10 Authors Like Yalom: What Does It Mean To Be Human? Let’s Find Out

Get ready to question the meaning of your existence with these top authors like Yalom. 

Questioning the meaning of life? You’re not alone. Irvin Yalom has made a living by helping people through these tough existential questions. The renowned author is a psychiatrist and professor at Stanford University. He’s known for his fiction and nonfiction works, including his memoir Creatures of a Day – And Other Tales of Psychotherapy and instructional work The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients.

Our guide will help you add books to your reading list that will help you get to know yourself – and the inner workings of your mind – a little bit better. If you’re interested in this topic, check out our round-up of essays about psychology!

Best Authors Like Yalom Ranked

1. Sigmund Freud, 1856 -1939

Sigmund Freud
Black and white photo of Freud

Known to many as the father of psychology, Civilization, and Its Discontents, author Sigmund Freud was a neurologist, writer, and psychology pioneer whose ideas shaped the future of mental health treatment for years to come. His technique of psychoanalysis cemented psychological techniques, including transference and free association. Freud also pioneered dream interpretation and developed the foundational psychological concepts of the id, the ego, and the super-ego.

“It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement — that they seek power, success, and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.”

Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents
Civilization and Its Discontents
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Freud, Sigmund (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 109 Pages - 12/29/2018 (Publication Date) - Samaira Book Publishers (Publisher)

2. Jeffery Kottler, 1951 –

The wife supports her husband in therapy with the man listening curiously to the counselor in a gray office
Photo of a couple talking with a therapist

Bad Therapy: Master Therapists Share Their Worst Failures author Jeffrey A. Kottler is a contemporary psychologist, professor, and author who works to promote personal development in a way that’s accessible to all people. In addition to his wildly successful Master Therapists work, Kottler is also known for his instructional texts that help to inform the next generation of therapists. This psychologist is a captivating public speaker and is celebrated for his ability to make tough mental health concepts understandable to various audiences.

“We thought back to previous research we’d been involved in with so-called difficult clients. One conclusion was that there really are no such things—all clients are really doing the best they can—just doing their jobs coping in the only way they know how.”

 Jeffrey A. KottlerBad Therapy: Master Therapists Share Their Worst Failures
On Being a Therapist
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kottler, Jeffrey (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 02/01/2017 (Publication Date) - Oxford University Press (Publisher)

3. Edward Welch

Worship and prayer-based cinematic clouds and light rays background useful for divine, spiritual, fantasy concepts
Photo of the golden sun in the sky surrounded by clouds

Author of When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man, Ed Welch is a well-known minister, professor, and writer. After earning his doctorate in counseling neuropsychology from the University of Utah, Welch became an ordained minister at Biblical Theological Seminary. As a licensed psychologist, Welch combines spirituality and psychology to help people understand issues that can otherwise seem impossible (such as faith and grief).

“God’s love is a costly love. It never takes the easy path away from relationships. Instead, it plots how to move towards other people. It thinks creatively of ways to surprise them with love.”

Edward T. WelchWhen People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man

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4. C.G. Jung, 1875-1961

Carl Jung
Black and white photo of Carl Jung

Psychology and Alchemy was written by Jung in an effort to explain the parts of the brain that are not adequately explained by religion. He found that dreams and fantasies were a helpful part of understanding the subconscious and that the symbols in these parts of the mind could help mental health professionals better understand their patients. Jung was known for paying special attention to the mental health of older adults, as he felt that many of them struggled to find their place in life. He worked with this demographic to help them develop a sense of individuality (which he named individuation).

“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

 Carl JungPsychology and Alchemy
The Red Book: A Reader's Edition (Philemon)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Jung, C. G. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 601 Pages - 12/17/2012 (Publication Date) - W. W. Norton & Company (Publisher)

5. Carl Rogers, 1902-1987

Carl Rogers
Black and white photo of Carl Rogers

A Way of Being is one of psychologist Carl Rogers’ most well-known works. Rogers is known as one of the founders of psychological research, using scientific methods to learn more about effective patient treatments. Rogers took a person-centered approach, today known as a humanistic approach to psychology. The psychologist worked to treat patients as whole people rather than as a person experiencing a disease or mental health issue. Are you searching for books to expand your knowledge about mental health? Check out our round-up of the best books to read for mental health!

“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, “Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner.” I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.”

