The best 100 The Human Condition books

The Human Condition delves into the complexities of human existence, illuminating our struggles, triumphs, and existential dilemmas. Our curated book list offers a diverse array of perspectives to navigate and contemplate this profound subject.

Expanding your insight into the essence of being human, our collection is designed to provoke thought and stimulate introspection. Dive into these enlightening reads today and unravel the intricacies of the human experience!

The best 100 The Human Condition books
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The Human Condition Books: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Man’s Search for Meaning

Viktor Frankl
4.4 (985 ratings)
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What's Man’s Search for Meaning about?

Originally published in 1946, Man’s Search for Meaning details the harrowing experiences of author and psychologist Viktor Frankl during his internment in Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War. It offers insights into how human beings can survive unsurvivable situations, come to terms with trauma, and ultimately find meaning.

Who should read Man’s Search for Meaning?

  • Anyone interested in psychotherapy
  • Anyone who wants to know how ordinary people cope with extraordinary situations
  • Anyone trying to work out the meaning of life

The Human Condition Books: What Makes Us Human? by Charles Pasternak, editor

What Makes Us Human?

Charles Pasternak, editor
4.2 (23 ratings)
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What's What Makes Us Human? about?

In What Makes Us Human (2007), a group of experts shares ideas on this centuries-long question. These blinks plumb the depths of the mystery of our species, to discover why humans alone cook food to eat, think creatively and understand cause and effect.

Who should read What Makes Us Human??

  • Scientists, philosophers and theologists
  • People who want to explore questions about human life

The Human Condition Books: The Book by Alan W. Watts

The Book

Alan W. Watts
On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
4.4 (284 ratings)
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What's The Book about?

The Book (1966) is about the big questions in life. What’s the meaning of it all? Where do we really exist in the universe? Author Alan Watts guides the reader on a voyage of discovery that questions popular assumptions about what’s important in life, how the universe functions, and the nature of God.

Who should read The Book?

  • Spiritual seekers
  • Students of theology or religion
  • Readers interested in Eastern philosophies

The Human Condition Books: The Why Café by John P. Strelecky

The Why Café

John P. Strelecky
4.4 (350 ratings)
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What's The Why Café about?

The Why Café (2003) is a semi-autobiographical account of one man’s search for meaning. When protagonist John stumbles upon a little Café in the middle of nowhere, he’s confronted with three existential questions. The other customers guide John on his philosophical journey and help him discover the secrets to living a fulfilled life – teaching us all how to do the same in the process.

Who should read The Why Café?

  • Hard workers who can’t seem to catch a break
  • Lost souls searching for meaning
  • Anyone who wants to overcome their fear of death

The Human Condition Books: For Small Creatures Such as We by Sasha Sagan

For Small Creatures Such as We

Sasha Sagan
Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World
4.1 (81 ratings)
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What's For Small Creatures Such as We about?

For Small Creatures Such as We (2019) is a guidebook for those seeking to celebrate the milestones of life – both joyful and painful – in a nonreligious context. By exploring traditional ceremonies through a scientific lens, author Sasha Sagan invites secular individuals to develop their own meaningful rituals that create wonder and provide comfort.

Who should read For Small Creatures Such as We?

  • Secular people wishing to participate in meaningful but nonreligious rituals
  • Families looking for new ways to celebrate milestones
  • Seekers of wonder wanting to connect more deeply with the natural world

The Human Condition Books: Adventures in Human Being by Gavin Francis

Adventures in Human Being

Gavin Francis
A Grand Tour from the Cranium to the Calcaneum
4.3 (78 ratings)
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What's Adventures in Human Being about?

Adventures in Human Being (2015) is a sort of anatomical travel guide. A series of philosophical reflections on each of the body’s major organs, the book combines a clinical perspective on the body with select stories from our cultural history. The result is a series of striking ruminations on the human condition from the unusual angle of human anatomy.

Who should read Adventures in Human Being?

  • Students of medicine open to a more philosophical approach to the body 
  • Philosophers curious to hear a doctor’s perspective on the human condition
  • Anyone who wants to learn about the inner workings of their body

The Human Condition Books: No Bad Parts by Richard C. Schwartz

No Bad Parts

Richard C. Schwartz
Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness with the Internal Family Systems Model
4.6 (404 ratings)
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What's No Bad Parts about?

No Bad Parts (2021) argues that we’re all made up of many distinct parts, like inner voices, that add different things to our lives. By engaging these parts directly, we can heal past traumas and transform the way we relate to ourselves and the world.

Who should read No Bad Parts?

  • Deep thinkers who experience internal conflict
  • Psychology buffs interested in an original approach to the mind
  • People who feel numb and dissociated because of early traumatic experiences

The Human Condition Books: The No-Nonsense Meditation Book by Steven Laureys

The No-Nonsense Meditation Book

Steven Laureys
A Scientist’s Guide to the Power of Meditation
4.7 (569 ratings)
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What's The No-Nonsense Meditation Book about?

The No-Nonsense Meditation Book (2021) explores the science behind meditation. As the latest neuroscience research shows, you don’t have to be a monk in search of nirvana to reap the benefits of meditation. In fact, it’s a great solution to many distinctly modern problems like stress and chronic anxiety.

Who should read The No-Nonsense Meditation Book?

  • Natural worriers
  • Would-be meditators
  • Scientists

The Human Condition Books: Rationality by Steven Pinker


Steven Pinker
What It Is, Why It's Scarce, and How to Get More
4.2 (412 ratings)
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What's Rationality about?

Rationality (2021) explores the faculty that sets us apart from other species: reason. The ability to think rationally drives individual and social progress. It allows us to attain our goals and create a fairer world. But rationality isn’t just something we do as individuals – it also sustains our best institutions.

Who should read Rationality?

  • Would-be rationalists
  • Philosophical thinkers
  • Anyone who loves big ideas

The Human Condition Books: Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman

Four Thousand Weeks

Oliver Burkeman
Time Management for Mortals
4.5 (919 ratings)
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What's Four Thousand Weeks about?

Four Thousand Weeks (2021) explores concepts of time and time management, arguing that our modern attempts to optimize our time leave us stressed and unhappy. Drawing upon the work of ancient and contemporary philosophers, psychologists, and spiritual leaders, this book proposes a path to cultivating a fulfilling life through embracing our limitations.

Who should read Four Thousand Weeks?

  • Time management gurus
  • Philosophy students
  • Aspiring creatives and entrepreneurs

The Human Condition Books: The Sweet Spot  by Paul Bloom

The Sweet Spot

Paul Bloom
The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search For Meaning
4.5 (747 ratings)
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What's The Sweet Spot about?

The Sweet Spot (2021) is a refreshing antidote to all the books we read about being positive at all costs. It argues that negative experiences like pain, suffering, and discomfort are not something to be shied away from. In fact, they can add value to our lives. Instead of trying to avoid discomfort, we need to find the right discomfort. That is, the kind of challenge that makes our lives meaningful. 

Who should read The Sweet Spot ?

  • Self-help fans who are tired of all the toxic positivity
  • Psychology lovers looking for an original perspective on how pain and suffering affect our lives
  • Reflective seekers looking to understand what will give their lives a sense of purpose

The Human Condition Books: Living Presence by Kabir Edmund Helminski

Living Presence

Kabir Edmund Helminski
A Sufi Way to Mindfulness and the Essential Self
4.4 (195 ratings)
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What's Living Presence about?

Living Presence (1992) explores how the teachings of the ancient Islamic practice of Sufism can act as a balm against our fractured, ego-driven age. Sufism teaches that an infinite spirit connects all life and that by becoming mindful of the here and now, we can glimpse this spirit in ourselves and others. Ultimately, in connecting to this presence we allow ourselves to become kinder, more intentional, and more alive. In short, more human.

Who should read Living Presence?

  • Curious minds interested in exploring the practice of Sufi Islam
  • Big thinkers who sense there’s a greater truth beyond the veil of perception
  • Anyone looking for a guiding light through dark times

The Human Condition Books: What is Life? by Erwin Schrödinger

What is Life?

