Most of these life-changing books were written over 100 years ago, but their wisdom is as relevant today as it was when they were written.
Best of all — they’re FREE!
Many are available online or for download at:
Free audio books are available at www.librivox.org.
1. Wallace D. Wattles, The Science of Getting Rich
As Wallace Wattles says himself in the introduction:
This book is pragmatical, not philosophical; a practical manual, not a treatise upon theories. It is intended for the men and women whose most pressing need is for money; who wish to get rich first, and philosophize afterward.
He applies the same refreshing, straightforward approach to the other two books in his trilogy, The Science of Being Well and The Science of Being Great.
2. James Allen, As a Man Thinketh
Mr. Allen reminds us in a beautiful and inspiring way that we have the power to change our lives.
He who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure. His every thought is allied with power and all difficulties are bravely met and wisely overcome. Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force.
3. William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience
Visually, these life-changing lectures make for dense reading, but they sound absolutely gorgeous. If you can, read them as audio books.
Were one asked to characterize the life of religion in the broadest and most general terms possible, one might say that it consists of the belief that there is an unseen order, and our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves thereto.
4. Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson
Simultaneously uplifting and challenging!
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
5. Henry David Thoreau, Walden & Civil Disobedience
Thoreau didn’t have much use for “business as usual”.
All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it.
There are nine hundred and ninety-nine patrons of virtue to one virtuous man.
6. Frédéric Bastiat, Essays on Political Economy
These essays can be summed up in one word: Feisty!
The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.
7. Herman Hesse, Siddhartha
Still one of the most beautiful, uplifting books ever written.
We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.
8. Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations
The definitive text on mercantilism, and the first book to ever explore wealth instead of poverty.
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages.
9. Sun Tzu, The Art of War
This book of mind-bending, koan-like sayings is as much about winning at life as about winning at war.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
10. Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Heartachingly beautiful and inspiring.
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
11. Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
Get off your butt and go succeed!
If you give up before your goal has been reached, you are a “quitter.” A QUITTER NEVER WINS AND A WINNER NEVER QUITS. Lift this sentence out, write it on a piece of paper in letters an inch high, and place it where you will see it every night before you go to sleep, and every morning before you go to work.
Featured photo credit: Forge Yourself / Celestine Chua via flickr.com