5 Books to get you started on your Mindful Compassion Journey (including one you’re not expecting!)

So these are a few of my favourite books; there many more out there but these are the ones I come back to as my core texts. I’m sure the list may change over time but I thought I’d share these with you. Your thoughts and comments always welcome.[I can’t for the life of me work out how to change the numbering- apologies].

  1.  Loving Kindness –The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (1995) by Sharon Salzberg      Just love, love, Sharon Salzberg’s work. I credit this book with accelerating the healing of my relationship with myself. She’s down to earth and writes very accessibly. She brought the practice of Loving Kindness to the West back in the 1970’s and has since then become well known as the ‘expert’ in the field of loving kindness ( a practice you can use to develop compassion for yourself and others). Recently met Sharon at a workshop in Oxford – embarrassingly found myself blubbing “thank you for transforming my life” …she seemed unfazed by it – obviously happens quite frequently to her!


  1. Mindful Compassion (2013) by Paul Gilbert & Choden       This is such a wonderful, comprehensive book. I have had the privilege of undertaking training with Choden and have read many of Paul’s Gilbert’s deeply knowledgeable books. They write in a friendly, practical way yet with such great insight. Their book is extensive in its coverage of compassion and it also clearly explains the practices that you can work with to develop compassion starting of course with yourself. Their work has been a huge influence on me and I think this book is truly excellent.


  1. The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion (2009). Freeing yourself from destructive thoughts and emotions by Christopher Germer    Chris is such a delightful man – if you get the opportunity to train with him then jump at it! He is wise, gentle and humorous and of course extremely knowledgeable and astute. This book is full of valuable insight and suggestions on how to bring compassion into your life. I find this a very practical book and go back to it time and time again.  As a clinical psychologist Chris weaves in some psychological aspects too again in a very accessible way – I like accessibility in my books in case you hadn’t gathered that!


  1. Self-Compassion. Stop beating yourself up and leave insecurity behind (2011) by Kristin Neff      Kristin Neff is the leading researcher into self-compassion and as such her words carry weight! However this book is not an academic treatise; Kristin writes from a very personal perspective giving profound examples of how she has used compassion to overcome some of her struggles in life. She extends the role of compassion beyond self-compassion and looks at parenting, relationships and compassion for others. I particularly like her differentiation between self-esteem and self-compassion. Wise but down to earth and also a lovely trainer. She and Chris Germer do a lot of training together and generally come over to the UK once a year –book on a training with them if you can. Highly recommended. 


  1. Oh, The Places You’ll Go (1990) by Dr Seuss    Ok so this isn’t what you may first think about in terms of mindfulness and compassion but this is a wonderfully inspiring book which teaches about acceptance (very much part of mindfulness and compassion), that life may never quite go the way we think it will, but believe in yourself and “remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act”.  It’s humorous and a great book for all ages. I also love this video enactment of the book from Burning Man 2011 – it’s about 7 minutes long. ENJOY!



Please let me know what you think about this list in the Comments section below. Do you have any favourite books you would like to add? It would be great if you would share ideas as others who read this may like to look up your suggestions.

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4 Responses to 5 Books to get you started on your Mindful Compassion Journey (including one you’re not expecting!)

  1. Ineke says:

    Hello Kate,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful posts! Earlier you got me checking out Paul Gilbert and CFT, and I watched his 4 part workshop on YouTube. I loved it! As a therapist working with trauma survivors I can use his explanation of the brain and nervous system and his exercises with my clients. So you transformed my life in a way….. Self compassion is what we all need. I will buy the books on your list for Christmas as a gift to myself (the Christopher Germer one I have, and enjoyed a lot). Lots of love, Ineke

    • Kate says:

      Hi Ineke – wow that’s great! I love Paul Gilbert and like you use his model with clients from time to time; I’ve done a three day training with him and am up to Samye Ling (Buddhist monastery in Scotland) in February next year to hear him speak. He’s wise and insightful but also very funny I find. And so glad that you are going to treat yourself at Christmas with some new books! Let me know how you find them.Love Kate

  2. Gill says:

    Oh Kate, thank you for the reminder – the Burning Man made me cry (again)! I have a client who I think needs to see this, I will send it on. Much love.

    • Kate says:

      That’s great Gill, so glad it touched you again; reminds me of our last day at Keele… It never fails to move me and do hope your client finds it helpful. Love

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