The 20 Best Meditation & Mindfulness Books

Here are the best meditation and mindfulness books that will help teach you to calm your mind and gain inner peace.


1. Mindfulness In Plain English

mindfulness in plain englishby Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, 1991

Author Bhante Gunaratana, a renowned meditation master, takes us step by step through the myths, realities, and benefits of meditation and the practice of mindfulness. The book showcases Bhante’s trademark clarity and wit as he explores the tool of meditation, what it does, and how to make it work.

The reader can gain deeper understanding, inner peace, and clarity through meditation practice with the thoughtful guidance of this classic book. Written for those without any meditation background, but also an essential handbook for established students, Mindfulness in Plain English is a must-have for anyone exploring the benefits of Buddhist meditation.


2. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

zen mind beginners mindby Shunryu Zuxuki, 1970

So begins this most beloved of all American Zen books. Seldom has such a small handful of words provided a teaching as rich as has this famous opening line. In a single stroke, the simple sentence cuts through the pervasive tendency students have of getting so close to Zen as to completely miss what it’s all about. An instant teaching on the first page. And that’s just the beginning.

In the forty years since its original publication, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind has become one of the great modern spiritual classics, much beloved, much reread, and much recommended as the best first book to read on Zen. Suzuki Roshi presents the basics—from the details of posture and breathing in zazen to the perception of nonduality—in a way that is not only remarkably clear, but that also resonates with the joy of insight from the first to the last page.


3. The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching

the heart of buddhas teachingby Thich Nhat Hanh, 1997

With poetry and clarity, Thich Nhat Hanh imparts comforting wisdom about the nature of suffering and its role in creating compassion, love, and joy – all qualities of enlightenment. In The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, now revised with added material and new insights, Nhat Hanh introduces us to the core teachings of Buddhism and shows us that the Buddha’s teachings are accessible and applicable to our daily lives.

Covering such significant teachings as the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Three Doors of Liberation, the Three Dharma Seals, and the Seven Factors of Awakening, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching is a radiant beacon on Buddhist thought for the initiated and uninitiated alike.


4. The Mind Illuminated

the mind illuminatedby John Yates, Jeremy Graves, Matthew Immergut, 2015

The book that bestselling meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg raves “brings the path of meditation to life,” The Mind Illuminated is the first how-to meditation guide from a neuroscientist who is also an acclaimed meditation master. This innovative book offers a 10-stage program that is both deeply grounded in ancient spiritual teachings about mindfulness and holistic health, and also draws from the latest brain science to provide a roadmap for anyone interested in achieving the benefits of mindfulness. Dr. John Yates offers a new and fascinating model of how the mind works, including steps to overcome mind wandering and dullness, extending your attention span while meditating, and subduing subtle distractions.


5. Peace Is Every Step

peace is every stepby Thich Nhat Hanh, 1990

World-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us. For him a ringing telephone can be a signal to call us back to our true selves. Dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to “mindfulness”—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality. The most profound satisfactions, the deepest feelings of joy and completeness lie as close at hand as our next aware breath and the smile we can form right now.


6. Simple Abundance: 365 Days to a Balanced and Joyful Life

simple abundanceby Sarah Ban Breathnach, 1996

First published in 1995, Simple Abundance topped the New York Times Bestseller list for over two years and is responsible for introducing two hugely popular concepts — the “Gratitude Journal” and the term “Authentic Self.” With daily inspirational meditations and reflections, the Simple Abundance phenomenon became a touchstone for a generation of women, helping them to reclaim their true selves, find balance during life’s busiest moments, and rediscover what makes them truly happy.


7. Moments of Mindfulness: Daily Inspiration

moments of mindfulnessby Thich Nhat Hanh, 2013

This beautifully designed gift book contains many of the best-loved inspirational quotations and passages from Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. Basic meditation instructions and messages of peace, love, insight, understanding, and compassion accompany two-color illustrations throughout, with blank pages for personal reflections and inspiration. Moments of Mindfulness is a perfect journal for spiritual exploration.

Moments of Mindfulness is intended to be used as a personal notebook or to simply read for everyday inspiration, and to help bring mindful practices and reflection to daily life. With beautiful details and design it makes a wonderful gift. Illustrations by Jenifer Kent.


8. The Power of Now

the power of nowby Eckhart Tolle, 2001

Much more than simple principles and platitudes, the book takes readers on an inspiring spiritual journey to find their true and deepest self and reach the ultimate in personal growth and spirituality: the discovery of truth and light. In the first chapter, Tolle introduces readers to enlightenment and its natural enemy, the mind. He awakens readers to their role as a creator of pain and shows them how to have a pain-free identity by living fully in the present. The journey is thrilling, and along the way, the author shows how to connect to the indestructible essence of our Being, “the eternal, ever-present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death.”


9. Get Some Headspace

get some headspaceby Andy Puddicombe, 2011

Andy Puddicombe, founder of the much publicised Headspace, is on a mission: to get people to take 10 minutes out of their day to sit in the here and now. Here he shares his simple to learn, but highly effective techniques of meditation. Accessible and portable, these powerful techniques promise amazing results. Quiet the mind, feel less stressed, less tired and achieve a new level of calm and fulfilment. By following the daily exercises you will start to experience literally life changing results. The benefits of mindfulness and meditation are now well documented with doctors advising their patients to give it a try. Andy brings this ancient practice into the modern world, tailor made for the most time starved among us. For beginners and seasoned meditators alike, here is the opportunity to harness and develop skills that will combat the negative symptoms of our fast paced world, and that once learned, will last a lifetime.


10. The Miracle of Mindfulness

miracle of mindfulnessby Thich Nhat Hanh, 1975

In this beautiful and lucid guide, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercise as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness–being awake and fully aware. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness.


