20 Books That Will Change The Way You Live

Think before you speak read before you think
— Fran Lebowitz

Over the last ten years I've developed a great love and appreciation for books. 

I say developed because I know my younger self wouldn't believe I could find joy in reading. You see, for me, reading began as task to be endured, but over time has transitioned into a discipline I greatly enjoy. 

I now see it as an opportunity to learn from the lessons of so the men and women who have gone before me. As a result, I've been guided, inspired, corrected and directed by so many great people I'd otherwise never get a chance to listen to.

Over the course of this journey, I've encountered some books that have truly changed the way I see the world; changed the way I live.

I wanted to share them with you. 

When I first began trying to make reading a discipline in my life, I had no idea where to start. I wish I'd come across this list like this at that point in my life. It's my hope that you not only enjoy these books, but are inspired and transformed by their words. 

Don't be overwhelmed by the amount of the books that are on the list, you don't need to hurry through them. Take your time. Select one that intrigues you first, and gradually work your way through those you're interested in. 

1. The Power Of Now

If you're anything like me, you'll know how easy it can be to get caught up reflecting on past events, dreaming about future events, and in the process completely missing the current moment. The now. If you relate to what I just said, then this book is for you. It's a guide book written by one of the greatest spiritual teachers alive today on how to live a life embracing the only moment we're ever guaranteed; right now. 

2. Fight Club

This book holds a mirror to society and asks the question "Why are you doing that"? It forces the reader to think about why we do the things we do. Tyler Durden (the main protagonist) symbolises the freedom that can accompany an individual when they have the courage to break out of 'the system' they've grown up in, and live a life in line with the things they actually value. 

3. Awaken The Giant Within

In 2006 I started to realise that I didn't need to be a victim of the anxiety I so often felt. I turned to the words of Tony Robbins in the hope that he could offer me some assistance in developing my mindset. I'm so glad I did. This book provides you with the tools we need to overcome the obstacles we face. Since the first time I read this book I've referred to it countless times and could not be more grateful for what I learnt through its pages. 

4. Immortal Diamond

In our money driven, status focussed culture, it's easy to get caught thinking our value is found in achievement. But chasing success can be stressful. Richard Rohr believes we already have what we're looking for. Immortal Diamond' is the metaphor he uses to describe the image of God that we each have within us. When we discover it, we can be content in all situations, regardless of whether we're rich poor, nameless or famous. It's the reason so many of the worlds poor are content, whilst the rich are still not satisfied. 

5. Walden

First published in 1854, Walden is Henry David Thoreau's reflection on two years he spent living in a cabin he built at Walden Pond, Massachusetts. He went there with the intention of trying to find out what he truly needed to survive, not what his culture was telling he needed. It's the ultimate book for anyone trying to create a simple, minimal lifestyle. 

6. The Sermon on the Mount

For so many people, religion has become something that we want nothing to do with. Rightly so. In this classic book, Emmet Fox looks at what he believes Jesus really taught and why his message is so relevant to us. This book is not just for those interested in God, but for anyone desperate to find out how to get the most out of themselves. 

7. Falling Upward

If there is a greater description of humanity and the way many of us operate than Falling Upward teaches, I don't know it. Richard Rohr says that we all each have two halves of life. The first half trying to become something important, and the second half when we realise we already are something important. A fresh perspective on humanity, and a confronting reality that we're caught up in. 

8. Simplify Your Life

One of the most simple yet profound books on creating a simple life I've ever read. It has 100 tips to help you live a more simple life. Regardless of how out of control you feel your life may be, you can simplify it and this book is a great place to start the process. Very easy to read, and a breath of fresh air. 

9. On the Shortness of Life

If we're not careful, the years of our life can slip away without us paying the slightest attention to why we're doing the things we're do. In this book, Seneca reminds us how we spend our days is how we spend our lives, so we should pay attention to our talents, passions, dreams and desires today. Because 'today' repeated day after day becomes our life. 

