20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

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20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

Erich Fromm's To Have or To Be will completely change your perspective on life. Boiled down, the book is about the idea that unhappiness stems from placing too much emphasis on "having" stuff rather than "being". For Fromm "having" not only refers to material possessions, but also the desire for power, greed, envy, and violence, while "having" encompasses love and compassion. I don't think any synopsis of this book will do it justice. Reading it is truly a mind-expanding experience. Noteworthy Quote: “We are a society of notoriously unhappy people: lonely, anxious, depressed, destructive, dependent — people who are glad when we have killed the time we are trying so hard to save.”

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was a game-changer for me as a creative person. This book will give you courage, inspire you, and make you believe in magic. Noteworthy Quote: “You want to write a book? Make a song? Direct a movie? Decorate pottery? Learn a dance? Explore a new land? You want to draw a penis on your wall? Do it. Who cares? It’s your birthright as a human being, so do it with a cheerful heart. (I mean, take it seriously, sure—but don’t take it seriously.) Let inspiration lead you wherever it wants to lead you.”

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl is so much more than a memoir of the author's time in five different concentration camps, it's a book about transcending pain and tapping into a limitless source of internal strength. Noteworthy Quote: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith is all about helping you become the person you've always dreamed you'd become and eliminating any possibility of having regrets at the end of the road. "Triggers" is easy to read and packs a powerful punch of inspiration while it analyzes your motivations and empowers you to change. Noteworthy Quote: "Our inner beliefs trigger failure before it happens. They sabotage lasting change by canceling its possibility. We employ these beliefs as articles of faith to justify our inaction and then wish away the result. I call them belief triggers.”

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

The Hate U Give is a powerful work of Young Adult fiction that absolutely everyone needs to read. It will be one of the most powerful, pertinent, timely, emotional books you will ever read. And there's literally no better time to read it than now. "The Hate U Give" is a novel about police brutality and race in America. Noteworthy Quote: “That's the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What's the point of having a voice if you're gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn't be?”

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

Raymond Moody's Life After Life is not for everyone as it deals with the possibility of reincarnation, but I'd urge you to give it a shot, it's a truly fascinating book that might just restore your faith in the unknown. At the very least, it is a interesting read about a scientist's quest for evidence of an afterlife. Noteworthy Quote: "I have absolutely no fear of death. From my near-death research and my personal experiences, death is, in my judgment, simply a transition into another kind of reality."

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

Do you remember the last time that you were so focused, so motivated and captivated by what you were doing that time slipped by unnoticed for hours? Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is going to help you get into that sweet spot at will, becoming a happier, more present person in the process. It is quite possibly one of the most important books you will ever read. Noteworthy Quote: “To overcome the anxieties and depressions of contemporary life, individuals must become independent of the social environment to the degree that they no longer respond exclusively in terms of its rewards and punishments. To achieve such autonomy, a person has to learn to provide rewards to herself. She has to develop the ability to find enjoyment and purpose regardless of external circumstances.”

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is a heart-breaking exercise in empathy. It will put you in the shoes of a brilliant young doctor who is about to die before his time. Read this book if you want to learn the hardest lessons of all, the things we are faced with when we know our time is up. Noteworthy Quote: “Be ready. Be seated. See what courage sounds like. See how brave it is to reveal yourself in this way. But above all, see what it is to still live, to profoundly influence the lives of others after you are gone, by your words.”

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

Yeah, you can pretty much guess from the title what this is going to be about. Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit explores the subtle (and not so subtle) ways in which women's voices are devalued in our culture. This book is like a kick in the gut, it will make you notice everyday inequalities that you were completely unaware of. And once you see it, you won't be able to unsee it. Consider that a warning. After this book, you will never be the same.

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

In this screwed up world of ours, there is nothing more powerful than empathy. That's what is so powerful about The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward. It gives people from all walks of life and races the opportunity to experience what it means to be a black person in America. Noteworthy Quote: “Though the white liberal imagination likes to feel temporarily bad about black suffering, there really is no mode of empathy that can replicate the daily strain of knowing that as a black person you can be killed for simply being black: no hands in your pockets, no playing music, no sudden movements, no driving your car, no walking at night, no walking in the day, no turning onto this street, no entering this building, no standing your ground, no standing here, no standing there, no talking back, no playing with toy guns, no living while black."

