Advertising
Advertising

20 Books Which Will Surely Change Your Life

20 Books Which Will Surely Change Your Life

Reading the right book at the right time can have a profound effect on a human being. The best books leave a reader with a shifted perspective, about the world, society, or himself. Although many books on this list chronicle some awful and disturbing events in history, they all offer a glimmer of hope for humanity in some way, and act as guides to how we should live our life.

Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
51namOub2kL

    What it’s about: 16-year-old Holden Caulfield drops out of school, flees to New York City, and searches for a meaning to his life in a world in which it seems, to him, that nobody cares either way.

    Why it will change your life: For many high school students, it’s the first (and only) assigned book they can actually relate to. Salinger truly captures the nuances of being an adolescent, unsure of where his life will lead him. If you re-read the book in adulthood, you’ll find you can no longer relate to poor Holden, but you definitely still sympathize with the poor guy.

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
    81pEVBiriDL._SL1500_

      What it’s about: 15-year-old Charlie tells the story of his freshman year: the friends he meets, the ups and downs, and a life-altering realization about his past.

      Why it will change your life: While it probably won’t ever be assigned reading, every high school student should read this book before they’re too old to relate to Charlie, because we’ve all felt happy and sad at the same time and wondered how that could be – because we all deserve to feel infinite.

      Make Lemonade, Virginia Euwer Wolff

      41Ts3TZu8XL

        What it’s about:

        14-year-old LaVaughn begins working as a babysitter for Jolly, a teenage high-school dropout who is barely scraping by while raising her two young children.

        Why it will change your life: Jolly’s transformation throughout the novel will inspire those from all walks of life, especially those who feel like they’ll never amount to much. Make Lemonade also teaches readers to recognize their accomplishments in life, no matter how small they may seem at the time.

        From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg

        images

          What it’s about:

          Two children run away from home in New York, and find shelter in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While there, they hope to uncover the mystery behind a sculpture of an angel believed to have been created by Michelangelo himself.

          Why it will change your life: The magic of The Big Apple is never quite the same as it was when you’re a child. The thought of two young children surviving on their own in New York, let alone figuring out a mystery that plagues even museum curators, is enough to keep that sense of wonder alive in even the most “grown-up” of adults.

          The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

          Advertising

          6113XDPUrVL

            What it’s about:

            I would imagine anyone reading this knows what The Hobbit is about, but just in case you don’t: A loner hobbit who reluctantly goes on an adventure with thirteen dwarves and the magical Gandalf.

            Why it will change your life: Even those who aren’t into fantasy will be able to dive right into this prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s possibly the finest adventure tale ever written. Anyone who’s ever said “no” when propositioned with a day trip to parts unknown will surely think twice the next time they’re asked after reading this masterpiece.

            Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

            51gfoUStvDL

              What it’s about:

              Professional businessmen and women fighting against government corruption that inhibits production in America, ultimately leading to the country’s downfall.

              Why it will change your life: No other novel (except maybe Rand’s The Fountainhead) captures the ideals of putting in a hard day’s work in such a blunt fashion. Warning: After getting through this massive novel, you’ll have a tough time dealing with idiocy in the workplace for a very long time. You won’t tolerate laziness, ineptitude, or the “not my job, not my problem” attitude that plagues many businesses throughout the country.

              First They Killed My Father, Loung Ung

              51A2ND4AP5L

                What it’s about:

                A first-hand account of the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s.

                Why it will change your life: When you hear the word “genocide,” you probably think “Holocaust.” This eye-opening novel reveals the atrocities of one of the most brutally calculated mass-murders in modern history, a topic your history teachers probably never even mentioned. The book is also a testament to the triumph of the human spirit, and to the idea that, although there will always be evil in this world, good will always prevail in some way.

                The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

                519HKX9M69L

                  What it’s about:

                  A personal journal kept during World War II by Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager who would ultimately be captured and killed by the Nazi regime.

