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Jules Evans's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Jules Evans recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Jules Evans's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Centuries of Meditations

For more than 200 years, Thomas Traherne's Centuries of Meditations was undiscovered and unpublished. The manuscript passed through many hands before finally being compiled into a book by bookseller and scholar BERTRAM DOBELL (1842-1914) in 1908. Centuries is a collection of poems written to express the rapture of life lived in accordance with God. Yet Dobell is careful to state that even though Traherne was a clergyman, there is plenty of beauty to be found in his poetry that does not require specific belief in Christianity or in God. Readers of many ages and persuasions will be touched by... more
Recommended by Jules Evans, and 1 others.

Jules EvansThis book isn’t widely known but it’s a classic: 400 brief passages for meditation, written for a friend of his. (Source)

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A New York Times Notable Book
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012

A bold approach to understanding the American evangelical experience from an anthropological and psychological perspective by one of the country's most prominent anthropologists.
Through a series of intimate, illuminating interviews with various members of the Vineyard, an evangelical church with hundreds of congregations across the country, Tanya Luhrmann leaps into the heart of evangelical faith. Combined with scientific research that studies the effect that intensely practiced...
Recommended by Jules Evans, and 1 others.

Jules EvansAn anthropological study of a charismatic Christian community called the Vineyard Christian Fellowship. (Source)

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Most scholars dismiss research into the paranormal as pseudoscience, a frivolous pursuit for the paranoid or gullible. Even historians of religion, whose work naturally attends to events beyond the realm of empirical science, have shown scant interest in the subject. But the history of psychical phenomena, Jeffrey J. Kripal contends, is an untapped source of insight into the sacred and by tracing that history through the last two centuries of Western thought we can see its potential centrality to the critical study of religion.

Kripal grounds his study in the work of four major...
Recommended by Jules Evans, and 1 others.

Jules EvansKripal’s not afraid to discuss his own ecstatic experiences, such as making out with the goddess Kali in Calcutta back in the 1980s. (Source)

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Writings on Psychedelics & the Visionary Experience

Selected writings from the author of Brave New World and The Doors of Perception on the role of psychedelics in society. Includes letters and lectures by Huxley never published elsewhere. In May 1953 Aldous Huxley took four-tenths of a gram of mescaline. The mystical and transcendent experience that followed set him off on an exploration that was to produce a revolutionary body of work about the inner reaches of the human mind. Huxley was decades ahead of his time in his anticipation of the dangers modern culture was creating through explosive population increase, headlong technological... more
Recommended by Jules Evans, and 1 others.

Jules EvansHuxley wrote a lot about ecstatic experiences and how we need to find more of a place for them in western society. (Source)

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The Price of Civilization

The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity "For more than three decades, Jeffrey D. Sachs has been at the forefront of international problem solving. But Sachs turns his attention back home in 'The Price of Civilization,' a book that is essential reading for every American. In a forceful, impassioned, and personal voice, he offers not only a searing and incisive diagnosis of our country's economic ills but also an urgent call for Americans to restore the virtue of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity." Inside book cover comments. less
Recommended by Jules Evans, and 1 others.

Jules EvansWe have talked about how there has been a revival of ancient philosophy in modern psychology. One of the things that really fascinates me is how that is feeding into public policy and politics. Ancient philosophy offered a form of self-help, but it wasn’t just for individuals, it was also communal and political. Some ancient philosophers thought about what governments can do to help their... (Source)

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This book presents a history of spiritual exercises from Socrates to early Christianity, an account of their decline in modern philosophy, and a discussion of the different conceptions of philosophy that have accompanied the trajectory and fate of the theory and practice of spiritual exercises. Hadot's book demonstrates the extent to which philosophy has been, and still is, above all else a way of seeing and of being in the world. less
Recommended by Peter Brown, Jules Evans, and 2 others.

Peter BrownOne of Peter Brown’s first books was a biography of Augustine in 1967. He then wrote a book about late antiquity in the early 1970s. He’s an example of someone who wears his learning very lightly. (Source)

Jules EvansPierre Hadot is not that well known, but the people who are aware of him really love and value his work. He was a French academic, a specialist in Neo-Platonist mysticism. One day he went into his local bakery, looked around at the people queuing for bread and thought: Neo-Platonist mysticism means nothing to these people and is not much use to them. So he started to become interested in the more... (Source)

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Why should modern psychotherapists be interested in philosophy, especially ancient philosophy?

Why should philosophers be interested in psychotherapy?

There is a sense of mutual attraction between what are today two thoroughly distinct disciplines. However, arguably it was not always the case that they were distinct. The author takes the view that by reconsidering the generally received wisdom concerning the history of these closely-related subjects, we can learn a great deal about both philosophy and psychotherapy, under which heading he includes potentially solitary...
Recommended by Jules Evans, and 1 others.

Jules EvansThe founders of CBT were directly inspired by ancient Greek philosophy. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of that connection at all. Even a lot of cognitive therapists are unaware of it. That is partly because Aaron Beck was keen to present CBT as an evidence-based scientific therapy, so the philosophical roots of CBT were somewhat swept under the carpet. Donald’s was really the first book... (Source)

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The Consolations of Philosophy

From the author of "How Proust Can Change Your Life" comes a delightful, truly consoling work that proves that philosophy can be a supreme source of help for the most painful everyday problems. Illustrations throughout. less
Recommended by Jules Evans, and 2 others.

Jules EvansI think of the revival of ancient philosophy as happening in three waves. The first wave was in the 1950s through people like Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck, how they rescued ancient philosophy and bought it back into psychotherapy. Then there was the second wave of people in academic philosophy, led by people like Pierre Hadot, who returned to the idea of philosophy as a way of life. The third... (Source)

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First published in 1905, The Varieties of Religious Experience is a collection of lectures given at the University of Edinburgh in 1901 and 1902. William James was a psychologist, and as such, his interest in religion was not that of a theologian but of a scientist. In these twenty lectures, he discusses the nature and origin of religious belief. The average believer is one who has inherited his religion, but this will not do for James's inquiry. He must find those believers who have a voracious religious faith, because these people have also often experienced a number of peculiar... more

John KaagHe said there was the individual self, the social self, but there was also the spiritual self. James was very serious about looking at the spiritual self in as careful a scientific way as possible. (Source)

Lewis WolpertIt’s not precisely a science book, but James is trying to understand religion in a scientific sort of way. (Source)

Jules EvansStill the best book on the subject, a century after it was published. James was a genius. (Source)

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The author of the breakout hit Here Comes Everybody reveals how new technology is changing us from consumers to collaborators, unleashing a torrent of creative production that will transform our world.

For decades, technology encouraged people to squander their time and intellect as passive consumers. Today, tech has finally caught up with human potential. In Cognitive Surplus, Internet guru Clay Shirky forecasts the thrilling changes we will all enjoy as new digital technology puts our untapped resources of talent and goodwill to use at last.


Bogdana ButnarI thought I might put my money where my mouth is. I keep whining that young people are not in touch with some essential books on advertising that have helped me shape the way I practise my trade today, but I never did anything about it. So I am starting here the ultimate books to read list. I will add to it as I get suggestions and as more good books get written. (Source)

Jules EvansClay Shirky’s book isn’t really about ancient philosophy, but explores one of the reasons why there is a revival of community philosophy today. As discussed, there is the rediscovery of the ancients’ idea of philosophy as a therapeutic way of life, and this naturally leads to questions of community. Ancient philosophy wasn’t just individual self help. It was very social and communal. The Stoics... (Source)

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