stanford University. He credits Ruth for this incredible turnaround: the remarkable woman he met at the Cactus Rabbit Magic Shop, who devoted the summer to transforming his mind and opening his heart.

In this uplifting memoir, Jim explains the visualisation techniques Ruth…

Book cover of Who Dies? An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying

Ashley Davis Bush Author Of Transcending Loss: Understanding the Lifelong Impact of Grief and How to Make It Meaningful

From the list on a higher, broader perspective on loss and grief.

Who am I?

I have been working with grieving individuals for over 30 years. Early in my career, I realized that my purpose in life was to help people who were grieving the loss of a loved one. I wrote my first book about grief over 25 years ago. It has been my mission to help people find light in the darkness. One way to do this is to have a broader perspective, to realize that there is more going on than we can see or understand. When you have a higher, broader perspective on your grief, you’re able to make meaning out of loss and find beauty in the brokenness.  

Ashley's book list on a higher, broader perspective on loss and grief

Discover why each book is one of Ashley's favorite books.

Why did Ashley love this book?

I read this book again and again when I want to remember that death is not something to be terrified of. In fact, when I read this book, death feels more like a natural process that can be welcomed. I feel a kind of calmness towards the whole human race as we all seek to live, knowing that we will eventually die. To truly understand death, you also have to understand life.

By Stephen Levine, Ondrea Levine,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Who Dies? An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book that explains how to open to the immensity of living with death—and how participating fully in life is the perfect preparation for whatever may come next.

In Who Dies?, the Levines provide calm compassion rather than the frightening melodrama of death.

Compassionate Leadership

By Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter, Marissa Afton, Moses Mohan

Book cover of Compassionate Leadership: How to Do Hard Things in a Human Way

Tina Kuhn Author Of The E Suite: Empathetic Leadership for the Next Generation of Executives

From the list on leadership during a transition.

Who am I?

As I moved up in leadership, I found I was not prepared to manage people during uncertain and difficult times. Transitions bring about the worst in people. They get fearful and that causes bad behavior by triggering defense mechanisms. The books I listed are a progression of books that helped me to understand how transitions and change affect people and gave me a framework to continue to learn and increase my leadership skills. I then decided to write about new insights I gained in leadership to help others and have published two books and am writing articles on Medium.

Tina's book list on leadership during a transition

Discover why each book is one of Tina's favorite books.

Why did Tina love this book?

I like this book because of the real-life examples of big company CEOs balancing empathy, compassion, and caring with good business acumen. During uncertainty and change, it is harder but even more important to have empathy and compassion for employees. The authors show that leaders with empathy and compassion foster much higher levels of employee engagement, performance, and loyalty in their employees. Authors Hougaard and Carter also provide tools to help managers at all levels.

By Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter, Marissa Afton, Moses Mohan

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Leadership is hard. How can you balance compassion for your people with effectiveness in getting the job done?

A global pandemic, economic volatility, natural disasters, civil and political unrest. From New York to Barcelona to Hong Kong, it can feel as if the world as we know it is coming apart. Through it all, our human spirit is being tested. Now more than ever, it's imperative for leaders to demonstrate compassion.

But in hard times like these, leaders need to make hard decisions-deliver negative feedback, make difficult choices that disappoint people, and in some cases lay people off. How do…

Loving-Kindness in Plain English

By Bhante Henepola Gunaratana,

Book cover of Loving-Kindness in Plain English: The Practice of Metta

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

From the 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

Discover why each book is one of Bodhipaksa's favorite books.

Why did Bodhipaksa love this book?

Our final book offers more of an “old school” guide to developing kindness and compassion. By “old school” I mean that that the writings of Gunaratana, who is affectionately known by his fans as “Bhante G.” is firmly rooted in classic teachings from the Buddhist tradition. But he goes beyond that, drawing on his personal experience, quoting modern meditation teachers, and sharing the results of scientific studies of lovingkindness and compassion. And he does all this in a warm and kind way that makes reading this illuminating and practical book a true pleasure.

By Bhante Henepola Gunaratana,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Loving-Kindness in Plain English as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling author of Mindfulness in Plain English invites us to explore the joyful benefits of living with loving-kindness.

