Influential Spiritual Books - The Soulful Reading List

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.
— Charles William Eliot

Reading has always been among my greatest passions, and it's one of my favorite ways to learn. Sure there are faster ways to attain facts and information (''just google it") but the learning I'm interested in comes from the level of the soul, not the screen of a computer.

Many of my most powerful life lessons came from books written by spiritual authors and their personal experiences and research. These authors and their texts have a permanent place on my bookshelf. They are the books I return to again and again for inspiration, perspective, and gentle reminders. They are 'high-vibration' type of books, the kind that urges you to examine yourself and the way you're moving through life. It's not just about reading and understanding the text, it's about putting it all into practice. 

The following list contains a few of my favorites. These books are disheveled with dog-eared pages and highlights, flexible spines and coffee stains.  I've read them all multiple times and hope that they provide the insight for you, that they've provided for me.


I devour anything from Bre Bre. This includes Ted talks, interviews, podcasts, youtube videos and of course, all of her books. In Daring Greatly, Brene paints a new vision for the way we love, work, and parent that is grounded in the vulnerability. Vulnerability, Brene argues, is our most accurate measure of courage, and brings purpose and meaning into our lives. Her insight comes from extensive research and personal experience which makes her a wise guide to help us become more courageous and resilient. I strongly believe that Brene's books should be mandatory reading for all. 

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.
— Brene Brown

2.) The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

 As all good books do, this one found me when I was living in Hawaii. A friend passed on a copy that had been given to him, and the love this book had already received was undeniable.  The binding was falling off and the title and author print could barely be read on the spine. A dog had gotten a hold of it, literally, and there was a quarter sized chunk missing from a corner. It was a well-loved book that I've continued to pour more love into. The Alchemist is an easy read and a highly descriptive story that teaches the powerful metaphor of how to pursue your dreams. Read it, pass it along, and buy 5 copies to give to your friends. 
WATCH: "Why the Universe if Conspiring to Help You" - Super Soul Sunday with Oprah Winfrey 

Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.
— Paulo Coelho

3.) The Celestine Prophecy- James Redfield

A fictional story with very real ideas about energy, wisdom, and developing intuition.  The story follows the narrator, a middle-aged man who is unsatisfied in life, into the ancient rainforests of Peru. He is searching for an ancient manuscript with 9 key insights that lead the world towards a completely spiritual culture. It's a fun adventure story that's easy to follow along with while providing a guide as to how to direct future moves by focusing on synchronicity and signs. 

We must assume every event has significance and contains a message that pertains to our questions...this especially applies to what we used to call bad things...the challenge is to find the silver lining in every event, no matter how negative.
— James Redfield

Some of my favorite books have come from second hand stores, including this one. I was still new to Seattle and finding my place in a community and city that felt so different than Hawaii. I remember reading the title and thinking that "when things fall apart" felt too dramatic of a phrase. My life wasn't in shambles, but I was feeling challenged in this new season so I picked it up. Within a few pages, I quickly latched to Pema's words and outlook. The book focuses on the Buddhist teaching of right mindfulness, and how it can help us cope with the realities and emotions of modern life.

We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.
— Pema Chodron

5.) The 4 Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom - Don Miguel Ruiz

Short and insightful, Ruiz points out the source of our self-limited beliefs, that take away our joy and replace it with suffering. Based on Toltec wisdom, Ruiz outlines the 4 agreements and explains how living in accordance with them can empower our lives and open us up to experience happiness and freedom. The First Agreement: Be impeccable with your word. The Second Agreement: Don't take anything personally. The Third Agreement: Don't make assumptions. The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best 

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.
— Don Miguel Ruiz

6.) The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success - Deepak Chopra

This book reminds us that success is a journey, not a destination and that success has many aspects. Each person gets to define what success means to them, but society continues to press that material wealth is the biggest sign of achievment.  Chopra's introduction is quick to point out that material wealth in only one component. Success also includes health, fulfilling relationships, a zest for life, creative freedom, peace of mind, emotional stability and an overall sense of well-being. The chapters build upon each other, and end with suggestions for the practical application of each law. 

Attention energizes, and intention transforms. Whatever you put your attention on will grow stronger in your life. Whatever you take your attention away from will wither, disintegrate, and disappear.
— Deepak Chopra

This book kept coming up in conversation and I was urged to add it to my reading list. When I finally did pick it up, I couldn't get past the first chapter. I've experienced this with a number of books, especially spiritual journey type reads.  Usually I find that I'm not ready, or not open to receive the book's lessons. So instead of forcing it, I set the book back down and tried again later. Later came on our 3 week trip to South America.  With long flight times and rest in between trekking, I slowly made my way through the book, which asks "what would it be like to free yourself from limitations and soar beyond your boundaries?" This book is an exploration of the inner journey and the practice of mindfulness that can transform your relationship with yourself and the world around you. 

People tend to burden themselves with so many choices. But, in the end, you can throw it all away and just make one basic, underlying decision: Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It’s really that simple. Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear.
— Michael Singer

8.) A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course In Miracles - Marianne Williamson

Even if you haven't read "A Return to Love", I'm sure you've heard one of the most famous quotes from the book.  I was introduced to this book many years ago by my best friend. I admit I was troubled by the religious/Christian language and how often I saw the word "God" in print.  I interchanged the word God for Spirit (it makes me laugh now that I was stuck on verbiage- God , spirit, universe, it's all the same to me) and forged ahead with the book.  Really good decision on my part. Williamson writes about love as the most potent force for inner peace and a fulfilling life.  

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
— Marianne Williamson

What are your favorite spiritual or soulful books? Leave me your recommendations in the comments below.