Best Selling Books in Philosophy - Consciousness & Thought

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For more book recommendations, please check out New York Times® Best Sellers, Children's Book Recommendations or the complete list of Featured Book Lists and Award Winners

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release date: Nov 07, 1997
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The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)
In The Four Agreements, bestselling author don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

• A New York Times bestseller for over 8 years
• Over 6 million copies sold in the U.S.
• Translated into 40 languages worldwide
release date: Jan 12, 2016
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When Breath Becomes Air
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, this inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY 
THE WASHINGTON POST • THE NEW YORK TIMES • NPR


BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE AWARD FINALIST

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

Praise for When Breath Becomes Air

“I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. . . . Part of this book’s tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to him—passionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to die—so well.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“An emotional investment well worth making: a moving and thoughtful memoir of family, medicine and literature. It is, despite its grim undertone, accidentally inspiring.”The Washington Post

“Possesses the gravity and wisdom of an ancient Greek tragedy . . . [Kalanithi] delivers his chronicle in austere, beautiful prose. The book brims with insightful reflections on mortality that are especially poignant coming from a trained physician familiar with what lies ahead.”The Boston Globe

“Devastating and spectacular . . . [Kalanithi] is so likeable, so relatable, and so humble, that you become immersed in his world and forget where it’s all heading.”USA Today

“It’s [Kalanithi’s] unsentimental approach that makes When Breath Becomes Air so original—and so devastating. . . . Its only fault is that the book, like his life, ends much too early.”Entertainment Weekly

“Split my head open with its beauty.”—Cheryl Strayed
release date: Mar 30, 1999
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The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship: A Toltec Wisdom Book
In The Mastery of Love, don Miguel Ruiz illuminates the fear-based beliefs and assumptions that undermine love and lead to suffering and drama in our relationships. Using insightful stories to bring his message to life, Ruiz shows us how to heal our emotional wounds, recover the freedom and joy that are our birthright, and restore the spirit of playfulness that is vital to loving relationships. The Mastery of Love includes:

• Why “domestication” and the “image of perfection” lead to self-rejection
• The war of control that slowly destroys most relationships
• Why we hunt for love in others, and how to capture the love inside us
• How to finally accept and forgive ourselves and others

“Happiness can only come from inside of you and is the result of your love. When you are aware that no one else can make you happy, and that happiness is the result of your love, this becomes the greatest mastery of the Toltec: the Mastery of Love.”  — don Miguel Ruiz

 
release date: Feb 07, 2017
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From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds

One of America’s foremost philosophers offers a major new account of the origins of the conscious mind.

How did we come to have minds?

For centuries, this question has intrigued psychologists, physicists, poets, and philosophers, who have wondered how the human mind developed its unrivaled ability to create, imagine, and explain. Disciples of Darwin have long aspired to explain how consciousness, language, and culture could have appeared through natural selection, blazing promising trails that tend, however, to end in confusion and controversy. Even though our understanding of the inner workings of proteins, neurons, and DNA is deeper than ever before, the matter of how our minds came to be has largely remained a mystery.

That is now changing, says Daniel C. Dennett. In From Bacteria to Bach and Back, his most comprehensive exploration of evolutionary thinking yet, he builds on ideas from computer science and biology to show how a comprehending mind could in fact have arisen from a mindless process of natural selection. Part philosophical whodunit, part bold scientific conjecture, this landmark work enlarges themes that have sustained Dennett’s legendary career at the forefront of philosophical thought.

In his inimitable style―laced with wit and arresting thought experiments―Dennett explains that a crucial shift occurred when humans developed the ability to share memes, or ways of doing things not based in genetic instinct. Language, itself composed of memes, turbocharged this interplay. Competition among memes―a form of natural selection―produced thinking tools so well-designed that they gave us the power to design our own memes. The result, a mind that not only perceives and controls but can create and comprehend, was thus largely shaped by the process of cultural evolution.

