The best self knowledge books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about self knowledge and why they recommend each book.

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Presence, Volume 1

By Rupert Spira,

Book cover of Presence, Volume 1: The Art of Peace and Happiness

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.

Presence, Volume 1

By Rupert Spira,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Presence, Volume 1 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…


Who am I?

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. 


I wrote...

Significance and Means of Self-Knowledge

By Tushar Choksi,

Book cover of Significance and Means of Self-Knowledge

What is my book about?

"Human life is a journey of an individual, from suffering to relatively happy, and from a relatively happy towards the absolutely happy and safe."

By analyzing and understanding the true nature of an individual in the light of Vedanta, we can get rid of suffering and sorrow clinging to us. Self-knowledge determines our true well-being. If I understand the significance of self-knowledge, I find the key to how to be happy and safe at all times and everywhere irrespective of objective conditions surrounding me. This book dives into human personality. Not only does it show the connection of human suffering with its root, self-ignorance, but it also provides the means to gain self-knowledge. 

Book cover of The Vedantic Self and the Jungian Psyche

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.

The Vedantic Self and the Jungian Psyche

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…

Who am I?

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. 


I wrote...

Significance and Means of Self-Knowledge

By Tushar Choksi,

Book cover of Significance and Means of Self-Knowledge

What is my book about?

"Human life is a journey of an individual, from suffering to relatively happy, and from a relatively happy towards the absolutely happy and safe."

By analyzing and understanding the true nature of an individual in the light of Vedanta, we can get rid of suffering and sorrow clinging to us. Self-knowledge determines our true well-being. If I understand the significance of self-knowledge, I find the key to how to be happy and safe at all times and everywhere irrespective of objective conditions surrounding me. This book dives into human personality. Not only does it show the connection of human suffering with its root, self-ignorance, but it also provides the means to gain self-knowledge. 

The Person and the Situation

By Lee Ross, Richard E. Nisbett,

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

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.

The Person and the Situation

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.


Who am I?

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.


I wrote...

Book cover of Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious

What is my book about?

“Know thyself,” a precept as old as Socrates, is still good advice. But is introspection the best path to self-knowledge? What are we trying to discover, anyway? 

In an eye-opening tour of the unconscious, as psychological science has redefined it, Strangers to Ourselves introduces us to a hidden mental world of judgments, feelings, and motives. Because we have no direct access to the workings of our minds, Wilson tells us, we develop plausible stories about ourselves that may be out of touch with our adaptive unconscious. Citing evidence that too much introspection can actually do damage, Wilson makes the case for better ways of discovering who we truly are. 

Need for Cognitive Change

By Swami Dayananda Saraswati,

Book cover of Need for Cognitive Change

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”.

Need for Cognitive Change

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."…

Who am I?

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. 


I wrote...

Significance and Means of Self-Knowledge

By Tushar Choksi,

Book cover of Significance and Means of Self-Knowledge

What is my book about?

"Human life is a journey of an individual, from suffering to relatively happy, and from a relatively happy towards the absolutely happy and safe."

By analyzing and understanding the true nature of an individual in the light of Vedanta, we can get rid of suffering and sorrow clinging to us. Self-knowledge determines our true well-being. If I understand the significance of self-knowledge, I find the key to how to be happy and safe at all times and everywhere irrespective of objective conditions surrounding me. This book dives into human personality. Not only does it show the connection of human suffering with its root, self-ignorance, but it also provides the means to gain self-knowledge. 

The Message of the Upanisads

By Swami Ranganathananda,

Book cover of The Message of the Upanisads

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.

The Message of the Upanisads

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.

Who am I?

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. 


I wrote...

Significance and Means of Self-Knowledge

By Tushar Choksi,

Book cover of Significance and Means of Self-Knowledge

What is my book about?

"Human life is a journey of an individual, from suffering to relatively happy, and from a relatively happy towards the absolutely happy and safe."

By analyzing and understanding the true nature of an individual in the light of Vedanta, we can get rid of suffering and sorrow clinging to us. Self-knowledge determines our true well-being. If I understand the significance of self-knowledge, I find the key to how to be happy and safe at all times and everywhere irrespective of objective conditions surrounding me. This book dives into human personality. Not only does it show the connection of human suffering with its root, self-ignorance, but it also provides the means to gain self-knowledge. 

Remembrance of Things Past

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

Book cover of Remembrance of Things Past

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.

Remembrance of Things Past

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.


Who am I?

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.


I wrote...

Whirlybird Island

By Ernest Hebert,

Book cover of Whirlybird Island

What is my book about?

The idea behind Whirlybird Island first hit me during an anti-war demonstration in 1968. It struck me that the rebellious youth movement of the 1960s was blowback from trauma suffered by veterans of WWII and the Korean War and passed down to their progeny. For years—no, decades—I wanted to explore this idea in a novel but I could not do it, because the characters I had in mind were based on real people that I loved; they would recognize themselves, and I didn't want to hurt them. It wasn't until they were all dead that I started Whirlybird Island. So, what is this book about? It can all be summed up in a question: Who is killing Korean War veterans and why?

Psychoanalysis

By Janet Malcolm,

Book cover of Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession

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.”

Psychoanalysis

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.

Who am I?

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.


I wrote...

Book cover of Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious

What is my book about?

“Know thyself,” a precept as old as Socrates, is still good advice. But is introspection the best path to self-knowledge? What are we trying to discover, anyway? 

In an eye-opening tour of the unconscious, as psychological science has redefined it, Strangers to Ourselves introduces us to a hidden mental world of judgments, feelings, and motives. Because we have no direct access to the workings of our minds, Wilson tells us, we develop plausible stories about ourselves that may be out of touch with our adaptive unconscious. Citing evidence that too much introspection can actually do damage, Wilson makes the case for better ways of discovering who we truly are. 

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