A good book can transport a person from a life filled with struggle to a whole other place where they may find inspiration, hope and a new view of themselves and the world. Reading can be a powerful force and should be embraced because the right book can uplift and offer hope while helping us navigate our own lives.
What Is Zen, written by Allan Watts
What Is Zen, written by Allan Watts, offers an uplifting view of reality that questions the prejudices and blocks that prevents us from apprehending the joy of living in the here and now. Allen Watts, a British Theologian that became an expert in Eastern philosophy, is able to translate not only language, but also concepts to make Eastern thought accessible to the Western reader. This simple book has an inexplicable power to infuse a feeling of peace and tranquility.
Hardcore Zen, written by Brad Warner
Another powerful read in the same vein is Hardcore Zen by Brad Warner. Warner is a punk-musician-turned Zen master that offers a completely irreverent view of Zen. The book is full of biographical passages that are hilarious and philosophical at the same time, and demonstrate our inherent ability to live mindfully and free. His teachings provide the reader with valuable resources enabling them to trust their instincts and bring their lives into alignment with reality.
The Fountain Head, written by Ayn Rand
Next on the list of inspirational reads is a choice that will shock the majority of readers of this article: The Fountain Head by Ayn Rand. Yes, the same Ayn Rand that has become the banner of Libertarians and of Paul Ryan. How could a book like this be inspirational? Because in its core it deals with the struggle of the individual’s struggle to live up to their potential; a task that through the ages has been recognized by philosophers, mystics, and saints of all spiritual traditions as the essential spiritual quest. This quest, as it takes place in our modern world is represented by Rand with masterful insight, accuracy, and deep spirituality, in spite of herself. Please try to overcome your previous biases about this author and read the first few pages of this book, you will become hooked on its story, and may emerge on the other side with a different, uplifted, view of the world.
Uplifting and inspirational stories have always been a part of the human experience. Since our ancestors sat around a fire shared them, great stories have shaped our view of the world, our minds and our beliefs, and those beliefs filter our realities, and guide us through life. A great story can change minds, lives, and by extension the world. Great books are indeed powerful!