An agenda-setting book for a new generation of philosophers, scientists, and thinkers, From Bacteria to Bach and Back will delight and entertain anyone eager to make sense of how the mind works and how it came about.

4 color, 18 black-and-white illustrations
release date: Sep 20, 2016
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Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Thought leader, visionary, philanthropist, mystic, and yogi Sadhguru presents Western readers with a time-tested path to achieving absolute well-being: the classical science of yoga.

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SPIRITUALITY & HEALTH

The practice of hatha yoga, as we commonly know it, is but one of eight branches of the body of knowledge that is yoga. In fact, yoga is a sophisticated system of self-empowerment that is capable of harnessing and activating inner energies in such a way that your body and mind function at their optimal capacity. It is a means to create inner situations exactly the way you want them, turning you into the architect of your own joy.

A yogi lives life in this expansive state, and in this transformative book Sadhguru tells the story of his own awakening, from a boy with an unusual affinity for the natural world to a young daredevil who crossed the Indian continent on his motorcycle. He relates the moment of his enlightenment on a mountaintop in southern India, where time stood still and he emerged radically changed. Today, as the founder of Isha, an organization devoted to humanitarian causes, he lights the path for millions. The term guru, he notes, means “dispeller of darkness, someone who opens the door for you. . . . As a guru, I have no doctrine to teach, no philosophy to impart, no belief to propagate. And that is because the only solution for all the ills that plague humanity is self-transformation. Self-transformation means that nothing of the old remains. It is a dimensional shift in the way you perceive and experience life.” The wisdom distilled in this accessible, profound, and engaging book offers readers time-tested tools that are fresh, alive, and radiantly new. Inner Engineering presents a revolutionary way of thinking about our agency and our humanity and the opportunity to achieve nothing less than a life of joy.

Praise for Sadhguru and Inner Engineering

“Contrarian and consistent, ancient and contemporary, Inner Engineering is a loving invitation to live our best lives and a profound reassurance of why and how we can.”—Sir Ken Robinson, author of The Element, Finding Your Element, and Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative

“I am inspired by Sadhguru’s capacity for joy, his exuberance for life, and the depth and breadth of his curiosity and knowledge. His book is filled with moments of wonder, awe, and intellectual challenge. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in self-transformation.”—Mark Hyman, M.D., director, Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, and New York Times bestselling author

Inner Engineering is a fascinating read of Sadhguru’s insights and his teachings. If you are ready, it is a tool to help awaken your own inner intelligence, the ultimate and supreme genius that mirrors the wisdom of the cosmos.”—Deepak Chopra
release date: Mar 01, 1992
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Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
In the rush of modern life, we tend to lose touch with the peace that is available in each moment. World-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us. For him a ringing telephone can be a signal to call us back to our true selves. Dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to "mindfulness"—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality. The most profound satisfactions, the deepest feelings of joy and completeness lie as close at hand as our next aware breath and the smile we can form right now.

Lucidly and beautifully written, Peace Is Every Step contains commentaries and meditations, personal anecdotes and stories from Nhat Hanh's experiences as a peace activist, teacher, and community leader. It begins where the reader already is—in the kitchen, office, driving a car, walking a part—and shows how deep meditative presence is available now. Nhat Hanh provides exercises to increase our awareness of our own body and mind through conscious breathing, which can bring immediate joy and peace. Nhat Hanh also shows how to be aware of relationships with others and of the world around us, its beauty and also its pollution and injustices. the deceptively simple practices of Peace Is Every Step encourage the reader to work for peace in the world as he or she continues to work on sustaining inner peace by turning the "mindless" into the mindFUL.
release date: Dec 06, 2016
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Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness

Although mammals and birds are widely regarded as the smartest creatures on earth, it has lately become clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. In captivity, octopuses have been known to identify individual human keepers, raid neighboring tanks for food, turn off lightbulbs by spouting jets of water, plug drains, and make daring escapes. How is it that a creature with such gifts evolved through an evolutionary lineage so radically distant from our own? What does it mean that evolution built minds not once but at least twice? The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter?

