Even as an aspiring minimalist, the one things I’ll always buy, own and hold on to is books.  As I’m writing this, my nightstand has six books I am currently reading, five books to read next and a hundred or so hanging out on my shelves.

Reading books changes the very structure of our minds. It introduces new ideas and perspectives. It is a superpower that creates new connections, new foundations and adds to our vocabularies. One of the best habits I’ve settled into is to never watch TV. My entertainment then must come from actively reading.

In my twenty-four years on earth, I’ve read some good books. As time passes, their impact has gently simmered into who I am at this present moment. If you’d like to get into my brain, add these books to your list of books to read.

You can also read my post about how I filled my kindle for free before departing on my travels.


Neither Wolf nor Dog (and the sequel) The Wolf at Twilight by Kent Nerburn
These semi-fictional stories show Native spirituality to a white man through an honest friendship.

Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neidhardt
Black Elk was a great medicine man of the Ogala Lakota people. His story was recorded by Neidhardt who, fun fact, was also a Mizzou professor.

The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks
The great Sufi poet has much wisdom to share. And a recipe for amazing curry in the back of the book, if you haven’t heard.

The Gateless Gate by Koun Yamada
A collection of Zen Koans and teachings. I read each koan after meditation. You should too.

Zealot by Reza Aslan
Who was Jesus of Nazareth? No, not Jesus Christ, the man of Christianity, but the real, political, rebellious Jesus?

The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley
A non-fictional narrative.  The author of a Brave New World muses on the true nature of reality to and shares its teaching eloquently.

Nature and Wildness

The Wild Trees by Richard Preston
Climbing ancient and mystical trees larger than most buildings teaches a lot about time and what it is to be alive. Thanks Tina Casagrand!

The Wild Muir selected by Lee Stetson
The man responsible for the existence of many National Parks, like Yosemite, kept a riveting diary about his adventures being wild in nature.

Big Ideas

Better Angles of Our Nature by Steven Pinker
We actually live in the least violent time in human history. Don’t believe me? These 700 pages will convince you and astound you.

Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes
The “household” used to be a unit of economic production, not a unit of consumption as it is today. How do we get back there?

The Fourth Turning by Strauss & Howe
Well, it turns out that all of society revolves in a predictable century-long pattern. Just as the seasons turn, so too revolves humyn life.

How to Create a Mind by Ray Kurzwiel
The dude that made the company that made Siri and Google Voice has solid predictions about the future of human intelligence, and beyond.

When Helping Hurts by Corbett & Fikkert
What is the appropriate way to serve the poor? In our materialist society, we often help materialistically. That’s dead wrong.

Kick Butt at Life

Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez
Money is a commodity representing your life’s energy. These 9 steps, if you really do them, will set you up to take control of your life and money.

The Foxfire Books
If you’re lucky enough to find a copy, these homesteading guides teach you how to make a cabin, brew moonshine and plant by the signs.

Any other suggestions I should add? Have you read any of these books?

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