10 Hypnosis Books Every Hypnotist Must Read

This top 10 list of hypnosis books is what I consider to be essential reading for any hypnotist who takes the craft seriously.

It doesn't matter whether you are brand new to the field or if you have many years of experience. You'll become a smarter and more resource-rich hypnotist after you get through reading ... or even better ... studying the books on this list.

This list represents a diverse mix of material, and is something my students have been asking me to publish for a long time. Rather than keep it private I thought it would be best to share it here on our website.

Take your time, make a plan, and read as many of these as you can. Your confidence will soar, your skill sets will grow, and your clients will thank you.

Note that these books are about much more than just how to hypnotize somebody. If that's what you want make sure you read our ultimate guide to hypnotic inductions.

1. Trance-formations: Neurolinguistic Programming and the Structure of Hypnosis (Bandler and Grinder)

Out of print for a long time, this is still an excellent book. It is worth hunting down a copy and buying it at a reasonable price. John Grinder was one of my brilliant teachers, and this book shows him and Bandler at their best, before they had a falling out. The reader gets the sense of attending one of their live trainings, where they show that hypnosis does indeed have a structure, which they deconstruct in NLP terms. Essentially Ericksonian in method, the authors teach through a mix of lecture and demonstration.

2. The Collected Papers of Milton H. Erickson (4 Volumes by M.H. Erickson MD.)

Although not for the beginner, this four volume set of purple books is a goldmine of hypnotic theory and experimentation. The volumes may be read in any order, and are excellent for hypnotic browsing on a rainy afternoon. Erickson documents his experiments and experiences, effectively demonstrating why he’s still lightyears ahead of all other hypnotists to this day. I know I’m cheating by listing four books as one book, but they’re really that good. It’s become de rigueur to criticize Erickson, but in view of his genius, and all he accomplished, it’s hardly surprising. When Bruce Lee was alive, everyone was scared to death of him. Ten minutes after he was dead, it turned out he wasn’t that good, and your grandmother could have beaten him in a street fight. Same with Milton Erickson.

3. My Voice Will Go With You: The Teaching Tales of Milton H. Erickson (Edited and with commentary by Sidney Rosen)

Milton Erickson was known for his remarkable, seemingly effortless therapy. By simply telling his patients stories, he would cause his subjects to enter trance and their lives would often be transformed. Dr. Rosen has gathered 100 of Erickson’s powerful tales, along with his own comments. These are not stories to copy, but are excellent teaching vehicles for those who wish to become storytellers who can change lives. 
Get it on Amazon.

4. Monsters and Magical Sticks: There’s No Such Thing as Hypnosis? (Heller and Steele)

A small book and a quick read, but one of my favourite hypnosis books of all time. Bringing in elements of NLP, the authors teach through vivid example that hypnosis may not really exist as a specific thing - but it’s happening everywhere. One of my students (a naturopath) using the methods of this book, cured a stubborn wart in a young patient with a magical stick; in this case a pencil. A great book for the hypnotist who’s stuck in a static model of hypnotic trance. 
Get it on Amazon

Free Power Inductions Tutorial

This free video tutorial shows you exactly how to perform Rapid and Instant inductions. This is one of our most popular video tutorials of all time!

5. Transforming Therapy: A New Approach to Hypnotherapy (Gil Boyne)

I must say that Boyne and his super-fast work fascinate me. Containing transcripts from his own therapeutic sessions, this book is another gem that should not be missed. Boyne was a master of the rapid induction, and can teach street hypnotists a thing or two. Nevertheless, the trances he created were robust, and the results tended to last. Combining hypnosis with gestalt therapy, Boyne worked creatively, and this book will stand the test of time. If you’re a hypnotherapist, this is a must read, and must own.

6. Mesmerism in India  (James Esdaile)

Originally written in the 1800s, it still remains a fascinating read. Esdaile was a British Army surgeon who served in India. The book documents his work with Mesmerism, the inchoate form of hypnotism, in an era when anaesthetic was yet to be discovered. Although it often took hours for him to produce a sufficiently deep trance for his surgical interventions, Esdaile did much amazing work, including removing testicular tumours (!). It wasn’t until many years later that the “Esdaile state” was rediscovered.

7. Hypnotherapy (Dave Elman)

A classic in the world of directive, authoritarian, paternalistic hypnosis. Erickson was the master of the subtle and indirect. Elman was the other side of the coin. Here you’ll find real hypnotic gold, as Elman teaches how to deal with stuttering, gagging, the creation of hypnotic anaesthesia, hypnosleep, the Esdaile state, and much more. If you’re a hypnotherapist and haven’t yet read this book, you are cheating yourself, because if you master the contents, you’ll be able to fix all sorts of things. With an introduction by Gil Boyne, this is a first-rate hypnosis text.

