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10 Ancient Books That Can Inspire You Even Today

10 Ancient Books That Can Inspire You Even Today

In this day and age, many people feel lost. They don’t know in what direction their life should be headed, how to overcome the different challenges that life throws at them, or just how to be relaxed and happy. Oftentimes they try to find outside sources to help them in this. The self-help industry is worth billions of dollars and keeps on growing.

Many people spend huge sums of money to try to get answers to their questions. They often don’t know which advice to choose and how to proceed with changing things that need changing.

If you really want to get to the core of self-improvement, happiness and success, it is time to get back to the basics. A wise man once said, that whatever question people have today, a wise man from thousands of years ago had already provided the answer.

The people of yesteryear lived hard, and challenging lives, but that did not stop them from working on improving themselves, achieving their goals and enjoying the little things.

Whatever question you might have, whatever challenge you are trying to overcome, the answer can most likely be found in the one of the books below. Best of all, all of them can be found totally free on the internet.

1. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius was the Emperor of the Roman Empire at a time when the pressure from the barbarians in the North was growing stronger. He spent much of his reign on campaign. Yet he was also a philosopher driven on improving himself and living life as a good person.

As a way to drive his own self-improvement, he started writing a journal for himself. This is what later became the “Meditations”.

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This books contains different quotations of things he was thinking about, different reflections, worries, challenges, snippets of wisdom. He had to face and overcome many challenges in his life and this book contains a summary of what he learned on the way. It can serve as a good source of inspiration for you in the modern world, since many of the challenges were of internal nature. You are most likely facing the same challenges today. If you want answers to common everyday problems, this book provides them.

quote:
Never regard something as doing you good if it makes you betray a trust or lose your sense of shame or makes you show hatred, suspicion, ill-will or hypocrisy or a desire for things best done behind closed doors.”

2. Enchiridion of Epictetus (compiled by Arrian, a disciple of Epictetus)

Epictetus is considered one of the greatest Stoic philosophers of the ancient world. He was a Greek who lived during the time of the Roman Empire and his teachings inspired countless people to live a life of balance.

His sayings were compiled by Arrian, one of his disciplies, in order to serve as sources of wisdom for all the generations to come. One of the basic tenets of Stoic philosophy is to focus on things that you can change and not worry about the rest and this little book teaches how to do that. The advice it gives can serve as useful guide for people struggling in a world of instant gratification and temptation.

quote:
When you imagine some pleasure, beware that it does not carry you away, like other imaginations. Wait a while, and give yourself pause. Next remember two things: how long you will enjoy the pleasure, and also how long you will afterwards repent and revile yourself. And set on the other side the joy and self-satisfaction you will feel if you refrain. And if the moment seems come to realize it, take heed that you be not overcome by the winning sweetness and attraction of it; set in the other scale the thought how much better is the consciousness of having vanquished it.

3. Nichomachean Ethics by Aristotle

Aristotle is considered one of the greatest philosophers of the ancient world and one of his greatest most enduring works is the Nichomachean Ethics. It is a hard read, but those who finish it are rewarded with a different perspective on things, most notably on what is happiness.

How will you achieve happiness according to Aristotle? By being a good person, for only a virtuous person can truly be happy.

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quote:
The pleasures arising from thinking and learning will make us think and learn all the more.”

4. Art of War by Sun Tzu

One of the most well-known works from Ancient China is the Art of War, compiled by Sun Tzu. It was originally meant as a guide for generals, teaching them how to win battles and wars, but in the modern world, it has been used in different contexts, for example in the business world. It contains much practical wisdom on what types of tactics to use in order to overcome challenges and can serve as an inspiration for strategy in any walk of life.

quote:
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

5. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu was the founder of Taoism and the Tao Te Ching is the main source of his teachings. The book contains different types of advice for different life situations and for different types of people. It has to be read several times in order to get the full impact of the sayings and to discover how to apply them to your life.

quote:
When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.

6. Parallel Lives by Plutarch

One of the best ways to become a better, more accomplished person is by learning about other great people and how they got to the top. You should adopt their virtues and discard their vices and you too can become great.

This was the main aim of the Parallel Lives by Plutarch. By writing the biographies of great Greeks and Romans and especially focusing on their traits of character, he tried to create a teaching aid for people struggling to find their own path to greatness. By studying what other great people did to become great, you can make your own path to superstardom much easier. Their lives can serve as a source of inspiration.

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If you want to know what it takes to become great, this book is the one you should turn to.

quote:
It is not reasonable that he who does not shoot should hit the mark, nor that he who does not stand fast at his post should win the day, or that the helpless man should succeed or the coward prosper.