Erwin Schrödinger
With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches
4.4 (295 ratings)
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What's What is Life? about?

What is Life? (1944) is a classic scientific text based on a series of lectures given at Trinity College, Dublin, by famous physicist Erwin Schrödinger. Though Schrödinger was a physicist, these lectures addressed issues in biology and genetics –⁠ primarily the fundamental question of how physics and chemistry can account for the processes that occur within living organisms. The concepts he explored went on to spark a revolution in genetics, inspiring, among others, the biologists James D. Watson and Francis Crick, who together proposed the double helix structure of DNA.

Who should read What is Life??

  • Science geeks
  • Big-picture thinkers, ponderers, and questioners
  • Anyone who loves getting to the bottom of how the universe works

The Human Condition Books: The Daily Laws by Robert Greene

The Daily Laws

Robert Greene
366 Meditations on Power, Seduction, Mastery, Strategy, and Human Nature
4.5 (693 ratings)
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What's The Daily Laws about?

The Daily Laws (2021) is a compendium of 366 rules for life, covering everything from seduction and power to the discovery of your life’s great task. It distills the insights author Robert Greene has uncovered in a series of best-selling books spanning 22 years of word.

Who should read The Daily Laws?

  • Fans of Robert Greene’s best-selling work
  • People who’ve lost touch with their sense of purpose and drive
  • Anyone in need of a strong dose of wisdom

The Human Condition Books: A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century by Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein

A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century

Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein
Evolution and the Challenges of Modern Life
3.8 (427 ratings)
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What's A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century about?

Hunter Gatherers (2021) explores the mismatch between our evolutionary tendencies and our modern environments. It outlines how seemingly innocuous aspects of contemporary living are harming us, and stifling our true nature and potential.

Who should read A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century?

  • Psychology buffs looking for fresh insights
  • Anyone interested in evolutionary biology
  • Fans of natural history

The Human Condition Books: Switch Craft by Elaine Fox, PhD

Switch Craft

Elaine Fox, PhD
The Hidden Power of Mental Agility
4.4 (427 ratings)
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What's Switch Craft about?

Switch Craft: The Hidden Power of Mental Agility (2022) introduces the concept of switch craft – the art of being able to change and adapt in this fast-paced world. Drawing on scientific research and real life experience, switch craft uses the four pillars of mental agility, self-awareness, emotional awareness, and situational awareness, to give us the flexibility and understanding to thrive in any situation.

Who should read Switch Craft?

Switch Craft can and should easily translate into anyone’s day to day life, but its methods are especially fit for

  • Black or white thinkers looking for a fresh perspective on life
  • Those seeking hope after innumerous setbacks
  • Self-improvement enthusiasts.

The Human Condition Books: War by Margaret MacMillan


Margaret MacMillan
How Conflict Shaped Us
4.0 (208 ratings)
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What's War about?

War (2020) is a philosophical inquiry into the nature of human conflict. It considers war from different angles, examining what causes it, how we think about it, and how it affects us. By making an effort to understand war, we become better prepared to avoid it.

Who should read War?

  • Students of international and military history 
  • People interested in cultural and philosophical differences
  • Anyone fascinated or affected by human conflict

The Human Condition Books: Toward a Psychology of Being by Abraham H. Maslow

Toward a Psychology of Being

Abraham H. Maslow
4.5 (357 ratings)
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What's Toward a Psychology of Being about?

Toward a Psychology of Being (1962) expands on famed psychologist Abraham Maslow's pivotal theories of motivation and self-actualization, which were first introduced in Maslow's 1954 book, Motivation and Personality. It presents a series of hypotheses about the human condition, dealing with important questions about people’s innate desires, the nature of well-being, and the process of psychological growth.

Who should read Toward a Psychology of Being?

  • Psychology fanatics 
  • Aspiring self-actualizers who want to get more out of their lives
  • Parents, teachers, counselors, and all those who work with young people

The Human Condition Books: The Power of Regret by Daniel Pink

The Power of Regret

Daniel Pink
How Looking Backward Moves us Forward
4.6 (768 ratings)
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What's The Power of Regret about?

The Power of Regret (2022) is a rebuttal of the “no regrets” worldview. Drawing from human psychology, it shares actionable steps for transforming emotion into action and using past disappointments to shape purposeful futures. 

Who should read The Power of Regret?

  • Anyone who’s ever had a regret, no matter how big or small
  • Followers of the “no regrets” lifestyle who are ready to hear a new perspective 
  • Psychology fans who want to explore the underpinnings of a popular phenomenon

The Human Condition Books: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things

Cheryl Strayed
Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
4.1 (310 ratings)
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What's Tiny Beautiful Things about?

Tiny Beautiful Things (2012) is a collection of advice columns penned by Cheryl Strayed, the formerly anonymous author of “Dear Sugar” for the Rumpus. It takes readers on a beautiful but sorrowful journey through the different stages of our lives.

Who should read Tiny Beautiful Things?

  • Anyone seeking advice on life
  • Those overcoming depression
  • Individuals seeking healing

The Human Condition Books: Being You by Anil Seth

Being You

Anil Seth
A New Science of Consciousness
4.2 (507 ratings)
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What's Being You about?

Being You (2021) offers a new theory of consciousness. What does it mean to be you? Why do your experiences of the world, your selfhood, and your body feel the way they do? Combining neuroscience, philosophy, and a pinch of speculation, these blinks argue that consciousness is not as mysterious as it seems – it is deeply entwined with our living, breathing bodies.

Who should read Being You?

  • Science enthusiasts interested in the mystery of consciousness
  • The philosophically inclined
  • Fans and critics of Artificial Intelligence

The Human Condition Books: Dopamine Nation by Anna Lembke

Dopamine Nation

Anna Lembke
Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence
4.5 (642 ratings)
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What's Dopamine Nation about?

Dopamine Nation (2021) explores the connection between pleasure and pain. Our modern world is filled with more dopamine-inducing stimuli than ever – including everything from drugs and sex to smartphones and shopping. Citing years of clinical experience and patients’ stories, this book helps to understand addiction and explains how to achieve a healthy balance in our lives. 

Who should read Dopamine Nation?

  • People struggling to break bad habits
  • Family members of loved ones struggling with addiction
  • Anyone who can’t seem to put down their phone

The Human Condition Books: Bittersweet by Susan Cain


Susan Cain
How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole
4.7 (336 ratings)
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What's Bittersweet about?

Bittersweet (2022) is a profound meditation on an often overlooked emotional experience – the bittersweet. It argues that opening up to the bittersweet, where pain and joy mingle, allows us to experience life to the fullest. It also shows how vulnerability can be a strength, longing can be a guide, and sorrow can set us on the path to joy and fulfillment. 

Who should read Bittersweet?

  • Anyone who finds pleasure in sad songs and tear-jerker movies
  • People who’ve experienced loss or trauma and want to find a way back to joy
  • Lovers of the ephemeral, the impermanent, and the fleeting

The Human Condition Books: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Don Quixote

Miguel de Cervantes
4.4 (278 ratings)
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What's Don Quixote about?

Don Quixote (1605) is widely regarded as the first modern novel. Its claim to fame extends beyond historical novelty. For many readers and critics, it remains the greatest novel of its kind. It tells the story of a man who becomes so enchanted by tales of chivalry that he decides to become a knight-errant – a wandering gallant in the style of Lancelot. The self-styled knight who calls himself Don Quixote and his trusty sidekick Sancho Panza get themselves into all kinds of absurd mischief, but their foolish quest ultimately brings them something precious: an immortal friendship.

Who should read Don Quixote?

  • Anyone who’s been put off by the length of Cervantes’s great novel
  • Lovers of classic literature, tall tales, and absurd adventures
  • Anyone looking to put a face to the famous names Don Quixote and Sancho Panza

The Human Condition Books: Emotional by Leonard Mlodinow


Leonard Mlodinow
How Feelings Shape Our Thinking
4.4 (238 ratings)
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What's Emotional about?

