Reading is fun. Reading is powerful. And reading has served me so well that I’d say it contributes to the majority of the successes I’ve experienced in my life — both personally and professionally. The rest of it comes from taking consistent and deliberate action on the things I’ve picked up from the books I read.

Today, I’m going to present 10 mind expanding books to read in a lifetime. Bear in mind, I’m not saying you should take a lifetime to read them. The more of them you read, the more benefits you’ll gain from the books, and thus, the more mind expanding ideas you’ll be able to apply directly to your life.

#1. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

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This is a book about success and how there’s a lot more to it than being smart and working hard. Maybe you’ve heard of Gladwell’s famous 10,000 hour rule and how it relates to success – but even then – there’s still so much more to learn about how successful people became so successful in the first place. Outliers is a must-read title if you’re looking to expand your mind about the subtleties and nuances that contributed to the success of icons like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

#2. Cosmos by Carl Sagan

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This is one of those books that you read, and then just sit there and think. Cosmos is one of the most mind expanding books on this list because it implores you to think about our place in the universe, and the fact that even though we’ve come so far as a species, we’ve still got so much more to learn about ourselves and our future.

#3. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

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This book was written over 1800 years ago. Guess what? The powerful principles written way back then remain just as applicable today, as they did back in the 2nd century. Just read this quote and you’ll understand what I mean: “For how could we do what justice requires if we are distracted by things that don’t matter, if we are naive, gullible, inconstant?” He’s got to be referring to our texting and driving problem, right?

#4. The China Study by Thomas Campbell

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If you’re interested in learning about the single most comprehensive book about nutrition conducted to date, then this is the book you need to read. The research behind this book, and its health and weight-loss implications will do more than expand your mind, it’ll downright surprise you (and maybe even scare you) into embracing a healthier way of life.

#5. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

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This is the original book on emotional intelligence. Way before social scientists had the case studies to back up the efficacy of human relations, as well as its impact on the way we live and the way we work, Dale Carnegie had tried and tested his methods of positive influence enough times to know their effectiveness. Over 100 million copies later, the methods have proven themselves by withstanding the test of time.

#6. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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You know that feeling you get when you’re doing what you love. It’s almost as if time just came to halt? As if five hours felt like five minutes? As if everything you were doing just felt right? As if you were doing what you’re meant to do? That’s called a “flow” state. If you’re looking to get more of it in your life, then you should get this book right about now.

#7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

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You’ve surely heard of this classic. However, do you know what makes it so mind expanding? The fact that it’s based on principles adds credibility. Principles don’t change. They’re timeless. Each of the habits laid out in this book are designed to act as individual prescriptions for effectiveness in all four dimensions of human nature: physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually.

#8. Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

never eat alone

Are you interested in getting ahead and getting the edge in life, without having to sacrifice your integrity to do it? If yes, then this is your book. Never Eat Alone is a classic book on connecting with others. It’s a must-read for anyone living in the current connection economy.

#9. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

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The interesting thing about habits is that once we develop them, they go totally unnoticed in our day-to-day activities. For example: you probably don’t think about how many simultaneous actions go into reversing your car out of the garage and into the street safely and smoothly. You just do it. That’s a habit. However, so is smoking. The Power of Habit teaches you how to be deliberate about building better habits that serve you both in life and in business.

#10. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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This book will do more than expand your mind, it’ll downright transform your life… but only if you let it. Learn about the power and wisdom that comes with listening to your heart, recognizing opportunity, and following your dreams in this metaphor-laden masterpiece by Paulo Coelho.

Which book will you read first?

Now that you’ve got this list of 10 mind expanding books to read in a lifetime there’s only one question left: Which one do you read first? Should you go out and get all of them immediately? Should you read them all at once? Or should you take a lifetime to read them? So many options. So little time. Ultimately, it’s totally your decision what you do with this list and how you apply it to your life and career. However, if I may, here’s what I would suggest you consider as you get started.

  • Subscribe to a book summary site, like GetFlashNotes Book Summaries to get the key takeaways from the books on this list.
  • If you’d prefer to read an entire book, I would highly suggest that you read just ONE book at a time. Sometimes, when we see something new and exciting, we have a tendency to want to do/learn/read it all at once. As we all know, this is nearly impossible to do without stressing ourselves out. So, choose a book and commit to reading it from start to finish.
  • If you’re in a rush, try Audio books, or Audio summaries.
  • Finally, if you’re in a super rush, check out some YouTube video book summaries, like this one.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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