The most recommended metaphysics books

Who picked these books? Meet our 100 experts.

100 authors created a book list connected to metaphysics, and here are their favorite metaphysics books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of metaphysics book?

Loading...
Loading...

Book cover of The City & the City

Joseph Pitkin Author Of Exit Black

From my list on fantasy-science fiction books that explore class and inequality.

Why am I passionate about this?

My science fiction and fantasy writing is concerned with the values I was exposed to growing up. As a lifelong Quaker, I have struggled—often unsuccessfully—to live out Quakerism’s non-conformist, almost utopian commitment to equality, simplicity, peace, and community. Not only have I tried to bear witness to those values in my writing, but those ideals led me to my career as an instructor at a community college, one of America’s great socioeconomic leveling institutions. My background as a speculative fiction writer has also made me into a teacher of science fiction and fantasy literature at my college, where I read and came to love the books I recommend here. 

Joseph's book list on fantasy-science fiction books that explore class and inequality

Joseph Pitkin Why did Joseph love this book?

This tightly-plotted murder mystery takes place in one of the most compelling imagined settings I’ve ever encountered: a double city somewhere in the Balkans where the inhabitants of each half are required by law not to see the inhabitants of the other half.

Equal parts Kafka and Philip K Dick, Miéville’s The City and the City offers a thought-provoking meditation on the haves and have-nots, as well as life in the Balkanized cities of the world, those “double places” where one-half of the population conspires not to notice the other half.

By China Miéville,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The City & the City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984, the multi-award winning The City & The City by China Mieville is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.

'You can't talk about Mieville without using the word "brilliant".' - Ursula Le Guin, author of the Earthsea series.

When the body of a murdered woman is found in the extraordinary, decaying city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks like a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he probes, the evidence begins to point to…


Book cover of Lord Foul's Bane

Nick Stevenson Author Of Nethergeist

From my list on compelling world building in fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been intrigued by fantastical world-building that is complex, detailed, forensically credible, and immeasurably encyclopedic in scope. It should propel you to a world that feels almost as real as the world you leave behind but with intricate magic systems and razor-shape lore. Ironically, some of my choices took a while to love, but once they “sunk in,” everything changed. Whenever life gets too much, it has been cathartic, essential even, to transport to another universe and find solace in prose dedicated to survival, soul, and renewal.

Nick's book list on compelling world building in fantasy

Nick Stevenson Why did Nick love this book?

Thomas Covernant is a leper shunned by society but finds himself in the Land where some herald him as the one who’ll save them from an evil sorcerer, Lord Foul. He is not always a sympathetic character, but being on society’s edge where all and sundry openly shun him can do that to anyone.

What I loved the most was the captivating Land with its many peoples and inhabitants, such as the sentient woods and the Forestals that ward them, the Elohim, a benign people with special powers, the Giants and the evil Viles, Waynhim, and ur-viles.

Outside being exotic, the world feels credible and immersive, especially the “wild magic” Covernant begins to wield. I ended up caring passionately about what happened to the Land and wanting Covernant to acknowledge his worth.

By Stephen R. Donaldson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Lord Foul's Bane as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Comparable to Tolkien at his best' WASHINGTON POST

Instantly recognised as a modern fantasy classic, Stephen Donaldson's uniquely imaginative and complex THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT, THE UNBELIEVER became a bestselling literary phenomenon that transformed the genre.

Lying unconscious after an accident, writer Thomas Covenant awakes in the Land - a strange, beautiful world locked in constant conflict between good and evil.

But Covenant, too, has been transformed: weak, angry, and alone in our world, he now holds powers beyond imagining and is greeted as a saviour. Can this man truly become the hero the Land requires?


Book cover of Astrology: A Cosmic Science: The Classic Work on Spiritual Astrology

Jackie Slevin Author Of Finding Success in the Horoscope: The Slevin System of Horoscope Analysis

From my list on taking astrology beyond the sun sign.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Certified Astrologer and Education Director of The National Council for Geocosmic Research, I host monthly webinars with experienced astrologers from around the world who present state-of-the-art lectures on every facet of astrology. I taught astrology in-person and online for 10 years, have consulted professionally for 40, and have written many articles in astrological newsletters and magazines, some of which have been published internationally. For the past 14 years I’ve been a staff writer for Horoscope Guide Magazine, and have been interviewed frequently on talk radio, podcasts, and newspapers, including The New York Post.