Emotional (2022) explores a long-misunderstood part of the human psyche: emotions. It shows how neuroscience is shedding light on the role and importance of our emotions – and gives tips on how to control our emotions to lead better lives. 

Who should read Emotional?

  • Businesspeople who want to be more successful and effective in their roles
  • Individuals dealing with difficult-to-control emotions 
  • People struggling with motivation who want to form beneficial habits

The Human Condition Books: The Dharma in DNA by Dee Denver

The Dharma in DNA

Dee Denver
Insights at the Intersection of Biology and Buddhism
4.2 (287 ratings)
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What's The Dharma in DNA about?

The Dharma in DNA (2022) explores the intersections between Buddhist philosophy and biology. At first glance, these two traditions couldn’t be more different. One is spiritual; the other empirical. But there are overlaps. Both traditions are attempts to discover meaning, for one. But there’s more to it than that: both the teachings of the Buddha and the findings of biologists appear to converge on a similar understanding of what it means to be human.

Who should read The Dharma in DNA?

  • Open-minded rationalists and skeptics
  • Thinkers who love big ideas
  • Spiritualists interested in science

The Human Condition Books: Imagine Heaven by John Burke

Imagine Heaven

John Burke
Near-Death Experiences, God's Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You
4.2 (52 ratings)
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What's Imagine Heaven about?

Imagine Heaven (2015) offers a peek into what the afterlife may look like. It tells the stories of near-death experiences of a wide range of individuals, from highly respected doctors to innocent four-year-olds, and shows how their accounts are consistent with the scriptures.

Who should read Imagine Heaven?

  • Christians curious about life after death
  • Skeptics looking for proof of the existence of heaven
  • People intrigued by near-death experiences

The Human Condition Books: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library

Matt Haig
4.6 (114 ratings)
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What's The Midnight Library about?

The Midnight Library (2020) centers around the infinite lives of one person, Nora Seed. In the Midnight Library, she’s able to choose lives that she might have led if she had made different decisions. But, as Nora soon finds out, the reality of life based on those decisions doesn’t always turn out the way it was imagined.

Who should read The Midnight Library?

  • Anyone whose regrets lie heavily in their thoughts
  • Science-fiction lovers
  • Those who think they need to understand life

The Human Condition Books: Beowulf by Unknown


4.6 (198 ratings)
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What's Beowulf about?

Beowulf is a masterpiece of Anglo-Saxon literature, set in sixth-century Scandinavia. The narrative poem recounts the heroic exploits of Beowulf, who battles monsters and eventually becomes king.

Who should read Beowulf?

  • Fantasy fans
  • People who enjoy stories of adventure and heroism
  • Anyone interested in the origins of English literature

The Human Condition Books: Crazy Joy by Mary Katherine Backstrom

Crazy Joy

Mary Katherine Backstrom
Finding Wild Happiness in a World That's Upside Down
4.0 (67 ratings)
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What's Crazy Joy about?

Crazy Joy (2022) dives deep into the nature of joy. Drawing from philosophy, humor, and faith, it helps you discover your own, unique joy, and how to cultivate it even in life’s hardest moments.

Who should read Crazy Joy?

  • Anyone struggling with mental health
  • Burned-out perfectionists
  • Parents juggling too much

The Human Condition Books: The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene

The 33 Strategies of War

Robert Greene
4.1 (309 ratings)
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What's The 33 Strategies of War about?

The 33 Strategies of War (2006) distills the essential lessons of military strategy into a series of memorable vignettes. Drawing on ancient and modern sources, this wide-ranging study of tactical masterstrokes and follies offers fascinating insights into human psychology and motivation.

Who should read The 33 Strategies of War?

  • Thinkers and doers
  • History buffs
  • Psychologists

The Human Condition Books: Be the Love by Sarah Prout

Be the Love

Sarah Prout
Seven Ways to Unlock Your Heart and Manifest Happiness
4.5 (341 ratings)
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What's Be the Love about?

Be the Love (2022) offers valuable insights on how to overcome the hardships of everyday life. It provides helpful tools and a mindset to thrive and become more resilient in the face of daily challenges. 

Who should read Be the Love?

  • Overwhelmed people seeking guidance
  • Anyone looking for a new practical philosophy
  • Fans of inspirational stories

The Human Condition Books: Life Is Hard by Kieran Setiya

Life Is Hard

Kieran Setiya
How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way
4.0 (385 ratings)
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What's Life Is Hard about?

Life Is Hard (2022) takes a close look at common struggles – like infirmity, loneliness, grief, and failure – through the lens of philosophy, as well as fiction, sports, history, and personal anecdotes. By examining the familiar hardships of the human condition, we can learn how to live well.

Who should read Life Is Hard?

  • Anyone feeling overwhelmed by the hardships and injustice across the globe
  • People trying to cope with personal struggles
  • Fans of practical, accessible philosophy

The Human Condition Books: Do Hard Things by Steve Magness

Do Hard Things

Steve Magness
Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness
4.5 (509 ratings)
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What's Do Hard Things about?

Do Hard Things (2022) explodes mythologies around the popular conception of toughness. It shows how traditional markers of toughness, like putting on a brave face and pushing past pain, can actually hinder physical and mental performance outcomes in the long term. Instead, real resilience comes from listening to your body and embracing your emotions.

Who should read Do Hard Things?

  • Employees who need resilience to succeed in challenging, high-stress roles;
  • Athletes and fitness fans wanting to build physical and mental fortitude;
  • Anyone who wants to face challenges with authentic toughness.

The Human Condition Books: Stop Self-Sabotage by Dr. Judy Ho, PhD

Stop Self-Sabotage

Dr. Judy Ho, PhD
Six Steps to Unlock Your True Motivation, Harness Your Willpower, and Get Out of Your Own Way
4.0 (390 ratings)
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What's Stop Self-Sabotage about?

Stop Self-Sabotage (2019) outlines a six-step guide to identifying and overcoming behaviors that counteract people’s ability to reach goals of all kinds. The clinically proven process includes exercises, practical advice, and real-life examples of how people have used the method to change their lives.

Who should read Stop Self-Sabotage?

  • Procrastinators
  • Anyone who struggles with motivation or willpower to achieve their goals
  • People looking to make positive changes quickly and efficiently

The Human Condition Books: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy
4.2 (182 ratings)
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What's War and Peace about?

War and Peace (1869) is a novel that follows the lives of several aristocratic families during the French invasion of Russia and the Napoleonic Wars. It explores themes of love, war, politics, and the human condition, and is considered one of the great works of literature.

Who should read War and Peace?

  • Curious minds craving timeless wisdom
  • Eager explorers of Russia’s literary landscapes
  • Time travelers fond of the Napoleonic era

The Human Condition Books: Soul Boom by Rainn Wilson

Soul Boom

Rainn Wilson
Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution
4.3 (26 ratings)
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What's Soul Boom about?

Soul Boom (2023) is a thoughtful and entertaining exploration into what spirituality can offer us in the face of today’s many problems. Through an open inquiry into timeless spiritual wisdom, as well as a host of quirky popular culture analogies, it shows how a spiritual revolution has the potential to heal us as individuals and as a society. 

Who should read Soul Boom?

  • Spiritually-minded people who want to deepen their understanding of the soul
  • People who want to see positive change in the world
  • Anyone who knows who Dwight Schrute is

The Human Condition Books: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life

Hanya Yanagihara
4.8 (28 ratings)
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What's A Little Life about?

A Little Life (2015) follows the lives of four friends in New York City: aspiring actor Willem, moody painter JB, quiet architect Malcolm, and the brilliant, mysterious litigator Jude. Over the years, the four friends grow together, drift apart, find love and success, and struggle with loss and addiction. As enigmatic Jude gradually moves into the center of the narrative, the full extent of his unbearable burden begins to reveal itself. 

