The best philosophy books 📚

Browse the best books on philosophy as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of A Little History of Philosophy

A Little History of Philosophy

By Nigel Warburton

Why this book?

Nietzsche said; “Today’s philosophers enjoy the divine principle of incomprehensibility.” This clearly written book takes the opposite tack. If you’re terrified of philosophy, this is the book for you. A great book to get the kids interested in the subject.

From the list:

The best books on philosophy and humanity’s search for meaning

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of A History of Western Philosophy

A History of Western Philosophy

By Bertrand Russell

Why this book?

Whatever those deep questions are that you have, somebody’s already thought about them, and this masterwork of a book will show you that you’re not alone. In fact, you’re thinking and feeling the same way women and men did a couple thousand years ago – and some very wise individuals have thought through what you’re thinking through. This book will change your life and your mind. You have to be patient, but it’s worth it. Read three pages (no more) a day, every day. Plan on sticking with this for more than a year, then do so. Use a highlighter…
From the list:

The best books to help you find your place in the world

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius

Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius

By Ray Monk

Why this book?

Wittgenstein is the key philosopher of how what we do and what we think combine to give us a view of the world and a set of things we take for granted – our ‘form of life’.  It is almost impossibly hard to read his book, Philosophical Investigations and, in any case, philosophers disagree about what it means.  But Monk entertainingly and interestingly explains his ideas through his biography: he makes Wittgenstein’s later philosophy readily comprehensible. 

From the list:

The best books on making reality

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of What Is Zen?

What Is Zen?

By D.T. Suzuki

Why this book?

As I began my search to make some kind of sense of my life, I started with philosophy and moved to religion. When I came across this book, I intuitively sensed that the author knew what I wanted to know. I had no idea what he was talking about but my heart sang with every page. This was my first experience of being taken to the “place” from which the author wrote. Reading it was like sitting at the feet of the Master, aware of a lack of comprehension while witnessing a living example of what the heart intuitively knows.

From the list:

The best books about Zen awareness practice

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Sportswriter: Bascombe Trilogy (1)

The Sportswriter: Bascombe Trilogy (1)

By Richard Ford

Why this book?

I’m not a sports fan. My good friend, Ryan Harty (author of one of my favorite short story compilations: “Bring me your saddest Arizona”) recommended this book to me many years ago. I’m not a sports fan but he assured me it had very little if anything to do with sports. He was right about that! I gave it a shot and was immediately transported into the narrative. It’s still in my top 5 all-time favorite book list. Ford’s ability to communicate existential crises in deeper but simple ways is so, so good. Frank Bascombe, the protagonist is detached in…

From the list:

The best fiction books that are secretly philosophy books

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Yoga: Immortality and Freedom

Yoga: Immortality and Freedom

By Mircea Eliade, Willard R. Trask

Why this book?

This book provides a historical overview of yoga philosophy and psychology and is a great introduction to the study of yoga. It was originally written in French by Mircea Eliade, who became the dean of Religious Studies all over the world, for decades training graduate students at the University of Chicago. The book is now a little dated on certain topics such as tantra and the yogic practices of Buddhism. Nevertheless, it stands as the preëminent classic in the field of yoga studies. It has a bouncy but elegant style and has been a favorite in the courses I have…

From the list:

The best books on yoga philosophy and psychology

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Or, view all 186 books about philosophy

New book lists about philosophy

All book lists about philosophy

Bookshelves related to philosophy

Browse books by…