Sharing with you some of our favorite books is also a way of guiding you. These books have inspired us, given us energy, made us question ourselves, and sometimes provided us with the key to understanding things better and thinking better. Books are like precious gems that shape our thoughts.
We hope they will guide you in your self reflection as well.
THE BREAKING POINT
by Marie Lise Labonté
This book addresses the simultaneously painful and profound subject of life after a trial. The meaning that trials give to life. At 21, confronted with an autoimmune disease which she managed to heal through a self-healing process and the assassination of her husband before her very eyes on Christmas Eve, the author uses this expression which I find particularly fitting: “The trial initiates us.” For it is indeed an initiation in the original sense of the term, meaning that it transitions us from one state to another. There’s life before and after the trial, and one is never the same again.
Marie Lise Labonté perfectly describes the different phases undergone, the subsequent wandering, the choice at some point between dying and living, and the fullness of life when choosing the latter.
This is undoubtedly a very accurate work on life’s fragility and our limited control over it… A must-read and meditate upon, to cherish every moment of this life. The concept of divinity, which was illuminated by numerous readings for over 35 years…
CONFESSIONS OF A MAN IN SEARCH OF COHERENCE
By Thierry Jensen
This seventh book by Thierry Jensen is intended to be his reconciliation with himself, the one by which, in his own words, “he comes full circle.” Thierry Jensen is a character with a surprising fate and challenges the notion of… coherence with oneself. It’s safe to say he demonstrates remarkable coherence. A doctor in medicine, urologist surgeon, and graduate in andrology, he resigns from his position as head of the clinic (a position he had dreamt of since childhood) on his first day. He exits the elevator, walks down the hallway, sits at his desk, writes his resignation letter, and leaves. A new life then begins for him, culminating in his training as a psychotherapist, a profession he now practices in Paris, a city he particularly loves. Specializing in supporting people with illnesses, Thierry Jensen shares his story in this book. He accurately describes the constant temptation of ego, his journey to distance himself from it, and thus find coherence, which he believes “is the only pursuit truly worth undertaking in our existence… Our coherence is a valuable life tool because acting in accordance with what we think ensures success.” Worth reflecting upon…
TOWARDS JOYFUL SIMPLICITY
By Pierre Rabhi
Pierre Rabhi, a leading voice in ecology and “living right”, needs little introduction. In this book, he delves deep into our relationship with the world and its resources. But he pushes us further, prompting us to reflect on the meaning we assign to our daily lives. Even though we’re fully aware the planet can’t sustain 7 billion meat-eating individuals, many still indulge in burgers, steaks and chicken, implying others can’t get their fill. At 25, having left the factory job where he felt alienated, Rabhi chose a farmer’s life with his wife, avoiding any pesticides. For over 40 years, he’s shown it’s possible to live simply and healthily, leaving behind a cleaner planet for our children. But he doesn’t just ask, “What kind of planet are we leaving for our children?”. He challenges us further: “What kind of children are we leaving for our planet?” – placing the planet’s future squarely on our collective and individual responsibility.
THE END OF EDDY BELLEGUEULE
By Edouard Louis
Described as a “mixture of filth and light” by a commentator on the back cover. Penned by a literary prodigy born in 1992, translated into over 25 languages, this book exposes us to the harsh realities of 21st-century France, as brutal as the author’s childhood, hidden and grim.
Through this novel, Louis brings to the fore the human condition, destitution, and social predestination. As a true social crossover, he shares the painful journey of a young boy born at the turn of the century in a poor family in a Northern village, detailing the daily violence he faced. A must-read, both for its social insights and the emotions it evokes.
CHANGE YOURSELF, CHANGE THE WORLD
co-written by Christophe André, John Kabat-Zinn, Pierre Rabhi et Matthieu Ricard
A book as unique as it is valuable. Bringing these four luminaries together in one project is groundbreaking. This collection gathers insights from four profoundly wise authors.
Advocates for mindfulness, ecology, inner peace, and peace in general, they each change the world in their own way. United in their earnest desire to transform consciousness and touch hearts, aiming for a deeper societal evolution. Each author shares their worldview, what they believe they can contribute, and ends their section with three tips to inspire personal change, which, in turn, can change the world. Surprisingly, even teenagers have found resonance with the book’s message.
by François Jullien
This book undoubtedly ranks among the top three that have left a lasting mark on my life.
A renowned expert on Chinese culture, Jullien takes us deep into our relationship with time – the chronos. As inheritors of Greek thought, our understanding of chronos shapes our lives in ways we wouldn’t even think.
Thus, François Jullien aptly describes the fundamental difference between Asians, who relate to time in a cyclical manner, and Westerners, who perceive time as having a distinct beginning and end. He makes us realize that while all philosophers, scholars, mathematicians, physicists, and other thinkers from Western societies, regardless of their era, religion, or beliefs, have once pondered the existence of a “creator” of what we call the Universe, the same cannot be said for their Chinese counterparts. Their relationship with time means that they are rooted in the here and now, in a world that is purely cyclical, with no inherent beginning or end.
This fundamental difference significantly influences one’s relationship with death, which isn’t experienced as an end or a beginning but rather as a transition and an aspect of life’s cycle.
By shedding light on silent transformations, François Jullien encourages us to rethink our world, both spiritually and in our relationship to life’s milestones, such as the wrinkles that emerge on our faces over the years, for instance. For my part, this book has profoundly altered my understanding of divinity, even though I had been enlightened by numerous readings for over 35 years…
THE POWER OF JOY
by Frédéric Lenoir
Philosopher and seeker, Lenoir offers a unique perspective on joy in this essay.