Who should read A Little Life?

  • People who enjoy character-driven literature
  • Fans of stories about complex relationships 
  • Anyone in need of a good cry

The Human Condition Books: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare
4.8 (40 ratings)
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What's Romeo and Juliet about?

Romeo and Juliet (c. 1591-1597) is the iconic tragedy of two youths who fall in love amid the feud raging between their two families. The many themes it explores include love and hate, fate and free will, and dream and reality.

Who should read Romeo and Juliet?

  • Romantic souls
  • Shakespeare fans who want a Romeo and Juliet refresher
  • Anyone trying to up their knowledge of classic literature

The Human Condition Books: Antigone by Sophocles


4.8 (35 ratings)
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What's Antigone about?

Antigone (c. 441 BC) is a tragedy by Sophocles, one of ancient Greece’s greatest playwrights. After a civil war, two brothers – the leaders of rival factions – are dead. One is remembered as a patriotic hero; the other, as a treacherous usurper. The king of Thebes, Creon, has forbidden anyone to bury the traitor – an order the man’s sister, Antigone, can’t square with her conscience. The stage is set for a conflict pitting the individual against the state, justice against law, idealism against realism, and a defiant woman against a male-dominated world.

Who should read Antigone?

  • Theater enthusiasts interested in the history of drama
  • Fans of classical literature and mythology
  • Anyone interested in exploring themes of morality, family, and power

The Human Condition Books: East of Eden by John Steinbeck

East of Eden

John Steinbeck
4.6 (75 ratings)
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What's East of Eden about?

East of Eden (1952) is a sweeping epic that centers around three generations of the Trask family. Growing up, Adam Trask competed with his brother for his father’s love – with jealousy and vengeance leading to violent consequences. When Adam has children of his own, he struggles to spare them the same fate.

Who should read East of Eden?

  • Fans of the great American novel
  • Lovers of classic Westerns
  • Anyone who enjoys epics or family dramas

The Human Condition Books: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


Mary Shelley
The Modern Prometheus
4.7 (216 ratings)
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What's Frankenstein about?

Frankenstein (1818) is a Gothic horror classic that tells the tale of ambitious young scientist Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with the idea of creating life, Frankenstein assembles a freakish human-like monster. But when he animates it, he’s shocked at the horror he’s created. Although the monster seeks affection at first, it’s continually rejected and eventually seeks revenge on humankind.

Who should read Frankenstein?

  • Anyone who knows the name Frankenstein but has never read the book
  • Fans of a good horror story that makes you squirm
  • Lovers of classic literature

The Human Condition Books: Hamlet by William Shakespeare


William Shakespeare
4.8 (80 ratings)
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What's Hamlet about?

Hamlet (c. 1509-1601) is widely regarded as Shakespeare’s greatest play. A tragedy in five parts, it tells the story of Prince Hamlet, a thinker who must turn to action to avenge his father. It’s not only the finely crafted plot that’s fascinated readers and theatergoers down the centuries, though – Hamlet is also a penetrating study of the meaning of life and death.

Who should read Hamlet?

  • Shakespeare lovers who haven’t gotten around to reading Hamlet
  • Those who find Shakespeare’s original language difficult to enjoy
  • Fans of Hamlet who want a refresher

The Human Condition Books: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

The Prophet

Kahlil Gibran
4.5 (61 ratings)
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What's The Prophet about?

The Prophet (1923) follows the prophet Almustafa during his departure from the fictional city of Orphalese. As the community bids Almustafa farewell by the harbor, they petition him to share some final nuggets of wisdom from the deep well of his mind. What follows is a collection of profound insights into various aspects of life and the human condition.

Who should read The Prophet?

  • Anyone seeking inspiration
  • Teenagers on the cusp of adulthood
  • Lost souls in need of spiritual guidance

The Human Condition Books: The Worry Trick by David A. Carbonell

The Worry Trick

David A. Carbonell
How Your Brain Tricks You Into Expecting the Worst and What You Can Do about It
4.3 (374 ratings)
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What's The Worry Trick about?

The Worry Trick (2016) is a no-nonsense guide to dealing with worry and anxiety. Drawing from acceptance and commitment therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, it breaks down where worry comes from and offers concrete steps on how to face and ultimately overcome it.  

Who should read The Worry Trick?

  • Anyone who deals with chronic worry
  • Psychologists looking to deepen their knowledge of anxiety
  • Students of the human condition

The Human Condition Books: The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

The Cask of Amontillado

Edgar Allan Poe
4.2 (154 ratings)
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What's The Cask of Amontillado about?

The Cask of Amontillado (1846) is a chilling tale about one man’s expertly plotted revenge on another who has insulted him. It is a story of deceit, detachment and coolly premeditated murder.  

Who should read The Cask of Amontillado?

  • Fans of the legend that is Edgar Allen Poe
  • Lovers of the dark and the macabre
  • Anyone who loves a well-written story

The Human Condition Books: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
4.5 (177 ratings)
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What's The Book Thief about?

The Book Thief (2006) is a story about a young girl living in Nazi Germany who makes her way in the world by stealing books. With Death as the narrator, it follows her coming of age in the most difficult of times and places. 

Who should read The Book Thief?

  • Fans of historical fiction
  • Lovers of tales full of emotion and humanity
  • Seekers of literary thrills

The Human Condition Books: Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Friedrich Nietzsche
4.3 (424 ratings)
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What's Thus Spoke Zarathustra about?

Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883) is a philosophical novel by Friedrich Nietzsche that explores the themes of religion, morality, culture, and society. It follows the journey of Zarathustra, a prophet who leaves his cave to share his wisdom with humanity. Along the way he encounters various characters who test his vision, and grapples with his own shortcomings.

Who should read Thus Spoke Zarathustra?

  • Those who like to challenge their own assumptions and values
  • People who enjoy poetic and metaphorical language and imagery
  • Students of history, philosophy, and culture

The Human Condition Books: The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

The Anthropocene Reviewed

John Green
Essays on a Human-Centered Planet
4.2 (19 ratings)
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What's The Anthropocene Reviewed about?

The Anthropocene Reviewed (2021) offers a unique collection of essays exploring the human experience in the current geological age known as the Anthropocene. It delves into various aspects of human life and the world, reviewing them on a somewhat satirical five-star scale, blending humor with deep reflection on the complexities and paradoxes of modern human existence.

Who should read The Anthropocene Reviewed?

  • Environmental enthusiasts exploring the impact of humans on Earth
  • Young adults interested in introspective, reflective writings
  • Admirers of John Green's narrative style and humor

The Human Condition Books: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Shirley Jackson
4.6 (10 ratings)
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What's We Have Always Lived in the Castle about?

We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962) tells the mysterious tale of the eccentric Blackwood sisters, Mary Katherine and Constance, who live isolated in their family estate after a tragic incident. As the sisters navigate their peculiar world, dark secrets unravel, making this a gothic and suspenseful exploration of family, mystery, and the haunting power of the past.

Who should read We Have Always Lived in the Castle?

  • Fans of gothic fiction
  • Readers who enjoy a strong female protagonist
  • Anyone interested in classic literature

The Human Condition Books: The Sacred and the Profane by Mircea Eliade

The Sacred and the Profane

Mircea Eliade
The Nature of Religion
3.4 (44 ratings)
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What's The Sacred and the Profane about?

The Sacred and the Profane (1957) looks at the dichotomy between religious and secular life, exploring how various cultures perceive and experience the sacred. By contrasting the traditional understanding of sacred time and space with the secular, linear perspective prevalent in modern societies it offers a deep analysis of how the sacred has shaped religious practices and beliefs throughout history.

Who should read The Sacred and the Profane?

  • Students of religious studies and theology
  • Philosophers interested in existential and metaphysical concepts
  • Historians exploring the evolution of religious beliefs

The Human Condition Books: Phaedo by Plato


4.5 (20 ratings)
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What's Phaedo about?

