Creating a Mindful Library

A sampling of essential books—both new and classic—specifically for those interested in living mindfully.

Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., | Foreword by Daniel Goleman, Bantam Books
This groundbreaking book, from one of the global innovators of the intergration of brain science with psychotherapy, offers an extraordinary guide to the practice of “mindsight,” the potent skill that is the basis for both emotional and social intelligence. From anxiety to depression and feelings of shame and inadequacy, from mood swings to addictions, OCD, and traumatic memories, most of us have a mental “trap” that causes recurring conflict in our lives and relationships. Daniel J. Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and co-director of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, shows us how to use mindsight to escape these traps.

Fully Present: The Science, Art and Practice of Mindfulness

Sue Smalley, Ph.D. and Diana Winston, Da Capo Press
In Fully Present, leading mindfulness researchers and educators Dr. Sue Smalley and Diana Winston provide an all-in-one guide for anyone interested in bringing mindfulness to daily life as a means of enhancing well-being. Fully Present provides both a scientific explanation for how mindfulness positively and powerfully affects the brain and the body as well as practical guidance to develop both a practice and mindfulness in daily living, not only through meditation but also during daily experiences, such as waiting in line at the supermarket, exercising, or facing difficult news.

The Power of Mindful Learning

Ellen J. Langer
Radical in its implications, this original and important work may change forever the views we hold about the nature of learning. In The Power of Mindful Learning, Ellen Langer uses her innovative theory of mindfulness, introduced in her influential earlier book to dramatically enhance the way we learn. In business, sports, laboratories, or at home, our learning is hobbled by certain antiquated and pervasive misconceptions. In this pithy, liberating, and delightful book she gives us a fresh, new view of learning in the broadest sense.

The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions

Christopher K. Germer, Ph.D., Guilford Press
The psychological benefits of mindfulness are well established. Yet for people who struggle with difficult emotions like anxiety, guilt, anger, loneliness, sadness, or low self-esteem, mindfulness practices can be enhanced by adding a simple yet powerful ingredient: self-compassion. Without it, we all too often respond to emotional suffering with self-criticism, shame, or defensiveness—tough-to-break habits that only make suffering worse. This wise, eloquent, and practical book illuminates the nature of self-compassion and offers easy-to-follow, scientifically grounded steps for incorporating it into daily life. Vivid examples and innovative exercises and techniques make this an ideal resource for readers new to mindfulness or those who want to bring an important new dimension to their practice.

Search Inside Yourself

Chade-Meng Tan, HarperCollins Publishers
Google’s personal growth pioneer, Chade-Meng Tan (Meng) offers a proven program designed to enhance mindfulness and emotional intelligence in life and work. Meng originally developed the Search Inside Yourself program at Google to improve the personal and professional lives of employees by enhancing productivity, creativity, and ultimately day-to-day happiness through the practice of mindfulness. In a wholly unique, entertaining and affable program, Meng will guide the reader on a prescriptive journey inward.

A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit

Congressman Tim Ryan | Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Hay House Publishing
In A Mindful Nation, Congressman Tim Ryan looks at the benefits of mindfulness—from the personal to the societal—and presents us with an inspiring view of our country’s future. He shows how the benefits of mindfulness apply to our country’s current challenges, and paints a picture of solutions that have been emerging as the mindfulness movement spreads through America’s hospitals, boardrooms, research labs, and army bases. With a hopeful vision for how mindfulness can reinvigorate our core American values and transform and revitalize our communities, Ryan shows that there is something simple we can do right here and right now to help ourselves and our country.

The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live—and How You Can Change Them

Richard J. Davidson and Sharon Begley, Hudson Street Press
This long-awaited book by a pioneer in brain research offers a new model of our emotions- their origins, their power, and their malleability. For more than thirty years, Richard Davidson has been at the forefront of brain research. Now he gives us an entirely new model for understanding our emotions, as well as practical strategies we can use to change them. Davidson has discovered that personality is composed of six basic emotional “styles,” including resilience, self-awareness, and attention. Our emotional fingerprint results from where on the continuum of each style we fall. He explains the brain chemistry that underlies each style in order to give us a new model of the emotional brain, one that will even go so far as to affect the way we treat conditions like autism and depression. And, finally, he provides strategies we can use to change our own brains and emotions-if that is what we want to do. Written with bestselling author Sharon Begley, this original and exciting book gives us a new and useful way to look at ourselves, develop a sense of well-being, and live more meaningful lives.

Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Hyperion Books
Ten years ago, Jon Kabat-Zinn changed the way we thought about awareness in everyday life with his now-classic introdruction to mindfulness, Wherever You Go, There You Are. Now, with Coming to Our Senses, he provides the definitive book for our time on the connection between mindfulness and our physical and spiritual wellbeing. With scientific rigor, poetic deftness, and compelling personal stories, Kabat-Zinn examines the mysteries and marvels of our minds and bodies, describing simple, intuitive ways in which we can come to a deeper understanding, through our senses, of our beauty, our genius, and our life path in a complicated, fear-driven, and rapidly changing world. Kabat-Zinn explores another facet of the great adventure of healing ourselves—and our world—through mindful awareness, with a focus on the “sensescapes” of our lives and how a more intentional awareness of the senses, including the human mind itself, allows us to live more fully and more authentically.

Leaves Falling Gently: Living Fully with Serious & Life-Limiting Illness Through Mindfulness, Compassion & Connectedness

Susan Bauer-Wu, Ph.D., RN. | Foreword by Joan Halifax, Ph.D., New Harbinger Publications
Written by a nurse, clinical scientist, and meditation practitioner with nearly thirty years of experience working with people from different faith traditions who have serious illnesses, Leaves Falling Gently shows how the cultivation of mindfulness and compassion can help these individuals to live fully, regardless of circumstances, with peace of mind, contentment, and connection with loved ones and with what matters most.

Urban Mindfulness: Cultivating Peace, Presence & Purpose in the Middle of It All

Jonathan S. Kaplan, Ph.D., New Harbinger Publications
Respectful of the challenges and advantages that arise when you live or work in the city, Urban Mindfulness provides practical advice for transforming everyday experiences into opportunities for contemplation, stress relief, and fulfillment. Filled with insightful reflections and exercises you can do at work, at home, or even while riding the subway, this guide will help you achieve and maintain the sense of peace and calm that you’ve been seeking. You’ll find yourself returning to this guide again and again for gentle reminders that will help you create stillness within yourself as the outside world rushes crazily by.