At first glance, Deepak Chopra, M.D., seems like a tornado of contradictions: He’s a renowned physician who advocates alternative medicine and spiritual paths to health; a New Age guru who endorses Buddhism alongside Christianity; and a successful businessman who offers advice on building wealth while criticizing our culture of materialism. By occupying so delicate a position on such divisive questions, Chopra has attracted as many critics as he has fans. But that hasn’t stopped the Indian-American author from spreading his wisdom with diligence and enthusiasm. Chopra has written more than 75 books to date, many of them New York Times bestsellers, and was named one of the “Top 100 Heroes and Icons” of the 20th century by Time magazine. Here, we’ve rounded up Chopra’s best books on health, success, happiness and faith.
The spiritual path to physical Health
Chopra is a leading authority on alternative medicinal methods including Ayurveda (just ask P. Diddy and all the other celebrities in Chopra’s building who pepper the author with health-related questions). Perfect Health is a comprehensive guide to Chopra’s unique perspective on the intersection of Western medicine and ancient healing practices.
In Perfect Weight, Chopra narrows the focus of his healing approach to weight issues, arguing that losing weight and staying healthy requires a blend of traditional self-discipline and more mind- and spirit-oriented techniques, such as meditation.
Discovering your power
Chopra’s M.O. is to push aside “pragmatic,” deflating wisdom and encourage readers to pursue their loftiest desires, even if they seem implausible. In The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, he argues that people greatly underestimate their ability to harness the tools at hand and make their wishes reality, and lays out a guide to seizing opportunity.
Aiming his advice at people looking to give their life new meaning, Chopra condenses a lifetime of experience into 15 “secrets”—such as “The World Is In You” and “Evil Is Not Your Enemy”—that get at the hidden and often counterintuitive nature of some of life’s profoundest truths.
Chopra’s oeuvre includes fictional retellings of classic religious stories, including the life of Buddha. Far from a parable of peace and transcendence, the novel showcases the drastic ups and downs of Siddhartha’s Gautama’s life.
What Chopra does for the founder of Buddhism in Buddha he does for the founder of Christianity in Jesus, providing a fresh narration of Christ’s life from his childhood to his later emergence as a spiritual leader.
In this Chopra classic, the author argues that, in addition to smart planning and hard work, people can align with and draw on unseen forces in the universe such as karma to build their prosperity.
In Creating Affluence, Chopra looks closer at the emotional blockers that prevent us from amalgamating wealth or recognizing our own good fortune. Arguing that prosperity is more a state of mind than a numbers game, he writes, “Affluence is our natural state.”
9. Super Brain
Chopra’s recent bestseller, which comes out in paperback this week, focuses on honing the mind and keeping it sharp as one gets older. Co-authored with neurologist Rudolph E. Tanzi, the book lays out action plans for dealing with depression, improving memory, and increasing emotional intelligence.
In this book Chopra addresses older readers with a plan for aging gracefully. Basing his advice on an extended metaphor involving quantum physics, he argues that aging well requires both a resistance to “entropy” and an embrace of late-life changes that are a natural part of the human “scenery.”
This article was updated September 24, 2014