The 12 Most Influential Spiritual Books of the Past 50 Years (2022)

My own spiritual journeystarted when I picked up a copy of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. It wasn’t the first book of this kind that I had read, but for the first time, I felt open to receiving the guidance within those pages.

I don’t know whether I was just in the right frame of mind when I came across this book or whether it was Coelho’s parable about life that spoke to me, but from then on, I felt compelled to take Coelho’s words to heart, and look inside myself.

Similarly, the following twelve books have been largely influential for spiritual seekers all over the world, much as the best coffee table books are influential in inspiring our journeys. While some are more timeless than others, each will likely inspire you to further your own spiritual journey.

1. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Written by Australian television producer Rhonda Byrne, and based on a documentary she created in 2006 of the same title, The Secret tells of the laws of attraction: asking for what you want, believing in what you want, and being open to receiving it.

With a basis in the 19th century New Thought movement, Byrne’s book has proven to be a cultural phenomenon, making the number one spot on The New York Times bestseller list.

While some consider the book little more than slick marketing and the re-packaging of many other spiritual beliefs, the book’s cultural significance cannot be denied. The Secret: Dare to Dream, a movie based on the book and featuring Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas, is coming out in 2020.

2. The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

In 1993, author James Redfield wrote and self-published his first book, The Celestine Prophecy. Since its initial publishing, it has gone on to become one the most successful self-published novels ever. The novel spent more than three years on The New York Times bestseller list.

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The book is part adventure story and part New Age spiritual novel. The book details one man’s journey through Peru as he uncovers nine spiritual insights. While many have found the plot corny, the insights within captivate the reader into shifting their perspective.

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3. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The 12 Most Influential Spiritual Books of the Past 50 Years (3)

Photo: HarperOne

Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist tells the simple tale of a shepherd who journeys from Spain to the pyramids of Egypt in search of a treasure. On his way, he encounters many obstacles and distractions, which he overcomes to achieve his personal legend or dream: finding the treasure. Through The Alchemist, Coelho explains how only when one devotes themselves to their dream can they reach true happiness, without regret or suffering.

4. The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by Dalai Lama XIV and Howard C. Cutler

Inspired by the Dalai Lama’s joyful nature despite the political situation in Tibet, author Howard C. Cutler wanted to write a spiritual book focused toward a Western audience.
The Art of Happiness is about the importance and attainability of happiness in everyday living. The purpose of life is to find happiness, which is determined by one’s mental state, despite outside circumstances. This is a book likely to stand the test of time because it speaks to people without the use of spiritual rules or religious guidelines.

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5. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth is about reducing the ego as a means to feeling the abundance of life, because the ego is the source of all inner and outer conflict. Tolle’s spiritual writing was already established and popular thanks to The Power of Now, but it gained in popularity after Oprah selected it for her book club. Since then, Tolle’s book about the awakened consciousness has influenced millions.

6. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra

In his classic book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra discusses the importance of success in life. For Chopra, success is defined as happiness and the realization of goals, although success is not limited to wealth.

Chopra lays down seven laws found in nature used to create spiritual success. These laws include karma (cause and effect) and dharma (purpose in life). Chopra’s popularity lies in the way he is able to take ancient Vedic teachings and present them to a Western audience. He sold 2.3 million copies of this book, which has been translated into 30 languages.

7. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck

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Dr. M. Scott Peck’s 1978 The Road Less Traveled takes his ideas from his background both as a psychiatrist and as a born-again Christian. His book details the attributes that Peck feels make a fulfilled human being. Split into three sections, his book talks about discipline (as a means for spiritual evolution), love (as a force for spiritual growth) and grace. The Road Less Traveled spent more than 10 years on The New York Times bestseller list.

8. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

The tale has captured readers’ imaginations for 50 years. Richard Bach’s novella reveals the story of Jonathan, a seagull whose passion for flying makes him different from other seagulls. His wish to perfect his flying results in being outcast from his group. At first devastating, the experience culminates in him moving to a “higher plane” where he meets other seagulls like him, and his subsequent return to his flock. Jonathan is a symbol to all those who refuse to conform for the sake of conforming, instead teaching love, forgiveness, and how to reach your true potential.

9. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

After a bitter divorce, author Elizabeth Gilbert took a year off to travel. She visited Italy, where she indulged in worldly pleasures. She went to India to learn about spirituality. And finally, ended her journey in Bali, where she was able to discover a balance between the two and find love.

Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love details the spiritual journey of someone in a tremendous amount of pain to becoming a balanced, loving human. Her story has resonated with readers everywhere, landing on The New York Times bestseller list, and eventually being made into a movie starring Julia Roberts.

10. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom

The 12 Most Influential Spiritual Books of the Past 50 Years (10)

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Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie is a memoir based on a series of interviews with Morrie Schwartz, Albom’s former mentor and professor who was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Even after his death, Morrie has continued to touch people as he passes on his ideas of love, shunning popular celeb culture in favor of more nurturing values. Tuesdays with Morrie has sold 17 million copies and inspired a TV movie starring Hank Azaria and Jack Lemmon.

11. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is yet another gift to the world from Oprah: Ruiz’s four agreements are based on ancient Toltec wisdom and provide a relatively simple formula for living well. The four agreements are: be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best.

Ruiz’s formula for a happy and successful life is surprisingly simple and easy to remember. Easy enough, at least, that Ruiz later decided to add a fifth agreement: Be skeptical but learn to listen.

12. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse’s 1981 Siddhartha should be required reading for the spiritually inclined: It follows the journey of a young Nepalese man named Siddhartha during the time of Buddha, and his quest to find spiritual enlightenment. Along the way, he makes several attempts at enlightenment, but finds spiritual fulfillment in a much simpler way than the one proposed by all of the world’s wise men. The 12 Most Influential Spiritual Books of the Past 50 Years (13)

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FAQs

The 12 Most Influential Spiritual Books of the Past 50 Years? ›

The 12 Most Influential Spiritual Books of the Past 50 Years
  • The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. ...
  • The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. ...
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. ...
  • The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by Dalai Lama XIV and Howard C. ...
  • A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle.
Jan 22, 2015

Is there any spiritual books? ›

'A Million Thoughts' by Om Swami is a book for people who are interested to know the power of meditation. 'A Million Thoughts' by Om Swami is a book for people who are interested to know the power of meditation.

What happens when you have a spiritual awakening? ›

The spiritual awakening.

You begin to clear certain things out of your life (habits, relationships, old belief systems) and invite new, more enriching things in. You may feel like something is missing, but you haven't quite figured it out yet. During this phase, it's common to feel lost, confused, and down.

Where do I start with spiritual books? ›

  • 5 Spiritual Books for Beginners To Start the Awakening Journey. I wish I had an open mind in my teens to pick such a book. ...
  • The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Image Courtesy: Goodreads. ...
  • The Untethered Soul by Michael A. ...
  • The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. ...
  • May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein. ...
  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
Jun 1, 2021

Which spiritual books helped you transition connect transform please explain? ›

The Best Spiritual Books of All Time
  • A Monk's Guide to Happiness: Meditation in the 21st Century - Gelong Thubten.
  • A New Earth: Create a Better Life - Eckhart Tolle.
  • A Return to Love - Marianne Williamson.
  • Anger: Buddhist Wisdom for Cooling The Flames - Thich Nhat Hanh.

Who are famous spiritual writers? ›

15 Influential Spiritual Authors Worth Reading
  • #2 – Caroline Myss. Myss was my introduction to the world of all things spiritual and consciousness. ...
  • #3 – Sadhguru. ...
  • #4 – Thich Nhat Hanh. ...
  • #5 – Sogyol Rinpoche. ...
  • #6 – Dr Michael Newton. ...
  • #7 – Dr Brian Weiss. ...
  • #8 – Dr Joseph Murphy. ...
  • # 9 – Neale Donald Walsch.
Feb 15, 2020

How do you become a spiritual person? ›

Here are six practices you can incorporate into your life every day, which will help you to live more spiritually:
  1. Meditation. Try to begin each day with meditation, even if it's only for a minute. ...
  2. Spiritual Reading. ...
  3. Practice Gratitude. ...
  4. Spend Time In Nature. ...
  5. Be Open To Signs From The Universe. ...
  6. Mindful Breathing.
Nov 19, 2014

How do you connect spiritually with water? ›

Here are five simple yet powerful mini water rituals to help clear your energy.
  1. Respect the water you drink. Take time to put fresh lemon, lime, orange, basil, mint, or cucumber in your water for a light flavoring. ...
  2. Bless your water. ...
  3. Shower the day away. ...
  4. Use water as a visualization tool.
Mar 23, 2021

How do you recognize a spiritual person? ›

A major sign of a spiritual person is that they are always happy and kind to others. They don't like to degrade or criticise people. Instead, they always offer motivating and kind words, in hopes to make the world a better place. If you also believe in the same values, then yes, you're a spiritual person.