10. The Alchemist

We spend our lives looking for the ultimate treasure to bring peace to our soul. In the pursuit of our treasure, have we become blind to the fact that what we're looking for is found right where we are? The Alchemist is a beautiful story that suggests we may have done just that. It's inspiring, refreshing and recommended to anyone who, like me, can feel our constant desire for more never seems to be fully satisfied. 

11. No Mud, No Lotus

If we knew that the most difficult times in our life would produce our greatest strengths, would we still want to avoid them? In this classic book from Thich Nhat Hanh, he suggests that without the difficulty we experience, we wouldn't have the strength we now have as a result. Are you going through a hard time? You're character is being formed. Your difficulty gives birth to your strength. 

12. Status Anxiety

Where does our desire to climb the social ladder come from? What pressures and stresses that this desire to 'keep climbing' put on us? This book offers great insight into the 'modern man's' desire for more. More wealth, more status, more possessions. Alain De Botton takes us on a journey of the events that led our culture to where we are. 

13. The Autobiography of Malcolm X

This book is the best Autobiography I've ever read. It's a classic example of a man who believes so passionately in his cause that not even threats to his life would stop him spreading his message. Emotional, Raw, Truthful. You will love it. Regardless of your thoughts of Malcolm X and his mission, he is a classic example of a man who commits his life to his cause. 

14. David and Goliath

David and Goliath is a story of inspiration to the 'underdog'. We love to look at the underdog take down the favourite in whatever it is we're watching. We view the smaller, unsuspecting characters to have more difficulty bring down the 'giants' they're up against. In this book, Malcolm Gladwell suggests that who we call the underdogs, aren't always at a disadvantage. If they play to their strengths, rather than to the strengths of the giant, they may just end up making giants fall. 

15. The Essential Rumi

Rumi was a thirteenth century Poet, Islamic Scholar, Theologian and Sufi mystic. He took what we looked at in everyday life, and used it to teach about the spiritual world. 'The Essential Rumi' is a selection of Rumi's poems translated to English and as powerful now as the day he wrote them. It can be a trip from time to time, but an incredible book of observations on how humanity operates. 

16. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

 Everyone needs to read this book. Covey walks you through the steps of developing real clarity on what you're trying to achieve, and how to make progress towards making the dream a reality. I read this book in Nepal, 2015 when I realised my dream to climb Mt Everest the following year was officially over. I finished this book with more clarity and confidence on what I would commit to from that day forward. 

17. Unlimited Power

If you haven't noticed yet, I absolutely love what Tony Robbins teaches. Unlimited Power is no exception. It's a guide book helping us take control of our mindset, while guiding us on how to learn what it took others years to learn. Reading this book will give you a greater appreciate on just how powerful the human mind is. It's done that time in my own life. 

18. Man's Search For Meaning

I think this is the most powerful book on this list. It is Viktor E. Frankl's observations of what life was like for the average prisoner of war, in concentration camps during WW2. Not only does he take your hand and guide you through what camp life was like, but he shares his inner most emotions and recollections of what he endured during his time in camp. From dealing with thoughts of suicide, to escape to whether any of his family was alive, this book has the incredible capability to quickly put into perspective how valuable our life is. 

19. Mastery

There is no doubt that the success of others, leaves clues for those wanting to emulate them. But how did those who have become masters in their fields do it? Robert Greene's book is the book to explain it. He guides the reader on many methods to help us get past our competitors by studying the patterns of greats like Leonardo Da Vinci, Einstein and Charles Darwin. 

20. The 48 Laws of Power

When you start to realise that you can learn from the mistakes and the success' of those who went before you, naturally, it inspires you to look more carefully at what they have to teach. The 48 Laws of Power does just that, and ruthlessly so. Boiling 3000 years of power, looking at the philoshies of Sun Tzu, Michiavelli and much more, you'll end this book, shocked at how much you can change the rules of the game being played. 

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