8. The Wizard From Vienna: Franz Anton Mesmer (Vincent Buranelli)

A fair and interesting treatment of the rather checkered life of Franz Anton Mesmer. Whether you deem him to be a charlatan or a genius, the fact remains: Mesmer was the first hypnotic rockstar. From his studies in animal magnetism, to his hypnotic seances for the aristocracy, and his treatment of hysterics, it’s all here. An important book, as I think we should know something of the history that underlies the art and science that we practice. The portrait of Mesmer that develops through the unfolding story is that of a genuine healer, trying to figure it all out on the fly.

9. Training Trances (Overdurf and Silverthorn)

An excellent little book that will teach you much about the evolution of the Ericksonian method. Like book #1 on this list (Trance-formations) you are essentially sitting in on a hypnosis seminar. The authors do a really good job of unpacking and teaching fairly complex concepts, including embedded commands and metaphors, in a friendly and approachable way.

10. Reality is Plastic: The Art of Impromptu Hypnosis (Anthony Jacquin)

I must confess that I like and respect Anthony Jacquin, and this book is one of the reasons why. Jacquin has a knack for teaching, while neither over-simplifying, nor bringing in unnecessary complexity. If you’re a street or stage hypnotist, this is a must have. Covering rapid inductions, deepening techniques, and a wealth of interesting hypnotic phenomena, this book will stretch you to do things with hypnosis you thought were impossible. 

Central to Jacquin’s teaching is the concept of testing your work to ensure you have the depth of trance you need; something many hypnotists seem to be afraid to do. The Freddy Jacquin Power Lift; an induction that Anthony Jacquin learned from his hypnotist father, is worth the price of the book.

So I realize this is far from a complete list, but all of these books belong in the library of the serious hypnotist. By the way, if you have money to burn (say about $3,000.00) you can go to Bookfinder.com and pick up a new copy of Miracles on Demand by Charles Tebbetts, without which, your hypnosis collection is forever incomplete. I have an autographed first edition, but won’t tell you what I paid...

Free Power Inductions Tutorial

This free video tutorial shows you exactly how to perform Rapid and Instant inductions. This is one of our most popular video tutorials of all time!

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29 Responses to 10 Hypnosis Books Every Hypnotist Must Read

  1. Matthias Muenzer May 22, 2015 at 1:21 am #

    thank you very much! Great list!

  2. Paul May 22, 2015 at 4:37 am #

    Thanks for the list. Can’t wait to get started.

  3. dave crouch May 28, 2015 at 6:11 am #

    I think Stephen Gilligan’s “Therapeutic Trances” should be in the top four. Otherwise, nice list. Have read all but one!

    • Chris Thompson June 21, 2015 at 11:24 am #

      We love the additions people are suggesting here and on Facebook (see http://facebook.com/mikemandelhypnosis). It’s very tough to distil this down to only 10 books, so it ends up being a very personal choice. We’re considering a new list of top 10 books other hypnotists wish we’d included on the list 🙂 Seriously.

      • Arthur July 7, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

        Another list of 10 books would be awesome! By the way how come Dave Elman green book is at number 7? I consider it #1

        • Chris Thompson August 19, 2016 at 5:52 pm #

          Absolutely Elman’s book is super important. The order of appearance is just random here.

  4. Robin Nichols July 3, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    There are quite a few that could’ve been included.

    Deep TranceTraning Manual – Igor Ledowchowski
    Persasion Engineering – Richard Bandler.
    Frogs into Princess – Richard Bandler.
    Sourcebook of Magic – Michael Hall
    The Big Book of NLP – Schlomo Vaknin.

    Very good list though especially as many of these books are going up in value.

    • Chris Thompson July 6, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

      I like the Bandler suggestions for sure, although I wouldn’t personally put any of these in THE ultimate top 10 list (maybe Frogs into Princes – love that book!) There are too many other, better hypnosis books. Great suggestions. We’re considering a list of top 10 suggested by commenters.

    • Joseph April 9, 2016 at 5:39 am #

      Guys …. To please .. Get a little deeper here …. than just the surface … Maybe you ought to read these:

      The classic *Hypnosis in Modern Medicine* (edited by Schneck) was the first textbook given to medical students in college. There are theoretical perspectives in there so different and so so much deeper than “Igor Ledowchowski– the McDonald’s of hypnotism” that it is astonishing. Because even if you can put someone into a trance — you have to have a deep understanding of the mind and body and illness and hypnosis in order to exude the stellar confidence necessary to heal.

      Hypnoanalytic Techniques by John Watkins. The inventor Parts Therapy. Hypnosis today is severed from the analytic perspective, (except in the instance of Boyne, listed above), to the huge detriment. Its because people aren’t smart enough, I think, to learn hypnosis fully.

      Trances People Live by Wolinski. This theory of hypnosis is essential — because it is exactly true — and I bet none of you know it !! People are in hypnosis all day constantly. You probably don’t know what hypnosis is. # 1 must read.

      Symptom Path to Enlightenment by Rossi. How to incubate inside a trance while following the finest rhythms of the mind/body and using chaos theory. Super clean.

      Hidden Depths, the Story of Hypnosis — this is a fine book on the history of hypnosis (history is essential, especially if you plan to become a figure of history yourself)

      and so on. these books are far more intelligent and in depth than these NLP things … no offense but you guys worry me (viz Robin)… NLP and hypnosis are two different things.

