Gentle soul searching books

The Alchemist
byPaulo Coelho

Few people in search of the meaning of life have not read this international best selling phenomenon.

The book won the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author.

A short story with long lasting impacts.

Sophie’s World
byJostein Gaarder

A brief but thorough history of philosophy. A good starting point for those who are, for the first time, in search of the meaning of life. Good for soul searching, albeit a bit heavy.

The Selfish Gene
byRichard Dawkins

I have not been as much addicted to a book as this one since reading Jin Yong’s novels as a boy. Its 330 pages were finished in 3 days.

It is such a crucial step stone in any attempt to understand the meaning of life that I can not over emphasize it. It is arguably plain pointless to discuss the topic of “soul searching” with anybody who has not read it.

If I was stranded on an island and allowed one book, “The Selfish Gene” would definitely be among the top contestants.

NOTE: Make sure you read the 30th anniversary edition of the book which is more complete with notes.

The Art of Travel
byAlain de Botton

A witty book that looks at why people travel and much more. I wish I had read this book before doing much of my travelling, the experience would have been enhanced significantly if I had done that.

Some quotes:

“If our life is dominated by a search for happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dynamics of this quest – in all its ardour and paradoxes – than our travels”

“Journeys are the midwives of thought”

“A danger of travel is that we may see things at the wrong time, before we have had an opportunity to build up the necessary receptivity, so that new information is as useless and fugitive as necklace beads without a connecting chain.”


See how one of the most successful business leader in Japan looks at life. Good for soul searching as well as corporate/business.

The Art of Learning
byJosh Waitzkin

Presumably, you will be learning a lot of new things now you have all the time in the world! Suggest to read this book soon after quitting in order to improve your learning techniques.

燃灯者 – 忆周辅成

I was only able to understand 20% of the content, but an extensive list of other books were mentioned in this one, which gave a good road map for those who are interested to understand life’s true meaning:

1. 《反杜林论》,恩格斯
2. 《唯物主义与经验批判主义》,列宁
3. 《国家与革命》
4. 《法兰西内战》
5. 《帝国主义是资本主义的最高阶段》
6. 《共产党宣言》
7. 《纯粹理性批判》,康德
8. 《康德〈纯理性批判〉解义》,斯密
9. 《矛盾论》,毛泽东
10. 《实践论》,毛泽东
11. 《宇宙发展史概论》,康德
12. 《历史》,希罗多德
13. 《伯罗奔尼撒战争史》,修昔底德
14. 《莎士比亚戏剧集》
15. 《莎士比亚的人格》,周辅成
16. 《古代哲学家》,汤姆逊
17. 《申辩篇》,柏拉图
18. 《文艺复兴至十九世纪哲学家、政治思想家关于人性论人道主义言论集》
19. 《论人的尊严》,皮科
20. 《愚人颂》,爱拉斯谟
21. 《与山巨源绝交书》,嵇康
22. 《阿房宫赋》
23. 《艺术哲学》,丹纳
24. 《自愿奴役论》,拉伯哀西
25. 《希腊哲学史》,伯奈特
26. 《山打根八号娼馆 – 底层女性史序章》,山崎朋子
27. 《音乐哲学》,阿多诺
28. 《法兰克福学派史》,杰伊 盖
29. 《吴宓日记》
30. 《斐多篇》,柏拉图
31. 《理想国》,柏拉图
32. 《卢梭与浪漫主义》
33. 《法国批判大师》
34. 《美育书简》,席勒
35. 《判断力批判》,康德
36. 《审美之维》,马尔库塞
37. 《康德的审美哲学》,周辅成
38. 《白鹿洞书院学规》,朱熹
39. 《歌德之认识》
40. 《五人墓碑记》,张溥
41. 《明清之际党社运动考》,谢国桢
42. 《玉镜新谭》,朱长祚
43. 《明夷待访录》,黄宗羲
44. 《新旧约全书》
45. 《暴风雨》,莎士比亚
46. 《马克思与人》,周辅成
47. 《1844年经济学—哲学手稿》,马克思
48. 《尼克马可伦理学》
49. 《剑南诗稿》
50. 《自传》,克鲁泡特金
51. 《法国大革命》,克鲁泡特金
52. 《论人和人的解放》,周辅成
53. 《正义论》,罗尔斯
54. 《政治自由主义》,罗尔斯
55. 《西方伦理学名著选集》,周辅成
56. 《戴震》,周辅成
57. 《论董仲舒思想》,周辅成

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