future we choose

I love to read books and, if you’re here, you probably do as well…or you’d like to get more into the habit of reading.

It doesn’t matter if you prefer paperback books, hardcover books, audio books, or e-books; books are essential, because nothing compares to the deep learning and insights you can garner when you plunge into an extensive work of fiction or non-fiction by a talented writer.

Articles, videos, podcasts, and other shorter bursts of media are helpful and important as well, but they are a complement to books rather than a substitute. If you perceive that you don’t “have time” to read books, chances are you’re spending time on at least a couple of activities (Social media? Streaming service binges?) that don’t add a lot of value to your life. Once you identify such activities, you can transfer some of that time to reading.

I find that most voracious readers enjoy getting recommendations from other readers. I’m asked quite often about my favorite books, and so I thought it would be helpful to list them all in one (regularly updated) post and categorize them. These categories below align with my website’s three focus areas of mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling strengths.

Mindfulness (including Buddhism, Buddhist Psychology, Emotional Healing, Enneagram)

  • Hanh, Thich Nhat, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching
  • Figueres, Christiana, and Rivett-Carnac, Tom, The Future We Choose
  • Kornfield, Jack, The Wise Heart
  • Goldstein, Joseph, Insight Meditation
  • Salzburg, Sharon, Loving-Kindness
  • Chodron, Pema, The Places That Scare You
  • Chodron, Pema, When Things Fall Apart
  • Brach, Tara, True Refuge
  • Brach, Tara, Radical Compassion
  • Brach, Tara, Radical Acceptance
  • Tan, Chade-Meng, Search Inside Yourself
  • Hershfield, Jon, and Nicely, Shala, Everyday Mindfulness for OCD
  • Bradshaw, John, Healing the Shame That Binds You
  • Bradshaw, John, Homecoming
  • van der Kolk, Bessel, The Body Keeps the Score
  • Neff, Kristin, Self-Compassion
  • Moore, Thomas, Care of the Soul
  • Zinn, Jon-Kabat, Meditation Is Not What You Think: Mindfulness and Why It Is So Important
  • Spira, Rupert, Being Aware of Being Aware
  • Riso, Don Richard, The Wisdom of the Enneagram
  • Heuertz, Christopher, The Sacred Enneagram
  • Rohr, Richard, Falling Upward
  • Eckhart, The Power of Now and A New Earth
  • Smith, Huston, The World’s Religions
  • Greger, Michael, How Not to Diet
  • Hanson. Rick, Buddha’s Brain

Learning Agility

  • Harari, Yuval Noah, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
  • Harari, Yuval Noah, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
  • LeMay, Matt, Agile for Everybody
  • Clifton, Jim, and Harter, Jim, It’s the Manager
  • Johnson, Whitney L., Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work
  • Duhigg, Charles, The Power of Habit
  • Myer, Pamela, The Agility Shift
  • Pinker, Steven, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
  • Tippett, Krista, Becoming Wise
  • Newport, Cal, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World  
  • Hallenbeck, George, Learning Agility
  • Burnett, Bill, and Evans, Dave, Designing Your Life
  • Pink, Daniel, A Whole New Mind
  • Ferriss, Timothy, The 4-Hour Work Week
  • Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi, We Should All Be Feminists
  • Wilkerson, Isabel, The Warmth of Other Suns
  • Loehr, Jim, and Schwartz, Tony, The Power of Full Engagement
  • Block, Peter, The Answer to How is Yes
  • Gelb, Michael, How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci

Storytelling (Includes Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry)

  • Carver, Raymond, Where I’m Calling From: Selected Stories
  • Lee, Harper, To Kill a Mockingbird
  • King, Stephen, The Stand
  • Rowling, JK, Harry Potter series
  • Hemingway, Ernest, The Old Man and the Sea
  • Orwell, George, 1984 and Animal Farm
  • Salinger, JD, The Catcher in the Rye
  • Puzo, Mario, The Godfather
  • Kerouac, Jack, On the Road
  • Morrison, Toni, Beloved
  • Doerr, Anthony, All the Light We Cannot See
  • Steinbeck, John, East of Eden
  • Hurston, Zora Neale, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Marquez, Gabriel-Garcia, 100 Years of Solitude
  • Wroblewski, David, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
  • Hesse, Herman, Siddhartha
  • Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations
  • Campbell, Joseph, The Hero With a Thousand Faces
  • Campbell, Joseph, and Moyers, Bill, The Power of Myth
  • Godin, Seth, This is Marketing
  • Miller, Donald, Building a Story Brand
  • Jiwa, Bernadette, Story Driven
  • Prose, Francine, Reading Like a Writer
  • King, Stephen, On Writing
  • Gilbert, Elizabeth, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
  • Lencek, Lena, and Brunello, Pero, How to Write Like Chekhov
  • Hemingway, Ernest, Ernest Hemingway on Writing
  • Pressfield, Steven, The War of Art
  • Moore, Dinty W., The Mindful Writer
  • O’Brien, Tim, The Things They Carried
  • Milosz, Czeslaw, A Book of Luminous Things
  • Rumi, The Essential Rumi
  • Oliver, Mary, Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver
  • Whyte, David, Essentials

Growing Your Strengths

I’m a Nashville-based writer, talent strategist, and certified executive coach. On this website, I share insights and actionable practices concerning mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling: lifelong strengths that will help you love your career and enhance your quality of life.

Most of us are facing similar pain points: nonstop change, accelerating economic and technological disruption, and the collective “noise” that grows louder each day. The impact, for so many of us, has been confusion, distraction, and stress. Mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling can make the difference between being overwhelmed by all of these dynamics…or leveraging them for success and well-being.

Start with this post. As time permits, check out my books and join our learning community to receive free, exclusive content via email each month with timely guidance on applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling.


John M. DeMarco is a writer, strategist, and executive coach based in Nashville, Tennessee.
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