Phaedo (written around 360 BC), discusses the immortality of the soul, life after death, and true philosophy. It showcases Socratic dialogues, where Socrates, on his deathbed, debates these subjects with his disciples.

Who should read Phaedo?

  • Philosophy enthusiasts
  • Those interested in the afterlife
  • Seekers of metaphysical knowledge

The Human Condition Books: The Trial by Franz Kafka

The Trial

Franz Kafka
4.3 (16 ratings)
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What's The Trial about?

The Trial ( 1925 ) tells the distressing story of Josef K. who wakes up one morning to find he’s under arrest for an unnamed offense. As cryptic legal proceedings unfold around him, K. struggles to make sense of his predicament or convince others of his innocence. It’s a  disturbing parable that raises philosophical questions about personal dignity and free will when pitted against entrenched bureaucracies.

Who should read The Trial?

  • People who appreciate surreal, disorienting stories
  • Readers and listeners grappling with existential questions
  • Anyone who feels alienated from bureaucracy

The Human Condition Books: The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe

The Black Cat

Edgar Allen Poe
3.9 (11 ratings)
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What's The Black Cat about?

The Black Cat (1843) explores the dark themes of guilt, perversity, and violence. It's a tale of a man driven to self-destruction by his own malevolent actions and the haunting presence of a vengeful black cat.

Who should read The Black Cat?

  • Fans of Gothic fiction  
  • Psychology enthusiasts  
  • Horror literature aficionados

The Human Condition Books: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog by Bruce D. Perry & Maia Szalavitz

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog

Bruce D. Perry & Maia Szalavitz
And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook – What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love, and Healing
4.4 (23 ratings)
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What's The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog about?

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog (2006) presents a series of case studies to explore the profound impacts of childhood trauma – and the resilience and adaptability of the human brain. Through the diverse experiences of young people who have faced unimaginable abuse and neglect, it illustrates how innovative therapeutic approaches can facilitate healing and recovery.

Who should read The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog?

  • Mental health professionals interested in how trauma impacts child development – and effective therapeutic interventions
  • Social workers wishing to better understand child trauma and its repercussions to support at-risk children and families
  • Parents or caregivers who want to know the minds of their children (and people in general)

The Human Condition Books: Becoming Myself by Irvin D. Yalom

Becoming Myself

Irvin D. Yalom
A Psychiatrist's Memoir
3.8 (136 ratings)
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What's Becoming Myself about?

Becoming Myself (2017) is a rare peek behind the curtain at the personal and professional life of one of the world’s most prominent psychotherapists. Weaving intimate anecdotes with therapeutic insights, it offers a unique, strikingly candid perspective on the human condition and the transformative power of psychotherapy. 

Who should read Becoming Myself?

  • Practicing psychotherapists and psychiatrists 
  • Individuals curious about a therapist’s personal and professional experience
  • Those interested in existential psychotherapy and self-discovery

The Human Condition Books: Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Women Who Run with the Wolves

Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
4.3 (52 ratings)
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What's Women Who Run with the Wolves about?

Women Who Run with the Wolves (1989) is a profoundly influential work of Jungian psychology that has shown countless women how to connect with the wise, abiding, and untameable presence of the Wild Woman archetype in their own psyches.

Who should read Women Who Run with the Wolves?

  • Women who want to awaken their innate connection to wildness and instinct
  • Women who crave deeper experiences and relationships 
  • Women who yearn to rekindle their intuition

The Human Condition Books: The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell

The Conquest of Happiness

Bertrand Russell
4.5 (103 ratings)
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What's The Conquest of Happiness about?

The Conquest of Happiness (1930) explores the pursuit of human happiness. It dissects common obstacles to happiness, such as competition and fatigue, as well as the various factors that contribute to it. Equal parts philosophical and practical, you’ll come away with a deepened understanding of, and preparedness for, a fulfilling life. 

Who should read The Conquest of Happiness?

  • Anyone wanting to increase their sense of fulfillment
  • Individuals interested in the development of the personal happiness movement
  • Philosophy enthusiasts seeking an understanding of Russell’s perspective

The Human Condition Books: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Milan Kundera
4.2 (52 ratings)
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What's The Unbearable Lightness of Being about?

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984) tells the story of the intertwined lives of two couples navigating love, politics, and existential dilemmas in Soviet-era Czechoslovakia. By exploring the concepts of “lightness” and “weight” it offers reflections on fate, the choices we make in life, and the very nature of existence.

Who should read The Unbearable Lightness of Being?

  • Philosophers looking to explore the nature of existence through a classic narrative
  • History buffs interested in personal lives amid the politics of Soviet-era Czechoslovakia
  • Artists curious about the interplay between personal freedom and societal constraints

The Human Condition Books: Optimal Illusions by Coco Krumme

Optimal Illusions

Coco Krumme
The False Promise of Optimization
3.2 (61 ratings)
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What's Optimal Illusions about?

Optimal Illusions (2023) explores the potential pitfalls of over-optimization. Unpacking the consequences of a world obsessed with efficiency, it sheds light on social imbalances, environmental damage, and the unyielding grip of rigid systems. Brace yourself for a paradigm shift as it unveils a new way to optimize – one that balances efficiency with resilience, diversity, and inclusion.

Who should read Optimal Illusions?

  • Strategists seeking resilience
  • Innovators embracing complexity
  • Leaders prioritizing humanity

The Human Condition Books: Visual Thinking by Temple Grandin

Visual Thinking

Temple Grandin
The Hidden Gifts of People Who Think in Pictures, Patterns, and Abstractions
4.1 (225 ratings)
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What's Visual Thinking about?

Visual Thinking (2022) offers an authoritative view on different ways of thinking, and how those differences have been crucial to many of our biggest creative advancements. It shows how society tends to be biased toward verbal thinkers – and how visual thinkers, albeit typically underserved in society, bring an array of crucial skills to various domains.

Who should read Visual Thinking?

  • Anyone curious about autism
  • Artists and creative minds
  • People interested in team-building

The Human Condition Books: Ethics by Baruch Spinoza


Baruch Spinoza
4.5 (261 ratings)
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What's Ethics about?

Ethics (1677) is Spinoza’s enigmatic masterwork that changed philosophy. One of only two published works by the author, with the other published anonymously, the text became a flashpoint for divisions around the nature of god, religion, and nature, as well as a foundation for traditions of western mysticism and spirituality ever since.

Who should read Ethics?

  • Philosophy lovers curious about the works that shaped modern thought
  • History buffs looking for more on the great minds of the past
  • Mystical thinkers curious about the nature of the universe

The Human Condition Books: Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre

Being and Nothingness

Jean-Paul Sartre
A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology
4.4 (168 ratings)
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What's Being and Nothingness about?

Being and Nothingness (1943) is a seminal work of existentialist philosophy. It explores the major themes of existentialism, such as the intricacies of human consciousness, free will, and the interplay of objectivity and subjectivity.

Who should read Being and Nothingness?

  • Students and scholars of philosophy
  • People interested in intellectual history and influential philosophical texts
  • Anyone grappling with questions of meaning, identity, and consciousness

The Human Condition Books: The Porn Myth by Matt Fradd

The Porn Myth

Matt Fradd
Exposing the Reality Behind the Fantasy of Pornography
4.0 (154 ratings)
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What's The Porn Myth about?

The Porn Myth (2017) offers a secular rebuttal to pro-pornography advocacy, drawing on research in neuroscience, sociology, and psychology. With insightful analysis of the latest scientific findings on addiction and harm, the book dispels myths, exposes porn's negative impacts, and provides advice on overcoming porn addiction. 

Who should read The Porn Myth?

  • People struggling with porn addiction who want to break free
  • Activists and advocates against the harms of the porn industry
  • Religious people looking for secular arguments against porn

The Human Condition Books: The Status Game by Will Storr

The Status Game

Will Storr
On Human Life and How to Play It
4.4 (333 ratings)
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What's The Status Game about?

