This is one of the first (literary) books i recall reading. my mother kept a collection of gibran's works that she often read. i was curious to see what attracted her, so i looked into them too ( i was either eight or nine at the time). i believe that was my first taste of spirituality and seemed at the time more relevant than what i was being force-fed by nuns in catechism class. rereading gibran now, i'm struck by the notion that hesse must have been aware of these texts before he wrote siddhartha. they contain many of the same themes: no one else can guide you on your path. you must select your own course. preachers and prophets are a dime a dozen. true wisdom comes from within. the prophet's teaching on love is particularly relevant to me at this stage of my life: "for even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. he threshes you to make you naked. he sifts you to free you from your husks. he grinds you to whiteness. he kneads you until you are pliant; and then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for god's sacred feast." look into these books. they may appear simplistic to the jaundiced eye, but they may also provide the inspiration you need to see you through life's travails.