“Books are the training weights of the mind.” — Epictetus
Last Updated: April 3, 2020
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There are currently 50+ book, essay, speech, and research summaries on this site with many more on the way.
The list on this page includes the following:
- Books I’ve read, summarized, and recommend (shown as “RECOMMENDED” in bold blue color)—Books that make this cut are the ones that have been life-transforming for me and that I keep coming back to and referencing. If you enjoy the detailed summaries, I recommend reading these books in full.
- Books I’ve read and summarized (shown in gray color)—These books aren’t bad just because they aren’t recommended—it just means: 1) I’d start with the recommended books before them, and 2) I’d read the detailed summaries instead of the full books in most of these cases.
- Books I’m currently reading or plan to read next (shown as “CURRENTLY READING” or “READING NEXT” in bold red color)—Always subject to change based on curiosity and what I’m working on. You’ll see I usually have a few books going at any given time to keep things interesting.
- Books to be read later are simply listed in black text (in no particular order).
You’ll find roughly 75ish books in the list below.
Why only 75ish?
I’d like to start with a little exercise that isn’t meant to be a downer—it’s meant to illustrate that we could all be a bit more intentional about what we’re reading.
Here’s the hard reality:
- None of us will read every book out there in our lifetimes. The current average lifespan in the US is 79 years old. Subtract your age from 79. Then multiply that number by the average number of books you read in a year. That’s roughly how many books you have left to read in your life. The number I read per year varies greatly depending on what I’m working on, so I may have somewhere between 200-500 left in my life.
But, here’s the even harder reality: We may not get the full 79 years.
“Any day is a good day for a midlife crisis. After all, you never know when it will be the middle of your life.” — Anonymous
In that spirit, instead of listing 200-500 books, I consciously narrowed it down to 75ish to get started on the right path. This list will give you the gist of my interest areas.
“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.” — Thoreau
Book Recommendations & Reading List
- RECOMMENDED (Slow Living): In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore | Summary | How to Apply It (Premium) | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED (Simple Living): The Quest of the Simple Life by William J. Dawson | Summary | Amazon (Public Domain)
- RECOMMENDED (Voluntary Simplicity): Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin | Summary | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED (Decluttering): The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo | Summary | Amazon
- The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim | Summary | Amazon
- Slow by Brooke McAlary | Summary | Amazon
- Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner | Summary | Amazon
- Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist | Summary | Amazon
- The Slow Fix by Carl Honoré | Summary | Amazon
- Simplify by Joshua Becker | Summary | Amazon
- Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki | Summary | Amazon
- Walden by Henry David Thoreau | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED (Great place to start for life purpose): Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer | Summary | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED (Spiritual approach): A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle | Summary 1, 2, 3 | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED (Psychological approach): Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl | Summary 1, 2 | Amazon
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho | Summary | Amazon
- The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren | Summary | Amazon
- Find Your Why by Simon Sinek | Summary | Amazon
- The Path Made Clear by Oprah | Summary | Amazon
- Ikigai by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles | Summary | Amazon
- The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna | Summary | Amazon
- CURRENTLY READING: The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell | Amazon
- The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch | Amazon
- How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen | Amazon
- The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron | Amazon
- Finding Your Element by Sir Ken Robinson & Lou Aronica | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED (Great place to start for spiritual growth): The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer | Summary | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED (Great place to start for spiritual growth): Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse | Summary | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED (Tough love approach to spirituality): Awareness by Anthony De Mello | Summary | How to Apply It (Premium) | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED (Overall art of living): Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (Stephen Mitchell Version) | Summary | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED (Deep spirituality): Who Am I? by Sri Ramana Maharshi | Summary | Amazon | Free Online
- The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Riso & Hudson | Summary | Amazon
- The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle | Amazon
- The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz | Amazon
- Freedom from the Known by Jiddu Krishnamurti | Amazon
- Letting Go by David Hawkins | Amazon
- Be Here Now by Ram Dass | Amazon
- Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda | Amazon
- I Am That by Nisargadatta Maharaj | Amazon
- Be As You Are by Sri Ramana Maharshi | Amazon
- Spiritual Enlightenment, the Damnedest Thing by Jed McKenna | Amazon
- Inner Engineering by Sadhguru | Amazon
- The Bhagavad Gita (Eknath Easwaran Version) | Amazon
- The Upanishads (Eknath Easwaran Version) | Amazon
- The Essential Rumi by Jalal al-Din Rumi | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED: This is Water by David Foster Wallace | Summary | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED: As a Man Thinketh by James Allen | Summary | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED (Stoicism): On The Shortness Of Life by Seneca | Summary | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED (Transpersonal Psychology or “Spiritual Psychology”): The Farther Reaches of Human Nature by Abraham Maslow | Summary 1, 2, 3, 4 | Amazon
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius | Summary 1, 2 | Amazon
- Enchiridion by Epictetus | Summary | Amazon
- The Existentialist’s Survival Guide by Gordon Marino | Summary | Amazon
- Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday | Summary | Amazon
- CURRENTLY READING: Transcend by Scott Barry Kaufman | Amazon
- Letters from a Stoic by Seneca | Amazon
- The Book by Alan Watts | Amazon
- Memories, Dreams, Reflections by Carl Jung | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED: The Lessons of History by Will & Ariel Durant | Summary 1, 2 | Amazon
- Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari | Amazon
- 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari | Amazon
- A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson | Amazon
- Factfulness by Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Ola Rosling | Amazon
- The Ascent of Humanity by Charles Eisenstein | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED: Essentialism by Greg McKeown | Summary | How To Apply It (Premium) | Amazon
- RECOMMENDED: Atomic Habits by James Clear | Summary | How To Apply It (Premium) | Amazon
- When by Daniel Pink | Summary | Amazon
- The ONE Thing by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan | Amazon
- The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt, Jeff Cox | Amazon
- The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin | Amazon
- CURRENTLY READING: The Living Universe by Duane Elgin | Amazon
- Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli | Amazon
- Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander | Amazon
- Being Mortal by Atul Gawande | Amazon
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi | Amazon
- How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan | Amazon
- The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell by Aldous Huxley | Amazon
- Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth by R. Buckminster Fuller | Amazon
- The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible by Charles Eisenstein | Amazon
Don’t forget to check out the current 50+ book, essay, speech, and research summaries.
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