20 Inspirational Books Joe Rogan Recommends Reading

Joe Rogan Book Recommendations

Whether he’s having a bestselling author on his podcast as a guest or recounting fascinating concepts from his most recent literary adventure, for many reasons, Joe Rogan and books simply go hand in hand. After all, being the host of a podcast that generates millions of listeners per episode and is reported by the Wall Street Journal to be worth more than $100 million, to some degree, requires a sense of worldly wisdom.

Reading has clearly played a profound role in shaping Joe Rogan as a person, and furthermore, this favorite educational activity of his must have had something to do with the spirited – and profitable for that matter – approach he takes to life.

Therefore, in order to get to the bottom of what inspired one of the world’s wealthiest men to the pinnacle of financial success, we’ve compiled a list of 15 books Joe Rogan has read himself and would certainly recommend to others as well.

Breath by James Nestor

There is nothing more essential to our health and well-being than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat twenty-five thousand times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences.

Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can jump-start athletic performance; rejuvenate internal organs; halt snoring, asthma, and autoimmune disease; and even straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, and yet it is.

Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again.

Source: “Since using the techniques I learned in [this book] I’ve changed the nature of my daily sauna sessions from uncomfortable mind tempering to a slow, rhythmic meditation session,” Joe Rogan said in an Instagram post.

The Immortality Key by Brian C. Muraresku

A groundbreaking dive into the role psychedelics have played in the origins of Western civilization, and the real-life quest for the Holy Grail that could shake the Church to its foundations.

The Immortality Key reconstructs the suppressed history of women consecrating a forbidden, drugged Eucharist that was later banned by the Church Fathers. Women who were then targeted as witches during the Inquisition, when Europe’s sacred pharmacology largely disappeared. If the scientists of today have resurrected this technology, then Christianity is in crisis. Unless it returns to its roots.

Source: The culmination of a 12 year obsession into the mystery of the ancient Greeks and their use of psychedelics to find god,” Rogan wrote in an Instagram post.

The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi

The Book of Five Rings is one of the most insightful texts on the subtle arts of confrontation and victory to emerge from Asian culture. Written not only for martial artists but for anyone who wants to apply the timeless principles of this text to their life, the book analyzes the process of struggle and mastery over conflict that underlies every level of human interaction.

This gem among books Joe Rogan recommends was composed in 1643 by the famed duelist and undefeated samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Thomas Cleary’s translation is immediately accessible, with an introduction that presents the spiritual background of the warrior tradition. Along with Musashi’s text, Cleary translates here another important Japanese classic on leadership and strategy, The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War by Yagyu Munenori, which highlights the ethical and spiritual insights of Taoism and Zen as they apply to the way of the warrior.

Source: “No better person to learn from than a samurai from 400 years ago who killed his first opponent in a duel when he was 13 and defeated over 60 men in one on one sword fights,” Rogan says. “There’s something about taking in these words that has always excited me about training, and increased my focus in all disciplines I pursue. It’s some undeniably inspiring shit, and I can’t recommend it enough.”

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution – a #1 international bestseller – that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”

From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.

Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?

Source: “It really puts in perspective how bizarre human beings are. It’s an awesome overview of our species,” Rogan wrote in a Twitter post.

Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler

It’s the biggest revolution you’ve never heard of, and it’s hiding in plain sight. Over the past decade, Silicon Valley executives like Eric Schmidt and Elon Musk, Special Operators like the Navy SEALs and the Green Berets, and maverick scientists like Sasha Shulgin and Amy Cuddy have turned everything we thought we knew about high-performance upside down. Instead of grit, better habits, or 10,000 hours, these trailblazers have found a surprising shortcut. They’re harnessing rare and controversial states of consciousness to solve critical challenges and outperform the competition.

Today, this pathway towards prosperity is entering the mainstream, fueling a trillion-dollar underground economy, and forcing us to rethink how we can all lead richer, more productive, more satisfying lives. Driven by four accelerating forces – psychology, neurobiology, technology, and pharmacology – Stealing Fire sheds light on some of the most contested and misunderstood terrain in history.

Source: Joe Rogan calls this “an excellent book on the power of meditation and alternate states of consciousness on performance.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, Lenny Bruce!! by Albert Goldman

The author of the bestselling biographies The Lives of John Lennon and Elvis explores the tumultuous life of one of the most controversial comics who ever lived. Lenny Bruce’s rise to notoriety is reconstructed in dazzling sequences that capture his genius in the same lingo and rhythm, shtick comedy and junkie surrealism that characterized his imagination.

