Advertising
Advertising

25 Fictional Books That Will Change Your Outlook

25 Fictional Books That Will Change Your Outlook

Readers tend to read for a variety of different reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is to broaden one’s perspective. We all need to step outside of our comfort zone in many areas, especially our tastes in literature. For that reason, we compiled a list of fictional books that will most definitely broaden your perspective.

1. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

A professor relates his struggles with mental illness, with his philosophy, and with what it means to have a good life, all through the course of a motorcycle trip across of the United States. It’s truly life-changing.

zen_and_the_art

    2. The Kite Runner by Khaleed Hosseini

    A man struggles to find forgiveness and love amidst a war torn Afghanistan and his subsequent immigration to America. A work stuffed with florid prose and subtle depictions of small beauties throughout.

    Kite_runner

      3. The Great Santini by Pat Conroy

      The story of growing up as the oldest son of an alcoholic, abusive, Air Force father, and how much you will always love him, regardless.

      Pat-Conroy-The-Great-Santini

        4. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

        Sometimes called a “fart joke as literature,” this book is my personal favorite. It’s the tale of Ignatius P. Reilly, the walking embodiment of why the pursuit of knowledge is useless. It might come off as gibberish, or it might make you question why you read books at all.

        a-confederacy-of-dunces-by-john-kennedy-toole

          5. Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinburg

          A book about a lesbian who begins to pass as a man and the struggles that come with being transgender in America. This one tells the struggle of equality for all, and ties into the labor movement.

          Advertising

          Stone_Butch_Blues_cover

            6. The Ultimate HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

            Couple drab British humor, science-fiction, and thoughts on the nature of time and space and you get this unique work. Remember, the answer is 42.

            hitch

              7. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers

              What would like to be nineteen, barely legally an adult and have custody of a six-year-old? Eggers nails the confusion of that tenuous age in this work.

              heart

                8. Everything Is Illuminated by Johnathan Safran Foer

                A book about finding your roots, travelling to the country your people are from, and the nature of cultural memory played out over several decades. And a dog named Sammy Davis, Jr., Jr. This is a brilliant work.

                EverythingIsIlluminated

                  9. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

                  Set in an mental institution in the 1940’s or so, this book follows Randall Patrick McMurphy and hints at how mental illness is all relative, and how, sometimes, men never quite grow up.

                  one-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest

                    10. The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

                    A truly entertaining read, the story of a fat, lonely Dominican boy in New Jersey, the story of his beautiful mother in the Dominican Republic, and the story of loss, love, family, teenage romance, going to college, and living under a brutal dictatorship all in one.

                    oscarwao_200-d87d05cdef44deb11fa5926c94dda029ddedff90-s6-c30

                      11. Immortality by Milan Kundera

                      Translated from the original Czech, this book is a beautiful account on the nature of aging, and the ways that a person can be many ages at once.

                      Advertising

                      immortality

                        12. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

                        Marquez uses mysticism to speak to the nature of time and family heritage in his work about one family in the fictional town of Maconda, Columbia. Just try to keep track of the number of the Jose Arcadio Buendias over the course of seven generations.

                        cien

                          13. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

                          Written in futuristic British/Cockney slang that is so dense it has its own Wikipedia translation page, this one is a challenging read. But once you get the hang of it, the question of whether it’s better to be good by choice or by force is brought to the fore.

                          download

                            15. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

                            You may have heard of the movie, but the book is a tour-de-force, expounding on the nature of the 1980’s, a time when corporate businessmen where literally allowed to do anything they want. It makes you question the interchangeability of people and the nature of mental health.

                            american_psycho_book

                              Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go return some videotapes.

                              16. Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

                              From the author of Fight ClubInvisible Monsters is about Brandy Alexander, a striking beauty, and is told from the perspective of someone unable to communicate because they missing their lower jaw. It’s gut-wrenching and nasty and twisted in all the right ways and will make you appreciate the grace of ugliness.

                              invisble-monsters

                                16. Slaughter-House Five by Kurt Vonnegut

                                A science fiction-infused recount of the massacre that was the Allied bombing of Dresden during World War II, this book will make you question the nature of experience and the limits of time and space.

                                Advertising

                                slaughter

                                  17. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

                                  A book about the stories that may or may not have happened during the narrator’s experiences during Vietnam. This one hints at the nature of storytelling itself, and why exaggeration may be the only way to get your point across.

                                  carried

                                    18. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

                                    Told from the perspective of an autistic boy, this book hits perfectly on what it is like to have a family member with special needs. The author spent a lot of time working professional with special needs patients, and no other book approaches illustrating social disorders this way.

                                    download (1)

                                      19. The Jungle By Upton Sinclair

                                      Set in the meat-packing industry in Chicago in the 1900’s, this book illustrates the story of Jurgus Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant who toils day and night. After losing everything, he finds solace in local politics and eventually embraces socialism.

