7 Books To Open Your Mind On The Future of the Funeral Profession (While Your Stuck Inside)

There’s one good thing about being stuck inside while it’s cold and there’s a pandemic: BOOKS.

Although you might not have as much time as those who are stuck home unemployed, chances are, with less social functions to go to, you’ve got some time on your hands to become even more of an expert in your trade.

In comparison to most other industries, the funeral service profession hasn’t changed much over the last decade. And instead of standing around asking each other “Why?!”, let’s start to inform ourselves on new and better ways to serve the dead, dying, and their surviving families.

For me, the first step to any kind of growth is research and learning. These steps are key to expanding your ability to grow.

With that being said, here’s an invitation to put your learning cap on and get to reading these 7 books to open our mind into the future of funerals:


#1: From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

Why we recommend it: If you’ve ever wanted to wander into the mind of the leader of the death positive movement, Caitlin Doughty, this is your chance. If you’re fed up with the current paradigm of caskets vs. cremation, this book may offer you some new ideas that work well in other cultures. If you’re resistant to anything other than caskets or cremation, this book is especially for you. We’re also particularly fond of the 40+ illustrations the book offers.


#2: Caring for the Dying: The Doula Approach to a Meaningful Death

Why we recommend it: The end-of-life doula model was created by Henry Fersko-Weiss, and this book was written by him. It offers a comprehensive approach, rich with meaning, to dying and death. We’ve seen religious ceremonies dropping over the years, and spirituality rising, and that’s why we think the concept of a Death Doula is incredibly necessary for the times we’re living. Consider this book a manual for a new way for caring for families, or an invitation to dive more into the work of a Death Doula yourself.


#3: The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss

Why we recommend it: There’s a science behind grief and healing that could be really beneficial for death professionals to dive into (if you already haven’t). If that sounds like your cup of tea, this book is a must-read. Aftercare is becoming an increasingly popular and necessary aspect of funeral service. While most grief education consists of the ‘Five Stages of Grief’, this book challenges the 5 stages and offers what the author feels is a more empowering approach to grief for grievers and practitioners alike. 


#4: Handbook of Social Justice in Loss and Grief: Exploring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Series in Death, Dying, and Bereavement)

Why we recommend it: In today’s day and age, anti-racism and social injustice are longer an option. Since many of us in the funeral profession work with a large diversity of people, social justice work is now a critical part of your job. If you’re wanting to ensure your funeral home is an inclusive space to be for all, this book is a wonderful place to start.


#5: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

Why we recommend it: Have you ever wondered why some companies make it and others don’t? Is it in their DNA? Are they just “lucky”? Or are there aspects of their business that define their way to success? Jim Collins, the author of this book, studied 28 successful companies over 5 years and dove into what makes a business truly thrive. Here’s a hint: the pillars of a successful business aren’t what you think they are. And the only way to find them out, is to read the book for yourself!


#6: Greening Death: Reclaiming Burial Practices and Restoring Our Tie to the Earth

Why we recommend it: With the latest estimates stating that one cremation produces an average of 534.6 pounds of carbon dioxide, the cremation rates of the world should be alarming for any environmental-minded person. The good news is that there are more green options, and as funeral professionals it’s our jobs to learn about and present them. Although this book is more focused on burial, I appreciate the philosophical and historical look into green funeral practices. The opportunities that green funerals offer us for becoming better Earth stewards are undeniable. 


#7: When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Grief Books To Read

Why we recommend it: This book was one of the first books that really opened my heart on the topic of grief and loss. It is one of those books that can really change your life. Even if you’re a grief expert, this book is guaranteed to bring you a more rich insight into the topic of loss. This book touched me so much, I wrote an entire blog post inspired by it. We highly recommend keeping this book around to offer client families. It’s gentle guidance and teachings are Buddhist-inspired, but universally adoptable. 


What are some of your favorite books on death, dying, and funerals? Tell us about them in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments.