As an avid reader and perpetual learner, I love new ideas and stories that whisk me away and teach me something about life.
It’s tough to weed through the “must-reads” and “bestsellers” and “required readings” found scattered around the internet, however.
Somehow, amid all the books I’ve read, there are a few that stick with me and leave lasting impressions for years after I finished them.
They broaden my horizons, expand my perspectives, teach me new things, and help me see myself — and the world — in ways that change my behaviors and guide me to new understandings.
I want to share these books with everyone because I believe they’ve made me a better person and helped me become more compassionate and empathetic to both myself and those I’ve met throughout my journey.
My hope is they will do the same for you.
While there are many books that deserve to make this list, I have carefully curated the ones that are short (under 250 pages) yet wildly impactful.
An adaptation from her TEDx talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells a wildly compelling story about what feminism means today. “With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness.”
Short, sweet, and powerful, this book will help you reframe the wy you view the world, from your life to your relationships to the thoughts, feelings, and challenges we deal with as human beings. “In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering.”
One of the most insightful books out there, The Tao Te Ching is “an indispensable resource for all those who seek peace, contentment, harmony and balance in life.” This book is full of wisdom that is wise beyond its years. Seemingly having an answer for every situation, the book has continually found ways to calm me down and remind me of what really matters in life. Cannot recommend enough!
The heartwarming story of a boy who goes on a quest of discovery, encounters, and unforeseen adventures, The Alchemist “teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.”
Creativity, self-expression, and risk taking are immensely challenging tasks for us humans to break through. Scary as all hell, being true to oneself and making what you believe in — regardless of what others may think — is a special skill that can be developed and honed over years of practice and creation. Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art is a “profoundly inspiring guide to overcoming creative blocks of every kind.”
Everything is in a constant state of change. Unfortunately, our human tendency to fear change and feel discomfort amid uncertainty. Yet do those reactions serve us? Absolutely not. So what are we to do with the continued uncertainty we live with on a daily basis? “These simple aspirations can change the way we look at the world and can provide us with a lifetime of material for spiritual practice.”
Putting yourself out there creatively can be overwhelming. Fortunately, this book — almost a manifesto for your creativity — will help you embrace your creativity. A quick read, the ideas are inspiring and sure to provide a lifetime of value for your creative pursuits. “You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself.”
Turns out there are good—and not so good—ways to take notes. For a long time I’ve been doing it poorly. This book has totally changed my perception of how to read and learn, and most importantly, retain and recall the knowledge gained by reading new materials. This book is short, brilliant, and helpful. My new note taking system is not perfect but it is way better than my past way of reading: underlining and then moving on. Here are my thoughts on notes, but I highly recommend this book. It’ll improve the way you learn.
This book is an excellent entry point into learning how to have tough conversations about matters of importance. Ijeoma Oluo “explores the complex reality of today’s racial landscape–from white privilege and police brutality to systemic discrimination and the Black Lives Matter movement–offering straightforward clarity that readers need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide” and I cannot recommend reading this enough. It should be essential reading.