The Status Game (2019) explores the unspoken social hierarchies and competitions for status that drive much of human behavior. Examining the hidden rules of the status game provides insight into the psychological dynamics behind people’s everyday choices and interactions, clearing a path for the ethical player to maintain their locus while thriving in a chaotic world.

Who should read The Status Game?

  • People fascinated by psychology and human behavior
  • Those seeking self-knowledge and personal growth
  • All interested in social dynamics and influence

The Human Condition Books: Doppelganger by Naomi Klein


Naomi Klein
A Trip into the Mirror World
3.8 (26 ratings)
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What's Doppelganger about?

Doppelganger (2023) explores what happened after the author, Naomi Klein, spent years being mistaken for media personality Naomi Wolf, her ideological opposite, and how this bizarre situation provided insight into our polarized era. Blending memoir, analysis, and doppelganger mythology, Klein uses her uncanny experience to investigate the fragmented culture of social media avatars, conspiracy thinking, and political tribalism threatening modern democracies.

Who should read Doppelganger?

  • Those curious about the impacts of social media on society and politics
  • Political thinkers concerned with increasing polarization and conspiracy theories
  • Anyone seeking insights on how to bridge divides and find common ground in a divided culture

The Human Condition Books: The Bhagavad Gita by Vyasa

The Bhagavad Gita

4.5 (144 ratings)
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What's The Bhagavad Gita about?

The Bhagavad Gita is a self-contained episode of the Mahabharata, an epic poem about the devastating rivalry between two clans for control of the kingdom of Bharata in ancient India. Composed around the third century BCE, the 700 verses of the Bhagavad Gita explore questions of social and religious duty, the nature of human action, and our relationship to God. For many readers, scholars, and believers, it is the quintessential religious text in Hinduism.

Who should read The Bhagavad Gita?

  • Seekers exploring Eastern spirituality
  • History buffs interested in India and its religions
  • Curious minds open to ancient insights 

The Human Condition Books: The Polyvagal Theory by Stephen W. Porges

The Polyvagal Theory

Stephen W. Porges
Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation
3.3 (379 ratings)
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What's The Polyvagal Theory about?

The Polyvagal Theory (2011) introduces a groundbreaking understanding of the autonomic nervous system, emphasizing its role in social behavior, emotional regulation, and mental health. The theory posits the existence of three neural circuits within the autonomic nervous system, each of which plays a crucial role in shaping our psychological and physiological responses. Through this lens, it explores the neurobiological foundations of emotions, social connections, and health – offering new insights and implications for therapy, research, and interpersonal relationships.

Who should read The Polyvagal Theory?

  • Therapists seeking to understand the autonomic nervous system's role in mental health
  • Parents looking to comprehend and support their children's emotional development
  • Anyone interested in the brain-body connection and enhancing their overall well-being

The Human Condition Books: Psychedelics and Psychotherapy by Tim Read & Maria Papaspyrou

Psychedelics and Psychotherapy

Tim Read & Maria Papaspyrou
The Healing Potential of Expanded States
4.0 (16 ratings)
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What's Psychedelics and Psychotherapy about?

Psychedelics and Psychotherapy (2021) is a thoughtful exploration of how substances and techniques like ayahuasca, MDMA, and holotropic breathwork can unlock our innate capacity for wholeness. Combining wisdom from Indigenous cultures with insights from Western psychology and science, it reveals how psychedelic experiences allow people to access and process repressed emotions and memories, which can help them heal from various mental health challenges. Simultaneously, it stresses the importance of context and intention behind psychedelic use, recommending guided sessions with trained facilitators who can lead people through psychedelic experiences safely and responsibly.

Who should read Psychedelics and Psychotherapy?

  • Mental health professionals interested in alternative therapeutic approaches
  • Individuals experiencing mental health issues
  • Psychonauts interested in the therapeutic potential of psychedelics

The Human Condition Books: How to Read Lacan by Slavoj Žižek

How to Read Lacan

Slavoj Žižek
3.7 (261 ratings)
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What's How to Read Lacan about?

How to Read Lacan (2007) offers a deep dive into the perplexing landscape of our inner psyche through the lens of twentieth-century psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Jacques Lacan. It unravels the mysteries of unconscious beliefs, from the paradoxes of atheism to the rituals that mask genuine feelings. It leads us through an eye-opening journey, challenging our perceptions, and uncovering the unseen forces shaping our daily lives.

Who should read How to Read Lacan?

  • Philosophy lovers seeking deeper understanding
  • Students of psychological and behavioral sciences
  • Enthusiasts of introspection and self-exploration

The Human Condition Books: How to Know a Person by David Brooks

How to Know a Person

David Brooks
The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen
4.4 (528 ratings)
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What's How to Know a Person about?

How to Know a Person (2023) challenges us to set aside our egos and look beyond people’s superficial traits to really get to know them: their stories, their passions, their motivations, and more. It acknowledges that being able to see someone and make them feel seen is hard –⁠ and yet it’s essential for cultivating healthy relationships. Fortunately, with some dedication, we can all learn how to have healthier, deeper conversations; give people quality attention; and see people in all their delightful complexity.

Who should read How to Know a Person?

  • Personal growth-seekers
  • Those starving for human connection and companionship
  • Coaches, counselors, social workers, psychologists, and HR professionals

The Human Condition Books: Gifted and Distractible by Julie F. Skolnick

Gifted and Distractible

Julie F. Skolnick
Understanding, Supporting, and Advocating for Your Twice Exceptional Child
4.1 (21 ratings)
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What's Gifted and Distractible about?

Gifted and Distractible (2023) offers research-based strategies to support children who exhibit both giftedness and learning differences. The guide helps parents and teachers move beyond misconceptions that intellectual talent guarantees social and emotional success, and provides strength-based tools to nurture these remarkable yet often misunderstood kids.

Who should read Gifted and Distractible?

  • Parents who want to see their gifted children thrive
  • Educators looking to support the gifted children in their care
  • Clinicians or other experts who work with 2e children

The Human Condition Books: Free Agents by Kevin J. Mitchell

Free Agents

Kevin J. Mitchell
How Evolution Gave Us Free Will
4.1 (234 ratings)
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What's Free Agents about?

Free Agents (2023) makes the case that we do have free will and are not just machines responding to physics. Tracing the evolutionary history of purposeful decision-making back billions of years, the book explores abilities like imagination, introspection, and causal reasoning that developed over time to allow us to predict outcomes, shape our futures based on our sense of identity, and exercise individual and collective agency over our lives. 

Who should read Free Agents?

  • Philosophers and thinkers
  • Science enthusiasts
  • Anyone interested in the question free will 

The Human Condition Books: Complex Borderline Personality Disorder by Daniel J. Fox

Complex Borderline Personality Disorder

Daniel J. Fox
How Coexisting Conditions Affect Your BPD and How You Can Gain Emotional Balance
3.7 (103 ratings)
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What's Complex Borderline Personality Disorder about?

Complex Borderline Personality Disorder (2022) unravels the layers of a multifaceted mental health condition. It guides you through understanding the intertwining of intense emotions, behavioral challenges, and co-occurring mental health issues, offering insights for those directly affected or supporting loved ones. This exploration empowers you with strategies for effective management, fostering resilience, healthier relationships, and personal growth.

Who should read Complex Borderline Personality Disorder?

  • Mental health professionals seeking specialized knowledge
  • Individuals diagnosed with Complex Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Family members supporting loved ones with CBPD

The Human Condition Books: Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher

Capitalist Realism

Mark Fisher
Is There No Alternative?
3.9 (220 ratings)
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What's Capitalist Realism about?

Capitalist Realism (2009) offers an analysis of how contemporary society is shaped and constrained by capitalist ideology. You'll explore the concept of “capitalist realism” – the pervasive sense that no alternative to capitalism is possible. This influential work challenges you to consider the psychological and cultural impacts of living under such a dominant economic system, prompting a reevaluation of societal structures and personal beliefs.

Who should read Capitalist Realism?

