As a meditation coach, a good deal of my time is spent reading books on the art and science of our practice. Across thousands of years, sages, gurus, and academics have penned wonderful books about meditation. And I’m delighted to share the best of them in this list.
As well as the books below, I’ve written lists of books on specific topics:
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Recommended Meditation Books
1. My own book
You can read my book here.
While I was reading through dozens of meditation books, it occurred to me that there is not one single publication that covers everything.
There are specific books about mindfulness, chakras, Buddhist methods, Daoist methods… but no one title that covers every aspect of the practice and all the different meditation techniques.
So, I changed that.
In my book, I teach you all the best meditation techniques. You will learn meditations from Buddhism, Hinduism, Yoga, and modern techniques too. And I will show you how to use those techniques to make your life better. Start reading today.
2. Meditation In Action (get it here)
In my opinion, this is one of the best because author Chogyam Trungpa delves deep into the subject.
I find that too many books just scratch the surface of what meditation is. They give basic instructions on mindfulness. But they don’t show you how to use meditation in your everyday life for real-world changes.
This one goes further. It explains the benefits of meditation, the philosophy and the paychology, and how to use meditation to improve your life.
Chogyam Trungpa [Tibetan Buddhist teacher] shares insights on generosity, discipline, patience, energy, clarity, and wisdom. And his words will inspire you to live a good life. Plus, his teachings on the different meditation practices will help you to advance your practice.
3. How To Meditate: A Practical Guide To Making Friends With Your Mind (GET IT HERE)
American Tibetan Buddhist Pema Chodron (former acharya of Shambhala Buddhism) has written some of the best meditation books over the years, including the exceptional Heart Advice For Difficult Times.
Picking Chodron’s number one book is not easy. But if I must tip my hat to one of them, it has to be How To Meditate: A Practical Guide To Making Friends With Your Mind.
What I love about How To Meditate is that it makes it so easy for beginners to start meditating. The tutelage is easy to follow and fun. The simple guides will get you meditating in no time. Even if you have never done it before and you don’t have the slightest clue what meditation is, this will tell you everything you need to know, and in simple-to-follow guides.
4. Peaceful Piggy (GET IT HERE)
Are you a parent trying to get your kids to meditate? If so, you will love this little picture book by Kerry MacLean. In my opinion, it is the best mindfulness book for kids.
Naturally, this is a pretty basic book. It provides fun, straightforward instructions and advice to help get kids meditating. Plus, it shows how kids can get a handle on difficult emotions like sadness and anxiety.
This is great because research shows that there are big benefits of meditation for kids. It can help them to handle stress and to focus their minds. And this book will help them to get started.
Peaceful Piggy is an excellent choice for both teachers and parents. What I love most about this book is how simple it is to read. Even younger children will understand the messages in this book.
5. Meditation Secrets for Women (get it here)
It’s been scientifically proven that meditation can help with many different parts of life, such as at work and at home. But to get the most out of it, you’ll need a great guide. This book is a good option.
In this excellent book, Camille Maurine & Lorin Roche share illuminating insights and wisdom. They cover the entire gamut of the human experience and explain how meditation can help in all areas of life.
I consider this to be the best for women. It takes all the wisdom of the practice and puts it into action in the real world. It shows women how to use meditation to help with their real-world problems.
Definitely one of the top books on meditation. And it isn’t just for women, either. Trust me, as a man, I have learned a ton from reading it.
6. Meditation For Beginners (GET IT HERE)
I bet you were wondering when I would get around to famed author Jack Kornfield. After all, he’s written some of my favorite meditation books, especially on Vipassana meditation and Theravada Buddhism.
In this inspiring but straightforward book, Jack Kornfield provides a short and sweet (it’s less than 100 pages) guide to getting started with meditation. The book comes packaged with a CD of guided exercises, which are a great way to relax.
This is a great book for beginners because it is so clear and concise. Plus, it is effortless to understand and very easy to follow.
7. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Good things happen when you connect with the present moment. Present moment mindfulness relieves stress, increases concentration, and improves overall wellbeing.
But it isnt always easy to focus on the present moment when you have all the stress and pressure of daily life to deal with.
Thankfully, we can turn to the sage advice of Eckhart Tolle and his masterpiece, The Power Of Now.
This is unmistakably the book for mastering the art of mindful living.
The Power of Now is not directly marketed as a mindfulness book, but in reality, it is precisely that, and one of the very best too.
Millions of people have read it and the general concensus is that it is flipping brilliant.
8. Mindfulness in Plain English By Henepola Gunaratana
This is the single best book on the practice of Vipassana.