With his signature clarity and warmth, Bhante Gunaratana shares with us how we can cultivate loving-kindness to live a life of joyful harmony with others. Through personal anecdotes, step-by-step meditations, conversational renderings of the Buddha’s words in the suttas, and transformative insights into how we live in and relate to the world, we learn that peace here and now is possible—within ourselves and in all our relationships. Bhante G speaks directly to how we can cultivate loving-kindness to find emotional clarity,…

Book cover of Like A Complete Unknown

Rita Dragonette Author Of The Fourteenth of September

From the list on the Vietnam War era by women writers.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by the role of women in war: men may be on the front lines, but women deal with its impact and often struggle to have equal standing. I was inspired by stories told by my mother who was a nurse in World War II and participated in surgery under gunfire and helped liberate a POW camp in Germany. Yet, no one wanted to hear from her because she was “just a nurse.” Fast forward to Vietnam where women were still being marginalized. I wrote The Fourteenth of September to even the playing field by telling a story that was largely based upon my own experience in college during l969-1970.

Rita's book list on the Vietnam War era by women writers

Discover why each book is one of Rita's favorite books.

Why did Rita love this book?

The book that proves your mother was right about what would happen “if:”

A story of a teenage runaway in l970 who gets herself into “trouble,” that offers a visceral kaleidoscope of the adventures of the era—the good and the bad—and makes you feel like you personally went through it all. It echoes through today with its theme of choice that is taken away from young men fleeing the draft, and from young women without governance over their own bodies.

By Anara Guard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Honorable Mention -- Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year 2022 for indie fiction.

A luminous novel about freedom, persistence, and the power of compassion.
In 1970, a girl's life is not her own. Katya Warshawsky runs away from home rather than settle for the narrow life her parents demand of her. She revels in Chicago's counterculture, plunging into anti-war protests, communal living, and new liberties. But even in this free-wheeling world, she confronts bewildering obstacles. Still, she won't relinquish her dream of becoming an artist or her belief in a better world, and turns to Robert Lewis, hoping the…

I See You

By Michael Genhart, Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (illustrator),

Book cover of I See You

Jacqueline B. Toner Author Of Yes I Can!: A Girl and Her Wheelchair

From the list on acceptance and empathy.

Who am I?

I have always loved children. I love tiny babies just discovering the world around them. I love elementary-age kids who are taking pride in developing new skills and learning how to deal with challenges. I love teens who are questioning and rethinking the things they thought they knew. I also love the science and practice of psychology (my profession for over thirty years) and, I love books. To date, I have written nine books. My audience ranges from preschool to high school and topics include strategies to understand and cope with problems as well as psychology as a topic of study.

Jacqueline's book list on acceptance and empathy

Discover why each book is one of Jacqueline's favorite books.

Why did Jacqueline love this book?

Although this picture book has no words, its message of caring and compassion is clear and powerful. A small boy becomes aware of a homeless woman and simply, gently, acknowledges her. This innocent and kind book serves may serve as an opening to talk to children about homelessness. It also may help us all to remember not to ignore those less fortunate.

By Michael Genhart, Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

I See You is a wordless picture book that depicts a homeless woman who is unseen by everyone around her - except for a little boy. Over the course of a year, the boy is witness to all that she endures. Ultimately, in a gesture of compassion, the boy acknowledges her through an exchange in which he sees her and she experiences being seen. This book opens the door for kids and parents to begin a conversation about homelessness. In a "Note for Parents, Educators, and Neighbours", there are discussion questions and additional resources about helping the homeless. Ages 4-8.

Training Levels

By Sue Ailsby,

Book cover of Training Levels: Steps to Success, Vol. 2

Jane Miller Author Of Healing Companions: Ordinary Dogs and Their Extraordinary Power to Transform Lives

From the list on the healing power of animals and human-animal bond.

Who am I?

It all began at a very young age when I aspired to be Jane Goodall and save the lives of animals. Since then, her wisdom, courage, and activism have guided me throughout my life. Through my childhood, I nursed fledglings with eyedroppers, adopted turtles left on the curbside, and became an advocate for “Save our Seals”. In college, I immersed myself in the study of animal behavior. I explored the behavior of Red Kangaroos, "Megalia Rufas" in captivity, exploring ways in which zoos could improve their facilities to respect the needs of the animals. These experiences set the landscape for my work as a holistic psychotherapist with the healing power of dogs.

Jane's book list on the healing power of animals and human-animal bond

Discover why each book is one of Jane's favorite books.

Why did Jane love this book?

She is remarkable at breaking down easy ways to train your dogs with such ease and compassion. If you follow these steps you will have a very healthy, happy, well-trained dog. Volumes 1 and 2 are two of the best books to learn how to communicate and teach your dog everything they will ever need to know.

By Sue Ailsby,

Why should I read it?

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

Against Empathy

By Paul Bloom,

Book cover of Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion

Vangelis Chiotis Author Of The Morality of Economic Behaviour: Economics as Ethics

From the list on economic morality.