What does waking up at 3am mean? ›

If you wake up at 3 a.m. or another time and can't fall right back asleep, it may be for several reasons. These include lighter sleep cycles, stress, or underlying health conditions. Your 3 a.m. awakenings may occur infrequently and be nothing serious, but regular nights like this could be a sign of insomnia.

How do you know if you are spiritually gifted? ›

6 Signs You Have A Spiritual Gift
  1. You read into your dreams on the regular.
  2. You have visions—and they often come true.
  3. You have a 4 a.m. bathroom habit.
  4. Nightmares keep you tossing and turning.
  5. You're extremely empathetic.
  6. You have a strong intuition.
Jun 2, 2017

How can I learn spiritual knowledge? ›

Humility is essential to the acquiring of spiritual knowledge.
...
To acquire spiritual knowledge and to obey it with wisdom, one must:
  1. In humility, seek divine light.
  2. Exercise faith in Jesus Christ.
  3. Hearken to His counsel.
  4. Keep His commandments.

How can I become more spiritually enlightened? ›

How to Achieve Spiritual Enlightenment
  1. Let Go of Your Ego. If you think sanely about ego, you may realise it is nothing but a mere product of our thoughts. ...
  2. Stay Honest to Yourself. ...
  3. Let Go of Your Fears. ...
  4. Learn to Forgive. ...
  5. Detach from Worldly Things. ...
  6. Meditate. ...
  7. Yoga. ...
  8. Pilgrimages and Praying.
Feb 4, 2019

How do you start a spiritual journey? ›

Here are six simple ways to set yourself up for a spiritual awakening:
  1. Declutter! Start by making room! ...
  2. Examine your beliefs. Be conscious of and intentional about what you believe. ...
  3. Expand your mind. sleep support+ ...
  4. Go outside. There is energy and spirit and magic in the outdoors. ...
  5. Take care of yourself. ...
  6. Learn to let go.
Apr 24, 2017

What are the stages of a spiritual awakening? ›

The 5 Stages of Spiritual Awakening
  • Escaping Ignorance. ...
  • The Vision of Your Spiritual Journey. ...
  • Glimpsing Spirit: The Call to Adventure. ...
  • Closer Examination: Choosing a Path. ...
  • Seeking: Following the Path. ...
  • Loss of Sight: Losing the Path. ...
  • Seeing: Merging with the Path.
Dec 1, 2010

Is spirituality a religion? ›

There are some pretty clear ways in which religion and spirituality differ. Religion: This is a specific set of organised beliefs and practices, usually shared by a community or group. Spirituality: This is more of an individual practice, and has to do with having a sense of peace and purpose.

What is the spirit of enlightenment? ›

In the western world the concept of spiritual enlightenment has become synonymous with self-realization and the true self and false self, being regarded as a substantial essence being covered over by social conditioning.

What are the 3 elements of spirituality? ›

The shamans, healers, sages, and wisdom keepers of all times, all continents, and all peoples, in their ageless wisdom, say that human spirituality is composed of three aspects: relationships, values, and life purpose.

How do I activate my spiritual power? ›

Here are eight simple steps that helped me gradually build my own spiritual practice over time.
...
I hope they can do the same for you.
  1. Set your intention. ...
  2. Feed your mind. ...
  3. Be still every day. ...
  4. Don't neglect your body. ...
  5. Approach your practice with playfulness. ...
  6. Watch for signs. ...
  7. Connect with your tribe. ...
  8. Experiment.
Feb 19, 2020

What is a spiritual healer? ›

Background. Healers, also often called “spiritual healers”, are people who exercise above all the practice of laying on of hands and distant healing [1]. Due to globalization the techniques healers use have diversified and are derived from various spiritual and religious practices [2].

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