Vipassana is one of the two main types of meditation used in Buddhism and is excellent for improving focus and reducing stress. And in this book, Vipassana master Henepola Gunaratana shows you how to do it.
9. Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices by Thich Nhat Hanh
This wonderful little book will teach you how to live in the moment. And it is written by one of my favorite authors ever: Thich Nhat Hanh, the founder of Plum Village and a Zen Buddhist monk, who writes with simple yet sublime eloquence.
Unquestionably one of the best mindfulness meditation books, Nhat Hanh lays down the path through which we can achieve lasting contentment. And he does so with uncomplicated and practical guidance.
Hanh shows that even everyday activities like walking, eating, driving, doing the dishes, and more can be used as mindfulness meditation to cultivate peace and serenity. And this is huge. Because in my experience I dont always have time to meditate so if I can squeeze in some mindfulness while doing the dishes or taking a walk, then that’s so much the better.
10. Peace Is Every Step
Peace in Every Step is a short book but a glorious one.
Written by Thich Nhat Hanh, the foremost figure in mindfulness meditation, it is packed full of practical activities and pointers.
This publication will make you look at the world in a whole new light.
Ans honestly if you haven’t read a book by Thich Nhat Hanh yet then I highly advise that you do so. I love his writing style. I find him so simple to read yet so poignant. And he actually inspires me as both a writer and a meditation teacher.
11. The Mindfulness Solution by Ronald D. Siegel
Here’s a bright idea: be mindful while doing everyday tasks.
That’s exactly what Ronald Siegel [Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School] discusses in this book.
You see, you don’t always have to practice meditation by sitting down in lotus position and focusing on your breath. Meditation is a lot more versatile than that.
The Mindfulness Solution shows how mindfulness can be used in simple ways to help you relax in your day-to-day life.
What makes this one so good is that it incorporates mindfulness in such basic chores as walking the dog or driving to work. I actually practice mindfulness when snuggling my cats by just listening to their purrs. So you can see how versatile mindfulness is.
12. The Mindful Guide to the Law of Attraction: 45 Meditations to Manifest Health, Wealth, and Love Paperback by Paige Oldham
In this wonderful read, Paige Oldham teaches you how to combine the law of attraction with mindfulness to create your ideal life.
The law of attraction is a New Age theory that suggests that we can create real world results by thinking positively about things. And although the science on this is questionable at best, millions of people still love the idea.
If you’re interested in The Law of Attraction I definitely recommend this book. In it, Oldham combines manifesting with mindfulness to create a way to intentionally manifest wealth, happiness, and love.
I found this to be a truly inspiring read that made me feel wonderfully optimistic. It is beautifully written and presents its theories in compelling, page-turning ways. I am not entirely sure about the science here, but I enjoyed reading the book anyway.
13. Life Falls Apart, But You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm in the Midst of Chaos
In Life Falls Apart, Julie Potiker shares personal stories about the challenges she has faced in her life and how mindfulness helped her.
Julie was so stressed at one point in her life that she experienced the symptoms of a stroke. The event made her change her life and start living mindfully. And so she wrote this book to inspire others to do likewise.
What I love most about this book is the combination of science and soul. The methods Julie shares in the book are backed by science and the writing is heartfelt and inspiring. It’s the perfect combination of personal insight and research-backed facts.
If I had one negative comment to say about this book it’s the cover. It’s a little generic, which is a shame, because the actual contents of the book are anything but generic, they are soulful and inspiring.
How To choose
Before you choose a meditation book, there are a few things you should bear in mind. For instance, do you want to learn just basic meditation, as in breathing mindfully? If so, you should choose an easy-to-read book with simple instructions. Then again, if you want to learn all the different techniques I recommend a deep book, such as my own. And if you also want to learn spiritual aspects such as the dharma or the tao, you might want a more religious text.
Different writers also have different styles. My own writing tends to be deep and analytical, and backed by a lot of science. Then again you might prefer a more friendly and easier to read book, such as those by Thich Naht Hanh.
You should definitely bear in mind that some books focus on just one technique. For instance, there are books on Vipassana, Self Enquiry, and Transcendental Meditation. These go into depth on the specific technique but only focus on that one single method. My own book covers every major technique.
Also ask yourself whether you’d be better with a paperback, hardback, or spiral bound book.
Finally, don’t forget the classics like the Pali Canon, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, and the Tao Te Ching.
Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations and is the author of four books on meditation. He has been featured in Psychology Today, Breathe Magazine, Healthline, Psych Central and Lion’s Roar.
Paul studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
Paul’s biggest inspirations include Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn, and Jack Kornfield.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison