Most of the books
listed below are books that document the personal quests of individuals
(real or fictional) for greater understanding, personal development, and
wisdom. A few of them focus on the questing process.
If you have some
favorite personal-quest books that meet the criteria below and are not
already on the list, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org,
and I'll add them to it.
of quest aligns with my dictionary's use of the word as a verb: "to
search for," "to ask for." It has a strong element of
intentionality. Yes, there is that stage at the birth of the quest that
might involve reluctance, and "even kicking and screaming"
not to undertake it. Before, there is no quest. But after this perhaps
tumultuous birthing stage of the quest, there is intentionality. From
that point on one is a seeker. One is searching for ______ One
is asking for ______ The writer fills in the
blanks: wisdom? a satisfying life? inner
peace? worthwhile accomplishnment? the
answers to fundamental questions?
In many, many novels personal development simply happens. People grow
psychologically, spiritually, and in wisdom as the result of life circumstances.
The books I would like to put on the Personal-Quest Books list, however,
are those that involve an intentional quest. Such books (possibly after
describing the birthing-stage process) go on to deal with what happens
once the intentional search has kicked in.
I would also like
to include books that focus on the dynamics of the questing process
Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces and Rilke's
Letters to a Young Poet are examples. I will identify
those as questing process books.
The original editions
of many of these books are long out of print, but new editions are frequently
available. Check online used book dealers for older editions. A good way
to check the availability of both new and used books is to go to Amazon.com,
Bateson, Mary Catherine. Composing a Life
Bridges, William. Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes (the
Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces (the
Camus, Albert. Notebooks 1935-1942.
Camus, Albert. Notebooks 1942-1951
Castaneda, Carlos. The Teachings of Don Juan
Castaneda, Carlos. Journey to Ixtlan
de Ropp, Robert S. The Master Game
Field, Joanna. A Life of One's Own
Halpern, Charles. Making Waves and Riding the Currents: Activism
and the Pursuit of Wisdom (Review)
Hesse, Herman. Demian
Hesse, Herman. Siddhartha
Kazantzakis, Nikos. Report to Greco
Maughm, W. Somerset. The Razor's Edge
Millman, Dan. Way of the Peaceful Warrior
Rilke, Ranier Maria. Letters to a Young Poet (the
Damasio, Antonio Looking for Spinoza
Dickens, Charles Great Expectations
Pirsig, Robert Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Allan, James As a Man Thinketh
Basho, Matsuo The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches
Brown, Harry How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
de Beauvoir, Simone Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter
Woolf, Virginia A Room of One's Own