7. The Art of Love by Ovid

Since time immemorial guys struggled with one thing: how to get the girl. Two thousand years ago, one man came with the answer. Ovid, a Roman poet, wrote a very detailed manual on how to pick up girls, what to say and what to do. It became such a best-seller, that it angered the more traditional authorities, which had Ovid banned from the city of Rome and sent into exile.

The book is divided into 3 parts, with the first two books giving very practical advice to guys on how to find, seduce and keep a woman, while book 3 reverses the tables and gives advice to women on how to find a guy. The Art of Love proved such a success, that Ovid even wrote a sequel, which dealt with how to fall out of love and mend a broken heart.

quote:
If you want to be loved, be lovable.

8. On the Orator by Cicero

Cicero is considered one of the greatest statesmen and orators of the Roman Republic. Giving speeches was his life and he became very good at it. Speaking in public and generally having conversations is a thing that is still a need for many in today’s world. Cicero wrote one of the greatest manuals on this ever. His advice on how to deliver a speech, move your audience and convince them of your truth is still as pertinent today as it was over two thousand years ago.

If you don’t know how to efficiently engage in conversation or if you need to give speeches, pick up his book as soon as possible.

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quote:
Brevity is the best recommendation of speech, whether in a senator or an orator.

9. Anabasis by Xenophon

During the height of the Persian Empire, one pretender for the Persian throne hired a group of ten thousand Greek mercenaries and marched them to the territory of modern Iraq to confront his brother, the ruler, and try to overthrow him from the throne. However, he died in the ensuing battle, meaning that the Greek troops were now stuck thousands of miles from home, in enemy territory, with no supplies and no friends.

This was the beginning of one of the greatest adventures and stories of courage ever told. Xenophon was one of the participants in the expedition and one of the commanders of the retreat. The troops marched thousands of miles, battling enemies left and right, to finally make it home. The truth is sometimes stranger and more powerful than fiction and this story qualifies. Pick up the book, if you want to read a riveting story full of adventure and one that can inspire you to overcome obstacles that you think are insurmountable.

10. Analects of Confucius (compiled by his disciples)

Confucius is the person who arguably had the greatest effect on the evolution of Chinese society out of anyone. Much of his wisdom is compiled in a book called the Analects. There you have a collection of sayings of this great teacher and philosopher. This book is considered one of the central tenets of Confucianism and can serve as a great source of practical wisdom for many situations.

quote:
The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.

Featured photo credit: Man Jumping In Old Temple Ruins/Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on September 26, 2018

10 Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life

10 Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life

If you want to change your life, you are going to have to do things differently. Sometimes you can look to inspirational books to create a positive change in your life. If you desire change, you are going to have to step out of your comfort zone. As Anthony Robbins points out in the quote below, you are going have to experience discomfort and pain in order to transform your life. Any change, whether it be an organisation or personal, can be a painful process. However, the rewards of going through the change process are priceless.

“All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs. So how do we change? The most effective way is to get your brain to associate massive pain to the old belief. You must feel deep in your gut that not only has this belief cost you pain in the past, but it’s costing you in the present and, ultimately, can only bring you pain in the future. Then you must associate tremendous pleasure to the idea of adopting an empowering new belief” – Anthony Robbins

There are two specific events that threw my life into a tailspin, where for a while there it felt like I was losing control. These two events were, the sudden and tragic loss of my parents, and being made redundant three times in eighteen months.

With the third redundancy, I was at my lowest point in my life. I felt utterly useless. My self-confidence was at zero, and I could see no future for me.

My life was turned upside down. I knew that I had to turn it around. I just didn’t know how.

Then one wet Sunday afternoon, I picked up a book from my bookshelf called ,“The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. I had this book for at least a year and had been meaning to read it, but hadn’t gone anywhere near a book for months.

When I read this book, I decided that I needed to get my life back. I needed to learn how to heal and rebuild my confidence, as well as my self belief.

So I started to read books. I read lots of books about inspirational stories on life, love, and happiness. Personal development and motivational books were full of information, tools, and strategies about how I could take control back and change my life. I would like to share with you the inspirational messages I got from reading these ten books that changed my life.

Read these 10 books because I believe they will inspire you, motivate you, and show you how to take action and go change your life!

    Awaken The Giant Within

    by Anthony Robbins
    The inspirational message from this book is how you have the power right now to control how you think, how you feel, and what you do. Anything you want or desire in your life, you already have the power to achieve it.

    “You and I have that same power at our disposal every moment of the day. At the moment, the questions that we ask ourselves can shape our perception of who we are, what we’re capable of, and what we’re willing to do to achieve our dreams” – Anthony Robbins

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      Screw It Lets Do It: Lessons in Life

      by Richard Branson
      Reading other people’s stories about their journeys in life can give you better perspective of what the journey of change can be about. Richard Branson is into reinvention and as a result, he embraces change.

      This book will fuel your enthusiasm to give things a go. It will show you how to sort out the self-limiting beliefs that stop you from stepping up and taking on the challenge of change.