  • Anyone feeling let down by our current social or economic systems
  • Activists seeking insights on capitalist influence in society
  • Students of political theory or philosophy

The Human Condition Books: What Doesn't Kill Us by Scott Carney

What Doesn't Kill Us

Scott Carney
How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength
4.0 (212 ratings)
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What's What Doesn't Kill Us about?

What Doesn't Kill Us (2017) investigates the human body’s potential to overcome extreme environmental conditions through engaging with frigid temperatures and high altitudes. It presents a compelling argument for the health benefits of environmental conditioning and the ways it can help individuals reconnect with their evolutionary resilience. By outlining techniques that challenge the body’s comfort, it offers a glimpse into the potential for improved physical and mental fortitude.

Who should read What Doesn't Kill Us?

  • Fitness enthusiasts interested in alternative training methods
  • Adventure sports athletes and trainers
  • Advocates of the paleo lifestyle and diet

The Human Condition Books: Strangers to Ourselves by Rachel Aviv

Strangers to Ourselves

Rachel Aviv
Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us
3.7 (33 ratings)
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What's Strangers to Ourselves about?

Strangers to Ourselves (2022) is a collection of stories exploring new ways of thinking about mental illness. By shedding light on the people behind the diagnoses, it reveals the humanity that connects us all.

Who should read Strangers to Ourselves?

  • Those living with or interested in mental health issues
  • People looking for intimate personal stories
  • Anyone who has felt limited by a psychiatric diagnosis

The Human Condition Books: Determined by Robert M. Sapolsky


Robert M. Sapolsky
Life without Free Will
4.2 (464 ratings)
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What's Determined about?

Determined (2023) argues that free will is an illusion – all human behavior stems from biological and cultural factors we don't control. Through scientific research and case studies, it lays out the argument in favor of determinism, and aims to persuade why rejecting the notion of free will might be a positive step.

Who should read Determined?

  • Philosophers interested in free will, determinism, and human agency
  • Neuroscientists and psychologists studying decision-making
  • Anyone curious about what guides human behavior and choices

The Human Condition Books: The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne

The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook

Edmund J. Bourne
3.9 (44 ratings)
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What's The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook about?

The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook (1990) is a comprehensive guide that offers practical strategies to manage and overcome anxiety. Covering a range of topics, from self-esteem and nutrition to meditation and other coping strategies, it provides a holistic approach to mental well-being, offering many actionable steps for a more fulfilling life.

Who should read The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook?

  • Fans of self-help tips
  • Anyone who experiences anxiety or panic attacks
  • Stress-free life seekers

The Human Condition Books: How Trust Works by Peter H. Kim

How Trust Works

Peter H. Kim
The Science of How Relationships Are Built, Broken, and Repaired
3.8 (78 ratings)
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What's How Trust Works about?

How Trust Works (2023) delves into the intricate dynamics of trust, exploring its fundamental role in forming, breaking, and repairing relationships. It offers a comprehensive guide to understanding how trust operates within personal and community connections, backed by extensive research in the field of trust repair. 

Who should read How Trust Works?

  • Relationship counselors and therapists seeking trust-building strategies
  • Business leaders and managers focused on team cohesion
  • Anyone interested in improving personal and professional relationships

The Human Condition Books: The Conscious Mind by David J. Chalmers

The Conscious Mind

David J. Chalmers
In Search of a Fundamental Theory
4.0 (41 ratings)
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What's The Conscious Mind about?

The Conscious Mind (1996) is a groundbreaking work analyzing why subjective experience has remained so resistant to conventional scientific explanations. It argues that consciousness must be considered a fundamental property woven into reality rather than an illusory emergent product of brain computations.

Who should read The Conscious Mind?

  • Technologists and futurists contemplating machine consciousness
  • Curious minds exploring the connections between science and spirit
  • Anyone appreciating thought experiments that challenge fundamental assumptions about reality

The Human Condition Books: The Order of Things by Michel Foucault

The Order of Things

Michel Foucault
An Archaeology of Human Sciences
4.3 (56 ratings)
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What's The Order of Things about?

The Order of Things (1966) is a philosophical examination of our most basic beliefs about knowledge. With depth and skill, it exposes the shaky foundations holding up society’s perceived truths and argues that much of what we know actually just relies on chance.

Who should read The Order of Things?

  • Philosophers interested in theories of language and knowledge
  • Students of history and science
  • Critical thinkers questioning modern scientific paradigms

The Human Condition Books: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

The Corrections

Jonathan Franzen
3.7 (82 ratings)
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What's The Corrections about?

The Corrections (2001) invites you into an exploration of family dynamics, as it delves into the turbulent lives of the Lambert family. You’ll find yourself engrossed in their struggles with personal demons, societal pressures, and the relentless march of time.

Who should read The Corrections?

  • Fans of contemporary family dramas
  • Anyone interested in explorations of societal norms and aging
  • Enthusiasts of literary fiction with psychological depth

The Human Condition Books: The Age of AI by Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt & Daniel Huttenlocher

The Age of AI

Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt & Daniel Huttenlocher
And Our Human Future
3.8 (251 ratings)
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What's The Age of AI about?

The Age of AI (2021) examines the evolution of artificial intelligence, how it’s increasingly integrated into all facets of life, and profound questions surrounding AI’s relationship to ethics, security, economics, and the human experience itself.

Who should read The Age of AI?

  • Technology enthusiasts and professionals
  • Business leaders and entrepreneurs
  • Policymakers and ethicists

The Human Condition Books: The Burnout Society by Byung-Chul Han

The Burnout Society

Byung-Chul Han
4.0 (141 ratings)
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What's The Burnout Society about?

The Burnout Society (2010) delves into the contemporary epidemic of exhaustion and mental overload, revealing how your pursuit of success and productivity in a hyper-connected world might be leading to a state of collective burnout. It challenges you to rethink societal norms and personal values, offering insights into navigating the pressures of modern life. 

Who should read The Burnout Society?

  • Professionals seeking work-life balance
  • Students studying societal trends and psychology
  • Advocates for mental health and wellness

The Human Condition Books: Staring at the Sun by Irvin D. Yalom

Staring at the Sun

Irvin D. Yalom
Overcoming the Terror of Death
4.0 (22 ratings)
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What's Staring at the Sun about?

Staring at the Sun (2008) explores the universal human fear of death and strategies for alleviating death anxiety. It blends psychotherapy case studies with philosophical ideas to argue confronting mortality is key to living a meaningful, present-focused life. Through vivid patient stories, it illuminates how facing death enables you to prioritize what really matters.

Who should read Staring at the Sun?

  • People anxious about death
  • Therapists hoping to understand more about death anxiety 
  • Anyone who’s coming to terms with the fact that they’re going to die one day

The Human Condition Books: Eve by Cat Bohannon


Cat Bohannon
How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution
4.4 (94 ratings)
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What's Eve about?

Eve (2023) is a witty corrective to human evolution, spanning 200 million years of biology. Asking why science overlooked key questions about female bodies, it upends male-centric assumptions about how our species evolved. Ranging from wet nurses to C-sections, these musings will change what you think you know about evolution.

Who should read Eve?

  • Readers interested in evolutionary biology and the history of the female body
  • Feminists seeking greater scientific understanding of human evolution
  • Students and academics studying gender, reproduction, and human development

The Human Condition Books: Emotional Design by Donald A. Norman

Emotional Design

Donald A. Norman
Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things
3.4 (264 ratings)
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What's Emotional Design about?

Emotional Design (2003) delves into how emotions influence our interactions with everyday objects. It explores the three levels of design – visceral, behavioral, and reflective – and how they affect our perceptions, use, and memories of products. This book reveals the importance of these elements in creating designs that not only function well but also create emotional connections with users.

Who should read Emotional Design?

  • Design enthusiasts
  • Marketing professionals
  • Product developers

The Human Condition Books: Strangers by Taichi Yamada


Taichi Yamada
Uncover a Haunting World Amid Tokyo’s Mysterious Shadows
4.6 (32 ratings)
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What's Strangers about?

