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50 Spiritual Classics: Timeless Wisdom From 50 Great Books of Inner Discovery, Enlightenment and Purpose

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  336 ratings  ·  43 reviews
50 Spiritual Classics captures the diversity of life journeys that span centuries, continents, spiritual traditions and secular beliefs: from the historical The Book of Chuang Tzu to modern insight from the Kabbalah, from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet to Eckhart Tolle's recent The Power of Now.

The first and only bite-sized guide to the very best in spiritual writing, this o
Paperback, 328 pages
Published March 10th 2005 by Nicholas Brealey
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Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Since I was in high school, one of my hobbies has been to read and study religious and spiritual writings from all over the world throughout history.

I have not studied all religions nor do I plan to, for I am not drawn to all religions. I study religions that I am interested in and fascinated by for their traditions, history and to build my own faith.

I am very knowledgeable about several major religions traditions as well as many minor ones.

All that said, though I am very firm in my own beliefs
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Gandhi and Mother Theresa are two famous people I had heard of, but never read any of their works. The author allows me to access some of their stories, without the need to source books. When I look at the other 48 names in the contents, I dip in and get a brief, but informative idea of the theorists views, giving me the choice to either follow up or not.

If you are looking for an overview of 50 spiritual classics, this is the book to read.

Kenneth Ferber
Ahhhhh-mazing is perhaps the best way to describe this series. I am currently re-reading it and its amazing how these 50 spiritual classics can assist me in relating to anyone, and not just in some religious, spiritual sense. Yes, the format is not a novel but 10-12 minute vignettes (on my audio book series, extremely well narrated) but any and every kind of spirituality or NO SPIRITUALITY is available for the seeker. And these are sooooo diverse, from The Road to Mecca, to Black Elk Speaks, Car ...more
Apr 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a nice overview for those who are interested in books on spirituality. The author covers all the major religions with a heavy focus on modern New Age books. The author gives a basic summary of each book and autobiographical information which is perfect for my ADD. I also enjoyed the fact that the author describes the less-than-enlightened thinking of some of the authors.
Wise Fool
Mar 22, 2016 rated it did not like it
This is just a book filled with reviews of other books! Although the reviews are good. They are just a collection of reviews! personally I think spirituality is too personal for someone else to tell you what is good to read. A thing that touches one person, may not touch another. Hope you enjoy it if you get it!
Javatis Midget
Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is a must read for anyone who's interested in spitituality. It opened my eyes to so many thing until I'm frustrated! I have a new respect for philosophy. There were 5 or 6 books that I'm going to read in the future because of this book! Very good book! ...more
Kerry Hennigan
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you have ever wondered what the spiritual best sellers of past and present decades have to teach you, 50 Spiritual Classics could provide the answers you are looking for.

The third in a series by Tom Butler-Bowdon (considered an expert in personal development literature) 50 Spiritual Classics gives a fascinating glimpse at some of the great books that have stood the test of time.

The works feature range from the lives of saints to autobiographies of modern inspirational leaders such as Gandhi a
Stuart Hargreaves
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an excellent book, having read the 50 Self Help Classics I was looking forward to reading this one, I was not disappointed. I am fortunate I have plenty of time being retired, but these types of books are always best to read over a long period of time. Read a chapter digest and then another later. Some of them I read on several occasions. I do admit I did not quite understand some of the logic and thoughts, but then that's what I want "something to think about and ponder". Try it you will e ...more
Aug 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The spiritual seekers, self-help lovers, and religiously open-minded
Shelves: philosophy
This was great. I've read a few of the books in this work, and I think they were described very well. What I really enjoyed was biographical information about each book's author. Essentially most spiritual works emphasis the same points: live simply, forgive, take time to reflect but live in the present, and reject materialism.