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      “As soon as something stops being fun, I think it’s time to move on. Life is too short to be unhappy. Waking up stressed and miserable is not a good way to live” – Richard Branson

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        The Art of Happiness

        by Dalai Lama

        There is not a person I know who is not in the pursuit of happiness.

        “The Art of Happiness” is a book that will encourage you to practice the discipline of self-reflection.The more you reflect on your life, the deeper you look into your inner self (your soul). This is where you discover what happiness truly means to you.

        Knowing what happiness means to you, gives you purpose. With purpose, you’ll have clarity, focus, and a vision. These are the foundations that will empower you to embark on the journey to change your life.

        “Both these people illustrate the essential point that happiness is determined more by one’s state of mind than by external events.” – Dalai Lama

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          The Four Agreements

          by Don Miguel Ruiz

          “The Four Agreements” are Don Miguel’s code for life.

          “The Four Agreements” provide an inspirational code for life, for the way you handle your relationships, how you behave, and how you communicate with others. If you want to change your life, read “The Four Agreements”. This book will show you how to attain a happy fulfilled life.

          “If you live in a past dream, you don’t enjoy what is happening right now because you will always wish it to be different than it is. There is no time to miss anyone or anything because you are alive. Not enjoying what is happening right now is living in the past and being only half alive. This leads to self pity, suffering and tears.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

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            The Magic of Thinking Big

            by David J Schwartz

            According to Dr Schwartz, to create change in your life and to attain all that you desire, you need to change your thinking and your attitude.

            The importance of preparing your mind and your thinking for the journey of personal change is the key message of this book.

            “Those who believe they can move mountains, do. Those who believe they can’t, cannot. Belief triggers the power to do.” – David J. Schwartz.

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              Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul: How To Create A New You

              by Deepak Chopra

              Deepak Chopra believes that personal transformation not only involves the mind, but also your body and soul. According to Chopra, you cannot transform your mind without transforming your body and soul.

              Reading this book will encourage you to think about the potential energy force and power you hold within you. This energy grows when you are connected and aligned to your mind, body, and soul.

              “The key to transformation is that you create the change you want to see in yourself.” – Deepak Chopra

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                The Greatest Salesman In The World

                by Og Mandino

                This little classic has been around since 1968. Have you ever wondered what truly successful people have in common?

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                This book doesn’t really tell you how to be a great salesperson. It will; however, give you some fantastic tips on how to be an entrepreneur, how to self-motivate, and how to think like a successful person.

                The underlying message is the power of positive thinking – that you become what you think, say, and do. This book has great tactics for those of us in the process of change.

                “My dreams are worthless, my plans are dust, my goals are impossible. All are of no value unless they are followed by action.” – Og Mandino

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                  Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

                  by Richard Carlson

                  This book helps you to manage the small stuff in your life that is usually creating the most pain in your life. This very supportive book is full of great practical suggestions on how you can live a more joyful and peaceful life.

                  “True happiness comes not when we get rid of all of our problems, but when we change our relationship to them, when we see our problems as a potential source of awakening, opportunities to practice, and to learn.” – Richard Carlson

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                    Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

                    by Chip & Dan Heath

                    Have you ever tried to lose weight or get fit and never reached your goal? You know that you have to make changes in your life, but you don’t know how?

                    If you are nodding in agreement, then you need to read “Switch“. If I had to recommend one book that shows you how to create and maintain lasting change in your life – then it would be “Switch“.

                    In this book, Chip and Dan share the Secret as to how you can create and sustain change in your life.

                    Hint: It has something to do with knowing how to “Direct The Rider”, “Motivate The Elephant”, and “Shape the Path.”

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                    This book, without a doubt, will show you how to change your life.

                    “When you’re at the beginning, don’t obsess about the middle, because the middle is going to look different once you get there. Just look for a strong beginning and a strong ending and get moving.” – Chip & Dan Heath

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                      The Gifts of Imperfection

                      by Brene Brown

                      Do you ever feel that you are just not worthy enough, intelligent enough, or courageous enough to live a fulfilled happy life?

                      Do you have secret dreams that you hold deep inside of you that you don’t share in case someone thinks they are silly? Or are you too scared to follow your dreams because you fear that you may fail?

                      Brene Brown’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection”, will show you how to find your courage, as well as rediscover your self-belief and self-worth.

                      This is the book that will get you prepared to embark on your journey of change. “The Gifts of Imperfection” is about you learning how to let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are.

                      “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy — the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown

                      These 10 books were key to helping me change my life. I rediscovered hope for my future. I found my courage, strength, and my self-belief. I hope that by reading these books, you will find the same inspiration and motivation to take up the challenge and change your life.

                      “If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one reads.” – Sherman Alexie

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