Mastery is written by Robert Green and I think it is my favourite book of all time. It breaks down how to master your subject in an honest way. The concepts are easy to follow, but deal in reality and while I am not saying you cannot change your life quickly if you make the right decisions, this book takes more of a long term approach to life and is very different from the- “Change your life in 7 days crap we see so much of at the moment.”
One of the concepts is that of becoming an apprentice, for which he says you must dedicate around 7 years to learn your craft. If you are serious about your development as a human being and willing to put in the work, I would seriously consider grabbing a copy.
You can purchase Mastery here
What The Buddha Taught-
This is quite a tough read for a beginner in the concepts of Buddhism as it contains some Sanskrit and lots of words than many would not understand. With that being said it is not unreadable, it just takes a little longer than usual.
The thing I love about this book is some of the translated scripts, you can literally read one sutta (which is a selected Buddhist text) and in just a couple of pages you will find more knowledge than in a lot of the modern stuff. You should check out the Sabbasava-sutta which is a text about ridding yourself of pain and suffering- I posted an article about it which you can read here> http://truththeory.com/2015/07/02/7-things-the-buddha-taught-us-about-overcoming-suffering/
Zen Flesh Zen Bones-
This is a very philosophical book and most of the content is open to many interpretations, it has 3 sections- 101 Zen Stories, The Gateless Gate and 10 Bulls
101 Zen Stories is a series of mini stories (some are just half a page long) from old Zen masters of China and Japan that span over a period of more than five centuries
The Gateless Gate is a series of Koans, which if you don’t know are little riddles with no definitive answer. At first glance they make no sense (or at least in my case they don’t) then as you read them over and over they start to get you thinking and relating to different areas in your life.
The book is only 162 pages long, but took me over a year to read the first time around because of the thoughtful nature of these Koans (sometimes spending days or weeks on just one). I still return to the Koans from time to time when I am stuck in life as they always open up my mind and present me with answers to questions I am asking myself.
The last section is called 10 Bulls and is about finding your purpose. Each of the 10 bulls is a metaphor for a step on your journey and can really help you to find where you are on your path and what you need to do to go further.
You Can Purchase Zen Flesh Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings Here
Drive is written by Dan Pink and has the tag line “The surprising truth about what motivates us” and while this book is not about school education (it is more aimed at business motivation) it got me thinking about the current paradigms of education. Because what actually motivates us and what we think motivates us are 2 different things.
I think every teacher should be given a copy of this book so they understand what it is to motivate and can apply the concepts in this book.
It covers things like why people like to work autonomously and why those who are competent usually care more about being a part of something significant than they do about money. There is a great example in Drive comparing Wikipedia to MSN Encarta (I know I haven’t heard of it either) Wikipedia is a non-profit run mainly by hobbyists, some who are highly skilled and spend countless hours working daily for no compensation. MSN Encarta was a Microsoft company who paid professional writers and plunged millions of dollars into it before pulling the plug. Anyway you know how this story ends, the non-profit which in run by hobbyists won, while no one even knows about MSN Encarta.
Drive is well written, well cited and really shows how currently we are doing a lot wrong in terms of motivating at work, at home and in schools.
You can get a copy of Drive here
The first time I read The Alchemist, I actually sat and read it cover to cover in a day. Which I don’t usually do. This book is the only fiction book I have included, but it is actually a little bit more than that. The Alchemist covertly uses the concepts of development and if you can read between the lines you can take away a lot more than just the story.
The story is of a boy called Santiago who goes off in search of treasure, and I think this book is an analogy for many of our lives as we are all searching for some kind of riches, just not always in the physical sense.
This book hypnotised me from cover to cover and is recommended for an easy to digest feel good book that delivers some great lessons in a form we do not usually see it in.
You can get a copy of The Alchemist here
Let me know what your favourite consciousness expanding books are by leaving me a comment below.