                                      jungle

                                        20. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie

                                        This one follows the loves and struggles of a young Nigerian woman as see moves to America to attend school. While we think of America as the perfect end destination for many cultures, this one will make you question the struggle to fit in that many immigrants experience.

                                        americanah

                                          21. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

                                          A book that incorporates magical realism into a story surrounding the independence of India from British rule, this one will amaze you with prose and stretch your thoughts about destiny.

                                          Advertising

                                          MidnightsChildren

                                            22. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

                                            Coming in at a staggering 1104 pages, Infinite Jest is a modern day Moby Dick that will make you question the nature of sanity, of the coming future, and addiction and recovery.

                                            Infinite_jest_cover

                                              23. The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo

                                              Set as a boy makes a pilgrimage from Spain across the desert of North Africa in pursuit of his destiny, Coehlo weaves a story that will change how you look on fate, love, and finding your place in the world.

                                              al

                                                24. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

                                                A whimsical novel about the Beat generation, this one will show you what the pathos of the 1960’s was all about, and give you insight into a movement that shaped America and the world at large.

                                                on

                                                  25. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

                                                  Ever wondered what it’s like to be addicted to heroin, to addiction, and to anarchy as a whole? This book will show you what it’s like to have been a punk rock kid, have grown up, and have the same need for thrills regardless of age.

                                                  1

                                                    Featured photo credit: Geir Halvorsen via flickr.com

                                                    More by this author

                                                    25 All-Time Best Inspirational Sports Quotes To Get You Going 10 Signs You Are Probably An Ambivert 4 Ways Extreme Races Change Your View 4 Ways Baseball is the Perfect Metaphor for Life 5 Reasons Why You Should Have Total Strangers as Roommates

                                                    Trending in Lifestyle

                                                    1 Why Am I So Tired Even After Rest? 2 How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People 3 How to Invest in Yourself: 3 Valuable Ways to Change Your Life 4 What Is Passion and What It Means To Have Passion 5 Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Fatigue Symptom (& How to Boost Energy)

                                                    Read Next

                                                    Advertising
                                                    Advertising
                                                    Advertising

                                                    Last Updated on October 15, 2019

                                                    How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                                                    How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                                                    What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

                                                    To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

                                                    All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

                                                    There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

                                                    With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

                                                    What follows is a list of thirteen of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these 13 tips are essential:

                                                    1. Think Big

                                                      From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

                                                      “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

                                                      There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

                                                      Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

                                                      Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

                                                      Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
                                                      Instead be ambitious.

                                                      2. Find What You Love to Do and Do It

                                                        From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

                                                        “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

                                                        This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

                                                        Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

                                                        If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

                                                        Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

                                                        Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

                                                        Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

                                                        3. Learn How to Balance Life

                                                        Advertising

                                                          From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

                                                          “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

                                                          All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

                                                          If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

                                                          However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

                                                          If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

                                                          In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

                                                          To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

                                                          4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure

                                                            From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

                                                            “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

                                                            There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

                                                            Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

                                                            His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

                                                            He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

                                                            Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

                                                            Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

                                                            If you find it difficult to fight your fear of failure, here’s a guide for you: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

                                                            5. Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed

                                                              From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

                                                              “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

                                                              This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

                                                              It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

                                                              Advertising

                                                              If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

                                                              Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

                                                              6. Be a Person of Action

                                                                From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

                                                                “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

                                                                Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

                                                                Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

                                                                When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renaissance era Italy, we think of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Or think about the present day, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

                                                                You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

                                                                All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

                                                                Applying this to you?

                                                                Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

                                                                7. Cultivate Positive Relationships

                                                                  From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                                                                  The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                                                                  The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                                                                  People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                                                                  This is key to good leadership.

                                                                  It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                                                                  But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                                                                  What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                                                                  As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

                                                                  8. Don’t Be Afraid of Introducing New Ideas

                                                                  Advertising

                                                                    From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                                                                    “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                                                                    It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                                                                    Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                                                                    If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                                                                    9. Believe in Your Capacity to Succeed

                                                                      From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                                                                      “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                                                                      Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                                                                      It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                                                                      Keep dreaming!

                                                                      10. Always Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

                                                                        From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                                                                        “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                                                                        Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                                                                        Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                                                                        If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                                                                        However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                                                                        11. Don’t Let Discouragement Stop You from Pressing On

                                                                          From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                                                                          “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                                                                          It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

                                                                          When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

                                                                          Advertising

                                                                          Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                                                                          If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                                                                          This is How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and How to Overcome It

                                                                          12. Be Willing to Work Hard

                                                                            From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                                                                            “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                                                                            You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                                                                            Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                                                                            True success comes from work.

                                                                            You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                                                                            Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                                                                            13. Be Brave Enough to Follow Your Intuition

                                                                              From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                                                                              “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                                                                              In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                                                                              If you strongly believe and desire something, chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                                                                              It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                                                                              Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                                                                              Final Thoughts

                                                                              What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                                                                              Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                                                              More to Help You Succeed in Life

                                                                              Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

                                                                              Read Next