The books written by Gurdjieff himself are by far the most important of all the numerous books about his ideas that have been published. That said, for a seeker just beginning to explore the teaching, two other books provide an excellent starting point, and are accordingly listed first.


Jean Vaysse

Vaysse, Jean. Toward Awakening: An Approach to the Teaching Left by Gurdjieff. San Francisco: Far West Undertakings, 1978. (London and New York: Penguin Arkana, 1988); (Sandpoint: Morning Light Press, 2009).

This book is the one used in Sandpoint for those who are coming into the group. It provides an overview of the most important psychological aspects of the teaching, and is an extremely helpful guide, providing the necessary background to begin one’s study with an established Gurdjieff group.


P.D. Ouspensky

Ouspensky, P. D. In Search of the Miraculous. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1949 (New York: Harcourt, 2001).

For many decades Gurdjieff groups have used this classic text as a means to study the teaching in depth. Ouspensky possessed an intellect of the highest caliber and did a masterful job of representing the ideas of Gurdjieff in this book. However, it is important to know that the book covers information only related to the period in which Ouspensky was with Gurdjieff, and Gurdjieff continued to evolve the means and methods of his teaching over his lifetime after Ouspensky left.


G.I. Gurdjieff

Gurdjieff, G. I. All and Everything: Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1950 (New York: Penguin Arkana, 1999); and New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin (revised), 2006 Tarcher/Penguin (second revision), 2008.

Gurdjieff’s magnum opus, and, along with the music and the movements, one of the primary means to come to an understanding of his teaching. The book was intentionally created in a very difficult style, requiring a serious participation by the reader in order to come to grips with the extraordinary breadth and depth of the ideas contained within.

———. Meetings with Remarkable Men. New York: Dutton, 1963 (New York: Penguin Arkana, 1985).

The second in the series of the three volumes written by Gurdjieff in which Gurdjieff describes those individuals he had known early in his life whom he deemed remarkable. Multiple readings begin to illuminate a subtle inner quality to the material, which is not usually obvious upon an initial encounter.

———. Life is Real Only Then, When “I Am.” New York: Dutton, 1982 (New York: Penguin Arkana, 1991).

The third and final volume of the series, usually read after the first two.

———. Views from the Real World. New York: Dutton, 1973 (New York: Penguin Compass, 1984).

A compilation of lectures given by Gurdjieff as recollected by his pupils. Although not written by Gurdjieff, the material is viewed as original source material for the teaching.


While the above titles are invaluable it is necessary to state that the Gurdjieff teaching was established as an oral one. For any real understanding it is necessary to find a Gurdjieff group which is part of the tradition and participate in the study of his ideas with such a group.

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