Here’s a list of 13 life-changing books (which are my all-time favorite ones!) that’ll surely change the way you look at life and expand your thinking abilities.
Can books really open your mind, expand your knowledge, and transform the way you live? Well, if you ask me, I would definitely say ‘YES’ – but you can take a chance to figure it out yourself.
I’ve grown up listening to the saying – “Books are a man’s best friends” – and I owe it all to my English teacher in school, who not only was a beautiful storyteller, but she also ignited the love for reading in me.
Reading is an exercise in perseverance and the more we read, the more we get to boost our knowledge.
When you experience life through the eyes of another, you encounter diverse angles on life’s most common situations.
Talented authors will naturally inspire empathy for their characters, and empathizing with viewpoints different from your own can feel uncomfortable. Extremely uncomfortable.
While reading doesn’t mean that you’ll agree with different perspectives, it does offer you the opportunity to understand them.
If you’re a book lover, chances are that you’ve experienced reading to be a rejuvenating activity that renews your energy and elevates your mood.
Numerous book lovers have testified that reading gives them purpose, helps them persevere through difficulty and unlocks parts of themselves they didn’t even know existed.
- Top Life-Changing Books:
- 1.) Notes To Myself: My Struggle To Become A Person
- 2.) Tuesdays with Morrie
- 3.) Sapiens – A brief history of humankind
- 4.) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
- 5.) The Little Book of Hygge
- 6.) 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote To Chaos
- 7.) The Power Of Now: A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment
- 8.) Into the Wild
- 9.) Man’s Search for Meaning
- 10.) The Alchemist
- 11.) Ikigai
- 12.) The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
- 13.) The Forty Rules of Love
Top Life-Changing Books:
1.) Notes To Myself: My Struggle To Become A Person
Very rarely, there are such books which would help you to understand yourself in a better light – whether it’s about your relationship or friendships, happiness and your personal responsibilities, your level of self-acceptance and everything else.
The editor who discovered the book said, “When I first read Prather’s manuscript it was late at night and I was tired, but by the time I finished it, I felt rested and alive. Since then I’ve reread it many times and it says even more to me now.”
I got the book as a gift on my birthday and it turned out to be one of the best gifts ever! As I read through the pages, I could resonate with all that Hugh was saying.
The subtle presentation with the great nicety of this man’s inquiry into his doings, thoughts, and feelings are not just about himself but about all of us, the whole human race.
2.) Tuesdays with Morrie
The thing I found most beautiful about this book is the pure, warm relationship that is depicted between a teacher and student.
I call it pure because it is what a teacher-student relationship is supposed to be like, so comfortable that it becomes a friendship.
What if we could have lessons on how to live? Lessons from someone who has seen the highs and lows of life, from someone who has gained a love and lost love.
From someone who could share the best of their learning, from all of their life experiences?
That is what ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ by Mitch Albom was to me. The book — or rather, Morrie — talks as much about death as about life, if not more. Because after all, the nature of life lies in death itself.
3.) Sapiens – A brief history of humankind
‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’ is surely one of those books which you might like or not – but you surely can’t ignore reading it. I’ve heard people loving it out and out (just like me) while there were many who said that it’s a bit too cynical – but you’ll surely be awed by Harari, who is an Israeli historian, taking on a daunting challenge: to tell the entire history of us, the human race, in a mere 400 pages!
And in the current pandemic situation, I have been going back to Harari’s predictions where he says, “We are probably one of the last generations of Homo sapiens.”
4.) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Life is generally simple unless we make it difficult by overthinking and overreacting. Talking about our generation, we tend to give too much importance in comparing our lives with others and this book taught me that there are many things in life you don’t need to pay attention to.
Flipping through the pages, I realized how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.
In this beautiful book, Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.
5.) The Little Book of Hygge
It took me 28 years to know the Danish concept of ‘Hygge’ – which essentially is an atmosphere or experience of wellbeing and an important reason why Danish people are generally very happy.
We all have bad days, but ‘hygge’ is about finding little joys in our daily lives – perhaps a corner in your home where a tiny plant is blooming, or planning a coffee date on a summer afternoon with your partner, or finding old letters hidden at the corner of the cupboard or the fragrance of the scented candle that fills your room right now.
