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.

One-Minute Mindfulness

By Donald Altman, New World Library
Being fully in each moment leads to peace and well-being—but it’s harder than it sounds, especially in a world with constant demands on our time and attention. How do you practice mindfulness when you’re faced with difficult coworkers, overwhelming schedules, or stubborn kids? In this book, Donald Altman brings the benefits of mindfulness down to earth and into everyday life. With fifty exercises and practices to build awareness and center attention,  you will discover how to savor routine pleasures, build fulfillment in your work, enhance and heal relationships, change unhealthy habits, and connect to peace even in the midst of chaos or uncertainty.

Here For Now: Living Well with Cancer Through Mindfulness

Elana Rosenbaum | Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Satya House Publications
Here for Now combines narrative with meditations and exercises. While there have been many books on meditation and perhaps even more on cancer, until now, there have been no books that apply the principles of mindfulness to living with this disease. This book has been a welcome addition to the body of work available to patients and healthcare practitioners alike. As a psychotherapist and cancer survivor, Elana Rosenbaum has become an international spokesperson for the use of mindfulness techniques in the treatment of cancer.

How to Train a Wild Elephant and Other Adventures in Mindfulness

Jan Chozen Bays, Shambhala Publications
Jan Chozen Bays, author of Mindful Eating, offers a guided program of simple daily mindfulness practices to reduce stress and enhance well-being. These exercises are intended to be used on week at a time, and though they may first seem inconsequential, these small changes can make a real difference to one’s sense of balance, clarity, and calm.

Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food

Jan Chozen Bays, Shambhala Publications
Mindful eating is an approach that involves bringing one’s full attention to the process of eating—to all the tastes, smells, thoughts, and feelings that arise during a meal. Whether you are overweight, suffer from an eating disorder, or just want to get more out of life, this book offers simple tools that will help you tune into your body’s own wisdom about what, when, and how much to eat. Mindful Eating also includes a 75-minute audio CD containing guided exercises led by the author.

Right Here with You: Bringing Mindful Awareness into Our Relationships

Edited by Andrea Miller, Shambhala Publications
This landmark collection of writings explores how mindfulness can help us to open our hearts, improve communication, end destructive patterns, and be more fully present with each other. Here you’ll find Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh’s thoughts on mindfulness and true love, psychotherapist David Richo’s advice on finding the right partner, Rabbi Harold Kushner take on the power of giving our love to others, meditation teacher Susan Piver’s belief in the value of heartbreak, and more.

The Mindfulness Revolution: Leading Psychologists, Scientists, Artists, and Meditation Teachers on the Power of Mindfulness in Daily Life

Edited by Barry Boyce, Shambhala Publications
Mindfulness is being applied in a variety of professional fields—from health care to education, from performing arts to business—to improve effectiveness and enhance well-being. Here is a collection of the best writing on what mindfulness is, why we should practice it, and how to apply it in daily life, from leading figures in the field. Selections include Jon Kabat-Zinn on the essence of mindfulness, stress reduction, and positive change; professor of psychiatry Daniel Siegel, MD, on how mindfulness benefits the brain; pioneering psychologist Ellen Langer on how mindfulness can change the understanding and treatment of disease; leadership coach Michael Carroll on practicing mindfulness at work; psychologist Daniel Goleman on a mindful approach to shopping and consuming, and more.

You Are Here: Discovering the Power of the Present Moment

Thich Nhat Hanh, Shambhala Publications
Based on a retreat that Thich Nhat Hanh led for Westerners, this book offers a range of simple, effective practices for cultivating mindfulness, including awareness of breathing and walking, deep listening, and skillful speech. You Are Here also offers guidance on healing emotional pain and manifesting real love and compassion in our relationships with others.

The Power of Kindness

Piero Ferrucci, TarcherPerigee
The Power of Kindness is a stirring examination of a simple but profound concept. Piero Ferrucci, one of the world’s most respected transpersonal psychologists, explores the many surprising facets of kindness and argues that it is this trait that will not only lead to our own individual happiness and the happiness of those around us, but will guide us in a world that has become cold, anxious, difficult, and frightening.


Allan Lokos, TarcherPerigee
In this revelatory book, Lokos draws on years of Buddhist practice, as well as interviews with a wide range of people who have had their patience tested-and often sorely so-in order to discover where the heart of patience lies. A step-by-step guide to weathering life’s storms from an inspiring spiritual teacher, Patience will help readers discover greater peace and contentment in their lives.

How Philosophy Can Save Your Life

Marietta McCarty, TarcherPerigee
This inspiring book from the bestselling author of Little Big Minds reveals how the heartbeats of philosophy—clear thinking, quiet reflection, and good conversation—are essential ingredients in a well-lived life. Full of great discussion ideas and activities you can do with a group, How Philosophy Can Save Your Life is framed around ten “big ideas”—themes that, according to McCarty, are necessary to g