Source: Joe Rogan refers to this as “required reading for aspiring stand ups, I’ve had this book for 25 years. A genuine classic.”

Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock

In Fingerprints of the GodsHancock embarks on a worldwide quest to put together all the pieces of the vast and fascinating jigsaw of mankind’s hidden past. In ancient monuments as far apart as Egypt’s Great Sphinx, the strange Andean ruins of Tihuanaco, and Mexico’s awe-inspiring Temples of the Sun and Moon, he reveals not only the clear fingerprints of an as-yet-unidentified civilization of remote antiquity, but also startling evidence of its vast sophistication, technological advancement, and evolved scientific knowledge.

This fascinating account among books Joe Rogan loves tells us something more. As we recover the truth about prehistory, and discover the real meaning of ancient myths and monuments, it becomes apparent that a warning has been handed down to us, a warning of terrible cataclysm that afflicts the Earth in great cycles at irregular intervals of time – a cataclysm that may be about to recur.

Source: Joe Rogan describes this as one of his favorite books on the subject of ancient civilizations and has had Graham Hancock on his podcast for a nearly three-hour episode that garnered over 13 million YouTube views.

Black Elk by Joe Jackson

Black Elk is the definitive biographical account of a figure whose dramatic life converged with some of the most momentous events in the history of the American West. Born in an era of rising violence between the Sioux, white settlers, and U.S. government troops, Black Elk killed his first man at the Little Bighorn, witnessed the death of his second cousin Crazy Horse, and traveled to Europe with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.

Upon his return, he was swept up in the traditionalist Ghost Dance movement and shaken by the Massacre at Wounded Knee. But Black Elk was not a warrior, instead accepting the path of a healer and holy man, motivated by a powerful prophetic vision that he struggled to understand.

In Black Elk, Joe Jackson has crafted a true American epic, restoring to its subject the richness of his times and gorgeously portraying a life of heroism and tragedy, adaptation and endurance, in an era of permanent crisis on the Great Plains.

Source: “My obsession with Native American history books continues, and with Black Elk I’ve found my favorite one yet. It was written in 1932 with notes that the author took from listening to the words of Black Elk as translated to English by his son,” Rogan notes. “Definitely feels the most authentic of all the books I’ve gotten into so far, because it’s the actual words of a man who lived this life, told while he was alive.”

The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes

Among Americans, diabetes is more prevalent today than ever; obesity is at epidemic proportions; nearly 10% of children are thought to have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. And sugar is at the root of these, and other, critical society-wide, health-related problems. With his signature command of both science and straight talk, Gary Taubes delves into Americans’ history with sugar: its uses as a preservative, as an additive in cigarettes, the contemporary overuse of high-fructose corn syrup.

He explains what research has shown about our addiction to sweets. He clarifies the arguments against sugar, corrects misconceptions about the relationship between sugar and weight loss; and provides the perspective necessary to make informed decisions about sugar as individuals and as a society.

Source: After conducting a podcast interview with Taubes, Rogan said this book contains “seriously mind blowing information about how sugar consumption is robbing us of our health.”

DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman

From 1990 to 1995 Dr. Rick Strassman conducted U.S. Government-approved and funded clinical research at the University of New Mexico in which he injected sixty volunteers with DMT, one of the most powerful psychedelics known. His detailed account of those sessions is an extraordinarily riveting inquiry into the nature of the human mind and the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. DMT, a plant-derived chemical found in the psychedelic Amazon brew, ayahuasca, is also manufactured by the human brain.

In the study’s volunteers, it consistently produced near-death and mystical experiences. Many reported convincing encounters with intelligent nonhuman presences, aliens, angels, and spirits. Nearly all felt that the sessions were among the most profound experiences of their lives.

Strassman’s research connects DMT with the pineal gland, considered by Hindus to be the site of the seventh chakra and by Rene Descartes to be the seat of the soul. DMT: The Spirit Molecule makes the bold case that DMT, naturally released by the pineal gland, facilitates the soul’s movement in and out of the body and is an integral part of the birth and death experiences, as well as the highest states of meditation and even sexual transcendence.

Source: Joe Rogan thinks it’s an amazing book and mentions it often, writes the JRE Library.

Savage Son by Jack Carr

Deep in the wilds of Siberia, a woman is on the run, pursued by a man harboring secrets – a man intent on killing her. A traitorous CIA officer has found refuge with the Russian mafia with designs on ensuring a certain former Navy SEAL sniper is put in the ground.