Who am I?

Two self-interested people will try to outperform each other. One will win, the other will lose. If they instead cooperate, both will win a bit, and lose a bit. Is this preferable? I say yes, because in the long term, winning a bit many times, is better than winning a lot, once. Choosing short-term gain at the expense of long-term benefit is a waste of potential for societies and individuals. Traditional morality works, sometimes, in some cases. Rational morality can fill the gaps, and expand the circle of morality so that when higher ideals fail or become too difficult to follow, rationality can be about more than just short-term self-interest.

Vangelis' book list on economic morality

Discover why each book is one of Vangelis' favorite books.

Why did Vangelis love this book?

Paul Bloom wants to persuade the reader to be against empathy, as he is, because morally we’re better off without empathy.

He is right, and I see his argument as similar to the argument made by Sugden, although its structure is very different. Bloome, rightly, says that we cannot rely on empathy to be moral – we need something more and something more tangible.

That something might be rationality, although Bloome himself prefers to speak of reason. Moral theories have for too long relied on unstable ground: empathy and moral character.

If we care about morality, we must ground it on more solid ground.

By Paul Bloom,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Against Empathy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a divided world, empathy is not the solution, it is the problem; a source of prejudice, not kindness.

We think of empathy - the ability to feel the suffering of others for ourselves - as the ultimate source of all good behaviour. But while it inspires care and protection in personal relationships, it has the opposite effect in the wider world. As the latest research in psychology and neuroscience shows, we feel empathy most for those we find attractive and who seem similar to us and not at all for those who are different, distant or anonymous. Empathy therefore…

Compassion in Action

By Ram Dass, Ram Dass, Mirabai Bush

Book cover of Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service

Kara-Leah Grant Author Of Forty Days of Yoga

From the list on support your home yoga practice.

Who am I?

My journey into home yoga practice began in 2004 when I moved to a small mountain town with no yoga classes. I started practicing for the health of my mind and body and kept practicing because it became an integral part of my identity. In 2006, when I began teaching yoga, I committed to practicing yoga every day so that I could be the best possible teacher for my students. These were the books that helped me keep that commitment. Many of them I’ve read multiple times, and all of them helped me show up to the mat, and understand both my bodily and psychological experience of home yoga practice.

Kara-Leah's book list on support your home yoga practice

Discover why each book is one of Kara-Leah's favorite books.

Why did Kara-Leah love this book?

Compassion, for self and others, can be an overlooked aspect of practicing at home. I found this book when I was awash with judgmental thoughts about people, and feeling spiritually more evolved or spiritually superior to people. And then I was judgmental against myself for having judgmental thoughts about other people all the time!

This book helped me understand and move through this phase in the spiritual journey. In the first half of the book, Ram Dass talks about his journey. In the second half, Mirabai Bush talks about practical steps for being of service in the world. It was Ram Dass’s journey that really spoke to me initially – especially when he tells the story of having to return to his family home at the age of 55 and take care of his aging father. It is a must-read for those wishing to develop more compassion on the yogic…

By Ram Dass, Ram Dass, Mirabai Bush

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Featuring an eye-catching new cover, this classic guide is for those ready to commit time and energy to relieving suffering in the world. No two people are better qualified to help us along this path than Ram Dass, who has spent more than 25 years teaching and writing on the subject of living consciously, and Mirabi Bush, who succeeded him as chairperson of the Seva Foundation.


By Maryann Cocca-Leffler,

Book cover of Janine

Norene Paulson Author Of What's Silly Hair Day with No Hair?

From the list on children’s picture books on inclusion.

Who am I?

As a former middle school language arts teacher, I’ve witnessed firsthand the struggles some students face trying to be accepted and the heartbreak they experience when they are not. Every child deserves to be seen and appreciated for who they are and not be excluded or ostracized due to factors over which they have little control. I write and promote picture books about friendship, acceptance, and inclusion because everyone deserves to be included…always. 

Norene's book list on children’s picture books on inclusion

Discover why each book is one of Norene's favorite books.

Why did Norene love this book?

As a middle school teacher, I knew a lot of Janines. Janine has her own style and isn’t afraid to be herself even if the “cool” kids think she’s odd. However, add in invites to a “cool” kids’ party and Janine has a problem. To attend, the “cool” kids want her to change. How far will Janine go to be included? To be included is a powerful desire but at what cost? Unfortunately, scenarios like this occur every day in classrooms across the country, but this book shines a light on the importance of looking at each person’s uniqueness through the lenses of kindness, compassion, and empathy. 

