Great fiction books can take you to other worlds and take your breath away.
But great non-fiction books can literally change your life.
While I’m an avid fiction reader, I devour self-help books. Books on Buddhism. Meditation. Yoga. Travel and psychology and writing. Character development and history and earthly (and not so earthly) mysteries. I’m a sponge with that stuff.
Over time, I’ve acquired quite a collection of non-fiction books I’ve read, and an equally notable collection of non-fictions still to be read. Because a lot of my blog visitors totally dig self-improvement content, I thought I’d share some wonderful, must-read non-fiction books you might want to check out. Some are short, some longer, but who cares. In the end, they all have a great message to share. Whether you’re looking for peace, happiness, money management skills, personal power, or self-reflection, you’ll probably find what you want in this list here.
Oh, and if you have any to add, please let me know! I’m always looking to expand my own personal horizons. 🙂
Mindful Money: Simple Practices for Reaching Your Financial Goals and Increasing Your Happiness Dividend
“Money drives many of our decisions. We all worry about earning it, spending it, and saving it — regardless of our income level or spiritual perspective. Yet few of us understand money’s true nature. Jonathan K. DeYoe helps you create a unique financial plan that is guided by your deepest beliefs, and shows you how to save, invest, pay off debt, and fund your retirement and dreams by building a lifetime income stream. With a foreword by Pulitzer Prize–winner Alice Walker, Mindful Money does all this while emphasizing that money is a tool you can use to support your lifestyle, reach your goals, and earn the “happiness dividend” everyone deserves.”
“Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations. Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.”
The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
“Who are you? When you start to explore this question, you find out how elusive it really is. Are you a physical body? A collection of experiences and memories? A partner to relationships? Each time you consider these aspects of yourself, you realize that there is much more to you than any of these can define. Spiritual teacher Michael Singer explores the question of who we are and arrives at the conclusion that our identity is to be found in our consciousness, the fact of our ability to observe ourselves, and the world around us. By tapping into traditions of meditation and mindfulness, Singer shows how the development of consciousness can enable us all to dwell in the present moment and let go of painful thoughts and memories that keep us from achieving happiness and self-realization.”
The Power Is Within You
“In The Power Is Within You, Louise L. Hay expands her philosophies of loving the self through learning to listen and trust the inner voice; loving the child within; letting our true feelings out; the responsibility of parenting; releasing our fears about growing older; allowing ourselves to receive prosperity; expressing our creativity; accepting change as a natural part of life; creating a world that is ecologically sound; where it’s safe to love each other’; and much more. She closes the book with a chapter devoted to meditations for personal and planetary healing.”
The Art of War
“In the twenty-five hundred years since it was composed, The Art of War has been applied to just about every field of human endeavor. Sun Tzu’s shrewd advice is indispensable to anyone seeking to gain an advantage over an opponent.”
The Surrender Experiment
“Michael A. Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, tells the extraordinary story of what happened when, after a deep spiritual awakening, he decided to let go of his personal preferences and simply let life call the shots. As Singer takes you on this great experiment and journey into life’s perfection, the events that transpire will both challenge your deepest assumptions about life and inspire you to look at your own life in a radically different way.”
True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart
“Love might not be what we think it is. We all seek the happiness that comes from loving and being loved, yet we often find ourselves dissatisfied in our relationships and unable to grasp the cause. Thich Nhat Hanh here shows the way to overcome our recurrent obstacles to love—by learning to be mindful, open, and present with ourselves and others. As he explains, ‘training is needed in order to love properly; and to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice deep looking directed toward the person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly. Understanding is the essence of love.’ This quintessential guide to loving also introduces the four key aspects of love described in the Buddhist tradition—loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and freedom—and describes many simple and direct ways in which we can practice authentic love in our everyday lives.”
Zen for Everyday Life: How to Find Peace and Happiness in the Chaos of Everyday Life
“Most people think they need something to be happy. A new car, a big house, a raise at work, to find their true love, or at the very least some time off to go on vacation. We live our entire lives searching for that ‘thing’ we’re lacking- a surefire way to continue living unfulfilled and without peace. Because even if we get what we want, it doesn’t fulfill us, so we pick something new to attach ourselves to and the cycle starts anew. The appetite is never fed. None of these things will ever bring you peace or happiness, because true peace and happiness exist only in the present moment and through touching aspects of our everyday life deeply. By living in this way, you can learn to let go of the desires that have caused you stress and anxiety and realize the beauty of your life as it is in this moment. Zen for Everyday Life shows you how to live with greater peace and happiness in the present moment and to realize the beauty of your life as it is. No tricks, no gimmicks, just effective daily practices that fit any lifestyle- no matter how busy and hectic your schedule is.”
WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR: A Book That Changes Lives
“Way of the Peaceful Warrior has become one of the most beloved spiritual sagas of our time. Shared among friends and families, this million-copy word-of-mouth bestseller has inspired men and women of all ages in twenty languages worldwide. Despite all his success, college student and world-champion athlete Dan Millman is haunted by a feeling that something is missing from his life. Awakened one night by dark dreams, he wanders into an all-night gas station, meets an old man named Socrates, and his world is changed forever. Guided by this eccentric old warrior, drawn to an elusive young woman named Joy, Dan begins a spiritual odyssey into realms of light and shadow, romance and mystery, toward a final confrontation that will deliver or destroy him. This classic tale, a blend of autobiographical fact and narrative fiction, told with heart and humor, speaks to the peaceful warrior in each of us. Countless readers have been moved to laughter and tears-even moments of illumination-as they rediscover life’s larger meaning and purpose. Journey with Dan on the peaceful warrior’s path to unreasonable happiness. Find out for yourself why this book changes lives.”
In Defense of Food
“Food. There’s plenty of it around, and we all love to eat it. So why should anyone need to defend it? Because in the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion–most of what we’re consuming today is longer the product of nature but of food science. The result is what Michael Pollan calls the American Paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we see to become. With In Defense of Food, Pollan proposes a new (and very old) answer to the question of what we should eat that comes down to seven simple but liberating words: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Pollan’s bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating.”
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
“Need a little more impetus in your life? Read this philosophical novel, and Robert Pirsig will help you realize how important it is to actually care about what you’re doing. In other words, if you’re fixing a motorcycle, then really fix it. Don’t listen to music, or do something else simultaneously. Do what you need to do, and take pride in it.”
A Brief History of Time
“Being that this is a book by Stephen Hawking, it isn’t the easiest in the world to read. That being said, it’s incredibly smart, and if you can manage to get past the first few chapters, you’ll start to see that the big message here is all about time, and that it has a clear direction. If anything, reading this book will make you feel a little closer to understanding the universe (i.e., it’ll make you smarter!).”
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