                  Why it will change your life: Though the Holocaust is well-documented and understood as one of the most atrocious events in human history, Anne’s diary puts a name, face, and reality to the horrors that occurred during World War II at the hands of Adolf Hitler. However, we can also find solace in Anne’s words: “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

                  Night, Elie Wiesel

                  Advertising

                  41kkT0WKkXL

                    What it’s about:

                    A young man’s struggle to survive while also protecting his father after being captured by the Nazi regime and sent to Auschwitz.

                    Why it will change your life: In less than 100 pages, Wiesel paints a vivid picture of the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp, as well as his internal struggle of becoming caretaker to his father, his coming to terms with the loss of God, and his disgust with humanity. His words articulate what it is to be a true victim of war.

                    A Higher Call, Adam Makos and Larry Alexander

                    815fSFkGxPL

                      What it’s about:

                      The historical novel recounts interweaving stories from two World War II pilots from opposing sides of battle.

                      Why it will change your life: We tend to see the two sides of a war as “good” and “bad.” This historical account shatters that image, as it sheds light on the life of a typical German man who was forced to fight for his country, regardless of whether or not he supported the cause. The heroic actions taken by both men exemplify courage at its finest.

                      To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

                      715VLP6M-OL

                        What it’s about:

                        The events leading up to, and the fall-out from, the trial and conviction of an innocent African American during Depression-era Georgia, as seen through the eyes the six-year-old daughter of the man’s attorney.

                        Why it will change your life: One of the most important novels in American history, To Kill a Mockingbird sheds light on the realities of race relations before the Civil Rights movement, as well as the injustices and corruption of our judicial system. Seeing all of this through the eyes of a young child who doesn’t quite understand everything makes the events of the novel that much more poignant.

                        Oh! The Places You’ll Go!, Dr. Seuss

                        51Fnoqj1veL

                          What it’s about:

                          Life. Period.

                          Why it will change your life: Whether you’re 5, 18, or 50, this book resonates with you in some way. Think of all that you’ve accomplished, all you hope for; all the time you’ve wasted, all the time you’ve spent working hard; all the times you were scared, and all the times you were elated. Everything you’ve ever felt and known is touched on in this silly book full of made-up words.

                          The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein

                          Advertising

                          91MD7TSh8tL

                            What it’s about:

                            A boy lives his life, always coming back to the tree he had climbed, swung on, and eaten apples from as a child. The tree is always eager to provide whatever she can to help the boy as he grows.

                            Why it will change your life: The way the boy’s needs and wants change as he grows simplifies societal life changes, and how, too often, we take, take, take, without ever appreciating what we have, or what we’ve been given. There are many interpretations of this short children’s story, but it’s well-agreed that it is not just for children.

                            The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch

                            last lecture

                              What it’s about:

                              Based on Randy’s “last lecture” to students at Carnegie Mellon University upon his diagnosis of terminal cancer, the book relates all the knowledge and wisdom the professor wishes to pass along to his children after his death.

                              Why it will change your life: His lessons revolve around one central theme: Have fun with life. Don’t let anyone, or anything, stop you from enjoying every precious second you have on Earth. You never know when it could all be taken away from you.

                              One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

                              61LN-oRrCXL

                                What it’s about:

                                Life inside an insane asylum in 1950s America, as told through the eyes of one of the institution’s patients, “Chief” Bromden.

                                Why it will change your life: Kesey sheds light on the atrocious conditions of asylums in the 1950s, as well as the horrific treatment of the patients within them. The novel also portrays the characters as they are (human), rather than how they are perceived by the nurses and general public (crazy humans). Kesey also works his commentary on the inhumane practices of electroshock therapy and lobotomies as “treatment” for mental patients.

                                The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey

                                51CC2kaccLL

                                  What it’s about:

                                  The popular self-help book discusses approaches to all aspects of life that will lead to a person to success.

                                  Why it will change your life: Covey offers advice that pertains to friendships, relationships, personal goals, and professional careers in such a way that makes everyone involved a winner. The book discusses the importance of continuous improvement; once a goal is reached, a person must set another goal, therefore guaranteeing constant growth. A great book for those who feel stagnant in life and in need of improvement.

                                  Gratitude: A Daily Journal, Jack Canfield
                                  51olTDueDyL

                                    What it’s about: A journal focused on seeing the beauty in everything around you, and appreciating what you have.

                                    Advertising

                                    Why it will change your life: Gratitude allows readers to take stock in their surroundings: What do they have? What do they need? Do they actually have too much? Am I as appreciative as I should be? In our daily life, it’s easy to get caught up in “how awful our week’s been” or how we don’t have the perfect job, house, etc., but by looking at what we do have, we gain an appreciation for all of it, and realize that our happiness is not something defined by others, but by ourselves.

                                    Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon

                                    51B3zEFka3L

                                      What it’s about:

                                      Kleon’s message to the world that “nothing is original,” and that writers, authors, poets, and musicians must free themselves from the idea that they must reinvent the wheel with every piece they create, and instead use influential works to create their own voice.

                                      Why it will change your life: Especially in the digital age, in which almost anything a person can think of has already been done, Steal Like an Artist allows artists get past the idea that their idea is not original, and move on to the realization that, since it is their idea, it surely is original. It also helps artists realize that sometimes simply going through the motions is the best inspiration for that creative break they’ve been looking for.

                                      Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain

                                      41m0N7IIcsL

                                        What it’s about:

                                        A celebration of introverted people, from the everyday college student to successful actors, authors, musicians, and businessmen.

                                        Why it will change your life: American society often celebrates the extroverts who flaunt their accomplishments and make themselves known to the world, overlooking the accomplishments of those who did so quietly with little fanfare. Cain examines this phenomenon and why it persists, and also celebrates the lives of many self-proclaimed introverts, many of whom are household names.

                                        Ishmael, Daniel Quinn

                                        718o1eBXibL

                                          What it’s about:

                                          A man and a gorilla converse about the preconceptions of modern society based on the mythological beliefs of religion, and the effect these preconceptions have had on humanity and the planet.

                                          Why it will change your life: Ishmael will absolutely shatter any preconceived notion you may have had about why we humans are here, where we have been, and where we will be in the future. It challenges the notion that we’re number one, top of the food chain, the Supreme Being that the planet was waiting for billions of years for, and warns us as to what will come if we continue to think this way. If any book on this list will change the way you see the world, this is the one.

                                          Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

                                          More by this author

                                          7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience 20 Little Signs You’ve Found The One 8 Signs of a Man Who Will Never Ever Stop Loving You 8 Things To Remember When Dating Someone With A Guarded Heart 14 Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

                                          Trending in Communication

                                          1 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 2 How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship 3 How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future 4 19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts 5 This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

                                          Read Next

                                          Advertising
                                          Advertising
                                          Advertising

                                          Last Updated on May 21, 2019

                                          How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                                          How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                                          For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

                                          If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

                                          Example 1

                                          You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

                                          You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

                                          In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

                                          Example 2

                                          You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

                                          People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

                                          You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

                                          Example 3

                                          You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

                                          Advertising

                                          The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

                                          Example 4

                                          You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

                                          Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

                                          If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

                                          Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

                                          • Understand your own communication style
                                          • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
                                          • Communicate with precision and care
                                          • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

                                          1. Understand Your Communication Style

                                          To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

                                          In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

                                          Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

                                          2. Learn Others Communication Styles

                                          Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

                                          Advertising

                                          If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

                                          “How do you prefer to receive information?”

                                          This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

                                          To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

                                          3. Exercise Precision and Care

                                          A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

                                          On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

                                          Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

                                          I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

                                          I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

                                          Advertising

                                          In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

                                          The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

                                          Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

                                          4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

                                          Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

                                          In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

                                          “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

                                          Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

                                          Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

                                          It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

                                          Advertising

                                          It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

                                          It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

                                          Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

                                          Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

                                          I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

                                          More Articles About Effective Communication

                                          Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

                                          Read Next