tao te ching

By Stephen Mitchell
Harper Perennial

The Key Idea That Inspired Phil: "I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are the greatest treasures." — Lao Tzu

The Real-Life Lesson for All of Us: "Spirituality is about the ability to incorporate other beings in your plans, in what you're doing, or saying, in your day-to-day job. It’s keeping in mind, 'My actions create actions that other people have to deal with. And my best nature elevates their nature.'" — Phil Jackson
zen mind

By Shunryu Suzuki

The Key Idea That Inspired Phil: "If you want to obtain perfect calmness...you should not be bothered by the various images you find in your mind. Let them come, and let them go. Then they will be under control. " — Shunryu Suzuki

The Real-Life Lesson for All of Us: "You need to have a lot of [mental] space to move. If you get obsessed with something, you'll become focused on it unless you understand that, in letting it go, you let it go through. Like a cloud passing through the sky." — Phil Jackson

By Pema Chodron

The Key Idea That Inspired Phil: "What you do for yourself, you're doing for others, and what you do for others, you're doing for yourself." — Pema Chodron

The Real-Life Lesson for All of Us: "Those words sometimes are difficult for the [people] to hear, so I also say, 'Do you understand what I'm saying? No man goes his way alone. We're in this together.'" — Phil Jackson
on becoming a person

By Carl Rogers
Mariner Books

The Key Idea That Inspired Phil: "Each person is an island unto himself, in a very real sense; and he can only build bridges to other islands if he is first of all willing to be himself and permitted to be himself." — Carl Rogers

The Real-Life Lesson for All of Us: "Rather than squeeze everybody into preordained roles, my goal has always been to foster an environment where the players can grow as individuals and express themselves creatively." — Phil Jackson

By Wayne Teasdale
New World Library

The Key Idea That Inspired Phil: "Work is holy, sacred, and uplifting when it springs from who we are, when it bears a relationship to our unfolding journey." — Wayne Teasdale

The Real-Life Lesson for All of Us: "To tap into the sacred in work as well as in life, it's essential to create order out of chaos...And that takes discipline, a healthy balance between work and play, and nourishment of mind, body, and spirit within the context of community."
— Phil Jackson
The Farther Reaches of Human Nature

By Abraham H. Maslow

The Key Idea That Inspired Phil: "The great lesson from the true mystics ... [is] that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's backyard." — Abraham H. Maslow

The Real-Life Lesson for All of Us: "Most of us ... spend so much time bouncing back and forth between thoughts of the past, and of the future, that we lose touch of what's happening right here, right now. And that prevents us from appreciating the deep mystery of being alive." — Phil Jackson
Peace Is Every Step

By Thich Nhat Hanh

The Key Idea That Inspired Phil: "Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, and the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life."
— Thich Nhat Hanh

The Real-life Lesson for All of Us: "[In meditation] you watch your thoughts and they start to flatten down, and your breathing level, and pulse, all slow down. And in that space...there's this feeling of well-being...I think that's the presence that we're all looking for."
— Phil Jackson

Next: Karen Armstrong: How to be less afraid of the unknown