The most recommended self knowledge books

Who picked these books? Meet our 3 experts.

3 authors created a book list connected to self knowledge, and here are their favorite self knowledge books.
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Book cover of The Vedantic Self and the Jungian Psyche

Tushar Choksi Author Of Significance and Means of Self-Knowledge

From my list on well-being and self-knowledge.

Why am I passionate about this?

Tushar Choksi is a sincere seeker of the reality of human experience since his childhood days. Due to the undercurrent force of spirituality and the desire to be a good human, he practiced meditation and studied Vedantic scriptures for more than twenty-five years. During his life, he studied in-depth and participated in various activities based on the Vedantic tradition. One major activity he has been part of for most of his life is the activity of Swadhyay inspired by Pujya Padurang Shastri Athavale. He was also engrossed in the teachings of Ramkrishna and Vivekananda and the tradition of Arsha Vidya of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Currently, Tushar conducts classes on Vedanta (non-duality), and continues his study of Vedanta. 

Tushar's book list on well-being and self-knowledge

Tushar Choksi Why did Tushar love this book?

This book explores the healing capacity of the disciplines of Vedanta and Jungian Psyche for a human being. It describes how the emotional well-being and non-dual wholeness of a human being can be achieved.  The author emphasizes when using Vedanta that the lack of differentiation of self from the mind and the world creates our suffering. Therefore, the solution to our problems lies in self-knowledge only. The degree of identification of self with the non-self is causing one to suffer to that degree. All human beings seek love. When we discover the Vedantic self as the source of love then the search for wholeness completes. When we know that the self of others is myself, then we reach the supreme level of intimacy and know others in truth.

By Dr. Carol Whitfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Vedantic Self and the Jungian Psyche as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Psychological theories are based on the experiences of the one constructing the theory. If the Vedantic Self becomes a differentiated component of one's experience, then it will naturally weave its way into one's psychological model of the mind.... New knowledge affects the old. Such has always been the case. As we go on learning and differentiating our experience, our theories change to accomodate our growth. In this case, if the existence of the Vedantic Self is differentiated from the psyche, then new knowledge is produced in that act of differentiation which then must be accounted for in the formulation of…


Book cover of Remembrance of Things Past

Ernest Hebert Author Of Whirlybird Island

From my list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

For me, writing novels is an attempt in metaphor to clear the ledger of unfinished business in my crazy, contradictory, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always messy mind. All the books I've written have long and often intensely personal backstories. All of us live two lives, a life in the world of things, relationships, and time (needs), and a life in the world we create in our minds (wants). When needs and wants come into conflict we have the elements that make a novel. I see my job as a novelist to provide an exciting story and plot that carries a reader through the material world.

Ernest's book list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers

Ernest Hebert Why did Ernest love this book?

I didn’t come into contact with Remembrance of Things Past until I was in my late twenties—and was immediately turned off. I thought, what a windbag and slammed the book shut. Later, I gave it another try. Then another. I never did finish Swann's Way and the other novels in Remembrance of Things Past. And yet Proust remains not only a powerful influence on my writing, but a guide in the practice of good prose. What has stayed with me were Proust’s long gorgeous sentences. Any time my writing slackens, or my vision falters, I pick up Proust. I read those long long sentences with my lips moving. They inspire me. They make me pay attention to the most important craft element in the writer’s tool kit—the sentence.

By Marcel Proust, CK Scott Moncrieff (translator), Terence Kilmartin (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the French intellectual, novelist, essayist, and one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century: The first two volumes of his monumental achievement, Swann’s Way and Within a Budding Grove.  

The famous overture to Swann's Way sets down the grand themes that govern In Search of Lost Time: as the narrator recalls his childhood in Paris and Combray, exquisite memories, long since passed—his mother’s good-night kiss, the water lilies on the Vivonne, his love for Swann’s daughter Gilberte—spring vividly into being. In Within a Budding Grove—which won the Prix Goncourt in 1919, bringing the author instant fame—the narrator turns…


Book cover of The Person and the Situation: Perspectives of Social Psychology

Timothy D. Wilson Author Of Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious

From my list on self knowledge.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like most adolescents, I was deeply concerned with what others thought of me and how I fit in. Unlike most adolescents, I sometimes did little experiments to test others’ reactions--such as lying down on a busy sidewalk, fully awake, to see how passersby would react (mostly with annoyance). Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is an entire discipline--social psychology--that does real experiments on self-knowledge and social behavior. I got a Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Michigan and have spent my career as a professor at the University of Virginia, where I have had great fun conducting such experiments.

