Best Books of 2017

Best Books of 2017


Look to these exceptional titles as guidance to navigate your way through the joys and heartbreak of this one precious life.

Fulfilled Cover

How the Science of Spirituality Can Help You Live a Happier, More Meaningful Life 
By Anna Yusim MD
Grand Central Publishing 

Anna Yusim causes doctor envy. This board-certified psychiatrist attended Stanford and Yale, studies the Kabbalah and Buddhism, and trained under South American shamans and Indian gurus. In her work with patients, she seamlessly blends the best of Western science with wide-ranging spiritual practices because, she writes, “what I studied in medical school only scratches the surface about the nature of life, the world, and human consciousness.”  Kathryn Drury Wagner

All Our Waves Are Water Hc C

All Our Waves Are Water
Stumbling toward Enlightenment and the Perfect Ride
By Jaimal Yogis
Harper Wave

Yogis does particularly well when he writes about surfing, which he describes as a meeting between advanced modern physics and the metaphysical intuition of ancient poets and religious sages—not to mention a dangerous but exhilarating form of meditation. Ultimately, as the title states, surfing proves to be a metaphor for a Buddhist worldview, showing that life’s most turbulent waves are not exceptions to it, but part of its essential nature—and that wisdom means learning to ride them with grace. —Gabriel Cohen

The Power Of Meaning Final

The Power of Meaning
Crafting a Life That Matters 
By Emily Esfahani Smith 
Crown Publishing

Smith argues that our society has become overzealous in our pursuit of the concept of happiness, and that the time, money, and personal effort dedicated to chasing it are wasted. What we need instead, she says, is to focus on meaning. Who among us hasn’t wondered, Why am I here? A book like this, which helps provide answers, is rare indeed. —KDW

Radical Spirit Final

Radical Spirit
12 Ways to Live a Free and Authentic Life
By Joan Chittister
Convergent Books

According to Chittister, a Benedictine nun, the path to peace is paved with humility. In Radical Spirit she explores 12 aspects of this facet of human experience, and insists that our ability to fully embrace all of humanity, and all of our true selves, will come when we abandon our pursuit of status and relinquish control to a loving power that is greater than us all. —Kalia Kelmenson

Hallelujah Anyway

Hallelujah Anyway
Rediscovering Mercy
By Anne Lamott
Riverhead Books

Anne Lamott is the spiritual writing world’s Ernest Hemingway—her sentences are brave and clean and true, and they simply slay you, leaving you teary-eyed in the bathtub. Her latest book discusses where we can turn when we are rattled, fearful, stranded, or treating ourselves viciously; it’s a place called mercy. —KDW

Merrett Healing Spiritual Wounds 2D

Healing Spiritual Wounds
Reconnecting with a Loving God after Experiencing a Hurtful Church
By Carol Howard Merritt

Why pick up the shards and reconnect with a spiritual practice? Because many people, Merritt notes, “have a spiritual or theological orientation, and to eschew that would make us incomplete. … We’ve found that we need to make amends with our past rather than severing it.” In her book, she provides exercises for doing just that. She provides scriptural context, prayers, stories, and ways to build community. —KDW

Slow Medicine Cover Victoria Sweet

Slow Medicine
The Way to Healing
By Victoria Sweet
Riverhead Books

The business of medicine has become more about speed and efficiency and less about tending to a patient’s health as if tending to a garden. Sweet explores the art and craft of medicine in addition to the science of it, and insists that all three are necessary to help patients return to health. —KD

Cover Extreme Measures

Extreme Measures
Finding a Better Path to the End of Life
By Jessica Nutik Zitter MD
Avery Books

Zitter, a palliative care physician, suggests ways to change the culture of medicine and empower patients so that they can avoid overly mechanized and painful deaths. In addition to her suggestions about ways to improve our health care system around end-of-life care, Zitter also provides a useful six-step approach to making your own personal end-of-life care decisions. —Sam Mowe

Forever Letter Hi Res

The Forever Letter
Writing What We Believe for Those We Love
By Elana Zaiman

The Forever Letter explores the transformative experience of taking the time to express our values, wisdom, and love to the people who matter to us most. How might this process of going within and looking honestly at ourselves actually change us? How does it serve to deepen our relationships and remind us to live with greater intention? The takeaway from this book is that writing a forever letter is as much for the writer as it is for the receiver. —Jennifer Haupt

Five Invitations

The Five Invitations
Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully
By Frank Ostaseski
Flatiron Books

In our culture, we tend to push death away, to fear it. Ostaseski encourages us to become intimate with death so that we can fully inhabit our life. His book The Five Invitations shares the wisdom that he has gleaned through his life’s work with those who are at death’s door. Written with presence and clarity, and brought into focus with stories from that realm, these invitations leave the reader with a yearning to deeply experience the gift that is life. —KK

Resilient Grieving Front

Resilient Grieving
Finding Strength and Embracing Life After a Loss That Changes Everything
By Lucy Hone PhD
The Experiment

This book is filled with gentle wisdom that encourages experiencing grief without getting stuck in it. “Full emotional expression is an essential part of being resilient,” writes Hone, who encourages finding people, places, and activities that prompt feelings of well-being to balance out the negativity that is inherent with grief. Hone presents not just research on the importance of grieving, but also a wide range of rituals from around the world that elicit thoughts about what might provide comfort and meaning when a loved one dies. —JH 

Book Giveaway

Visit by January 31, 2018, and enter to win a collection of select titles.

Join Us on the Journey

Sign Up

Enjoying this content?

Get this article and many more delivered straight to your inbox weekly.