Twelve inspirational life books you must read while you are here, alive and kicking…

by Francis O’Neill

Twelve Inspirational Life Books - book-store imageGive yourself (or someone else for that matter) a head start: Here are twelve inspirational life books; resources to help you find your spiritual path, find happiness and peace, and also make the most of your ideas and desires.

There are of course many more than twelve inspirational life books that you would be recommended to read during your lifetime, but the ones listed here (and there are frankly well over twelve mentioned, but who’s counting) are essential reading – indeed gateways – for finding your higher self, your Soul.

Read these inspiring books

The order in which you do read these books doesn’t matter terribly – perhaps allow yourself to be drawn towards one – and go out and get it. It is a surprisingly short journey between birth and death; and remember it speeds up as you get older too – as anyone who has passed the half-way mark will tell you – and I mean whoooosh!

The message here is, don’t lose any time making a start on these readings if you haven’t already done so. If you get under way I’ll wager one or two of these will start you off on an even bigger journey that you hadn’t expected – that may take you far into a metaphysical understanding that ain’t provided through normal channels of learning.

The list is in alphabetical order. All titles are available on Amazon.

Memories, Dreams, Reflections Twelve Inspirational Life Books

This is a semi-autobiography by the psychologist/philosopher, Carl Jung. Jung viewed life through spiritual lenses. Although a close companion of Sigmund Freud, he nevertheless was polarised against his old buddy in his world view.

Consider that whereas Freud likened the psyche as an iceberg floating on the sea of the unconscious, Jung saw the psyche as being like an island jutting out of that same sea, but with the difference that under the waters each island joined up with other islands – this was his Collective Unconscious.

The implications are enormous – read on, particularly if you are stuck in your spiritual direction!

Memories, Dreams, Reflections – C G Jung (Flamingo)


On Personal Power Twelve Inspirational Life Books

This book is by another Carl – Carl Rogers. This is a truly inspiring and important book that will show you how to cultivate inner strength through the power of sharing.

Anyone concerned to get their relationship with their partner, their friends, their family, their society, their world – and most importantly with themselves – into harmonious accord, should read this book as a starting point.

It was Rogers who, with Abraham Maslow (and to be fair one or two others), helped to pioneer the humanistic movement in psychotherapy. His standpoint stems from a belief in the innate goodness of life, the positive uniqueness and creative power of each person – and the tendency, nay ability, to actualise our true potential when conditions are right.

On Personal Power: Inner Strength and Its Revolutionary Impact – Carl Rogers


Ponder on This Twelve Inspirational Life Books

This is one book from a series of writings by the spiritualist, Alice Bailey and the spiritual Tibetan master, Djwal Khul.

As indicated on the back cover, it is a collection of ‘scattered’ writings, compiled by a ‘student’ and brought together ‘as a basis for the instruction of disciples in training for initiation’.

Should you have serious questions about spirituality and ethics then you should dip into this esoteric book. It has one hundred and eighty six short chapters on topics ranging from the Christ to consciousness, to death (sequence of events) to sex to war.

Be prepared for controversial views. You would be well recommended to also read Death: The Great Adventure in this series.

Ponder on This: From the Writings of Alice A.Bailey and the Tibetan Master Djwhal Khul


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Twelve Inspirational Life Books

As it says on the back cover of this book, it ‘presents an holistic, integrated, principle-centred approach for solving personal and professional problems…

Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, honesty and human dignity – principles that give us the security to adapt to change, and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates’.

What a gem this book is!

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R Covey


The Bhagavad Gita Twelve Inspirational Life Books

This ancient Hindu book (500 bce), part of the Mahabharata, is made up of eighteen chapters and essentially tells the story of Prince Arjuna heading into battle, and the conversations he has with his charioteer and guide Lord Krishna.

The battle can be read an allegory for the moral and ethical struggles one experiences as being a soul or spirit in a human body, and all that that entails. Read this book for real insight into your situation and the battle you need to win.

The Bhagavad Gita (Classic of Indian Spirituality)


The Dhammapada Twelve Inspirational Life Books

This book consists of verses said to be uttered by the Buddha on some 305 occasions for the benefit of human beings.

These sayings were selected and compiled into one book as being worthy of special note on account of their beauty and relevance for moulding the lives of future generations of Buddhists. They are divided into 26 chapters and the stanzas are arranged according to subject matter.

Don’t take another step until you have read through this book.

Extract: All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.

The Dhammapada (Classic of Indian Spirituality)


The Holy Bible – especially the New Testament

Leave aside if you will, the razzmatazz and regalia of orthodox Christianity, take a look at the life and times of Jesus.