Jackie's book list on taking astrology beyond the sun sign

Jackie Slevin Why did Jackie love this book?

This classic takes you to the next step of horoscope analysis, along with a more philosophical approach to how the heavens impact human behavior based on planets’ placements at the time of your birth. Detailed explanations about signs, planets, and houses are presented in almost a “cookbook” presentation that helps the reader make more sense of how horoscopes play a role in a person’s destiny. The language and descriptions may be a bit dated for some tastes, but the timeless message remains intact.

By Isabel M. Hickey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a new approach to astrology that has for too long been neglected in astrological textbooks. This book combines the inner and outer aspects of astrology in a unique and inspirational manner. The blueprint we call the horoscope deals with the personality, showing the tendencies and the habit patterns brought into this lifetime from other lifetimes. Some are good, some destructive. There is nothing fatalistic about astrology. Behind the personality (the unlit self) lies the Power of the Real Self that can change the outer self completely. Character is destiny. Change your character and you change your destiny. The…


Transforming Pandora

By Carolyn Mathews,

Book cover of Transforming Pandora

Carolyn Mathews Author Of Transforming Pandora

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Creator Meditator Messenger Shopaholic

Carolyn's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Transforming Pandora, women's fiction with a metaphysical undercurrent, is written with humour and a light touch. As the plot slips between two time frames, separated by more than thirty years, the reader explores her life and loves: her ups and downs.

In the opening chapter, Pandora is attempting to come to terms with her husband's death. At a friend's suggestion, she reluctantly attends an evening of clairvoyance, after which her life is transformed by a mysterious spirit who sets her on a new path.

Her romantic life is reignited when she encounters a new man, but complicated by the appearance of a significant figure from her past. At the same time her spiritual life is presented with a challenge when she's offered the chance of enlightenment via a heavenly correspondence course. Her quest in life to find her true purpose is within her reach. Will she grasp this opportunity? Or will she choose love over light?

Transforming Pandora

By Carolyn Mathews,

What is this book about?

Pandora, 51, childless, and still beautiful, is attempting to come to terms with her husband's death. Having a history of being drawn to the esoteric, yet remaining a healthy sceptic, she reluctantly attends an evening of clairvoyance and raises a spirit who sets her on a new path...


Book cover of Oneness

Martha Hunt Handler Author Of Winter of the Wolf

From my list on proving there is life after death.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was brought up spiritually, believing our souls are here for a limited time and for a specific purpose before being reincarnated. But my “knowing” about spirituality was tested when my best friend found her 12-year-old son hanging. As I tried to make sense of this heartbreaking tragedy, I began journaling. Not long after, I began to hear her son’s voice. He explained that my writing was a jumping-off point for a novel. I listened and Winter of the Wolf was born. Researching and writing this novel helped me realign with my beliefs and grow in new and profound ways and it will do the same for readers.

Martha's book list on proving there is life after death

Martha Hunt Handler Why did Martha love this book?

As you open this book, prepare to go on a sacred, experiential journey unlike anything you’ve ever imagined. It’s truly that powerful and life changing. Rasha began a profound conversation with the universal presence, “Oneness” – the Divinity we all share. These teachings empower the reader to take a quantum leap into their own inner depths to harmonize with the powerful energy around us so that our wildest dreams can be realized. If you’re someone who often wonders what life is all about and what our purpose here is, take this journey with Rasha. 

By Rasha,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Every now and then a book comes along that is so powerful that words cannot describe the experience people start having when they read it. These rare, life-changing books always seem to show up at the perfect moment in time, exactly when we all need it the most. Oneness is such a book--one that will change your life.

In February 1998, Rasha began a profound dialogue with the universal Presence, "Oneness"--the Divinity we all share. Word for word, she transcribed the principles for a new understanding of the mystery we call "life." These teachings empower us to take a quantum…


Book cover of A Metaphysics for Freedom

John T. Maier Author Of Options and Agency

From my list on defending the reality of free will.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a philosopher and psychotherapist, with a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Princeton. From the beginning of my work in philosophy, I have been interested in the nature of agency: what is it to be an agent, and how is agency even possible in the first place? These questions naturally drew me to the metaphysics of free will, as well as related topics in the logic and semantics of agentive modality (that is, the kind of possibility and necessity that is characteristic of agents). Much of my recent work has been on more clinical issues, especially on understanding addiction. I continue to be fascinated by fundamental topics in metaphysics, and especially the question of free will.

