Some of the books I’ve read and found interesting over the years.



ESSENTIAL READING, to get started:

The Body Has a Mind of Its Own – Sandra Blakeslee

– A book entirely about “body maps” in the brain, i.e. the neuroscience of embodiment.

Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5 Billion Year History of the Human Body – Niel Shubin

– A paleontologist’s approach to “ancestral anatomy”.

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers – Robert Sapolsky

– A genius neuroscientist and master communicator’s detailed explanation of mind-body interactions, focusing specifically on the stress response.

Mindsight – Dan Siegel

– Excellent introduction to basic interactions between different parts of the brain and “interpersonal neurobiology”, how the brain develops through relationships.

Any one of these, on the science of chaos, complexity, or “dynamical systems theory”:

CHAOS – James Gleick

Chaos and the Evolving Ecological Universe – Sally Goerner

The Web of Life – Fritjof Capra

Order out of Chaos – Ilya Prigogine



The long list below I wrote from memory, at the request of my friend Dave Wardman (of Physical Alchemy).


The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals – Charles Darwin

Animal Ecology – Charles S. Elton

In the Beginning, Was the Worm – Andrew Brown

Nematode Behaviour – Randy Gaugler

Shapes of Time – Kenneth McNamara

Morphogenesis – John Tyler Bonner

The Evolution of Complexity – John Tyler Bonner

On Deep History and the Brain – Daniel Smail

Darwin Machines – Henry Plotkin

Darwin’s Cathedral – D.S. Wilson

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers – Robert Sapolsky

The Natural Science of the Human Species – Konrad Lorenz

Your Inner Fish – Niel Shubin

The Chosen Ape – Adam Kuper

The Invention of Primitive Society – Adam Kuper

The Lopsided Ape – Michael Corballis

Guns Germs and Steel – Jared Diamond

The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee – Jared Diamond

The Naked Ape – Desmond Morris

The Human Zoo – Desmond Morris

Manwatching – Desmond Morris

The Domestication of the Human Species – Peter J Wilson

Evolution of Sickness and Healing – Horacio Fabrega

The Spell of the Sensuous – David Abram

Coming to Our Senses – Morris Berman

The Re-enchantment of the World – Morris Berman

Wandering God – Morris Berman

Animal Wise – Virginia Morell

Sex At Dawn – Cacilda Jethá and Christopher Ryan

Born To Run – Christopher McDougall

The Continuum Concept – Jean Liedloff

The Ancestor’s Tale – Richard Dawkins

Shamanism: Techniques of Ecstasy – Mircea Eliade

The Book of Life – Stephen Jay Gould

The Hero With a Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell

The Forest People – Colin Turnbull

The Shaman’s Apprentice – Mark Plotkin

The Cosmic Serpent – Jeremy Narby

Shamans Through Time – Jeremy Narby

Intelligence in Nature – Jeremy Narby

The Way of the Shaman – Michael Harner

The Archaic Revival – Terrence McKenna

Singing to the Plants – Stephen Beyer

Plants of the Gods – Richard Schultzes, Albert Hoffman

Food of the Gods – Terrence McKenna

Songlines – Bruce Chatwin




Yijing – several

Daodejing – several

Chuang tsu – several

Mantak Chia – The inner smile, iron shirt, daoist sexual yoga, etc

The Secrets of Chinese Meditation – Kuan Yu Lu

The Secret of the Golden Flower – Richard Willhelm

Cultivating the Energy of Life – Liu Hua Yang

Immortal Sisters – Thomas Cleary

The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine – Maoshing Ni

In the Footsteps of the Yellow Emperor – Peter Eckman

The Secret and Sublime: Taoist Mysteries and Magic – John Blofeld

Taoism: the Quest for Immortality – John Blofeld

An Exposition on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels – Charles Chace

The Stone Monkey: An Alternative, Chinese Scientific, Reality – Bruce Hollbrook

The Web That Has No Weaver – Ted Kaptchuk

Fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine – Joseph Needham

Foundations of Traditional Chinese Medicine – Giovanni Maccioccia

Nourishing Destiny – Lonny Jarrett

Oriental Medicine – Edward O’Baidey

Between Heaven and Earth – Harriet Beinfield, Efrem Korn

The Practical Application of Meridian Style Acupuncture – John Pirog

Japanese Classical Acupuncture – Shudo Denmei

Traditional Acupuncture: Traditional Diagnosis – J.R. Worsley




The Deeper Dimension of Yoga – Georg Feuerstein

Inner Yoga – Sri Anirvan

Philosophy of Goraknath – Akshaya Kumar Banerjea

The Trika Shavism of Kashmir – Moti Lal Pandit

The Upanishads – various translations and commentaries.

From the Satyananda/Bihar School of Yoga:

– Sri Vijnana Bhairava Tantra

- Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha

- Practical Yoga Psychology

– Kundalini Tantra

- Hatha Yoga Pradipika

- Moola Bandha: The Master Key

- Yoga Nidra

- Yoga Darshan: Visions of the Upanishads

– 9 Principle Upanishads

- Dharana Darshan

By Swami Sivananda:

- several books but can’t remember the titles

Yoga Therapy – A.G. and Ganesh Mohan

Yoga for Body, Breath and Mind – A.G. Mohan

Anatomy of Hatha Yoga – David Coulter

Yoga Yajnavalkya – A.G. Mohan

Introduction to Indian Philosophy – Bina Gupta

The Yoga of Mindfulness – Asokananda


The Anapanasati Sutta, different translations and commentaries by:

- Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

– Thanissaro Bhikkhu

– Ven. U Vimalaramsi

Mindfulness of Breathing – Buddhadasa Bhikku

Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator’s Handbook – Ajahn Brahm

Mahamudra: The Moonlight – Dakpo Tashi Namgyal

Yogins of Ladakh – John Crook and James Low

Library of Tibetan Archives (lots of small books, all very good)

Mindfulness in Plain English – Henepola Gunaratana

The Bliss of Inner Fire – Lama Yeshe

Zen and the Brain – James H. Austin

The Buddha’s Brain – Rick Hanson



Job’s Body – Deane Juhan

The Endless Web – Schultz

Structural Integration – Ida Rolf

Anatomy Trains – Thomas Myers

Mobilization of the Nervous System – David Butler

The Sensitive Nervous System – David Butler

Explain Pain – David Butler, Lorimer Moseley

Awareness Through Movement – Moshe Feldenkrais

The Body and Mature Behaviour – Feldenkrais

The Elusive Obvious – Feldenkrais

The Body Has a Mind of Its Own – Sandra Blakeslee

The Psychobiology of Mind-body Healing – Ernest Rossi

Life On Land – Emelie Conrad

Sensing Feeling and Action – Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen

Wisdom of the Body Moving: An Introduction to Body-mind Centering – Linda Hartley

How Life Moves: Explorations in Meaning and Body Awareness – Caryn McHose

Behind the Mirror: a Butoh Manual for Students – Rhizome Lee

Bone, Breath and Gesture – Don Johnson

Body/Embodiment: Symbolic Interaction and the Sociology of the Body – Phillip Vanini

The Body and Society: Explorations in Social Theory – Bryan Turner

Mind and Nature – A Necessary Unity – Gregory Bateson

Steps to an Ecology of Mind – Gregory Bateson

A Mind So Rare – Merlin Donald

Origins of the Modern Mind – Merlin Donald

The Developing Mind – Dan Siegel
Mindsight – Dan Siegel

The Brain that Changes Itself – Norman Doidge

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat – Oliver Sacks



CHAOS – James Gleick

Chaos and the Evolving Ecological Universe – Sally Goerner

The Web of Life – Fritjof Capra

Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Cities, and Software – Steven Johnson

Order out of Chaos – Ilya Prigogine

Our Place In Nature – Stephen Boyden

The Ecology of a City and its People: The Case of Hong Kong – Stephen Boyden

GAIA – James Lovelock

Gaia’s Body: Towards a Physiology of Earth – Tyler Volk

Gaia: The Growth of an Idea – Lawrence Joseph

Gaia In Action – Lovelock, Margulis, others

The Long Descent – John Michael Greer

The Ecotechnic Future – John Michael Greer



What is this thing called Science? – Chalmers

12 Responses to READING LIST

  1. Susan Ballard says:

    Was reading about your theorys relating to animals and empathy.
    You are very correct . If you want to see more of this in action, try to find someone who works with mustangs. Domestic horses will work but not nearly as well as a mustang fresh off the range.
    They are amazing in their ability to mirror a human. Domestic horses are really to dull and not nearly as sharp as a wild one.

  2. simon says:

    Hi Susan. Very cool. I’ve been told by quite a few people about the levels of empathy and nonverbal communication that happen between a horse and rider, synching up to become a single system, that sort of thing.

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  5. Flow with Ondulation. Thanks for sharing verifying what learnt from youth yoga teachings. Here i share my recent ondulation task respect flying quetzalcoatl, that has awakened and soaring skies since then:

  6. Cheryl Lee says:

    I’m glad I’ve stumbled upon this, thank you for sharing. I have to point out that you are missing Somatics and The Body of Life, by Thomas Hanna, and I’m surprised not to see anything from Frank Forencich

  7. simon says:

    Hi Cheryl Lee, and thanks! I have followed a bit of Thomas Hanna’s work, enough to know that it’s one of the many good available pathways into the body-mind. And Frank Forencich as well, I’m pretty sure I still have a link to the exuberant animal site on this page somewhere.

  8. thom blinn says:

    I relate this wonder you talk about as the numinous. I “see” in BEN HOGAN’S golf swing a singular ability to be with all available sources of existence which he suffered his way to learning about. His motion is radiant in every image I’ve seen. Thanks for you efforts to articulate your personal reality. Thom Blin;n

  9. Owen Bruhn says:

    The very simple relaxing meditation method of Ainslie Meares would be worth adding.
    Ainslie Meares was an eminent psychiatrist and an internationally recognised medical hypnotist. He taught hypnosis, transitioned to meditation and taught that in Australia before 1960 until his passing in 1986. He re-discovered or reverse engineered our natural method of mental rest. I would recommend reading some of his books, however, they are only available second hand and the prices asked are what they are. Also, he wrote 34 books and so there is a wide choice. There is one new book which was written to help make his work more accessible: Ainslie Meares on Meditation. The book includes:
    – a biography,
    – Meares’ book Relief Without Drugs
    – 30+ samples of Meares Poetry – part of his later method includes the use of zen like poetry.
    – his later method refined after Relief Without Drugs including how that poetry fits in.
    The book provides an overview of Meares’ work and also lists all his books including those he recommended his patients and readers should get first. It also was designed to let people learn his method from a book alone.
    Whether that book or one of Meares is up to the reader however his method is worth looking into.
    Cheers Owen B

  10. Nothing by B.K.S. Iyengar? Sorely missing!!!

    All the issues of Astadala Yogamala are amazing. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – so rich. Where are they? Let alone Light On Life, his last work.

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