In a world obsessively chasing happiness and pleasure, Lenoir urges us to focus on Joy, seeing it as the pinnacle of any act that aligns with one’s true self.
Even though joy often comes unexpectedly, or “invites itself” as Lenoir puts it, he encourages us to nurture an environment within ourselves conducive to it. Beholding the world with childlike wonder, connecting with our bodies, and understanding oneself are ways he suggests. Embracing meditation, letting go, and practicing kindness paves the way to this.
Drawing inspiration from Spinoza, Bergson, and other philosophers of joy, Lenoir shares his journey towards it – a journey I wanted to share with you too.
THE SNOW CITADEL
by Matthieu Ricard
Matthieu Ricard is quite the personality – a Buddhist monk, photographer, author of numerous books, as well as the Dalai Lama’s interpreter. His main message? Change yourself to help change the world towards peace.
Many have called him the “happiest man in the world” because of the many scientific experiments he’s been part of. In “The Snow Citadel”, Ricard gives us what feels like part spiritual tale, part autobiography.
Through the story of Détchen, a young Bhutanese villager who decides to leave his village to follow the teachings of a Master and dedicate himself to a spiritual life, Matthieu Ricard takes us on an enlightening journey filled with lessons.
Through Détchen’s spiritual journey, Ricard prompts us to reflect on the deeper meanings of life.
I truly enjoyed this tale – it’s short, light, yet profoundly moving.
THE BLESSINGS OF SILENCE…in a deafening world
by Thich Nath Than
It’s a challenge, if not impossible, to find a quiet place these days.
Shops, parking lots, pharmacies, even restaurants constantly broadcast images and music (perhaps also to distract the consumer and prevent them from paying too much attention to what’s on their plate).
It seems like every second of our lives needs to be filled with some form of distraction. Silence, it appears, scares us! And the screens that replace our books only amplify this phenomenon.
But without silence, music is just noise, words are just a garbled mess, and theater is nothing more than school recitations.
Without silence, there can be no peace.
It is on this profound link between silence and inner peace that Thich Nhat Than, a Buddhist monk who has been established in France for several decades, reflects. He welcomes retreatants for a few days or weeks at the Plum Village, in the Southwest of France.
This exploration of silence profoundly challenges us to create an inner space within ourselves to find peace.
Without silence, it’s impossible to truly embrace the world, let go, halt the incessant flow of thoughts, or simply be present in the moment.
On a personal note, I practice meditation daily, specifically to create this space of silence and inaction, which is now essential for my balance.
Our world doesn’t encourage us to embrace silence, but rather to keep doing, constantly. This extends even to vacations, where the measure of success is often the number of activities undertaken, whether they’re sporting, cultural, or otherwise. The example of mountains in the summer is telling. Mountain hiking, which allows us to recharge and appreciate the beauty the mountains offer, is now overshadowed by dozens of sports activities like tennis, archery, volleyball, and other distractions that keep us busy but don’t necessarily replenish our souls.
Thich Nhat Hanh, on the other hand, suggests taking the time to embrace silence, to listen to ourselves, to connect with our inner selves, and thereby truly live, attain serenity, and find a path to happiness.
And once everything has been said, Silence will prevail…
The Tibetan book of the dead
The Tibetan Book of the Dead is undoubtedly one of the three or four most significant books I’ve ever read.
In this work, Sogyal Rinpoche bridges the ancient wisdom of Tibet with contemporary research on death and dying, the nature of the mind, and the universe.
Providing a comprehensive perspective on life and death, Sogyal particularly explains the ‘bardos’, those states of consciousness after death that have fascinated and prompted questions from artists, psychologists, scientists, doctors, and Western philosophers since the 1927 publication of the Bardo Thödol (The Tibetan Book of the Dead).
By showing us that, in death as in life, hope exists, it becomes possible for each of us to transcend our fear or denial and discover what within us endures and remains unchanged.
“The Tibetan Book of the Dead” suggests “practices” as simple as they are powerful that anyone, regardless of their religion or culture, can undertake to transform their life, prepare for death, and support the dying. It also offers a clear and comprehensive introduction to the practice of meditation, as well as concepts of rebirth and karma.
Upon finishing this book (which is quite thick), I knew I would return to it, reread it, and discover deeper levels of reading, even more profound than those that first appeared to me.
The subject of self-confidence is one of the most frequently addressed topics in coaching. Although coaching often facilitates progress on this topic, the request for guidance can be tricky as it largely falls under the expertise of a psychologist.
So, when I had the opportunity to come upon Charles Pépin’s book, I genuinely felt I had found a gem! Charles Pépin, whose qualities I appreciated during my coaching training, addresses this crucial subject of self-confidence with a unique perspective that draws from philosophy, sociology, psychology, and the common sense of a farmer or craftsman. By observing their work, they could gauge its quality and affirm their confidence day after day.
Each chapter of this book delves into a facet of the beautiful diamond that is self-confidence, combining philosophical reflection and practical aspects with the skill of an alchemist. It’s presented in such a way that one could almost transcribe it into a practical exercise.
In short, while no single book can fully address a topic as profound as self-confidence, there’s no doubt that this enlightening book allows for significant progress, thanks to the reflections it prompts and the insights it reveals.
It’s a must-read and should be shared with all those you know who are grappling with this topic.