What are some practical non-fiction books that touch on themes represented in The Alchemist?
January 19, 2010 6:22 AM   Subscribe

What are some practical non-fiction books that touch on themes represented in The Alchemistw?

More specifically, I'm looking for books that talk about finding your passion, and the struggle to break out of the comforts of daily life to follow that passion.

I'm looking mostly for inspirational, practical non-fiction books, but other fiction is okay too.
posted by nitsuj to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Artists Way
posted by slidell at 8:08 AM on January 19, 2010


You might enjoy Po Bronson's What Should I Do with My Life?
posted by cider at 8:36 AM on January 19, 2010


Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, defines happiness as the state of mind when you are having an optimal experience. When everything is just right, when you are firing on all cylinders. Flow is Michael Jordan on a night when he can't miss. Flow is a poet as the just the right words spill out of her without effort. Flow is that perfect conversation with friends, arguing and agreeing and learning and laughing all at once. In my mind, "Flow" may also be thought of as activated passion. The book investigates this state of mind and offers suggestions on how to nurture it.

Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life, by Winifred Gallagher, posits the idea that that attention (what you focus your consciousness on) is a limited commodity. There is a set number of minutes in a day that you are "thinking," and what you burn those minutes thinking about essentially determines (literally to some extent) what kind of conscious life you are apt to have. Your body reacts to your physical environment (food, disease, exercise, etc), and your brain reacts to how and what you think. Your brain "learns" and becomes "trained" based in part upon your thinking and emotional habits. There is a reason depression is tough to pull out of. And there is a physical component to that positive mental/physical state we call "flow."

It provides compelling incentive to get out there and do what you love. It may convince you that the time for happiness is now. Because you are what you think.
posted by nickjadlowe at 8:48 AM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Time and the Art of Living it took me a minute to remember the title, and I am so happy to think of this book again. He writes very well about the process of creating.

I'll second Flow.
posted by mearls at 11:02 AM on January 19, 2010


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