Carl R. RogersA Way of Being
On Becoming A Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Rogers, Carl R. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 444 Pages - 11/27/2012 (Publication Date) - Mariner Books (Publisher)

6. Deborah Anna Luepnitz

The psychologist professional is talking to a client. The psychologist with a clipboard taking notes and listening to female patients in psychotherapy session
Image of a therapist meeting with a client and taking notes on a clipboard

Schopenhauer’s Porcupines: Intimacy And Its Dilemmas: Five Stories Of Psychotherapy (2008) delves into Luepnitz’s history as a therapist, working to explain how she uses Freudian techniques without sticking as strictly to the rules as the founding father of psychoanalysis. The critically acclaimed book follows the stories of a girl with diabetes, a man with commitment issues, a couple debating whether they should have a second child, a lesbian, and a homeless woman. The book is an excellent reference for budding therapists or those curious about whether a career in the mental health field is a good fit for them. 

“There is no perfect solution to the problem of writing about therapy patients. But not to do so strikes me as the riskiest choice at a time in our culture when the power to define madness, malingering, and suicide potential is being handed over to insurance company functionaries.”

Deborah Anna LuepnitzSchopenhauer’s Porcupines: Intimacy And Its Dilemmas: Five Stories Of Psychotherapy
Schopenhauer's Porcupines: Intimacy And Its Dilemmas: Five Stories Of Psychotherapy
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Luepnitz, Deborah Anna (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 290 Pages - 08/04/2008 (Publication Date) - Basic Books (Publisher)

7. Stephen Grosz, 1952 –

The therapist listens to her patient in the therapist's office
Photo of a therapist taking notes on a clipboard

British author of The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves, Steven Grosz, is a University of California-educated instructor at the Institute of Psychoanalysis. The Examined Life was at the top of the bestseller list for three months following its publication, and the book has been translated into more than 25 languages. The book was chosen as one of the best books of the year by The New York TimesSalon, and The British Psychological Society.

“In trying so hard to be different from our parents, we’re actually doing much the same thing — doling out empty praise the way an earlier generation doled out thoughtless criticism. If we do it to avoid thinking about our child and her world, then praise, just like criticism, is ultimately expressing our indifference.”

Stephen GroszThe Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves
The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Grosz, Stephen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 242 Pages - 05/28/2013 (Publication Date) - W. W. Norton & Company (Publisher)

8. Alice Miller, 1923 – 2010

Alice Miller
Black and white photo of Alice Miller

Born Alicja Englard, Alice Miller was the author of The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self. The Polish-Swiss psychologist is well-known for her books on the effects of abuse on children. Miller was one of the first mental health experts to depart from the Freudian style of treatment, stating that his ideas were poisonous. Miller became highly influential in parenting and taught that accepting childhood experiences was the only protective factor against adult mental illness.

Looking for more psychology books to binge on a weekend? Check out our round-up of the best books on psychology for beginners! You can also search for our best book guides using our search bar.

“Experience has taught us that we have only one enduring weapon in our struggle against mental illness: the emotional discovery and emotional acceptance of the truth in the individual and unique history of our childhood.”

Alice MillerThe Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self
The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 133 Pages - 12/15/2008 (Publication Date) - Basic Books (Publisher)

9. Tanya Byron, 1967-

Tanya Byron
Photo of Tanya Byron smiling at the camera

The Skeleton Cupboard: The Making of a Clinical Psychologist wasn’t Byron’s first foray into psychology. She started working as a researcher for a documentary series in Britain and then began working in public health. Byron’s interest in psychology began when she was a teen–her grandmother was beaten to death by a drug addict. This interested Byron in how the brain could rationalize murdering a person for drugs. The psychologist has created several psychology-based television programs in Britain. 

“Through them, we attempt to understand the line between sanity and insanity – and come to realize that it does not exist. The most fragile, vulnerable people can still offer strength and wisdom. Those hardened by cruel circumstances can show real kindness and compassion towards those who treat them. And those of us who outwardly appear untroubled can mask an inner life of turmoil.”

 Tanya Byron, The Skeleton Cupboard: The Making of a Clinical Psychologist
The Skeleton Cupboard: The Making of a Clinical Psychologist
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Byron, Tanya (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 04/07/2015 (Publication Date) - Flatiron Books (Publisher)

10. Joseph Campbell, 1904-1987

Joseph Campbell
Photo of Joseph Campbell smiling

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell delves into archetypes similar to those explored by Carl Jung. Much of Jung’s work is based on the idea that mythical figures are internalized as aspirational. Campbell’s work exploring folklore, myths, and their influence on society provides a solid basis for those preparing to delve into Jung’s writings. Much of Campbell’s work is congruent with Jung’s theories on dream interpretation and symbolism. 

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” 

Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
The Hero with a Thousand Faces (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Campbell, Joseph (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 596 Pages - 11/05/2020 (Publication Date) - Joseph Campbell Foundation (Publisher)

Looking for more? Check out a round-up of the best self-help authors!


  • Amanda has an M.S.Ed degree from the University of Pennsylvania in School and Mental Health Counseling and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. She has experience writing magazine articles, newspaper articles, SEO-friendly web copy, and blog posts.