      • Mike Mandel April 9, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

        Spoken like a true Enneagram 5!

        Jerry was SO right about you…

        • Kristi December 29, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

          ? That Jerry is so damned perceptive.

  5. lana wheatley August 11, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

    Thank you x

  6. Russell Davis August 27, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    I TOTALLY recommend Cognitive Hypnotherapy: What’s That About and How Can I Use It?: Two Simple Questions for Change by Trevor Silvester.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cognitive-Hypnotherapy-Simple-Questions-Change/dp/1848765053/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1440690431&sr=8-2&keywords=trevor+silvester

  7. Hypnotist Larry October 23, 2015 at 6:26 pm #

    In Trance: Hypnosis from the Subject’s Point of View – a must read for every hypnotist – how the client experiences hypnosis. This book allow you to see what your client feels, sees, and gets from a hypnosis session. It is better than a Pre-Talk, something you will want your clients to read. Available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. http://booklaunch.io/sondralambert/in-trance

  8. Cmoisan June 24, 2016 at 11:32 pm #

    This is a great list. Amazon, here I come! I think adding more interpersonal/spirituality in Hypnotherapy would be great.

  9. Tim kelly July 5, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

    I would have thought the new encyclopedia of stage hypnotism would have been there, ormond gill , i have my voice will go with you, you also want wordweaving trevor silvester, look into my eyes peter masters..

  10. Mudfire July 7, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    Hi Mike, probably because your copy was autographed…but I can get a copy of Tibbet’s
    Miracles on Demand for $72 – If you know where I can unload my copy for 3 grand please tell me 😉

    • Mudfire July 7, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

      *Tebbetts – sorry

    • Chris Thompson August 19, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

      Email me the link! Mike’s got a copy but I don’t yet. Would love to buy this one.

  11. James Hazlerig August 12, 2016 at 6:51 am #

    I can imagine a top ten list of books that officially are not about hypnosis that every hypnotist should read.

    It would include The Myth of Repressed Memory by Elizabeth Loftus or Victims of Memory by Mark Pendergrast.

    Influence by Robert Cialdini would be on the list.

    On a different topic, I like that you have several historical works on the list, but a more general history of hypnosis should probably knock either Esdaile’s book or Mesmer’s biography off the list.

  12. Joshua August 23, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    Why not Hypnotic Realities or Hypnotherapy by Erickson/Rossi? I don’t want to knock other people, but I’ve gotten more from those two books than all from of the other books in your list I’ve read combined… And they’re more helpful for the practically minded, less research and theory-focused reader than the collected papers, IMHO.

    • Chris Thompson August 23, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

      Great suggestions. It was a top 10 list with Mike’s personal choices, so tons of amazing books will obviously be missing.

  13. keith Standen August 23, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

    What about ‘The Secret Language of Feelings’ by Calvin Banyan? I’m told this should be a definite read, any thoughts?

    • Chris Thompson August 23, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

      I’m not familiar with it at all. Cal has another book that we did read and as with every hypnosis book you should pick up at least one good idea from it. Personally it would not be on my top 10 list. There are too many much better books.

  14. Nadeen September 19, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

    Awesome list! 7 out of 10 ain’t bad… Actually I was surprised that I read that many on the list! “The Wizard Within” is another good one that really influenced me.

    Right now I am loving “You are the Placebo”… On audio book. Lol.

    My next training will 100% be with Mike Mandel!

  15. Melinda October 14, 2016 at 6:46 pm #

    Having studied with John Kappas, I found his Personality theory and the tests to be huge tools for a therapist. The mother company of his business- Hypnosis Motivational Institute (in Tarzana, Calif),- was a metaphysical Org. He assisted many athletes to become quite exact in their sports through his techniques. I like all his books and kept them for reference material.

  16. Dr Terence Palmer November 6, 2016 at 3:12 pm #

    Read Tom Zinser’s ‘Soul Centered Healing’. Hypnosis is used by Tom as a means of reaching deeper levels of consciousness where sub-personalities reside and where the inner self helper ISH or the soul’s higher self (H-S) are accessible for truly lasting healing results.

  17. Tim caswell November 26, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

    I have a copy of The Encyclopedia of Stage hypnotism which is the actual copy that Paul McKenna learned hypnosis from.

    I have tried to return it to him without success. It is very dated but a priceless insight into the old school methods.

  18. Mike Power February 10, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    To be fair to Mike Mandel he does make it clear that this is a limited list and a personal choice. As he says there could be another list of ten (and considerably more) but that isn’t what this post is about. List posts always stimulate comments and debate. They become an integral part of the post. In total there are about 20 other recommendations in the comments. That makes around 30 in all and many more could be added. That is the value of posts like this. It also has the advantage of getting other people’s perspectives. The list isn’t definitive, and doesn’t claim to be. But it ranks well on Google and that brought me (and, I’m sure, many others) to this site so. I believe. it’s a job well done by the writer,