Books & References

The beauty of independent scholarship is that you create your own reading list.


Meditation in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
Edited by a technical writer, which explains its clarity and simplicity.  This is the most straightforward, no nonsense manual to meditation I have ever read.  This book comes highly recommended by many long-term meditation practitioners.  No religion required.

Turning The Mind Into An Ally by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
This is a guide to meditation from a Tibetan Buddhist world view, written by a Tibetan monk who, last I heard, is on a solo retreat and few know his exact whereabouts.  Prior to this, he was a world-travelling educator with a celebrity following.  Mingyur Rinpoche has an extraordinary story of overcoming severe social anxiety through a 3 year retreat.

Insight Timer App – iOS and Android
Great app to encourage a frequent and consistent meditation practice.  It allows you to time your meditation session and see who you’ve been meditating with.

The Mind Illuminated – The Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science by John Yates, Ph.D.

Spirituality & Religion

The End of Faith by Sam Harris

The Joy of Living by Mingyur Rinpoche


Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker

Ben Behind His Voices by Randye Kaye

Independent Study

The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn
Firstly, this is not a book just for teenagers and parents.  Secondly, the 2nd edition is from 1998, so some of the ideas are old-fashioned (like any mention of a phone book).  And don’t let the tagline throw you off:  How to quit school and get a real life and education.  Whether you’re a teenager or an adult, student or worker bee, if you are interested in independent scholarship, home schooling (learning at home), life-long, self-inspired learning and challenges, you have a whole new world to gain by reading this book.

The Independent Scholar’s Handbook by Ronald Gross
Another oldie but a goody (1993) for those specifically interested in independent scholarship in a specific subject area.  Once again, some ideas are dated (write a letter? go to the library?), but skim over those and you will find a gold mine of information and inspiration about do-it-yourself research.