The New York Times bestselling author of To Shake the Sleeping Self delivers a moving reflection on the hidden, sometimes difficult topics we must consider in order to live an authentic life—ego, love, family, work—for anyone seeking a companion on the road to understanding.

We wake up atop the dirt of our childhoods with a shovel in our hands. In our pocket is a crumpled note with conspicuously familiar handwriting. It says, “Good luck.”

We aren’t born into a self. It is created without our consent, built out of our childhoods, our circumstances, and chance. But in the busyness of adult life, we rarely have time to think clearly about the questions that matter most: Who am I? What am I made of? How much of how I act boils down to avoiding the things that make me feel small? We bury these questions, but they drive our behavior far more than we give them credit for. They are our puppet masters.

Writing with the passion and clarity that made his debut, To Shake the Sleeping Self, a national bestseller, Jedidiah Jenkins brings together new and old writings to explore the eight themes all of us face as we find our way in life: ego, family, home, friendship, love, work, death, the soul.

As he examines the experiences that shape us into who we are, Jenkins leads readers in a wide-ranging conversation about finding fulfillment in the people and places around us and discovering the courage to show our deepest selves to the world.
“Jedidiah Jenkins is a beautiful, attentively humane writer whose vivid prose comes suffused with the noble belief that words really do matter, and that through them we can know and be known. There is wisdom in this book, as well as something rarer still: the genuine and infectious faith that the good life—what the philosophers call flourishing—is attainable, and that one really can improve. I couldn’t put these essays down.”—Thomas Chatterton Williams, author of Self-Portrait in Black and White

Like Streams to the Ocean is as inviting, wide-ranging, and philosophical as an all-night conversation with a best friend, and as revealing and thought-provoking as the diary of a curious adventurer.”—Sasha Sagan, author of For Small Creatures Such as We

“It’s rare to find the level of honesty and authenticity that Jenkins brings to his audience. In a world of constant noise, his storytelling is piercing in an almost familiar way. He’s managed to home in on that single idea that we all relate to and truly make you feel a part of the experience. This is the type of storytelling the world needs more of.”—Chris Burkard, award-winning photographer, author of At Glacier’s End

Praise for To Shake the Sleeping Self

“With winning candor, Jedidiah Jenkins takes us with him as he bicycles across two continents and delves deeply into his own beautiful heart. Every page of this book made me ache to know what happened next. Every chapter shimmered with truth. It’s an unforgettable debut.”—Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

“At once an adventure story and personal diary of the internal struggles and ultimate triumph of a deeply thoughtful gay man.”The Advocate