In Other Minds, Peter Godfrey-Smith, a distinguished philosopher of science and a skilled scuba diver, tells a bold new story of how subjective experience crept into being―how nature became aware of itself. As Godfrey-Smith stresses, it is a story that largely occurs in the ocean, where animals first appeared. Tracking the mind’s fitful development, Godfrey-Smith shows how unruly clumps of seaborne cells began living together and became capable of sensing, acting, and signaling. As these primitive organisms became more entangled with others, they grew more complicated. The first nervous systems evolved, probably in ancient relatives of jellyfish; later on, the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous mollusks, abandoned their shells and rose above the ocean floor, searching for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so. Taking an independent route, mammals and birds later began their own evolutionary journeys.

But what kind of intelligence do cephalopods possess? Drawing on the latest scientific research and his own scuba-diving adventures, Godfrey-Smith probes the many mysteries that surround the lineage. How did the octopus, a solitary creature with little social life, become so smart? What is it like to have eight tentacles that are so packed with neurons that they virtually “think for themselves”? What happens when some octopuses abandon their hermit-like ways and congregate, as they do in a unique location off the coast of Australia?

By tracing the question of inner life back to its roots and comparing human beings with our most remarkable animal relatives, Godfrey-Smith casts crucial new light on the octopus mind―and on our own.

release date: May 01, 2009
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Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others
A longtime trauma worker, Laura van Dernoot Lipsky offers a deep and empathetic survey of the often-unrecognized toll on those working to make the world a better place. We may feel tired, cynical, numb, or like we can never do enough. These, and other symptoms, affect us individually and collectively, sapping the energy and effectiveness we so desperately need if we are to benefit humankind, other animals, and the planet itself. Through Trauma Stewardship, we are called to meet these challenges in an intentional way--not by becoming overwhelmed but by developing a quality of mindful presence. Joining the wisdom of ancient cultural traditions with modern psychological research, Lipsky offers a variety of simple and profound practices that will allow us to remake ourselves--and ultimately the world.
release date: Nov 24, 2008
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The Power of Your Subconscious Mind
In The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, Dr. Joseph Murphy gives you the tools you will need to unlock the awesome powers of your subconscious mind. You can improve your relationships, your finances, your physical well-being. Once you learn how to use this unbelievably powerful force there is nothing you will not be able to accomplish. Join the millions of people who have already unlocked the power of their subconscious minds. I urge you to study this book and apply the techniques outlined therein; and as you do, I feel absolutely convinced that you will lay hold of a miracle-working power that will lift you up from confusion, misery, melancholy, and failure, and guide you to your true place, solve your difficulties, sever you from emotional and physical bondage, and place you on the royal road to freedom, happiness, and peace of mind.- Dr. Joseph Murphy
release date: Sep 01, 2008
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The Four Agreements Toltec Wisdom Collection: 3-Book Boxed Set

This handsome boxed set by bestselling author don Miguel Ruiz offers three of his most widely acclaimed works:

THE FOUR AGREEMENTS: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

Don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

THE MASTERY OF LOVE: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship

Don Miguel Ruiz illuminates the fear-based beliefs and assumptions that undermine love and lead to suffering and drama in our relationships. Using insightful stories to bring his message to life, Ruiz shows us how to heal our emotional wounds, recover the freedom and joy that are our birthright, and restore the spirit of playfulness that is vital to loving relationships.

THE VOICE OF KNOWLEDGE: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace

Don Miguel Ruiz reminds us of a profound and simple truth: The only
way to end our emotional suffering and restore our joy in living is to stop believing in lies — mainly about ourselves. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, this breakthrough book shows us how to recover our faith in the truth and return to our own common sense.
 

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