This is going to be a different article. Books undoubtedly have the power to challenge our thinking, create new perspectives, and bring ideas from nothing. In the hunt for these books, I stumbled upon countless stories of different ways books changed people’s lives.
And the rest is history. I jumped to Quora and Reddit and put together all the 12 best books that changed people’s life.
So, without further ado, let the journey begin!
1. The Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Allen Carr
“I had zero intention to stop smoking when I started reading that book. To say I was skeptical about it would be an understatement. I was a heavy chain smoker. Smoked more than anyone I knew. But I went cold turkey after I read it. 3 years strong. I have not had a single puff since finishing that book.
If you smoke. You want to read this book now. I wish I read it earlier.”
2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
“Just beautiful storytelling. Changed how I thought about fate and purpose and childhood. “The Boys in The Boat. Was an athlete that came up against a lot of obstacles while playing, so it was relevant to me. At the time I read it, I had “aged out” (not really, but it’s kind of a long story) of sports and was struggling to fill the hole it left in my life. The book rekindled my drive to be physically active and healthy.
Five Days At Memorial. Only needed to read an excerpt of it for a college class, ended up buying the book the week later. It’s the reason I would later do 2 different research theses on the various engineering failures that occurred in and around NOLA during and after Hurricane Katrina. It’s also the reason I knew I wanted to pursue forensics engineering with my civil engineering degree. It’s an incredibly tragic book, but I think anyone who works in Healthcare or is responsible for designing/building life-saving structures and vital emergency mechanisms would do well to give it a read.”
3. How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler
“Although I only came to this book much later than I would have liked, it had to appear first. Reading it left me wondering how much more I could have enjoyed previous books if I had had the perspective and knowledge I gained after reading this one.
Adler, who was one of the editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica and the founder of the Great Books Foundation, is astonishingly erudite and will change the way you think about the purpose and meaning of reading.
If there’s one author who can convince you of the inherent value of a commitment to a lifelong effort of getting to know our great intellectual heritage, Mortimer Adler is this author.”
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4. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
“ I believe this image represents the atmosphere of the book more accurately than the book cover itself, especially if you take a closer look at his face. I might be projecting my own impressions of the book into my reading of the image, but to some extent, everything about his face seems to indicate this fundamental conflict this book deals with: between the moral laws that constrain us from inside, and our rational apprehension of such laws.
It seems that some of the books that most influenced my way of thinking are also the ones which I am not sure how much I agree with: the ones that make me a little more aware of how complicated things actually are, and how hard it is to get to any degree of certainty about most things.
Dostoevsky seems to have a kind of knowledge of human nature that I believe to be unique about Russian literature, especially in the XIX century. I’m currently trying to understand exactly why.”
5. The Year of No Nonsense by Meredith Atwood
“Meredith Atwood became exhausted by being a full-time lawyer, mother, wife, and triathlete. She stopped going to the gym, picking up her children from school, and spent hours in bed drinking wine.
🙌🏻 It was time for a change 🙌🏻
Meredith outlines the actions that were holding her back:
– saying “yes” too much,
– keeping frenemies around,
– coming up with excuses.
In The Year of No Nonsense, Atwood shares what she learned. From recognizing lies you believe about yourself, to making a “nonsense” list and developing a “no-nonsense blueprint,” this book walks you through reclaiming yourself with grit and determination, step by step.”
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6. To Live Deliberately by Henry David Thoreau
“To Live Deliberately can be relevant no matter where you are in life. Living requires that you use that passion to inspire life and the living of it. Living means digging deep, taking risks, and making bold moves, moves that most people would call crazy, stupid, or risky. This book wishes to choose your path of life independently and thoughtfully, subject to your own deliberation and no one else’s.”
7. Rework by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried
“This is a must-read for anyone building subscription-based software (SaaS) platforms and software development. It was something I was leaning towards, but that book really helped create a structured process for us. We have been using it ever since.”
8. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
“In a nutshell, it has made me change the way I look at my intellectual endeavors, skills, goals, and personal growth in general. I realized that I — and nobody else — am the one who gets to decide how much and in how many different directions I want to grow. In other words, I can grow exponentially if I am deeply interested in and dedicated to a particular subject or area of expertise.
What’s the biggest takeaway from the book?
Dr. Dweck explains how we adopt a certain mindset about our abilities during our early childhood, due to the environment and messages we receive from our parents and teachers. These messages shape our understanding of what role we will assume as adults, what our strengths and weaknesses are, and what we “should” stay away from.
What are the two mindsets described in the book?
If during your childhood your parents praised you with statements such as, “You’re so smart!” or “You’re a genius!” or “You’re a natural!” Dweck says that this type of feedback is an example of a “fixed mindset”: believing that we are born with a predisposition to do only some things extremely well and that our qualities are set in stone.
This also indicates we can only have a certain level of intelligence, a certain type of personality, or a certain moral character. The downside? We believe that we cannot change anything about this, and if we are ever challenged with a situation in which our abilities are questioned, we may get paralyzed with fear and can’t figure out what to do.”
9. I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
“This was a pivotal book for me. For the actual finance info. I read it in my first year after graduating college so was really the first time I was exposed to a lot of the financial advice that seems so common sense now. I was super broke and in debt so could only follow like 1/10th of the advice, read it again once I was breaking even budget-wise.
I think the framing, as you said, is great. I also really liked how each chapter ends in steps for the week. It makes it more bite-sized and action-oriented.”
10. The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal
“I’ve read dozens of psychology books with self-improvement implications. Naturally, there’s a lot of overlap in the concepts they present.
The one that I found particularly interesting, useful, and unique was The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal. Once you understand the effect that willpower has on your everyday behavior, you can begin to increase it and eventually reach goals that previously seemed impossible. So I highly recommend this one, along with reading a quick primer on Goal setting.”
11. Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss
“This book stands out among thousands of personal development books for both its size (600+ pages) and its depth. This is not a book you have to read cover to cover but instead is made up of dozens of interviews you can read on their own broken up into three sections: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise.
This book is inspiring – containing stories of people turning their lives around, facing setbacks, etc. – but is also informative.
Want to learn how to lose weight? Start a business? Become a writer? Become an angel investor? Read more? Be more relaxed? Meditate? Sleep better? All of that is in this book, and much much more.
This book changed my life. It will do the same for you.”
12. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer
“I’ve read at least several monumental, life-changing books in my life. This one found me at a very difficult time in my life. Among other massive personal changes, a very long-term, romantic relationship was coming to an end, with little emotional communication between me and the other person. He was by far the most important person in my life and I suddenly became aware we were on totally different wavelengths. We lived together and he announced he’d be leaving not only our home, but the country, within a month for a long time, and with no commitment to stay in touch. How could I express my anger at someone and their lack of accountability or responsibility when they were mean and not even emotionally available or interested in my point of view?
I felt as if the foundation of my life was being pulled out from underneath me. It was heart-wrenching.
I lived in a big city and had Jury Duty to report to one day in the midst of this turmoil. This involved a whole lot of sitting around quietly in a big room with many people I didn’t know, waiting to be called to another room and be questioned. Pretty much the whole day I just sat around. We were downtown and during the lunch break, I went into a bookstore nearby to entertain myself. I found myself in the spiritual/self-help section and pulled out a few books. This one really called to me, by its title perhaps, or the simple image on the cover? I’m not sure. But it felt really right.”
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