Buddha by Karen Armstrong. The story of one man’s search for enlightenment.

Circe by Madeline Miller. Circe deserves all of its accolades: the plot dances and the writing sings.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. Why vulnerability is the gateway to strength, not the absence of it.

Food for the Heart by Ajahn Chah. Collected Buddhist teachings of a master from the Thai Forest tradition.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. Charts the contours of grief with poignant clarity.

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. Delightfully illogical.

Joy on Demand by Chade-Meng Tan. A practical, funny, and profound guide to Buddhist meditation.

Meditations on Violence by Rory Miller. Transformed the way I saw martial arts and self-defense. It gets dark.

Principles by Ray Dalio. A billionaire investor’s guide to practical thinking. Useful for idealists (like myself).

Reflections on Silver River by Ken McLeod. Don’t read unless you’re prepared to be shaken.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You and Deep Work by Cal Newport. How to become rare and valuable for a successful career.

The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin. Fantastical stories about everyday humanity.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. How to eat when we’re eating the world to pieces?

The Open Road by Pico Iyer. A poetic introduction to the Dalai Lama, from a writer who’s known him for over 30 years.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Every creative is fighting a war against doubt, laziness, and fear. This is the secret weapon.

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön. Heart advice for hard times.

Within the Frame by David Duchemin. Go from taking photographs of things to making photographs about things.