10 life changing books to read
I was checking my Amazon account today. Since opening the account in 2008 when I moved to the US, I’ve bought an average of sixty books a year. That’s 420 books read through just Amazon in seven years; add to that, other random books I’ve picked up in bookstores and hostels and all the books I read in my pre-Amazon days, I guess I’m a bigger nerd than I thought! I’m sure each of these books has affected me in some way but the ten books below had an immediate, tangible impact on my life. I’ve read them at different stages but I’m grouping them in order of the age I wished I had read them:
<25: Three books that ensure you don’t lose your sense of adventure as you enter adulthood
- Forrest Gump: Few know that this was a book before a movie, but I was lucky to read it as a teenager when my aunt visiting from the US left a copy at our home. Forrest with no sense of limitation and always saying yes to everything planted the seeds of what would become a wandering life for me.
- Into the Wild: I read this book in my twenties but I wish I had read it much earlier. The solitary, seeking Chris McCandless became a bit of a role model for me and inspired me to start hiking seriously. I did Macchu Picchu, Kilimanjaro, the Himalayas, and other non-technical climbs shortly after.
- Man’s Search for Meaning: Happiness is the pursuit of a cause bigger than yourself. The deceptively simple analysis from the Nazi concentration camp survivor is a must-read for anyone about to pick a vocation.
25-35: Three books everyone should read to become successful in the world of men and hobbits.
- Rules of Work: This is one of those rare cheesy self-help books that actually help. While reading this, a light-bulb went off in my head that to have any sort of impact at work, I’d have to be a leader, basically take charge of every situation without inhibition. Just that one idea has helped me in every job since.
- Think and Grow Rich: The 2nd and only self-help book on the list, promise! This one is a keeper. Set a lofty, unattainable goal and be persistent through innumerable rejections (plus a host of other actionable tips the author discovered after twenty years of research!) helped me face rejection after rejection to get a major book deal for my US debut.
- The story of my experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi: An incredible book. Through him, I learnt the how self-restraint can topple an empire and how an ordinary man can become extraordinary by just setting an intention.
35+: Three books to confidently begin your inward journey.
- Buddha by Karen Armstrong: The book humanized the Buddha for me as a flesh and blood man who’d stop at nothing to answer his burning meaning-of-life questions. I pick up the book again and again when I lose momentum on my meditation practice to feel inspired by the Buddha, my hero, again.
- Mindfulness by Joseph Goldstein: Through the years, I’ve read a lot of books on meditation but this was the clearest, most practical of them all and gently pushed my meditation practice from being more concentration-based to awareness-based. And yet, it doesn’t dumb down or excessively modernize Buddhist meditation. Consider this gem: “In the seeing, there’s only the seen; in the hearing, there’s only the heard, this just this is the end of suffering.”—clear yet incredibly profound.
- The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Iyengar’s commentary is a stand-out): For me, this is the most definitive thesis ever written on what it means to be a human. Without ambiguity, it lays out man’s true purpose and gives us a step-by-step guide to achieve that. This was the only book I carried with me in our sabbatical—and it took me a year of almost everyday reading to begin to understand it.
And the tenth book? THE SEEKER, of course! I don’t know if it holds a candle to the great books above but I planned and wrote this book over five years with the single-minded intent of writing a book that would make a dent in my readers’ lives. Now, you are the judge! And if reading these great books above inspire you to write, don’t forget to sign up for my full video course on How to get a Top 5 publishing deal here.
This is the first time I’ve offered a video course and the response has been delightful. Signing up is free!