Here are a few books that I’ve read that really don’t bring much to the table in terms of Self-Actualization.
So I’ll keep this short and sweet.
- The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt
I haven’t actually read this one, but I know from a few book summaries what this book discusses: how to be happy.
It says happiness comes from having a goal and striving to attain that goal.
That may be helpful advice for some people, but it’s not what happiness actually is. Maybe in our materialistic Western culture, but that’s definitely not the case in just about every spiritual tradition around the world.
Seriously, when has that strategy ever worked for you?
True happiness = reality – expectations.
The trick is embodying this principle 😉
2. Follow Your Calling, Alexander Teetz
This is a little-known book about life purpose. It has everything you can think of on a mental plane: values, goals, strengths, the whole sh’bang.
But it has no mention of intuition, or of the limits of just thinking about what your Life Purpose could be, rather than going out and DOING something to find it.
3. The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution, P.D. Ouspensky
The kind of psychology that Ouspensky talks about in his work is the “psychology of man’s possible evolution,” as opposed to traditional psychology.
We must understand that Ouspensky was one of the first to write about spirituality and non-duality in the West.
And that’s exactly what it feels like. Almost like he’s still trying to figure it out, and presenting it in a very structured way. It feels like a college thesis.
He does give an interesting definition of psychology: the study of lies.
Not a dumb remark when you think about it. It could mean the lies we tell ourselves, our own self-deceptions, and the lies we tell others.
Ouspensky argues that psychology is actually an ancient practice, as old as philosophy, and that present-day psycho-analysis isn’t really true psychology. One of the reasons is because it denies the existence of consciousness.
However, I don’t think it’s a very helpful book on the how-to of spirituality. Just a lot of theory in a strangely-worded way. Not super helpful.
4. Gut Feelings, Gerd Gigerenzer
It’s not really a book about gut feelings, but how our minds make split-second decisions like catching a baseball.
5. The Art of Possibility, Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander
Very unoriginal. No new gems.