If the pandemic is taking a toll on your mental health and you’re seeking happiness, then you must definitely pick up this book and start looking for the cozy things around you that bring an instant smile on your face – or rather, adds hygge to life!
6.) 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote To Chaos
Renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson journeys broadly, discussing discipline, freedom, adventure, and responsibility, distilling the world’s wisdom into 12 practical and profound rules for life in this mind-blowing book that’ll keep you hooked until the last page.
12 Rules for Life shatters the modern commonplaces of science, faith, and human nature while transforming and ennobling the mind and spirit of its listeners.
A profound and deeply philosophical read, this book shows us why we do what we do and how we can all live better, more fulfilling lives.
7.) The Power Of Now: A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment
It was right after I finished my Vipassana course when I came across this book where Eckhart Tolle took me on a journey that explores presence, thinking, spirituality, and how to reduce pain in life.
It felt like a complete circle for me, as I dived deeper into knowing my weaknesses that generated pain in most cases.
The book is intended to be a guide for day-to-day living and stresses the importance of living in the present moment and transcending thoughts of the past or future. If this book doesn’t help you in the first read, try reading again another time.
It will make sense to everyone out there – someday or the other, as everyone in the world is awakening at different times. Even if it doesn’t make sense to you now, believe that the present is the best that you have.
8.) Into the Wild
Being a traveler, I’ve always believed that the roads teach us incredible lessons that we would otherwise have missed out if we never traveled. The world has so much in store, that we can never experience while staying within the closed doors.
This book is a biography of Christopher McCandless, who left his stable life (as the society calls it!) and a good career in law, in the quest of living life amidst the wilderness.
He hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself.
If you have a passion that drives you crazy yet you’re skeptical, thinking if you should break the barriers and chase it – then this book will surely motivate you for the same. A gospel for hodophiles, ‘Into The Wild’ will surely change the way you look at life and tickle your wanderlust to explore more.
9.) Man’s Search for Meaning
Man’s Search for Meaning has been listed as one of the most influential books in America and has currently sold over 10 million copies in twenty-four languages.
Needless to say, it is one of those unputdownable books that can help you learn about the value of ascribing meaning to suffering and how to get over the pain.
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl discusses in-depth his experience of living in Nazi death camps and narrates the lessons it taught him about spiritual survival. Frankl puts forth a convincing argument that avoiding suffering isn’t realistic.
However, through choosing how we cope with that suffering and the meaning we ascribe to it, we retain the ability to move forward with renewed purpose.
10.) The Alchemist
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a wonderful story about an inspiring journey towards self-discovery.
Mysticism and wisdom combine in this classic novel that has sold millions of copies worldwide.
This story outlines the journey of a young shepherd boy who desires to travel the world in search of treasure but ends up discovering a vastly different type of riches than he initially imagined.
Overall, this book encourages each of us to listen to our hearts, recognize our unique opportunities in life, and pursue our passions.
This book explains how you can live a longer and happier life by having a purpose, eating healthy, and doing things that we love.
According to the residents of Okinawa, the Japanese village with the world’s longest-living people, finding a reason for living is the key to a happier and longer life.
Surely, this book will help you find your passion and motivate you to walk towards fulfilling your desires.
12.) The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
Written in the form of a fable, this is one of the best motivational & self-help books of recent times.
The story essentially focuses on two characters, Julian Mantle and his best friend John, in the form of conversation. Julian, who was a successful lawyer, met with a sudden heart-attack after which he decided to embark on a spiritual journey, by selling his holiday home and Ferrari.
It’s a must read for all those who are wondering how to live happily, trying to think deeply and rightly, contemplating to value time and relationships, be more disciplined, and wish to live every moment of life to the fullest.
13.) The Forty Rules of Love
It’ll teach you about the power of kindness and how it transforms a person into a beautiful soul. There are two parallel stories in this book that are equally fascinating: one about this modern American woman grappling with a loveless marriage, and the other is about the spiritual connection between Rumi and Shams in Turkey in the 1200’s. Read the book summary of 40 Rules of Love.
Like I’ve said before, I hope you pick up one of these books and that they will change the way you think and look at life.
In recent times, when the pandemic has literally put a pause on our lives and we are all suffering from some sort of anxiety, it’s very important that we motivate ourselves for good and adhere to the things that fetch us happiness.
Life, indeed, is worth living – and these books will surely restore your faith in that thought.