The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh
This book is a great introduction to some of Buddhism's core principles; it sheds light on what causes people to suffer, and examples of how to reduce one's suffering. Simple and profound.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW
Brown appeals to the head and the heart in this book; she explains our natural tendency to reject vulnerability due to its association with fear, shame, grief, sadness, and disappointment; she makes a strong case for why we must embrace vulnerability if we are to experience love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. Brown guides the reader through understanding how men and women experience shame, and how to build up one's own shame resilience—which is key to living a life guided by courage, compassion, and connection. Brown also explains many of the mechanisms we use to avoid being vulnerable, in an open and honest way.
Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, PhD
This is such an important book, one that could benefit anyone who reads it. Dweck illustrates how we think about our talents and abilities has the power to affect our endeavors in school, work, sports, the arts, and parenting. The updated edition addresses false growth mindset and illustrates how the mindset concept applies to entities outside the individual.
The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers
This book explores big questions and concepts, it offers many kernels of insight and illumination. For anyone pondering or interested in pondering if they are fulfilling their life’s mission, I recommend this book. I also found this book to be a major pep talk for living the life you are called to live, with advise on why it’s also important to keep your head and not get carried away by enthusiasm while you’re, as Campbell calls it, “following your bliss.” I’m most familiar with the idea that everything is interconnected through Buddhist teachings, it was refreshing to read Campbell share this concept in a variety of contexts.
Start Where You Are by Pema Chödrön
Like most of Chödrön's work, this book makes components of Buddhism accessible. In Start Where You Are, compassion is the focus. Mind training, identifying habitual patterns, and turning unwanted circumstances into the path of enlightenment are additional topics covered. I find reading Chödrön's work for 5-10 minutes each morning sets a nice tone to the day.
The Will to Change by bell hooks
By examining patriarchy, bell hooks explores how men can (and must) break free from patriarchal thinking and being, in order to be able to love and be loved. She sheds light on how women can also be sexist and perpetuate patriarchal thinking, and how all of us must be willing to put the work in to make changes, so that we can live rich, fulfilling lives, liberated from patriarchal thinking. I recommend this book for anyone who questions traditional gender roles, for anyone who has trouble expressing their emotions, and for everyone willing to work toward dismantling an old system that doesn't serve humans or the planet we live on.