John's book list on defending the reality of free will

John T. Maier Why did John love this book?

This book, I would argue, is among the most innovative books on free will in years.

Its key insight – that humans are just one kind of animal, and so the key question about free will is whether animals generally have free will – overturns the anthropocentric bias that has governed much of the philosophical literature on free will. 

By Helen Steward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Metaphysics for Freedom argues that agency itself-and not merely the special, distinctively human variety of it-is incompatible with determinism. For determinism is threatened just as surely by the existence of powers which can be unproblematically accorded to many sorts of animals, as by the distinctively human powers on which the free will debate has tended to focus. Helen Steward suggests that a tendency to approach the question of free will solely
through the issue of moral responsibility has obscured the fact that there is a quite different route to incompatibilism, based on the idea that animal agents above a…


Book cover of Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction

Timothy Williamson Author Of Philosophical Method: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on contemporary epistemology and metaphysics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Timothy Williamson is a professor of philosophy at Oxford University and a visiting professor at Yale. He writes on metaphysics and epistemology because he doesn’t know how not to care about them. Metaphysics asks fundamental questions about what reality is and how it is structured; epistemology asks fundamental questions about what and how we can know about reality.

Timothy's book list on contemporary epistemology and metaphysics

Timothy Williamson Why did Timothy love this book?

This is my favourite introduction to epistemology. It relates questions about knowledge and scepticism to human psychology, human knowledge to other animals’ knowledge, and the development of Western epistemology to epistemology elsewhere, such as ancient India. Amongst leading epistemologists today, Jennifer Nagel probably has the deepest understanding of relevant work in psychology.

By Jennifer Nagel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What is knowledge? How does it differ from mere belief? Do you need to be able to justify a claim in order to count as knowing it? How can we know that the outer world is real and not a dream?

Questions like these are ancient ones, and the branch of philosophy dedicated to answering them - epistemology - has been active for thousands of years. In this thought-provoking Very Short Introduction, Jennifer Nagel considers these classic questions alongside new puzzles arising from recent discoveries about humanity, language, and the mind. Nagel explains the formation of major historical theories of…


Book cover of The Intuitive Way: The Definitive Guide to Increasing Your Awareness

Sydney Campos Author Of The Empath Experience: What to Do When You Feel Everything

From my list on for empaths and highly sensitive people.

Why am I passionate about this?

I always sensed I was from another planet, here to help create a new world by nature of my heightened sensitivity and ability to perceive beneath the surface of our supposed reality. After decades of struggling and nearly dying through addiction to mute my sensitivity, my healing path led me to see how being an empath is the greatest gift, once we learn to take care of ourselves and refine our abilities. My book The Empath Experience is the guide I wish I had when I was born, that tells my story and guides life-changing practices to master your energy and harness your empathic gifts as the superpowers they are.

Sydney's book list on for empaths and highly sensitive people

Sydney Campos Why did Sydney love this book?

This is one of my favorite books for learning about how to utilize your intuitive gifts. The way it’s written is so beautiful: in a friendly tone where it feels like you’re speaking with an old friend. It includes great practices for awakening your intuitive abilities and working with your empathic gifts as well which naturally give way to intuitive prowess.

By Penney Peirce,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A renowned intuitive and visionary shows you how to know what you need to know just when you need to know it.

Intuition is not a rare gift that only a gifted few possess but an innate human capacity that can be enhanced and developed. Synthesizing insights from psychology, East- West philosophy, religion, metaphysics, and business, this hands-on workbook in the tradition of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, can teach anyone to achieve a heightened state of perceptual vitality and integrate it into daily life. Intuition, writes Penney Peirce, is “not the opposite of logic,” but rather “a comprehensive way…


Book cover of From the Socratics to the Socratic Schools: Classical Ethics, Metaphysics and Epistemology

Nicholas D. Smith Author Of Socrates on Self-Improvement: Knowledge, Virtue, and Happiness

From my list on Socrates as he is depicted by authors other than Plato.

Why am I passionate about this?

In Plato’s Sophist, the main speaker (not Socrates in this case!) mocks those he calls “late-learners," I fall decidedly into that category. When I first read the works of Plato, I was lured into a lifelong attempt to understand and explain the figure of Socrates as he appears in Plato’s dialogues. Lately I have been reading materials by ancient Socratic sources other than Plato and have been wrestling with the uneasy recognition that this “father of Western philosophy” was not seen in the same way even by those who knew him personally. Who was Socrates??? Once upon a time, I thought I knew…

Nicholas' book list on Socrates as he is depicted by authors other than Plato

Nicholas D. Smith Why did Nicholas love this book?

