Want to know what books Oliver Burkeman recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Oliver Burkeman's favorite book recommendations of all time.
In this groundbreaking book, the philosopher Martin H�gglund challenges our received notions of faith and freedom. The faith we need to cultivate, he argues, is not a religious faith in eternity but a secular faith devoted to our finite life together. He shows... more
Oliver BurkemanIt’s essentially a travelogue, intertwining an outer journey with an inner one. Bell addresses the way we chronically hope that other people, or certain lifestyle choices, are going to ‘fix’ us, and how unhelpful that is; the end result of her all her physical travel is to come back to herself. (Source)
From colonial days to the Columbine tragedy, Scott Sandage explores how failure evolved from a business loss into a personality deficit, from a career setback to a gauge of our self-worth. From hundreds of private diaries, family letters, business records,... more
Oliver BurkemanThis is an historical account of changing attitudes towards failure. Sandage takes American culture as his focus, although I think his insights apply far beyond that. The idea of being “willing to fail” gets bandied about a lot these days, mostly by annoying celebrity entrepreneurs who say that “the only way to succeed is to be willing to fail”. I think that’s true, but it goes a lot deeper than... (Source)
The first book to explore the enigmatic emotion of AWE, based on the only-known study of its connection to the meaning of life
'Feeling suddenly elevated to the limits of indescribable delight, yet teetering on the edge of fear, we experience our rarest, most powerful, and least understood emotion: awe. It's an overwhelming and life-altering blend of fright and fascination that leaves us in a state of puzzled apprehension and appreciative perplexed wonder. If we go beyond a kind of ignorant distant voyeurism through which we gawk at life rather than fully engage with it...more
Oliver BurkemanThis is an amazing book that sketches out some alternatives to the very shallow and impractical positive-thinking approach to happiness. Paul Pearsall was a maverick psychologist who lived in Hawaii. He died a few years ago. His book takes as its organising idea the notion that true happiness requires plenty of the emotion that he calls awe. (Source)
In this utterly original take on the American frame of mind, Barbara Ehrenreich traces the strange career of our sunny outlook from its origins as a marginal nineteenth-century healing technique to its enshrinement as a dominant, almost mandatory, cultural attitude. Evangelical mega-churches preach the good news that you only have to want something to get it, because God... more
Elaine FoxThis, again, is quite a personal book. She talks about her own experiences of when she developed breast cancer. When she discovered she had breast cancer she was extremely concerned and worried about it. Then she was completely horrified by the deluge of messages and emails she got from people telling her that it was a good thing it had happened to her, and that it was really going to help her... (Source)
Oliver BurkemanThis is a very thin book but a mind-blowing one. In many ways it was part of my motivation to write my book. Alan Watts was a philosophical populariser. He called himself a “spiritual entertainer”, and went around the world giving lectures and writing popular books about Eastern philosophies such as Zen Buddhism and Taoism. This book is about non-dualism – the theory that in some sense,... (Source)
Timothy FerrissThis is a letter from Stoic heavyweight Seneca the Younger — who lived a mere 2,000 years or so ago — to his friend Lucilius. It’s from a collection of letters that comprise, effectively, my favorite book of all time. I’ve read it dozens of times, and I loved it so much that I turned it into The Tao of Seneca, a three-volume set of audiobooks. (Source)
Ryan HolidayAfter Marcus Aurelius, this is one of my favorite books. While Marcus wrote mainly for himself, Seneca had no trouble advising and aiding others. In fact, that was his job—he was Nero’s tutor, tasked with reducing the terrible impulses of a terrible man. His advice on grief, on wealth, on power, on religion, and on life are always there when you need them. (Source)
Oliver BurkemanIt’s important to stress that I take a completely mercenary attitude towards Stoicism, picking and choosing the bits that seem to me to be useful techniques for the present day. There are aspects of Stoicism that are very hard to stomach today. For example, the underlying principle that the universe as a whole is in some sense God, with a will or agency of its own, and that rational behaviour... (Source)
As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients' lives -- a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her... more
Arianna HuffingtonThis is a daring, delightful, and transformative book. Lori Gottlieb takes us inside the most intimate of encounters as both clinician and patient and leaves us with a surprisingly fresh understanding of ourselves, one another, and the human condition. Her willingness to expose her own blind spots along with her patients’ shows us firsthand that we aren’t alone in our struggles and that maybe we... (Source)
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