Timothy's book list on self knowledge

Timothy D. Wilson Why did Timothy love this book?

A classic treatise on how the mind works in a social context by two of the most famous social psychologists in the world. Why do people do what they do? It is not just a matter of their character or personality; we all respond to social norms, social pressures, and cultural contexts, more so than we think we do. And to understand someone else, we have to put ourselves inside their head and understand how they see the world, and how culture and the social context shapes that view. Many people who have read this book say it has fundamentally changed the way they view the world.

By Lee Ross, Richard E. Nisbett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How does the situation we're in influence the way we behave and think? Professors Ross and Nisbett eloquently argue that the context we find ourselves in substantially affects our behavior in this timely reissue of one of social psychology's classic textbooks. With a new foreword by Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point.


Book cover of The Art of Peace and Happiness

Tushar Choksi Author Of Significance and Means of Self-Knowledge

From my list on well-being and self-knowledge.

Why am I passionate about this?

Tushar Choksi is a sincere seeker of the reality of human experience since his childhood days. Due to the undercurrent force of spirituality and the desire to be a good human, he practiced meditation and studied Vedantic scriptures for more than twenty-five years. During his life, he studied in-depth and participated in various activities based on the Vedantic tradition. One major activity he has been part of for most of his life is the activity of Swadhyay inspired by Pujya Padurang Shastri Athavale. He was also engrossed in the teachings of Ramkrishna and Vivekananda and the tradition of Arsha Vidya of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Currently, Tushar conducts classes on Vedanta (non-duality), and continues his study of Vedanta. 

Tushar's book list on well-being and self-knowledge

Tushar Choksi Why did Tushar love this book?

This book describes in detail with extreme clarity that knowing our true being is peace, happiness, and love. Our true self is always present consciousness which knows the mind, body, and the world. The belief in the existence of a separate inner self and an external world obscures our true nature. With the veiling of our true nature, an imaginary self that is limited and situated in the mind-body is seemingly created and the search for happiness in the outside world begins. Suffering is the veiling of one's true nature or happiness, not the lack of happiness. After the dissolution of the separate self that we think and feel to be, happiness and love shine forth. Peace and happiness are not the states of body and mind, but inherent to our real nature.

By Rupert Spira,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Your self, aware presence, knows no resistance to any appearance and, as such, is happiness itself; like the empty space of a room, it cannot be disturbed and is, therefore, peace itself; like this page, it is intimately one with whatever appears on it and is thus love itself; and like water that is not affected by the shape of a wave, it is pure freedom. Causeless joy, imperturbable peace, love that knows no opposite, and freedom at the heart of all experience...this is your ever-present nature under all circumstances.

Our self, aware presence, knows no resistance to any appearance…


Book cover of Need for Cognitive Change

Tushar Choksi Author Of Significance and Means of Self-Knowledge

From my list on well-being and self-knowledge.

Why am I passionate about this?

Tushar Choksi is a sincere seeker of the reality of human experience since his childhood days. Due to the undercurrent force of spirituality and the desire to be a good human, he practiced meditation and studied Vedantic scriptures for more than twenty-five years. During his life, he studied in-depth and participated in various activities based on the Vedantic tradition. One major activity he has been part of for most of his life is the activity of Swadhyay inspired by Pujya Padurang Shastri Athavale. He was also engrossed in the teachings of Ramkrishna and Vivekananda and the tradition of Arsha Vidya of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Currently, Tushar conducts classes on Vedanta (non-duality), and continues his study of Vedanta. 

Tushar's book list on well-being and self-knowledge

Tushar Choksi Why did Tushar love this book?