By Maryann Cocca-Leffler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

ILA 2016 Teachers' Choices Reading List

Meet Janine. She is one of a kind! Janine dresses a little different, remembers random facts, reads the dictionary for fun, and has her own style of cheering. Nobody does things the way Janine does things! One girl in Janine's class is throwing a party and all the COOL kids are invited. But Janine is not cool. Some kids think she is strange and want her to change. Will Janine try to be different or just be her spectacular self? In this charming story, Maryann Cocca-Leffler uses her own daughter as inspiration for a…

True Love

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Book cover of True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart

Jennifer Waldburger Author Of Calm Mama, Happy Baby: The Simple, Intuitive Way to Tame Tears, Improve Sleep, and Help Your Family Thrive

From the list on how to parent with respect rather than control.

Who am I?

As a child, I grew up with a mom and dad who, like just about every parent, did the best they could with the tools they had. Unknowingly, though, they also carried forward into their roles as parents their own unhealed wounds from the past. Luckily for me, my parents sought to become more self-aware as I grew from child to adult. In this book, we aim to share some of the tools and practices that can help parents find wholeness in themselves from the beginning of the parent-child relationship, and avoid many of the pitfalls that can cause unnecessary conflicts and suffering in family living.

Jennifer's book list on how to parent with respect rather than control

Discover why each book is one of Jennifer's favorite books.

Why did Jennifer love this book?

To truly love another, we must first learn what true love is. A love that shifts and changes depending on circumstances, or depending on how someone else responds or behaves, is not built on the right foundation and is sure to cause suffering. But a love that emanates naturally from genuine presence, that asks nothing in return – cultivated through lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and freedom—is strong enough to weather any storm, and is perhaps the greatest gift any parent can offer.

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The renowned Zen master and peace activist introduces a Buddhist approach to practicing authentic love in our everyday lives

In this eye-opening guide, Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh offers timeless insight into the nature of real love. With simplicity, warmth, and directness, he explores the four key aspects of love as described in the Buddhist tradition: lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and freedom—explaining how to experience them in our day-to-day lives. He also emphasizes that in order to love in a real way, we must first learn how to be fully present in our lives, and he offers simple techniques from the…

Radical Acceptance

By Tara Brach,

Book cover of Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha

Judy Foreman Author Of Let the More Loving One Be Me: My Journey from Trauma to Freedom

From the list on readers drawn equally to history and psychology.

Who am I?

I’m a curious soul, and grateful for it. This innate curiosity and drive to uncover the truth has propelled me as a science journalist and as a woman trying to understand a traumatic childhood. Both our society and the mental health of each one of us depend, I firmly believe, on uncovering and telling the truth. Yeah, that’s dangerous, especially for journalists who in some countries still get killed and imprisoned for doing so. And it’s painful for people like me who dare to look inside. It takes courage. But it’s the only way to a healthy society and a healthy mind.

Judy's book list on readers drawn equally to history and psychology

Discover why each book is one of Judy's favorite books.

Why did Judy love this book?

I love this book because it focuses on a different kind of courage from the heroes of World War II. This one is about the courage to explore, and accept, one’s own inner truth, one’s deepest, most closely guarded feelings, no matter how frightening it is to go to one’s own dark places.

Terrifying as it must be to fight physically and to battle real enemies on the battlefield, I believe it can be just as terrifying to look inside and accept emotional pain and the life experiences that cause it.

By Tara Brach,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Radical Acceptance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For many of us, feelings of deficiency are right around the corner. It doesn’t take much--just hearing of someone else’s accomplishments, being criticized, getting into an argument, making a mistake at work--to make us feel that we are not okay. Beginning to understand how our lives have become ensnared in this trance of unworthiness is our first step toward reconnecting with who we really are and what it means to live fully.
—from Radical Acceptance

“Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering,” says Tara Brach at the start of this illuminating book. This suffering…

Awakening Compassion at Work

By Monica C. Worline, Jane E. Dutton,

Book cover of Awakening Compassion at Work: The Quiet Power that Elevates People and Organizations

Ingrid Biese Author Of Men Do It Too: Opting Out and In

From the list on to change working life as we know it.

Who am I?

In 2009, I opted out of a career in consulting to pursue a PhD in Sociology and to research women who opt out of successful careers to live and work on their own terms. I was convinced that it wasn’t a women’s issue but a contemporary one and I later went on to research men opting out. As I collect stories of people who opt out and in, it becomes clear that opting out is a symptom of contemporary organizational cultures and the way we are expected to work. I’m on a mission to change working life as we know it and these books have been enormously helpful to me. 