Even with all the adaptations, and likely misrepresentations, you can still find a light shining through this work that will make you think on. Jesus is a tough act for anyone to follow but, I think you will agree, he does point the way for all to be sons and daughters of God – not just the few!

The Holy Bible – King James version


The I Ching Twelve Inspirational Life Books

Pronounced ye jing. This is the very ancient Chinese book of Change, a true life companion that will not only help you to grasp important ethics to living but will provide answers, profound answers to your life questions.

Whether you use yarrow stalks or coins to divine the hexagrams, do treat the oracular aspects of this book with great respect.

The R L Wing workbook version is really beautifully written and easy to use.

The I Ching Workbook – R L Wing


The Koran Twelve Inspirational Life Books

The holy book of Islam, recorded by the prophet Muhammad beginning in the year 610 AD. For Muslims this is the word of Allah.

The Koran may have had rough press in Western eyes over a number of years, but rest assured this is a book encouraging us to follow the path of peace towards God.

If you are coming from a non-Muslim background, you might find the N J Dawood translation of real benefit.

The Koran (Penguin Classics) – N J Dawood translation


The Tibetan Book of the Dead Twelve Inspirational Life Books

This is the Tibetan’s Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo.

This book deals with the Four Bardos or points of transition and opportunity in the process of birth, death, and rebirth. These are: The ‘natural’ bardo of this life, the ‘painful’ bardo of dying, the ‘luminous’ bardo of dharmata, the ‘karmic’ bardo of becoming.

To understand this is to understand the foundation of Tibetan Buddhism. For clarity and explanation of The Book of the Dead, and insight into Tibetan Buddhism, you would be well advised to also read a true companion, The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying – Sogyal Rinpoche.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo (Shambhala Classics) – Chogyam Trungpa & Francesca Fremantle


Think And Grow Rich Twelve Inspirational Life Books

This book really needs no introduction amongst those people seeking the Law of Attraction. If you want to get rich then you couldn’t choose a better place to start finding out how to achieve it.

You might be surprised too just how much this links to your inner life and the power of your imagination.

Other great books to contemplate reading in context are: Believe and Achieve – W Clement Stone, The Path of Least Resistance – Robert Fritz, and The Key: The Missing Secret for Attracting Anything You Want – Joe Vitale. Both Fritz and Vitale broaden out this approach to using visualisation towards any life goal, not just money. Vitale also gives a lot of very useful insight (and methods) into clearing the mind blocks on our path to creating/receiving what we want.

Think And Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill


Zen Flesh, Zen Bones Twelve Inspirational Life Books

This is a best-selling collection of enlightenment stories, anecdotes, and koans of Zen literature.

This wonderful book actually includes four books: 101 Zen Stories – anecdotes and enlightenment stories of the great masters; The Gateless Gate – forty-eight Zen koans to awaken the mind to enlightenment; The 10 Bulls – depicting the ten stages of awareness (shades of Catch Bull at 4 by Cat Stevens); Centering – offering a four-thousand-year-old Sanskrit text that may well be one of the roots of Zen thought.

If you want to get the existentialist Zen view of life and death then here is your bible starter. While you are at it, also take a read of The Book On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are – Alan Watts. Find it, it will speak volumes.

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings – Nyogen Senzakie & Paul Reps


Also look into Astrology…

It is not easy to recommend one book here. There are so many dealing with different aspects of the art – get in touch if you need help.

Writers such as Jeff Mayo (e.g. Astrology – Teach Yourself), Margaret Hone (e.g. The Modern Textbook of Astrology), Charles Carter (e.g. Encyclopaedia of Psychological Astrology), Dane Rudhyar (e.g. Astrological Insights into the Spiritual Life), Liz Greene (e.g. Astrology For Lovers), Howard Sasportas (e.g. The Gods of Change: Pain, Crisis and the Transits of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto), Stephen Arroyo (e.g. Astrology, Karma and Transformation: Inner Dimensions of the Birth Chart), Tad Mann (e.g. A New Vision of Astrology), Alan Oken (e.g. Soul-Centered Astrology: A Key to Your Expanding Self), all come to mind.

Don’t be led to believe all the pooh-pooh and mumbo-jumbo of armchair critics of astrology. Regardless of who is right as to how it works, if you look at it with openness and honesty you will find it works.

From my perspective you should not only look into it but go beyond the Sun (or Star) sign level. Get a life map (alright birthchart) set up to your time and place of birth. Test it out! Talk about useful insight into your strengths and the challenges facing you on the journey – and indeed when you are likely to meet these challenges! Amazing stuff!

If you want to find out more about what astrology is and how it works, take a read of my Get Real About Astrology two-part post.



Twelve Inspirational Life Books