Steve Jobs & Dan Kottke’s “Spirit Bookshelf”
No one knows that booklist better than Daniel Kottke, who became Steve’s friend early in their freshman year at Reed College and who became his companion in reading, a wide range of life adventures, and travel to India.
Dan shared this list and his memories of knowing, and reading with, Steve, at the March 2015 Dent Conference. To capture and honor this unique “primary source,” I’m sharing it here. Please use Comments to add your own references or articles you feel contribute to this theme. Later lists, such as this from Business Insider, include well-known business books that Steve also read and learned from, but this list of early inspiration has a unique flavor that seems foundational to many of the stories in Steve’s life.
Dan is quick to say that these books played a role in his and Steve’s lives, although the depth of reading (some read many times, some skimmed) varied between them and book-by-book. However, those at the top of the list were significant to both of them at this time in their lives.
It all began with the landmark “Be Here Now” by Baba Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert) and gains momentum from there.
I will post the Dent interview here when it is published <added December 2015). Meanwhile, here’s an image of Dan’s “Spirit Bookshelf” list, pics of that shelf from his home, followed by an (increasingly) hyperlinked list of each of the books.
100 Titles from D.Kottke’s “SteveJobs Memorial bookshelf” mar2015
— In no particular order. Roughly the first 20 were books we definitely read 1972–4 prior to the India trip.
The Essene Gospel of Peace/Edmund Szekely
Hindu Mysticism/S. N. Dasgupta
The Diamond Sutra & Sutra of Hui Neng
Miracle of Love: Stories About Neem Karoli Baba/Ram Dass
Barefoot in the Heart: Remembering Neem Karoli/Keshav Das
The Near & the Dear: Stories of Neem Karoli/Dada Mukerjee
By His Grace: A Devotee’s Story/Mukerjee
It’s Here Now (Are You?): A Spiritual Memoir/Bhagavan Das
Be Love Now/Baba Ram Dass
Still Here/Baba Ram Dass
The Aphorisms of Baba Hari Dass
Sweeper to Saint/Baba Hari Dass
Living with the Himalayan Masters/Swami Rama
Paramhansa Yogananda: A Biography/Swami Kriyananda
Mejda: The Early Life of Yogananda/Sananda Lal Ghosh
Bliss Now/Swami Ramananda
The Essential Aurobindo/McDermott
You Are The Eyes of the World/Longchenpa
The Spiritual Teachings of Ramana Maharshi/Shambala Pubs.
Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna/Advaita Ashrama
Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga/Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda on Himself
Where Are You Going?/Swami Muktananda
Creative Meditation and Multi-Dim.
A Thousand Journeys: The Bio. of Lama Govinda/K. Winkler
Magic and Mystery in Tibet/Alexandra David-Neel
I AM THAT/Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
The Road to Eleusis/Wasson, Hoffman, Ruck
Music/Sufi Inayat Khan
The Illuminati Papers/Robt Anton Wilson