Real Life



Play to Win
Larry Wilson, Hersch Wilson

This isn’t a Tony Robbins rah rah book. Instead it’s a manual intended to change your life by overcoming your fears and beliefs. In this context, the full sentence title is Play to Win …rather than playing not to lose. 25 of the 29 Amazon reviews are five stars for good reason. Of course, reading the book alone is insufficient for self-transformation but if you’re willing to adopt it, this book can make a real difference. 


Buddhism Plain and Simple
Steve Hagen

A wonderfully direct and readable explanation of the principals of Buddhism stripped of the cultural accretions that accompany all religions. Whatever your views on religion may be, there’s a lot to be gained from learning to see things differently which is what this book accomplishes. Like Awareness below, it’s all about becoming really conscious and remembering that change is the natural state of things.


Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality
Anthony De Mello

This is a great book to pair with Buddhism Plain & Simple. Anthony de Mello, a Jesuit priest, taught and wrote about spirituality (which he carefully separates from religiosity) Awareness was written after his death using his talks at conferences. Awareness speaks of the difficulty and benefits of awakening to reality. de Mello and Buddha had a lot in common.


Esstential Zen Habits

Leo Babuta

This is a 2016 reformulation of the author’s best selling Zen Habits. It describes a six week program for changing a habit, deal with life’s struggles and finding mindfulness. This version is all what to do with no justification or explanation. You need a little faith in the author for this to work but you shouldn’t approach it as a spiritual journey. This is practical advice that works if you apply it.


Brain Rules

John Medina

This is another “what practical action can I take as a result of recent scientific research.” This one’s out of neuroscience and deals with what we know about how our brain works. It’s both interesting and useful unless you’re already a neuroscientist in which case you already know this stuff. It’s lead to a series of books by the author who actually is a scientist.


5 Elements of Effective Thinking

Edward Burger and Michael Starbird

This is a book by rigorous thinkers for those of us who would like to think more effectively. 94% of Amazon reviewers gave it 4 or 5 stars. It’s a fast, interesting read with no side-trips or repetition (although the authors believe you should read it three times!) Easy to call this common sense but even it only helps you remember what you “know” it’s a bargain


The Art of Taking Action

Greg Krech

A practical guide to getting moving with ideas drawn from Eastern philosophy, in which the author is an expert. This book will surprise those who associate Eastern wisdom with passivity but not those who study martial arts. If you or someone you know is bright but stuck in procrastination, this would be a good book to read.