Recommended Reading

Below are some of my most favorite books and recordings. Each one has helped me enormously in understanding my mind and brain.

Some are funnier than others, some are more technical – but each offers insights to help point us in the direction of greater understanding, peace and happiness.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Recommended Reading

Below are some of my most favorite books and recordings. Each one has helped me enormously in understanding my mind and brain.

Some are funnier than others, some are more technical – but each offers insights to help point us in the direction of greater understanding, peace and happiness.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Books

Dr. Daniel Gilbert

Bringing to life scientific research in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, and behavioral economics, this bestselling book reveals what scientists have discovered about the uniquely human ability to imagine the future, and about our capacity to predict how much we will like it when we get there. 

Ajahn Brahm

During his wanderings and work over the last thirty years as a Buddhist monk, Ajahn Brahm has gathered many poignant, funny and profound stories. While traditional Buddhist philosophy is at the heart of this collection, these thoughtful stories are written like playful parables, which are used to launch into a deeper exploration of subjects such as mindfulness, suffering, forgiveness, hope, wisdom and unconditional love. Told with wit and good humour, they reveal moments of compassion in the lives of ordinary people and the timeless wisdom of the Buddha’s teachings.

Eckhart Tolle

To make the journey into the Now we will need to leave our analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. From the very first page of Eckhart Tolle’s extraordinary book, we move rapidly into a significantly higher altitude where we breathe a lighter air. We become connected to the indestructible essence of our Being, “The eternal, ever present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death.” Although the journey is challenging, Eckhart Tolle uses simple language and an easy question and answer format to guide us.

Alex Korb

Depression can feel like a downward spiral, pulling you into a vortex of sadness, fatigue, and apathy. In The Upward Spiral, neuroscientist Alex Korb demystifies the intricate brain processes that cause depression and offers a practical and effective approach to getting better. Based on the latest research in neuroscience, this book provides dozens of straightforward tips you can do every day to rewire your brain and create an upward spiral towards a happier, healthier life.

Michael Shermer

In this age of supposed scientific enlightenment, many people still believe in mind reading, past-life regression theory, New Age hokum, and alien abduction. A no-holds-barred assault on popular superstitions and prejudices, with more than 80,000 copies in print, Why People Believe Weird Things debunks these nonsensical claims and explores the very human reasons people find otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing. In an entirely new chapter, “Why Smart People Believe in Weird Things,” Michael Shermer takes on science luminaries like physicist Frank Tippler and others, who hide their spiritual beliefs behind the trappings of science.

Don Miguel Ruiz

In The Four Agreements, bestselling author don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

Phil Jackson & Hugh Delehanty

Eleven times, Jackson led his teams to the ultimate goal: the NBA championship—six times with the Chicago Bulls and five times with the Los Angeles Lakers. We all know the legendary stars on those teams, or think we do. What Eleven Rings shows us, however, is that when it comes to the most important lessons, we don’t know very much at all. This book is full of revelations: about fascinating personalities and their drive to win; about the wellsprings of motivation and competition at the highest levels; and about what it takes to bring out the best in ourselves and others. 

Dr. Kelly McGonigal

Based on Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal’s wildly popular course “The Science of Willpower,” The Willpower Instinct is the first book to explain the new science of self-control and how it can be harnessed to improve our health, happiness, and productivity.

Informed by the latest research and combining cutting-edge insights from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine, The Willpower Instinct explains exactly what willpower is, how it works, and why it matters.

Dr. Rick Hanson

By combining breakthroughs in neuroscience with insights from thousands of years of mindfulness practice, you too can use your mind to shape your brain for greater happiness, love, and wisdom. Buddha’s Brain draws on the latest research to show how to stimulate your brain for more fulfilling relationships, a deeper spiritual life, and a greater sense of inner confidence and worth. Using guided meditations and mindfulness exercises, you’ll learn how to activate the brain states of calm, joy, and compassion instead of worry, sorrow, and anger. Most importantly, you will foster positive psychological growth that will literally change the way you live in your day-to-day life.

Judson Brewer

We are all vulnerable to addiction. Whether it’s a compulsion to constantly check social media, binge eating, smoking, excessive drinking, or any other behaviors, we may find ourselves uncontrollably repeating. Why are bad habits so hard to overcome? Is there a key to conquering the cravings we know are unhealthy for us?

Dan Millman

The Laws of Spirit is a “little book of big wisdom” — a parable and teaching tale in which he encounters an ageless woman sage while on a hike in the wilderness. The sage leads Dan and his readers through experiences and tests in the natural world, which demonstrate the power of spiritual laws of balance, choice, process, presence, compassion, faith, action, patience, surrender, and unity.

Paulo Coelho

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.

Norman Doidge

Psychoanalyst, Norman Doidge, M.D., traveled the country to meet both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity, its healing powers, and the people whose lives they’ve transformed—people whose mental limitations, brain damage or brain trauma were seen as unalterable. We see a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, blind people who learn to see, learning disorders cured, IQs raised, aging brains rejuvenated, stroke patients learning to speak, children with cerebral palsy learning to move with more grace, depression and anxiety disorders successfully treated, and lifelong character traits changed.

Charles Duhigg

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.

Ani Tenzin Palmo

This sparkling collection of Dharma teachings by Tenzin Palmo addresses issues of common concern to Buddhist practitioners from all traditions. Personable, witty, and insightful, Tenzin Palmo presents an inspiring and no-nonsense view of Buddhist practice.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh has been part of a decades-long dialogue between two great contemplatice traditions, and brings to Christianity an appreciation of its beauty that could be conveyed only by an outsider. In lucid, meditative prose, he explores the crossroads of compassion and holiness at which the two traditions meet, and he reawakens our understanding of both. “On the altar in my hermitage,” he says, “are images of Buddha and Jesus, and I touch both of them as my spiritual ancestors.”

Dr. Richard J. Davidson & Sharon Begley

Davidson has discovered that personality is composed of six basic emotional “styles,” including resilience, self-awareness, and attention. Our emotional fingerprint results from where on the continuum of each style we fall. He explains the brain chemistry that underlies each style in order to give us a new model of the emotional brain, one that will even go so far as to affect the way we treat conditions like autism and depression. And, finally, he provides strategies we can use to change our own brains and emotions-if that is what we want to do.

Lama Thubten Yeshe

First published in 1998, this booklet contains three public talks by Lama Yeshe on the general topic of Buddhism. Each lecture is followed by a question and answer session. Lama and his audiences always enjoyed the give and take of these lively exchanges, and pretty much anything went. Although these talks were called lectures, Lama would have each of us use them as a mirror for our minds and look beyond the words, find ourselves, and become our own psychologist.

Daniel Kahneman

In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation―each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.

Dan Millman

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.

Eric Swanson & Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

In this groundbreaking work, world-renowned Buddhist teacher Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche invites us to join him in unlocking the secrets behind the practice of meditation. Working with neuroscientists at the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, Yongey Mingyur provides clear insights into modern research indicating that systematic training in meditation can enhance activity in areas of the brain associated with happiness and compassion. He has also worked with physicists across the country to develop a fresh, scientifically based interpretation of the Buddhist understanding of the nature of reality.

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

The real test of our Buddhist practice happens not on the cushion or in the protected space of retreat, but moment-to-moment in daily life, particularly when we find ourselves in uncomfortable situations. How do we respond? In this book, one of the most respected Western figures of contemporary Buddhism, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, offers insights gleaned from more than forty years of engagement with Buddhist practice. Her perspective is vast, with a well-grounded understanding of how the timeless Buddhist teachings apply to the demands and challenges of modern life.

Jeffrey M. Schwartz

Through decades of work treating patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), Schwartz made an extraordinary finding: while following the therapy he developed, his patients were effecting significant and lasting changes in their own neural pathways. It was a scientific first: by actively focusing their attention away from negative behaviors and toward more positive ones, Schwartz’s patients were using their minds to reshape their brains–and discovering a thrilling new dimension to the concept of neuroplasticity.

Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu & Douglas Abrams

Two great spiritual masters share their own hard-won wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity.

Chogyam Trungpa & Pema Chodron

Chögyam Trungpa offers us a vision of moving beyond fear to discover the innate bravery, trust, and delight in life that lies at the core of our being. Drawing on the Shambhala Buddhist teachings, he explains how we can each become a spiritual warrior: a person who faces each moment of life with openness and fearlessness. “The ultimate definition of bravery is not being afraid of who you are,” writes Chögyam Trungpa. In this book he offers the insights and strategies to claim victory over fear.

Audible Retreats / Lectures

Eckhart Tolle

The Now is inseparable from who you are at the deepest level. It is the prerequisite of Being. As you listen to the words on this tape, you participate in the retreat. To “retreat” means to step back – not only from the outer world, but also from the world in your head, the thinking mind. Allow the sound of the words to take you beyond words and beyond sound to the stillness within. 

Eckhart Tolle

“You are a blessing on the planet when you are in touch with the spacious, formless dimension within yourself,” explains Eckhart. Freedom from the World brings you his empowering teachings for bridging the dimensions of form and formlessness and living with renewed joy and peace and a sense of a meaningful purpose.

Eckhart Tolle

Join Eckhart in this transformational experience and allow yourself to be guided through words and stillness into the state of presence. This is the surrendered state of consciousness in which the very limitations of form become an opening into the divine. During this seven-day retreat, Eckhart speaks with humble authenticity, wisdom and humor on a wide range of subjects.

Jack Kornfield

Among the world’s great religions, Buddhism has developed a rich psychology based not on metaphysics, but on the human predicament. Through its strategies, you can discover for yourself how to find true freedom from worldly suffering.

Need Some Peace of Mind?

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