I also read the 50 Psychology Classics by this author and liked it a lot. Both were very uplifting:)
Sam Boomer
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tom Butler-Bowden has found a real niche for himself with these books. I read the 50 psychology classics and found it was a great advert for some of the best titles in the field, while still offering a fair amount of substance. This one was no different. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even as someone who's already read a fair few of the titles he summarises. ...more
Jun 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have been reading this book chapter by chapter for 1 year. The book contains small chapter reviews on 50 wonderful people who have made a difference in this world either by social justice or their contribution to spirituality/religion. I recommend this book.
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
I thought this was going to be direct quotes or excerpts with the author expanding upon them, but it felt like one big rant. It was hard to follow and I could barely recognize which spiritual classic was being talked about at any one time.
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book contains more wisdom than one might hear in a lifetime.
Read the book with the intention of finding the spiritual book that suits you and you will love the book.
Kat Robey
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love these! I learn about the books and their authors and watch my reading list grow!
Rick Wilmot
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating book with insights from many people across the centuries. TB-B has a remarkable way of putting into a few words the gist of all of the books in this one. He seems to understand the thread running through all of these writers and their writings.
I would recommend this book not to those searching for enlightenment but to those who have had glimpses of it and are looking for confirmation of their experience.
From St. Augustine to Rick Warren the teaching is the same and the task, in th
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked the format of this a lot. Got a good summery of books and ideas, some that that I'll never end up reading but now have an understanding on, and some got put on my want to read list. I wish my library had more of these "50 Great Classics" series. I may end up breaking down and buying that Philosophy one. ...more
Joshua Lawson
Dec 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
Not as good as his 50 Philosophy Classics, but still worth the time for all the new titles I found to add to my wish list. Even though a few of the selected works were laughable (at least when considered among a host of "classics"), I was pleased with the overall diversity of Butler's collection. ...more
Frederico Santos
Uau, a Excellent approach to the spiritual side in each one of us.
Read it once, will read it again soon and, even being personal opinion, strongly recomend.
Expect a book with some critical report about other books.
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is a book of reviews of 50 books. Although some of it was interesting with some of the biographical information there was not enough of a review to have me say I can't wait to read the book being reviewed. ...more
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The only problem is that it made my reading list so much longer! This is a great exploration of spiritual writings from across centuries and across faiths and belief systems. I read a chapter a day as part of my daily contemplations.
Feb 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Impressive survey although tales of people turning to Christianity were far too overrepresented. Would have also been good to have more secular explorations of spirituality such as Sam Harris' book Waking Up. ...more
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it
A brief overview on some spiritual thinkers. Little disappointing on some of the choices of thinkers
Mar 03, 2020 rated it liked it
An effective introduction and quick overview of select works. It would perhaps be unfair to the author to expect much more, but this does not explore any of those in great depth.
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
50 Spiritual Classics by Tom Butler-Bowdon

This is a very interesting, useful book. There’s one good advice:

When you wake up, place a half-smile on your face, keep it even (or especially) when you feel angry, upset. Keep it throughout the day.

Another spiritual suggestion:
Do things slowly

This wisdom is from a book of Tolstoy, which I had read before this other classic:

What is the most important time? Now!
Who is the most important person? The person with whom you are…Now!
What is the most important
Minotaur Mangum
Feb 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
Now here's a dubious spiritual melange: start with a base of World Classics (St. Augustine, Chuang Tzu), stir in a heavy dose of hippy-dipping (Ram Dass, Carlos Castaneda), and top it off with a dash of good old Christian Reaction (C.S. Lewis, Rick Warren). This is America, folks. Religion is a la carte and all-you-can-eat. But uh, it's a close-out sale, so enjoy it while it lasts. ...more
Oct 13, 2008 is currently reading it
I am loving this book, at first I thought it reproduced a chapter or two from each author's original books; but NO the Butler-Bowdon makes a 2-3 page commentary of each book and he is right to the point! It introduces you to some of the best literature of inner discovery. ...more
David “Skip” Everling
Nov 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Tom Everling
"Wisdom for Dummies", in that it contains A) summaries of great spiritual works and insight while B) giving equal time to questionably influential contemporary authors with flimsy ideologies and dummy adherents.

Then again, it's not always easy to disambiguate the two.
Joanna Marie
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Nobody's perfect but then these people who created these inspirational stories have gone from the baddest ones to the most divine ones by serving God and their neighbors after realizing how good life should be treated. Will always go back to this book for inspiration. Twas nice compilation! :) ...more
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Provides commentaries on 50 great spiritual books of all times.
An excellent and concise (just over 300 pages) introductory reference material, which I really enjoyed reading.
Read the extended summary of this book @
Jan 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Listened to as an audio book - lots of good info summarized.
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