The 40 books that saved my life
Oh my god, another list of books I should read! I can’t help it, though.
These are the books I return to when I need help, guidance, solace in my life.
I’m going to cheat. I’m not going to look at my kindle to see what I’ve read. Forgive me if I get a title or an author’s name wrong.
If I can remember the books, then it means they had some impact on me. If I can’t remember them, then why would I recommend them?
For each one of these books: either they made me a better person, or I felt, even as I was reading them, that my IQ was getting better. Or, in the case of fiction, I felt like my writing was getting better by reading the book.
Or I simply escaped to another world. I like to travel to other worlds. To pretend to be a character in someone else’s story.
I think if you can find even one takeaway in a book that you remember afterwards, then it’s a great book.
Remember: It’s hard to remember more than 1% of a book.
Time is the ultimate judge of wisdom. How you bounce back from misery and despair in order to thrive. I hope I learned that from these books.
- “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl
- “Antifragile” by Nassim Taleb (and “The Black Swan” and “Fooled by Randomness” by him)
- “Tiny Beautiful Things” by Cheryl Strayed
- “Master of Love” by Don Miguel Ruiz
- “Anything You Want” by Derek Sivers
- “Mindset” by Carol Dweck
- “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- “Sapiens” by Yuval something.
- “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz
- “Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway
- “Jesus’ Son” by Denis Johnson (a collection of short stories, not a religious book)
- “The Rational Optimist” by Matt Ridley (and the Evolution of Everything by him)
- “Bold” by Peter D. and Steven Kotler
- “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell
- “Peak” by Anders Ericsson
- “The Surrender Experiment” by Michael Singer (along with The Untethered Soul by him)
- “Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist” by Stephen Batchelor
- “Mastery” by Robert Greene
- “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel
- “War of Art” by Stephen Pressfield (and “Turning Pro“)
- “Post Office” by Charles Bukowski
- “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin
- “Maus” by Art Spiegelman
- “On Writing” by Stephen King
- “How We Got to Now” by Stephen Johnson (and his book on ideas)
- “Creativity, Inc” by Ed Catmull
- “Sick in the Head” by Judd Apatow
- “Born Standing Up” by Steve Martin
- “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle (and “Practicing the Power of Now” by him)
- “5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman
- “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World” by Harry Browne
- “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut
- “A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey
- “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
- “What We Talk About When We talk about Running” by Haruki Murakami
- “The Stranger” by Albert Camus
- “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coehlo
- “The Blue Zones” by Dan Buettner
- “The New Evolution Diet” by Art Devany
- “Poking the Dead Frog” by Mike Sacks
- “Socrates” by Paul Johnson
- “Small Victories” by Anne Lamott
- “Meet Your Happy Chemicals” by Lorette Breuning
Ugh, I’m not even halfway done. And I’m past 40 books.
When I read any of these books, I feel like a vampire. Like I’m sucking all of the blood out of the author. I’m stealing his soul and consuming it.
Thank you, author, for giving me your soul. For giving me immortality.
That’s why reading is great. It’s like I’ve lived 100s of lives as well as just my own.
One of these days someone will eat my soul also. I hope I have enough seasoning to taste good.
What’s one book you’d add to this list? Comment below…
Oh, and there’s something you should know…
I recently bought too many books…usually that’s a good thing. This time it wasn’t.
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(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)