When I was little reading was my favorite way to spend my free hours after school. I would open a novel whenever I could, and even had reading playdates with friends. On summer afternoons we would sit in my friends’ living room, the two of us reading our favorite Harry Potter book for hours. The silence was peaceful; we were both immersed in our own world’s by these influential books. When our hunger interrupted our reading sessions we would take a quick break to make two boxes of Annie’s Mac & Cheese.
By the time I reached middle school, however, reading for pleasure had pretty much stopped. Reading became a chore instead of a hobby. It was something I had to do for english class.
In high school and university I’ve wanted to read more but could never find the time (or motivation, let’s be honest). This has changed recently: I realized I was seeking a creative, relaxing outlet that wasn’t Netflix. I started reading again: self-improvement and influential books, some biographies, a few fiction.
These are my favorite non-travel books that I’ve been pondering over the past few months. These 7 influential books have changed the way I think and have caused me to small changes to make my life better.
The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamond Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
Roz and Ben speak about twelve simple and actionable ways to bring more positivity and creativity into your life. This book combines Benjamin Zander’s experience as conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and his attentive approaches to teaching with psychotherapist Rosamund Stone Zander’s talented and empathetic methods for personal growth and fulfillment. The authors’ perspectives and stories are woven together in this powerful book that explains the role of possibility in every aspect of life. The way they approach sticky situations great contemplation and thoughtful solutions is a great lesson to us all.
Sincero’s hilarious and uplifting writing style will makes you feel like a badass even if you take none of the lessons (which you definitely should!). This book allowed me to realize how many of my limiting beliefs around money prevent me from seeing it as a positive thing in life. It’s taboo to talk about, we don’t talk about how to manage it, and we all talk about how broke we are all the time. At the same time we all want more of it, we feel greedy wanting too much. Our relationships and values are more important than money but that doesn’t mean it isn’t something we desire and deserve to have.
Tim Ferriss is an all-around crazy successful badass. In writing this book, Ferris was inspired by questions like “are my goals my own, or simply what I thought I should want? How could I be kinder to myself? How could I best reassess my priorities and my purpose in this world?
This books seeks answers to a few of life’s biggest questions by getting advice from world-class performers, 70s and 80s icons, and inspirational leaders through time. You will learn more than 50 successful morning routines, how to meditate, and how to assess your priorities and find your purpose. Big questions, and a very big book!
Sandberg reignites the conversation about women in the workplace with Lean In. With anecdotes and hard facts she argues that we have come a long way, but there is still a lot of work to do for women to achieve their full potential. She includes practical advice for negotiating, standing up for your worth, how to get a mentor, and how to build a successful and satisfying career. Women need to “sit at the table” to realize our full capacity as leaders, mothers, sisters, wives, and human beings in this world.
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Were you taught about the different between causation and correlation in grade school? This book will make you throw everything you think you know out the window! Levitt and Dubner explore some of life’s greatest unanswerable questions (haha) : What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Do parents even really matter? In all honesty, by exploring topics like crack gangs, abortion in Romania, and the Ku Klux Klan these economists break down the inner workings and interrelatedness of our world.
The first time I heard Amanda Palmer was when I watched her TED talk in which she describes performing as a living statue, wordlessly asking passersby for money. More than a street artist she is also a singer, musician, couchsurfer, writer, and thought-provoker. She is fearless in asking for help yet also realizes that there are important things she cannot ask for. Being afraid to lean on others can inhibit our lives and relationships. This book explores barriers and opportunities for art of asking, giving, and the ways to be a more compassionate and understanding human being.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
If you’ve heard of this book and haven’t read it yet, get it out of the library now. Offred is a ‘Handmaid’ in a dystopian republic where women are no longer allowed to read, hold jobs, or access knowledge. Her value in society lies in her ability to get pregnant – in fact, her life depends on it. This novel is unexpected; it captivates attention and is horrifying and humorous at the same time. It was revolutionary when it was released in 1998 and continues to be very relevant to society.
So there you go! These 7 influential books have caused me to rethink my life and reshape the way I live in small but important ways. These books challenge the status quo and make you think. I highly encourage you to read them; don’t worry if you don’t get through the whole thing! No judgement here.
Happy travels and keep exploring,