The Heart of Buddhism: Practical Wisdom for an Agitated World is a great place to start. (This is the updated version, I read the original copy dated and published in 1990).
Clayton is an amazing writer who shares wisdom and insight about Buddhism. He is very straight forward in his writing and shares insight about reincarnation, the true meaning of karma, and is down-to-earth about the world we live in today: an agitated world filled with anger, unease, and self-centeredness.
Clayton expresses the need and practice of meditation when learning and becoming a buddhist; to clear your thoughts and have a clear mind. The way I read the book and what I interpreted about buddhism is; self-realization and to know thyself.
It is to let go of the *I Syndrome* within self-centerdeness (EGO), think before you speak, be silent and listen, don't get caught up in debates and unnecessary arguements, and it is not a cut and dry perfect way of life as we are all human, but it is how we *react* to things and how we *respond.*
Clayton states, "Buddhism is really a deep do-it-yourself kit of ideas and practices for changing in the directions that most people would like: more openess, less defensiveness, more tolerance, less irritation; more ease, less worry; more generosity, less selfishness; more naturalness, less self-consciousness; more equanimity, less frustration."
This amazing books offers the different types of buddhism, how to become a buddhist, a chart about the different traditions in buddhism, a chapter on the eight fold path, and so much more! This wonderful book is a great place to start.
Read more about Guy Claxton.