Reading = Life
My eyes roll when people talk about how many books they’ve read in a year.
I always remember giving an old teacher of mine a copy of Alan Watts’ The Book, and returning back six months later to find she was still on chapter four.
She was reading one chapter a month, and living the lessons out in the real world.
Now that is reading.
All that said, I’m going to hang myself out to dry and admit I read a lot of books this year.
Many were of course because I had to for the podcast, a lot more were to avoid doing any real work, and a small minority were because God put them in front of me in the divine and unexpected ways that he does for each of us.
So with all that said, here’s 10 books that moved me in 2018 and hopefully may inspire you too.
12 Rules For Life by Dr. Jordan B. Peterson
One of the best selling books in the world this year and with good reason.
This is an unbelievably well researched and written distillation of a truly kaleidoscopic array of subjects from psychology, evolutionary biology, mythology and mysticism, all to bring home the very core of answers as to how to live a meaningful life.
For anyone that is relentlessly curious about why things are the way they are, this is the book for you.
Jordan Peterson is perhaps a Joseph Campbell for our times and has made a great contribution to the modern literary canon.
Crossing The Unknown Sea by David Whyte
On first glance most people say “David Whyte, David Who?”
Afterwards, say no more.
Little-known David Whyte is a poet-philosopher of epic proportions.
Crossing The Unknown Sea is about his personal journey and transition from ordinary work to aspiring young poet and with it, its a tale about all of our lives in making courageous acts for the things we love.
Filled with beautiful poetry, story, and heartbreakingly powerful insight, its true medicine for the soul and a treasure to read.
A great gift for someone making a life leap and an even greater gift for yourself.
Walking To Listen by Andrew Forsthoefel
At 23, Andrew Forsthoefel walked out the back door of his home in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, with a backpack, an audio recorder and a sign that read “Walking to Listen.”
He had just graduated from university and was ready to begin his adult life, but he didn’t know how. So he decided he’d walk and listen on a journey of 4,000 miles across the USA over the course of 11 months.
What happened was a pilgrimage that changed his life. People across the country poured their hearts out to him in ways that changed him forever.
His book is a beautiful, poetic, and powerful tale, that demonstrates the transformational power of listening and shows that life really is the only teacher we need.
Our podcast together this year was an all time favourite of mine.
Falling Into Grace by Adyashanti
Adyashanti is a California-based spiritual teacher who found enlightenment in his late 20s(!) and has spent the best part of 20 years teaching others through his retreats, books, and teachings.
Reminiscent of a younger Eckhart Tolle, his writing is incredibly lucid and truthful.
What really sets him apart from the plethora of non-dual literature is the pure practicality and compassion of his writing.
He writes as someone who truly knows all of the ways we innocently trip ourselves up along the path of awakening. On numerous occasions I actually laughed out loud thinking he was reading my mind.
A great read if you’ve just had a big awakening.
Own The Day, Own Your Life by Aubrey Marcus
If 12 Rules For Life is the theoretical handbook for the good life, then Own The Day is very much the how-to guide.
Aubrey Marcus is an amazing entrepreneur, plant medicine enthusiast, stoic, poet, and all round deeply interesting human being.
In Own The Day he speaks to everything he has learnt in 15 years of building himself to the very successful, open-hearted warrior he is today. From cold-showers, to binaural beats, to dealing with resistance in life, he jam-packs everything into a very practical guide that I’ve now folded into my own daily practice.
A great book for introducing life-changing patterns into your life.
The Wisdom Of Not Knowing by Estelle Frankel
Worry and the desire for certainty seem decidedly woven into the human condition, but of course they rob us of the true joy of spontaneous circumstance that lies at the heart of life.
In The Wisdom Of Not Knowing, Estelle Frankel invites a complete re-imagining of the beauty of not knowing anything. We forget that everything came from nothing, and she pulls you back into that mystical state through myth, poetry, and story.
A beautifully written book that has stayed with me through the year including my all time favourite quote from Nietzsche: “convictions are worse enemies of the truth than lies.”
Our podcast together was something of a classic for me.
Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza
I read this a few years ago but it came back into my field post my experience with 5-MEO-DMT this Winter and blew me away.
The book – something of a new age classic – combines the fields of quantum physics, neuroscience, brain chemistry, biology and genetics, to show you how to create a new future for yourself right now.
Dispenza argues that in order to manifest the life you want, you must access the quantum field through meditation, set your intention, and then surrender to the creative process of how the outcome comes about.
Most importantly, you must start to embody, to “be” whatever it is you desire (through new thoughts, feelings, and actions).
In this book, he helps unpack the science of how the mind + body are patterned for inertia and how to shift out of it.
Its an incredible read with amazing results for those that can master it. I’ve met a number of people that have cured major physical injuries through his work.
Living An Examined Life by James Hollis
James Hollis has written the best part of 20 books over a ridiculously tenured career as a Jungian psychologist, teacher, and speaker.
At the core of his work is a profound belief in the eternal will of the soul to lead us to where we need to be (something he calls ‘psychopathology’).
In Living an Examined Life, he consolidates some 40 years of research, therapy, and personal experience, to bring profound life lessons for pursuing your soul path.
Similar to 12 Rules For Life but an easier read that speaks to many of life’s enduring truths.
A great book for psychology-meets-spirituality.
The Flavour Of Liberation by Burgs
The Flavour of Liberation is hands down the greatest book I’ve ever read on meditation.
Burgs’ is a UK-based meditation teacher who runs the Art of Meditation retreat school (strongly recommended if you’re interested in a meditation retreat).
The book is a curation of his evening talks from the retreats and offers incredible insights into the mind, body, and the nature of reality.
The meditation philosophy and approach taught in this is deeply thought out and skilful.
A great book if you’re interested in going deeper into the practice of meditation.
The Ascent Of Gravity by Marcus Chown
My surprise read of the year goes to The Ascent Of Gravity, a wonderful and beautifully written explanation of how our scientific understanding of physics has evolved over the last 500 years.
Moving from Newton to Einstein to Quantum Theory, Chown speaks to all of the wonderful quirks to science’s development over time (did you know Newton held back his discovery of gravity for 20 years?!) and leads you inextricably to the wonderful mystery we are in today.
If you’re interested in just how amazing the universe is, this is a book for you.
Many of the stories in here will blow your mind.