Ingrid's book list on to change working life as we know it

Discover why each book is one of Ingrid's favorite books.

Why did Ingrid love this book?

You know how people say ‘it’s business, it’s not personal’? Well that’s just wrong, business is personal because it’s made up of people – people with lives, families, hopes, fears, and dreams.

The authors argue that one of the main problems with our workplaces is that there isn’t enough compassion at work. Workplaces rob their employees of humanity and motivation, which has a negative effect on employee wellbeing, but also organizational potential. I have seen this in my own research and I have to say I couldn’t agree more.

The authors do a great job showing us that compassion isn’t a so-called ‘soft’ value, but a hard-core business strategy. The book’s strength is that it also works as a handbook for organizations to become more compassionate and caring. 

By Monica C. Worline, Jane E. Dutton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Awakening Compassion at Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Caring Is a Competitive Advantage

Suffering in the workplace can rob our colleagues and coworkers of humanity, dignity, and motivation and is an unrecognized and costly drain on organizational potential. Marshaling evidence from two decades of field research, scholars and consultants Monica Worline and Jane Dutton show that alleviating such suffering confers measurable competitive advantages in areas like innovation, collaboration, service quality, and talent attraction and retention. They outline four steps for meeting suffering with compassion and show how to build a capacity for compassion into the structures and practices of an organization—because ultimately, as they write, “Compassion is an…

What Do You Do With an Idea?

By Kobi Yamada, Mae Besom (illustrator),

Book cover of What Do You Do With an Idea?

Tina Koopersmith Author Of What Am I?

From the list on young children to build self compassion.

Who am I?

Children feel all their emotions, but I learned to suppress many emotions to avoid criticism. The youngest, I learned to not trust my intuition. I was taught that the mind was the path to success. In my chosen medical profession, physicians use intellect to heal bodies. The interconnection of thoughts, emotions, energy as well as interconnections between people and the environment are ignored. This separation from all of me was sapping me of the joy of living a full life. During my self healing integration journey: I uncovered limiting beliefs, reconnected with my heart, and dove deep into the source of my pleasure. Bringing this awareness to light should be healing.

Tina's book list on young children to build self compassion

Discover why each book is one of Tina's favorite books.

Why did Tina love this book?

This book encourages young children to believe in their thoughts, their ideas, their inner knowing.

This book encourages creativity, self-compassion, motivation, and action. It encourages young children to persevere and not give up hope, even if others cannot appreciate their ideas and their goals. It reminds children that a “NO” is not a failure, but just an opportunity to pivot or change tactics.

By Kobi Yamada, Mae Besom (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Do You Do With an Idea? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Best Seller and award-winning book, What Do You Do With an Idea? is for anyone who's ever had a big idea. This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child's confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens. This is a story for anyone, at any age, who's ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult. It's a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space…

How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear?

By Vanessa Bayer, Rosie Butcher (illustrator),

Book cover of How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear?

Dr. Nicole Audet Author Of Are You Eating My Lunch?

From the list on bedtime stories turning kids into book lovers.

Who am I?

My journey as a writer began in correlation with my career as a family doctor. After reading Dr. Jacques Ferron’s, books, I knew I wanted to be an author as well as a doctor. While pursuing my medical career, I wrote medical articles and books. My husband and I have also been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul of Quebecers with the story Witness of the Last Breath. This is the story of the last night of my daughter-in-law dying of lung cancer. Before she died, I promised Marie-Noëlle that I would pursue my writing career to change the world one young reader at a time. And I did.

Dr. Nicole's book list on bedtime stories turning kids into book lovers

Discover why each book is one of Dr. Nicole's favorite books.

Why did Dr. Nicole love this book?

In 2006, my daughter-in-law lost her battle with cancer. At the time, I couldn't find any books to explain to young children how to deal with a very sick friend. In 2019, Vanessa Bayer filled the gap with her great picture book on this important and delicate topic.

Tears came to my eyes as I read this beautiful story by an author who has survived this terrible illness. She tells us what she liked most about her friends while she was sick. Everybody facing cancer in his life should read this book. 

By Vanessa Bayer, Rosie Butcher (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From debut children's author Vanessa Bayer and illustrator Rosie Butcher, How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear? is a sweet picture book with advice for children―and adults―for dealing with a sick friend.

You and your friend Bear
are an excellent pair.

But if your friend gets sick,
And can’t do all the things that you two love to do…

You may wonder--how do you care for a very sick Bear?

When someone dear is dealing with illness, it's difficult to know what to do or say. The actor Vanessa Bayer experienced this firsthand when she was treated for…