Esther Perel

Therapist, Author and Speaker

Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author Esther Perel is recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships. Fluent in nine languages, she helms a therapy practice in New York City and serves as an organizational consultant for Fortune 500 companies around the world. Her celebrated TED talks have garnered more than 20 million views and her international bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence became a global phenomenon translated into 25 languages. Her newest book is the New York Times bestseller The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity (HarperCollins). Esther is also an executive producer and host of the popular podcast Where Should We Begin? Learn more at or by following @EstherPerelOfficial on Instagram.

Book Recommendations

Family Healing

by Salvador Minuchin, Michael P. Nichols

You can read Family Healing, you can read Structural Family Therapy, which is the real theoretical basis of it. It will change your whole way of understanding relationships, but I think what it really did for me is I used to come and think about problems from an individualistic point of view, and he gave me a map for thinking about relationships, systemically, tracking the invisible rules that govern the maps of relationships between people. How do we actually go about disrupting dysfunctional relationship patterns, be they couples or families or in organizations, and how do we help people switch them to healthier ones?

Esther Perel, source
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Liquid Life

by Zygmunt Bauman

His description of nomadism gave me a whole new path of thinking, because he looks at nomadism as this trade of our liquid life, where we flow through life like a tourist, where we change places and jobs and spouses and values, including our religious and our professional affiliations. What he highlights is how we’ve dismantled the traditional structures and networks that used to give us support, and now we live in a precarious life under conditions of constant uncertainty, where the burdens of the self have never been heavier.

Esther Perel, source

Can Love Last?

by Stephen A. Mitchell

Can Love Last?: The Fate of Romance Over Time by Stephen Mitchell. Mitchell’s book was part of the spine of my book Mating In Captivity, because he highlighted an inherent tension that spoke a great deal to me, and it’s the tension in how we try today to reconcile in one relationship, two fundamental sets of human needs: the need for stability, our need for safety, for security, together with the need for change, passion, novelty, and mystery. These two sets of needs that he describes so well that spring from different sources and also pull us in different directions, how we straddle security and adventure, tradition and change, familiarity and novelty, comfort and edge, I think today is a central challenge for couples as well as for companies. It’s a little philosophical book.

Esther Perel, source

Fighting for Your Marriage

by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, Susan L. Blumberg

On its surface, it’s a book about marriage of course, but you just go one layer deeper and it’s a study of the underlying issues that shape the way that we relate.

Esther Perel, source

Nonviolent Communication

by Marshall B. Rosenberg

It’s actually a book that doesn’t age, but the reason that book spoke to me is because as a child of two Holocaust survivors, I’ve often lived with this one question, or in fact, that often I think this question has followed me my whole life: what is it that disconnects us from our compassionate nature and leads us to behave violently and exploitatively? But on the other end, what is it that allows some people to stay connected to their compassionate nature in the most challenging of circumstances? The way that this book highlights the importance of language, the speaking and the listening, the language that soothes and repairs, and the language that creates ruptures that are often beyond repair, I think that this book is a classic for anyone who is thinking relationships.

Esther Perel, source

Crime and Punishment

by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I’ll tell you what I reread that I loved, because one of my kids was reading it in school, Crime and Punishment. You can reread the Russians. They are timeless.

Esther Perel, source

Man's Search for Meaning

by Viktor E. Frankl

The book I’ve probably gifted the most is Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, since I’m 16.

Esther Perel, source