Books I love
- The Tao of Pooh by Hoff
A very nice introduction to Taoism, especially good for people with no prior exposure to Taoism. It's incredibly accessible. If you've never been exposed to ideas such as the perception that a thing is itself of itself... for example, the grain in a piece of split wood being just so and perfect, you might enjoy this one. (There is nothing to believe - Taoism isn't a faith...)
- Anything Alan Watts, but I especially recommend his audio lectures if you can get ahold of them. "The Nature of Consciousness" and "Zen Bones" are good places to start. Watts has a Zen/Taoist/Hindu bent, but "Nature of Consciousness" is not particularly heavy on these philosophies. "The Nature of Consciousness" is especially good if you are wrestling with a fear of death.
- There Is Nothing Wrong With You by Huber.
This is not a mawkish self-help book despite the title. Huber is a Zen teacher. If you have problems with depression or with feeling deeply unworthy, this is the first book to get.
- Mindfulness In Plain English by Gunaratana.
This book is a very direct and nakedly honest primer on insight meditation.
- Getting Unstuck by Pema Chodron.
It's an audio lecture. It covers how to break habitual patterns and be really -present.-
- Peace Is Every Step by Hanh.
I love his stuff. There's a bit of a trap there: his walking meditation and 'mouth yoga'and approach to smiling at everything can come off as Pollyanna simplemindedness, but once it's actually applied the real depth of the practice appears.
- How to Lie With Statistics by Huff
This really skinny book, written in I think the 50s, treats you as if you were a con man learning your trade. It's amusing, but it's essential. You will be -amazed- at the way advertisements and other media manipulate you with heavily doctored statistics and, after you read this book, you will be able to spot this chicanery easily.
- Critical Thinking, a college level text but easy reading and extremely engaging, by Moore.
A member of Mensa, I took a course in critical thinking because I thought it would be the easiest A ever. I was profoundly shocked and humbled at how much I learned in this course. Like the book above, after you read this, you'll be able to spot efforts at mind and thought manipulation easily. If you, like me, live in the USA, this book is doubly important because you will never be taught these tricks to challenge information presented to you.