Half a world away, James Reece is recovering from brain surgery in the Montana wilderness, slowly putting his life back together with the help of investigative journalist Katie Buranek and his longtime friend and SEAL teammate Raife Hastings. Unbeknownst to them, the Russian mafia has set their sights on Reece in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Source: Rogan wrote in an Instagram post, “this book is fucking excellent! Jack Carr knocked it out of the park! I’m riveted!”

The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt

The Happiness Hypothesis is a book about ten Great Ideas. Each chapter is an attempt to savor one idea that has been discovered by several of the world’s civilizations – to question it in light of what we now know from scientific research, and to extract from it the lessons that still apply to our modern lives and illuminate the causes of human flourishing.

Award-winning psychologist Jonathan Haidt shows how a deeper understanding of the world’s philosophical wisdom and its enduring maxims-  like “do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” or “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”-  can enrich and transform our lives.

Source: “I really can’t recommend this book enough,” Rogan says. “It’s one of the best and most insightful books I’ve ever read.”

The Art of Living and Dying by Osho

Why are we afraid of death? Should we tell someone they are dying? Is reincarnation true?

With depth, clarity, compassion, and even humor, Osho answers the questions we all have about this most sacred of mysteries and offers practical guidance for meditation and support. He reveals not only that our fear of death is based on a misunderstanding, but that dying is an opportunity for inner growth. When life is lived consciously and totally, death is not a catastrophe but a joyous climax.

Source: “A surprisingly profound and interesting read,” Rogan says.

Tribe by Sebastian Junger

We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding – “tribes.” This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival.

Combining history, psychology, and anthropology, Tribe explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. It explains the irony that-for many veterans as well as civilians-war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. This gem among books Joe Rogan recommends explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today’s divided world.

Source: Rogan describes this book as epic, adding “I can’t recommend it enough.”

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers” – the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

Source: Joe Rogan says this book is great and also recommends The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare – poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world’s top endurance athletes.

The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name him “The Fittest (Real) Man in America.” In Can’t Hurt Me, he shares his astonishing life story and reveals that most of us tap into only 40% of our capabilities. Goggins calls this The 40% Rule, and his story illuminates a path that anyone can follow to push past pain, demolish fear, and reach their full potential.

Source: One of those books Joe Rogan believes will change your life, he surmises, “It’s time to go to war with yourself.”

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

In The Four Agreements, bestselling author don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

Source: “This is a seriously powerful book,” Rogan says. “Especially potent for someone like me who talks for a living and often talks too much. There’s some amazing points and valuable lessons in it.”

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul. Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.

The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline. Think of it as tough love…for yourself.

Source:The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is highly recommended by Joe Rogan and perhaps the most frequently mentioned book on the JRE Podcast,” writes JRE Library. “Rogan has been giving copies of the book to comedians, friends and podcast guests for years.”

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Written in Greek by an intellectual Roman emperor without any intention of publication, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius offer a wide range of fascinating spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the leader struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe.

Spanning from doubt and despair to conviction and exaltation, they cover such diverse topics as the question of virtue, human rationality, the nature of the gods and the values of leadership. But while the Meditations were composed to provide personal consolation, in developing his beliefs Marcus also created one of the greatest of all works of philosophy: a series of wise and practical aphorisms that have been consulted and admired by statesmen, thinkers and ordinary readers for almost two thousand years.

Source: “It’s really wild when you think about how long that guy lived and how applicable some of his thoughts are today,” Rogan said during a podcast episode with Lex Fridman.

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

Drawing on cutting-edge neurology and firsthand research gathered on journeys to nine of the world’s talent hotbeds – from the baseball fields of the Caribbean to a classical-music academy in upstate New York – Coyle identifies the three key elements that will allow you to develop your gifts and optimize your performance in sports, art, music, math, or just about anything.

These three elements work together within your brain to form myelin, a microscopic neural substance that adds vast amounts of speed and accuracy to your movements and thoughts. Scientists have discovered that myelin might just be the holy grail: the foundation of all forms of greatness, from Michelangelo’s to Michael Jordan’s. The good news about myelin is that it isn’t fixed at birth; to the contrary, it grows, and like anything that grows, it can be cultivated and nourished.

Source: This is one of those books Joe Rogan believes everybody should read.


If you enjoyed this guide to 20 books Joe Rogan recommends reading, be sure to check out our list of 20 Books Elon Musk Recommends Reading!