Most people who hear about Socrates are given a kind of stock portrait that comes straight out of Plato’s depictions in his dialogues. I really admire this book because it opens up new possibilities for readers to reconsider the Platonic portrait and reminded me to think about what it means for an important philosopher to be “remembered” by multiple people.

The book’s chapters include all of the important alternatives to Plato and Xenophon, usually considered the two “main” sources for Socrates.

By Ugo Zilioli (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From the Socratics to the Socratic Schools as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the two golden centuries that followed the death of Socrates, ancient philosophy underwent a tremendous transformation that culminated in the philosophical systematizations of Plato, Aristotle and the Hellenistic schools. Fundamental figures other than Plato were active after the death of Socrates; his immediate pupils, the Socratics, took over his legacy and developed it in a variety of ways. This rich philosophical territory has however been left largely underexplored in the scholarship.

This collection of eleven previously unpublished essays by leading scholars fills a gap in the literature, providing new insight into the ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology as developed by…


Book cover of Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth

Laura Perry Author Of The Minoan Tarot

From my list on to make Tarot seem less intimidating.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began reading Tarot in high school – or at least, trying to. Like most people, I was pretty intimidated starting out. It took several teachers, a stack of books, and a lot of years before I understood that Tarot cards are simply repositories for symbols of the human experience. That’s how they continue to be so popular: they speak to something deep within us all. It was only natural that my art endeavors and my passion for the ancient Minoans would eventually dovetail with my love of Tarot. The end result was The Minoan Tarot, which I’m delighted to share with you along with these excellent Tarot books.

Laura's book list on to make Tarot seem less intimidating

Laura Perry Why did Laura love this book?

If you’ve ever thought about using the Tarot for personal development instead of just divination, but didn’t know where to start, Holistic Tarot is the resource for you. Tarot cards are no substitute for a good therapist, but in this book, Benebell Wen shows you how to use the cards to better understand your emotions and desires and to help you remove blockages to your creativity and satisfaction with life. This is a structured and methodical approach that will give you practical results.

By Benebell Wen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Designed for beginning as well as experienced tarot readers, Holistic Tarot offers a fresh and easy-to-follow approach to the use of the tarot deck for tapping into subconscious knowledge and creativity. The tarot deck has been used as a divination tool for more than two centuries; while the tarot is still most commonly thought of as "fortune telling," the true power of the tarot lies in its ability to channel a clear path for our deep intuition to shine through. Consulting the tarot can help clear creativity blockages, clarify ambitions, work through complex decisions, and make sense of emotions and…


Book cover of The True Nature of Tarot: Your Path To Personal Empowerment

Kirsten Weiss Author Of The Mysteries of Tarot: A Work of the Imagination

From my list on how to read Tarot.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I joined the Peace Corps in the early nineties, I wasn’t allowed to take much luggage. I decided to bring a Tarot deck, figuring I’d finally have time to learn it while parked in an Estonian forest. That Tarot deck opened up a world of Renaissance mysticism and magic, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Tarot cards and readings feature prominently in many of my cozy mystery novels, not the least of which are the Tea and Tarot mysteries. Now my imaginary Tarot reader from that series, Hyperion Night, has recently written his own Tarot guidebook, The Mysteries of Tarot.

Kirsten's book list on how to read Tarot

Kirsten Weiss Why did Kirsten love this book?

When I was first learning to read Tarot, one of my big challenges was understanding how the cards worked together.

I eventually came up with my own method. But if I’d had this book when I was starting out, I would have figured things out much more quickly. 

Diane Wing goes into all the basics of Tarot reading, including some of the more metaphysical elements. But this book’s strength is the extensive Tarot combinations section.

If understanding how the cards fit together is something you’re struggling with, this is your book.

By Diane Wing,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Learn the Tarot to Bring Divine Guidance to Your Daily Life

Tarot empowers those who connect with its wisdom. As a tool of enlightenment, it guides, reveals hidden insights, and reflects the hopes, fears, and energies of the practitioner and seeker. Based in Universal Law, the cards form a book of metaphysics. Their interpretations change with your level of understanding to help you navigate your life path and generate alternatives. It is a boundless tool that allows you to tap into ancient wisdom that promotes deep transformation of the self and the way in which you experience interactions with the…