11. How to Meditate

how to meditateby Pemo Chodron, 2007

Pema Chödrön is treasured around the world for her unique ability to transmit teachings and practices that bring peace, understanding, and compassion into our lives. With How to Meditate, the American-born Tibetan Buddhist nun presents her first book exploring in-depth what she considers the essentials for a lifelong practice.

More and more people are beginning to recognize a profound inner longing for authenticity, connection, and aliveness. Meditation, Pema explains, gives us a golden key to address this yearning. This step-by-step guide shows readers how to honestly meet and openly relate with the mind, embrace the fullness of our experience, and live in a wholehearted way.


12. 365 Tao

365 taoby Ming-Dao Deng, 1992

365 Tao is a contemporary book of meditations on what it means to be wholly a part of the Taoist way, and thus to be completely in harmony with oneself and the surrounding world.

Deng Ming-Dao is the author of eight books, including The Living I Ching, Chronicles of Tao, Everyday Tao, and Scholar Warrior. His books have been translated into fifteen languages. He studied qigong, philosophy, meditation, and internal martial arts with Taoist master Kwan Saihung for thirteen years, and with two other masters before that.


13. The 4 Foundations of Mindfulness

4 foundations of mindfulnessby Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, 2012

Based on the classic Satipatthana Sutta, one of the most succinct yet rich explanations of meditation, Bhante’s presentation is nonetheless thoroughly modern. The Satipatthana Sutta has become the basis of all mindfulness meditation, and Bhante unveils it to the reader in his trademark “plain English” style.

Contemplating the Four Foundations of Mindfulness—mindfulness of the body, of feelings, of the mind, and of phenomena themselves—is recommended for all practitioners. Newcomers will find The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English lays a strong groundwork for mindfulness practice and gives them all they need to get started right away, and old hands will find rich subtleties and insights to help consolidate and clarify what they may have begun to see for themselves. People at every state of the spiritual path will benefit from reading this book.


14. Practical Meditation for Beginners

practical meditation for beginnersby Benjamin W. Decker, 2018

Master 10 meditation techniques in 10 days with the step- by-step method in Practical Meditation for Beginners. The key to building a solid meditation practice is in the practice itself. From Zen and Vipassana to walking meditations and body scans, the simple practices outlined in Practical Meditation for Beginners make it easy to build an ongoing meditation routine that is best for you.

Written by experienced meditation teacher Benjamin Decker, Practical Meditation for Beginners offers a clear 10-day program for learning 10 different meditation techniques―one for each day of the program. Newcomers and experienced meditators alike will enjoy the ease and variety presented in Practical Meditation for Beginners.


15. Practicing Mindfulness

practicing mindfulnessby Matthew Sockolov, 2018

Find everyday calmness and clarity with simple mindfulness meditations and exercises. Mindfulness meditations are a great way to cultivate awareness and acceptance of the here and now―Practicing Mindfulness makes it easy and accessible with 75 evidence-based exercises designed to bring calmness and compassion into your day-to-day.

From finding focus with a 5-minute The Power of the Mind exercise to embracing the experience with a 25-minute Open-Awareness Meditation, Practicing Mindfulness provides the tools you need to relieve stress, improve wellness, and practice peace of mind moment to moment and throughout the daily grind.


16. 10% Happier

10 percent happierby Dan Harris, 2014

After having a nationally televised panic attack, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had propelled him through the ranks of a hypercompetitive business, but had also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.

Harris stumbled upon an effective way to rein in that voice, something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation, a tool that research suggests can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain. 10% Happier takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America’s spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives.


17. The Little Book of Mindfulness

the little book of mindulnessby Patricia Collard, 2014

Mindfulness is the easy way to gently let go of stress and be in the moment. It has fast become the slow way to manage the modern world – without chanting mantras or finding hours of special time to meditate.

Bring these simple 5- and 10-minute practices into your day to find freedom from stress and ultimately, more peace in your life.


18. Wherever You Go There You Are

wherever you go there you areby Jon Kabat Zinn, 1994

When Wherever You Go, There You Are was first published in 1994, no one could have predicted that the book would launch itself onto bestseller lists nationwide and sell over 750,000 copies to date. Ten years later, the book continues to change lives. In honor of the book’s 10th anniversary, Hyperion is proud to be releasing the book with a new afterword by the author, and to share this wonderful book with an even larger audience.


19. Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics

meditation for fidgety skepticsby Dan Harris, 2017

Science suggests that meditation can lower blood pressure, mitigate depression and anxiety, and literally rewire key parts of the brain, among numerous other benefits. And yet there are millions of people who want to meditate but aren’t actually practicing. What’s holding them back? In Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, Harris and his friend Jeff Warren, a masterful teacher and “Meditation MacGyver”, embark on a cross-country quest to tackle the myths, misconceptions, and self-deceptions that stop people from meditating. They rent a rock-star tour bus (whose previous occupants were Parliament Funkadelic) and travel across 18 states, talking to scores of would-be meditators – including parents, military cadets, police officers, and even a few celebrities. They create a taxonomy of the most common issues (“I suck at this”, “I don’t have the time”, etc.) and offer up science-based life hacks to help people overcome them.


20. Meditation for Beginners

meditation for beginnersby Jack Kornfield, 1998

Have you ever thought about trying meditation, but didn’t know how to get started? On Meditation for Beginners, renowned teacher Jack Kornfield uses clear language and step-by-step guidance to show us how to start―and stick with―a daily meditation practice. From the basics of how to get started to dealing with distractions, this complete course introduces us to the Insight tradition of meditation that has helped practitioners throughout the ages cultivate profound inner calm and a lasting capacity for happiness.