The book clearly states that cognitive change is required to ensure our well-being. Cognitive change is a change in our outlook on ourselves, God, and the outside world. we need to change from within to face ourselves. Vedanta leads to cognitive change in the fundamental way we look at ourselves and the world. Anger is an expression of the unconscious of a human being. Anger must be managed with a better understanding that it is within the universal psychological order. Because a human being is self-conscious, he finds himself as a person who is lacking and always strives to complete himself through various achievements, relations, and objects. The constant urge to be free from all limitations and lack lies in the self-knowledge that “I am happiness itself”.

By Swami Dayananda Saraswati,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Need for Cognitive Change as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I do not believe that anyone can be happy in today's world without Vedanta. It is not possible because our society is born of competition, nurtured in competition. The competition starts from the cradle! Naturally, our lot is very complex. There is a need for a cognitive change. We need Vedanta to be sane and we have to solve the problem fundamentally. That is the only way; there is no other way. Humanity has driven itself into a corner from where it has no other solution except to know ' I am the whole. ' It is what Vedanta is."…


Book cover of The Message of the Upanisads

Tushar Choksi Author Of Significance and Means of Self-Knowledge

From my list on well-being and self-knowledge.

Why am I passionate about this?

Tushar Choksi is a sincere seeker of the reality of human experience since his childhood days. Due to the undercurrent force of spirituality and the desire to be a good human, he practiced meditation and studied Vedantic scriptures for more than twenty-five years. During his life, he studied in-depth and participated in various activities based on the Vedantic tradition. One major activity he has been part of for most of his life is the activity of Swadhyay inspired by Pujya Padurang Shastri Athavale. He was also engrossed in the teachings of Ramkrishna and Vivekananda and the tradition of Arsha Vidya of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Currently, Tushar conducts classes on Vedanta (non-duality), and continues his study of Vedanta. 

Tushar's book list on well-being and self-knowledge

Tushar Choksi Why did Tushar love this book?

The author declares that man must be educated in the knowledge of his own divine nature. This self-knowledge is not of our separate ego-natures but of the oneself which is the self of all. We should strive to realize both the delights of social existence and the fulfillment through the spiritual realization of the self. Clinging to the shadows of the sensate experience, taking them to be the whole of reality, man ignores the infinite and immortal dimension of his personality. This is spiritual suicide and man is submerged in the objects of experience and his real self is enveloped in the darkness of despair and suffering.  The man should deepen his awareness of his little self (ego) and realize it as the Atman, ever free, self-luminous, eternal, and pure.

By Swami Ranganathananda,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is a compilatioon of the lectures delivered by Swami Ranganathananda at the Calcutta Ashram and other places.The charm and power of the Upanisads can best be admired by the readers.


Book cover of Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession

Timothy D. Wilson Author Of Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious

From my list on self knowledge.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like most adolescents, I was deeply concerned with what others thought of me and how I fit in. Unlike most adolescents, I sometimes did little experiments to test others’ reactions--such as lying down on a busy sidewalk, fully awake, to see how passersby would react (mostly with annoyance). Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is an entire discipline--social psychology--that does real experiments on self-knowledge and social behavior. I got a Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Michigan and have spent my career as a professor at the University of Virginia, where I have had great fun conducting such experiments.

Timothy's book list on self knowledge

Timothy D. Wilson Why did Timothy love this book?

Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis have cast a long shadow over our understanding of the human mind. Most research psychologists today find Freud’s ideas to be oversimplified, exaggerated, or simply wrong. It is important to understand his legacy, however, and there is no better way to do so than to read this entertaining, gossipy book about psychoanalytic theory and treatment. Malcolm provides a rare peek into the consulting room of the psychoanalyst, with insightful critiques of the practice and theory of psychoanalysis. What is Freud’s legacy, exactly? I discuss that in Strangers to Ourselves, in a chapter entitled, “Freud’s genius, Freud’s myopia.”

By Janet Malcolm,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Through an intensive study of 'Aaron Green,' a Freudian analyst in New York City, New Yorker writer Janet Malcolm reveals the inner workings of psychoanalysis.