By Kahlil Gibran
This is a really gorgeous piece of writing. The version I read was also a beautifully illustrated version, with Gibran’s own illustrations. The text also happens to be available online for free.
It is essentially a collection of poetry essays addressing a variety of issues regarding life and faith and living life in a spiritual manner.
While it’s relatively short (less than 90 pages in the version I read), it is not a quick read. It is made up of 28 chapters and it’s the kind of text that you can read a bit at a time and spend a lot of time thinking about. The wording is beautiful, the imagery is beautiful, and the philosophy is beautiful.
In many ways, it reads a bit like the very best of Bible passages, but while it’s clearly deist, it’s not any one religion. I highly recommend it to pretty much everyone ever.
While it’s gorgeous in it’s own right – to the extent that I have a hard time describing it without making it sound significantly more schmaltzy than it is – I would also recommend it to anyone who has to give some emotional speech. If I ever need to give a speech or a toast or something at a wedding, a graduation, a funeral, or whatever, this will be my first go-to book for inspiration and quotes, before either Shakespeare or the Bible. (I am clearly not the only person to have this thought, though, since I recognized several quotes from it.)
But anyway, I highly recommend it. Go forth. Read it. Or listen to it. Whichever.