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

It's extremely difficult to sum up Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet. Don't' be discouraged by its religious overtones, this book is an extraordinary work of art, a masterpiece of spirituality, and one of the most inspiring yet simple books ever written on the subject of living your best life, illustrated and presented in gorgeous poetic prose. I can't recommend it enough.

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

Yes, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is absolutely for toddlers, but its timeless lesson of love and generosity transcends age. This is the book to get for those you love, especially their little ones.

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

On Love by Alain de Botton is a book abut love, obviously, but Alain's approach to that tired old subject is anything but obvious. This love story is far more philosophical than it is romantic, more intellectual than trite, and manages to shed some profound insight on the human heart. Noteworthy Quote: “Perhaps it is true that we do not really exist until there is someone there to see us existing, we cannot properly speak until there is someone who can understand what we are saying in essence, we are not wholly alive until we are loved.”

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is about achieving your dreams and helping others do the same. Randy Pausch was a computer scientist at CMU stricken by advanced pancreatic cancer. He only had a few months left to live, and this lecture is his legacy, a love letter to the world and the people in it and contains everything good about humanity. Noteworthy Quote: “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine is a hilarious and insightful look at gender and the myths around it. The thing that makes this book so appealing, quite simply, is the truth. Cordelia Fine's book is passionately concerned about the scientifically backed facts of gender differences, and her findings are paradigm shifting in the best ways possible. Noteworthy Quote: “Neurosexism promotes damaging, limiting, potentially self-fulfilling stereotypes. Three years ago, I discovered my son’s kindergarten teacher reading a book that claimed that his brain was incapable of forging the connection between emotion and language. And so I decided to write this book.”

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

How to Be a Person in the World by Heather Havrilesky also known as Ask Polly is a collection of the writer's best, most inspiring and quotable pieces of advice. For those of you who don't know Polly, her claim to fame is her uncanny ability to solve all your personal problems no matter how complicated. The book is like a peek into the human heart. Noteworthy Quote: “But here is what I tell my own daughters, when they start to place all of the magic outside of themselves, when they start to feel like some random dude owns the sun and the moon and the stars: The world has told you lies about how small you are.”

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius is a seminal self-help book, in the form of a Roman Emperor's musings on life in the battlefield. It is the self-help book that predates all self-help books, and upon which pretty much every consecutive book "borrows" from, and for good reason. This thing is just a gorgeous book that captures an extraordinary mind. Noteworthy Quote: “Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

Once you read Of Human Bondage by William Somerset Maugham you will kick yourself for not having read it when you were younger. It's a classic coming of age story that will blow you away with its powerful message and perfect ending. The book is fundamentally about the meaning of life and where you fit in. It is a deeply satisfying, life affirming read. Noteworthy Quote: “It's no use crying over spilt milk, because all of the forces of the universe were bent on spilling it.”

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World

For many of you The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti will be at once a relief to read and deeply frustrating, but the reason it deserves to be on this list is because it will open your eyes to the repressive nature of female sexuality in our culture. Noteworthy Quote: “Sex for pleasure, for fun, or even for building relationships is completely absent from our national conversation. Yet taking the joy out of sexuality is a surefire way to ensure not that young women won't have sex, but rather that they'll have it without pleasure.”

20 Books That Will Change The Way You See the World
bucket-list-journal

My Bucket List journal for the win! This is for anyone who loves making lists, and particularly for those who love the feeling of crossing things off that list. This book will change your life for the simple reason that just filling it will motivate you to do extraordinary things. It's the kick in the butt you need to start going after all those dreams.

Click through the gallery above for all the life-changing paradignm-shifting inspiration you will ever need. There’s really no better way to change and grow as a person than through a book, after all, it’s probably the only thing that allows us to step into another person’s mind and see the world through their eyes just for a moment. The books on this list will do just that, they will inspire empathy, happiness, and show you that there’s still some magic left in the world. Happy reading!

Natalia Borecka

Natalia is the editor in chief and publisher of Lone Wolf Magazine. She founded the publication in 2012.

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