Welcome to Stillmind’s collection of the best mindfulness books. I’ve included “for busy people” in brackets because all of these books, whilst useful for absolutely anybody, are especially well-suited for people with busy lifestyles.
I intend for this list to be a growing project. Both me (Dan) and Thiru will add more recommendations as time passes. I hope you enjoy our selection…
1. Mindfulness on the Go, Padraig O’Morgan
A pragmatic, simple and results-orientated book, Mindfulness on the Go is my top choice. It’s not that O’Morgan offers the most in-depth or even the most insightful overview of the topic. He doesn’t. Rather, it’s the structure that I find most appealing. It’s superbly designed for time-stretched people.
The first chapter is a concise definition of mindfulness and the second a summary of recent scientific research. The remaining chapters are situation-specific, so you can dip in and out as you need to. You could read the chapter titled, “Mindfulness at Work” in the morning and have everything you require for the rest of your day.
2. Meditation in A New York Minute, Mark Thornton
One of my favourites and partly an inspiration for this blog. Included are a range of mind-body techniques (not just mindfulness) from a variety of wisdom traditions. Mark Thornton’s approach is practical. Theory is light but not neglected.
The book was unabashedly written for busy professionals. Mark’s core advice is to have lots of small moments throughout the day. These will add up to a significant period. He describes a variety of practices, from Qigong to mindful eating, with the intention of helping you find your own personal path. It’s also available as an audiobook.
3. Real Happiness at Work, Sharon Salzberg
Another of my all-time favourite books. Sharon Salzberg talks in great depth about how we can foster positive qualities (she calls them the “8 Pillars of Happiness”) that will naturally lead to balance and satisfaction on the workplace.
It’s an intelligent exploration of the difficult situations that we face at work and how we can use mindfulness-based exercises to remedy them. It’s a more attention and time-consuming read but it’s also a potent tool for developing a healthy philosophy about how to approach working life.
4. The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh
In his typically poetic style, Thich Nhat Hanh guides you through the fundamentals of mindfulness. This book is, in my opinion, the most engrossing. It leads you into a felt grasp of what mindfulness is and how it fits into your emotional world. There’s a lot of overlap with Buddhist philosophy so it might be a book to avoid if you’re looking for a strictly secular approach.
Another point, Thich Nhat Hanh also talks at depth (as much as is possible in a 150 page book, at least) about formal meditation practice. There’s a nice balance between “everyday” mindfulness and formal practice.
5. The Healing Power of the Breath
Not strictly a “mindfulness” book but one that’s filled with practical exercises. The tone is scientific, occasionally to the point of being a little bland. There’s absolutely no religious/spiritual context. I’m a big fan of breathing exercises and I think they should be the first step for people looking for natural ways of overcoming daily problems.
I’ve spoken about coherent breathing before, a technique that was taken directly from this book. There’s also a CD included that guides you through all of the techniques listed.