Strangers (1987) is the story of a lonely Japanese script writer who returns to his childhood home and, by chance, meets a couple who are uncannily like his parents, who died in a car crash when he was 12. As he becomes increasingly involved with them, the narrative explores the boundaries between the living and the dead, past and present, and the deep longing for familial bonds.

Who should read Strangers?

  • Lovers of literature in translation 
  • Japanophiles eager to learn more about one of the country’s most beloved novels
  • Movie buffs interested in the book that inspired 2023’s All of Us Strangers

The Human Condition Books: The Intelligence Trap by David Robson

The Intelligence Trap

David Robson
Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes
3.7 (185 ratings)
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What's The Intelligence Trap about?

The Intelligence Trap (2019) presents a compelling argument that high intelligence does not always equate to good thinking. In fact, intelligence can lead to significant mistakes, and intelligent people can fall into the trap of simplistic reasoning. As a solution, it offers strategies to cultivate wisdom and make better decisions, stressing the importance of intellectual humility, critical thinking, and the ability to learn from mistakes. 

Who should read The Intelligence Trap?

  • Educators and academics
  • Students and lifelong learners
  • Anyone interested in self-improvement

The Human Condition Books: The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

The War of the Worlds

H.G. Wells
4.5 (85 ratings)
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What's The War of the Worlds about?

The War of the Worlds (1898) tells the classic story of what happened when a series of mysterious cylinders landed in rural English villages at the end of the nineteenth century. What starts as a curious anomaly becomes a horrific tale of intergalactic invasion that has thrilled readers for over a hundred years.

Who should read The War of the Worlds?

  • Fans of classic sci-fi
  • Anyone interested in literary history
  • Visitors from Mars

The Human Condition Books: Beyond the Pleasure Principle by Sigmund Freud

Beyond the Pleasure Principle

Sigmund Freud
4.3 (17 ratings)
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What's Beyond the Pleasure Principle about?

Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920 marks a pivotal turn in Sigmund Freud’s theoretical approach to psychology and psychoanalysis. In this work, Freud introduces the concept of the “death drive,” a fundamental tension between the life instincts that aim for survival, sexual reproduction, and pleasure, and the death instincts, which strive towards inanimate rest and a return to a state of non-existence.

Who should read Beyond the Pleasure Principle?

  • Students of psychology
  • Those intrigued by human behavior
  • Readers interested in Freud’s theories

The Human Condition Books: In Praise of Folly by Erasmus

In Praise of Folly

4.1 (12 ratings)
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What's In Praise of Folly about?

In Praise of Folly (1511) is a critical examination of societal norms and institutions with a satirical lens, unveiling an unconventional wisdom that praises folly, or foolishness, as a driving force behind much human action and happiness.

Who should read In Praise of Folly?

  • Fans of Renaissance literature
  • Students of philosophy
  • Individuals questioning societal norms

The Human Condition Books: Break the Cycle by Dr. Mariel Buqué

Break the Cycle

Dr. Mariel Buqué
A Guide to Healing Intergenerational Trauma
3.1 (181 ratings)
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What's Break the Cycle about?

Break the Cycle (2021) delves into the deep-seated generational trauma and challenges implicating many families. It emphasizes breaking free from cycles of pain and encourages readers to embrace change, healing, and emotional growth for a promising future.

Who should read Break the Cycle?

  • Individuals facing generational trauma
  • Seekers of emotional healing
  • Advocates of change and personal growth

The Human Condition Books: The Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle

The Nicomachean Ethics

4.2 (46 ratings)
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What's The Nicomachean Ethics about?

The Nicomachean Ethics (around 340 BC) explores the question of what makes a good life. It argues that achieving a balanced, virtuous life through rational activity is the essence of human happiness.

Who should read The Nicomachean Ethics?

  • Students of philosophy
  • Those interested in ethics
  • Anyone seeking a meaningful life

The Human Condition Books: The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith

The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Adam Smith
3.9 (11 ratings)
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What's The Theory of Moral Sentiments about?

First released in 1759, The Theory of Moral Sentiments examines empathy as the primary driving force behind moral judgment, influencing everything from personal relationships to societal norms.

Who should read The Theory of Moral Sentiments?

  • Philosophy enthusiasts
  • Social science students
  • Readers interested in human behavior

The Human Condition Books: 13 Things Mentally Strong Couples Don't Do by Amy Morin

13 Things Mentally Strong Couples Don't Do

Amy Morin
3.8 (155 ratings)
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What's 13 Things Mentally Strong Couples Don't Do about?

13 Things Mentally Strong Couples Don’t Do (2023) identifies thirteen common pitfalls that couples should avoid in order to nurture healthier and more resilient relationships. It provides concrete advice for improving communication, managing conflict, and ultimately fostering stronger mental fortitude – both individually and as a team.

Who should read 13 Things Mentally Strong Couples Don't Do?

  • Couples seeking to improve their communication and resolve conflicts
  • People looking for advice on nurturing healthy, secure relationships
  • Individuals interested in building mental resilience and fortitude

The Human Condition Books: Gut Check by Steven R. Gundry

Gut Check

Steven R. Gundry
Unleash the Power of Your Microbiome to Reverse Disease and Transform Your Mental, Physical, and Emotional Health
3.2 (30 ratings)
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What's Gut Check about?

Gut Check (2023) explores the critical role that our gut bacteria play in determining our overall health. It argues that nurturing a healthy microbiome can lead to a longer, more vibrant life, against the backdrop of conventional dietary beliefs.

Who should read Gut Check?

  • Health enthusiasts
  • Longevity seekers
  • Diet skeptics

The Human Condition Books: Languishing by Corey Keyes


Corey Keyes
How to Feel Alive Again in a World That Wears Us Down
4.8 (12 ratings)
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What's Languishing about?

Languishing (2024) delves into the often-overlooked state between mental well-being and mental illness: languishing. It offers a comprehensive analysis of how individuals can find themselves stuck in this state of stagnation and emptiness and presents a compelling guide for recognizing and addressing this state. Through an exploration of strategies for enhancing well-being, it empowers readers to transform their mental health landscape, advocating for a proactive approach to emotional and psychological resilience.

Who should read Languishing?

  • Individuals experiencing burnout or feeling overwhelmed by life
  • Wellness and life coaches
  • Anyone curious about or looking to improve their mental well-being

The Human Condition Books: Practical Optimism by Sue Varma, M.D.

Practical Optimism

Sue Varma, M.D.
The Art, Science, and Practice of Exceptional Well-Being
4.5 (2 ratings)
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What's Practical Optimism about?

Practical Optimism (2024) offers actionable strategies for fostering well-being and resilience in everyday life. Through nurturing relationships, forming positive habits, and cultivating self-compassion, individuals can enhance their mental and physical health while thriving amidst life's challenges.

Who should read Practical Optimism?

  • Anyone looking for a boost of positivity in their lives
  • People coping with depression or anxiety
  • Those eager for more confidence and resilience

Related Topics

The Human Condition Books

What's the best The Human Condition book to read?

While choosing just one book about a topic is always tough, many people regard Man’s Search for Meaning as the ultimate read on The Human Condition.

What are the Top 10 The Human Condition books?

Blinkist curators have picked the following:
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  • What Makes Us Human? by Charles Pasternak, editor
  • The Book by Alan W. Watts
  • The Why Café by John P. Strelecky
  • For Small Creatures Such as We by Sasha Sagan
  • Adventures in Human Being by Gavin Francis
  • No Bad Parts by Richard C. Schwartz
  • The No-Nonsense Meditation Book by Steven Laureys
  • Rationality by Steven Pinker
  • Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman

Who are the top The Human Condition book authors?

When it comes to The Human Condition, these are the authors who stand out as some of the most influential:
  • Viktor Frankl
  • Charles Pasternak, editor
  • Alan W. Watts
  • John P. Strelecky
  • Sasha Sagan