Once in a while a book comes along that rocks your world so hard that you’re never quite the same after. Here are 7 of those books, ordered by how hard they’re going to rock your skull!
Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss
Of all the books & articles I have read on happiness, this one is by far the best. Prentiss takes an extremely pragmatic approach to cultivating a mindset of happiness so that nothing can bring you down. This is not ‘The Secret’ with wishy-washy ‘science’. No spirituality required. The author takes from his years of experiences working at an addiction cure center in California to nail down the steps required to ultimate happiness. If Prentiss can use these methods to cure a heroine addiction, imagine what he can do for you :)
The next book on the list is offers a perfect balance to this one.
On Mortality and Meaning…
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Viktor Frankl experienced the limits of human suffering during his extended stay in Nazi concentration camps. While recapping his story, Frankl explores its implications on his views of meaning in life. He gains a very unique perspective while watching those around him break down completely, and yet another through seeing Jews adjust back to normal life after finding freedom. Fascinating, fascinating book.
Now that you have your mind in order, it’s time to move on to your body…
Did you know that there was ANOTHER Viktor Frankl book that was published after his death? It’s called Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything, and we’ve got the full breakdown here at the Stairway to Wisdom. You can also head to the “About” page to get a 1-month free trial.
On Health & Nutrition…
Yoga of Eating by Charles Eisenstein – Health & Nutrition
There is much more to eating than you think. In this book, Eisenstein explains the shortcomings of western views on nutrition, and how to transform your eating habits to get more enjoyment and nourishment out of your food. He discusses how being present while eating and truly tasting your food affects your body’s absorption of nutrients. He also explains diets, and how certain monks are capable of consuming only air, sunlight and water for years at a time.
Our envioronment has a huge impact on us. No shift in perspective would be complete without thinking about society…
Society and Economics
Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein
Eisenstein expands on what you’ve probably heard about the faults of our current economic/debt system and takes you on a journey from the very beginning of currency. He explains in-depth how many of our societal ills (poverty, overconsumption, ecological devastation) stem from our highly unsustainable economic system. He then goes out to lay out feasible ways to start waining from this system to create a new economy, and consequently a new world. This is my favorite book of all time.
The relationship we have with society starts at home. We must master our close relationships before we think about society as a whole…
Sex & Relationships
Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jetha
Sex at Dawn explores the history of human sexuality through surprising truths about our anatomy, indigenous societies and our closest primate relatives. The authors continually pile on scientific evidence to support what some might have guessed from our 50% divorce rate: monogamy is far from natural. Don’t read this unless you’re ready to destroy and rebuild your views on human nature, relationships and sexuality. It’s that crazy.
Now you’re ready to start questioning reality…
The Nature of Reality
Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch
I’ve already written 2 posts about this book (1,2) and mentioned it countless time because it is just that good. Walsch is a frustrated Christian who angrily writes God a series of questions one day, and is shocked to hear a voice begin answering back. Whether you believe the non-fiction label or not, that voice paints an absolutely beautiful, and above all logical picture of the true nature of reality, and explains where modern religions have gone wrong. Every single person I have recommended this to has been moved. A common phrase I hear back is, “It’s like I knew all of this before, but had forgotten until reading this book.” At the very least this book will give you a massive amount of food for thought.
So far you’ve covered many aspects of living a wise life, now it’s time to accept its end.
Death and the Nature of Reality
Adventures Beyond the Body by William Buhlman
I was extremely skeptical about out-of-body experiences (OOBE’s) until I had two of them by accident 3 years ago while adjusting to polyphasic sleep. Since then, nothing has fascinated me more than the science and potential of exploring outside the body. In this book, Buhlman pulls from 30+ years of OOBE’s, and explains the fundamental methods of achieving the state, as well as what to expect beyond the physical world. The truth is that we can each gain personal knowledge about life beyond this physical body. Death is not an unsolved mystery as modern science would lead us to believe. There are hundreds of thousands of accounts of near-death and OOBE’s worldwide, spanning all of history, all reporting the same sensations. This is not bullshit. Check it out.