Several books radically altered the trajectory of my life and made me a better person. They made me think about a broad range of topics and challenged me to see every aspect of life from a new perspective. Honestly, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for those books.
Chances are, you want to change your life. For one reason or another, you’re not precisely where you want to be. You know you’re capable of living an incredibly fulfilling life. However, you need a tiny bit of encouragement or motivation to get started.
For thousands of years, humans have been writing and sharing stories. They enable us to learn from the past to improve our future. And obviously, if someone has faced a problem and come out stronger on the other side, you can read about their experience to do the same. Like Neil Gaiman once said:
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
So with all of that in mind, I want to share several interesting books that changed my life. Hopefully, they’ll do the same for you, too.
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Imagine how incredible it would be to get inside the mind of a Roman emperor. You’d probably find it fascinating to understand how he saw the world. Well, now you have the opportunity to do exactly that.
When I say Meditations is one of the best books ever written, I’m not exaggerating. In essence, it’s a collection of notes that Marcus Aurelius wrote to himself while serving as the Roman emperor from 161–180 CE. They discuss the importance of discipline, morals, humility, and many other qualities that enabled him to become one of the most prominent figures in human history.
“Perfection of character is this: to live each day as if it were your last, without frenzy, without apathy, without pretense.”―Marcus Aurelius
If you want to improve your life and adopt a better mindset, Meditations is certainly a fascinating book that will enable you to make progress towards the future you desire.
Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
I can’t think of a more inspiring and motivational person than David. He’s a retired Navy SEAL who has completed more than 60 ultramarathons, triathlons, and ultratriathlons.
Every single day, David Goggins strives to fulfill his potential and go beyond his comfort zone. The reason? He wants to see what he’s truly capable of achieving when he puts his mind to something.
Can’t Hurt Me is a brilliant autobiography about David’s life story. For example, he writes about growing up in poverty and dealing with racism throughout his childhood and adolescence. He also talks about his journey from being depressed and overweight to becoming a Navy SEAL and one of the world’s best endurance athletes.
“Everything in life is a mind game. Whenever we get swept under by life’s dramas, large and small, we are forgetting that no matter how bad the pain gets, no matter how harrowing the torture, all bad things end.”―David Goggins
This book helped to realize that I could improve my circumstances and live a more fulfilling life. So if you also want to reach your full potential, it’s certainly worth a read.
Maps of Meaning by Jordan Peterson
Religion has provided humans with a sense of meaning for thousands of years. It’s what allowed us to form communities where we could put aside our differences and work together for the collective good.
Jordan’s book deconstructs the role of religious stories and mythologies throughout history. He discusses how they have assisted people in developing positive characteristics and mental fortitude in the face of adversity.
In contrast, Jordan also discusses how the rejection of religion and moral philosophy can lead to disaster. Because when meaning is lost, it is easy to give up on life and believe that everything is meaningless.
“What is known and what is unknown is always relative because what is unexpected depends entirely upon what we expect (desire) — on what we had previously planned and presumed. The unexpected constantly occurs because it is impossible, in the absence of omniscience, to formulate an entirely accurate model of what actually is happening or of what should happen.”―Jordan Peterson
It’s worth mentioning that Jordan Peterson has frequently faced public controversy due to his statements being taken out of context. But if you actually read his books, you’ll realize they’re filled with useful ideas and strategies that pretty much anyone can implement to create a better life.
The 50th Law by Robert Greene & 50 Cent
This is one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read. In it, Robert Greene and 50 Cent offer advice on how to live a life that is both successful and satisfying. The secret? Fear nothing. After all, it’s much easier to make progress toward the life you desire when you’re not afraid of the obstacles that lie ahead.
Take my writing career as an example. I used to be terrified of rejection from major publications. I was hesitant to send them my work and frequently told myself they wouldn’t be interested in publishing whatever I had to say.
But after reading The 50th Law, I decided to let go of fear and focus solely on the things within my control. So, I rapidly improved the quality of my writing and submitted it to large publications with several hundred thousand followers. They accepted it. And now, I have a full-time career as a professional writer doing something I genuinely love.
“Your fears are a kind of prison that confines you within a limited range of action. The less you fear, the more power you will have and the more fully you will live.”―Robert Greene
Fear is often the only thing that stands in the way of living the life you desire. It’s critical to remember that it exists solely in your mind. So, if you want to make a positive change in your life, try to accept what you can’t control and focus entirely on what you can. Because once you can do that, it’ll only be a matter of time before your dreams become a reality.
All of these books helped me to become a better person. For example, I learned the importance of humility from Marcus Aurelius and mental fortitude from David Goggins.
Because of the above books, my life is so much better now. And once you start reading them, it’ll only be a matter of time before you see massive improvements in your life, as well. So what are you waiting for?