So many books to read, so little time. Some books you forget immediately, but the beautiful ones stay with you forever. If you’ve ever felt unsure of what to read, here are my recommendations.
The below books have inspired me to become a better person. They’ve taught me to think, explore, and search for what is meaningful. They’re a big part of why I wanted to become a writer myself.
These are the 10 books that have changed my life:
1. Man’s Search for Meaning
If there was only one book I could ever read, I would read this one. Dr. Viktor Emil Frankl was an Austrian psychologist who survived the horrors of World War 2 — living in Nazi concentration camps, including the most notorious one of all: Auschwitz. This book will make you question the meaning of life itself: How much is a human life worth? What drives people to inhuman cruelty? What is the ultimate purpose of living?
In our darkest moments, we can find strength. Prepare the tissues, you will need them.
2. Daring Greatly
Another tearjerker — especially for those of you who’re used to bottling up your feelings, and hiding yourself — afraid that people would judge you. Dr. Brene Brown suggests we take the opposite road: be open and vulnerable instead. It will be difficult, and it will require tremendous courage. But it will also help you become a happier person, have better relationships, and achieve greater success in life.
More importantly, it will allow you to love yourself. :’(
Michael Lewis is so good that I could complete this list with just his books. But this one is the most memorable one for me. Moneyball is the story of how a group of underdogs used advanced statistics to beat big-money teams and set the 2nd-longest winning streak in American Baseball of modern times (only broken in 2017). It brilliantly transverses the worlds of sports, money and technology — foreshadowing how data will, and continue to change our world.
If you like those topics, you won’t be able to put this one down. Even if you don’t, this book will still blow your mind.
4. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Mark Manson remains the biggest inspiration for my blog till today. He has an incredible talent for presenting deep, data-driven wisdom in a way that young people can relate to. Written in his trademark unpretentious tone (with lots of delightful expletives thrown in), Mark argues there’s too much noise in the world and we shouldn’t give a f*ck to most things. Instead, we should focus on the things that really matter.
He also asks the most important question of our lives:
Knowing how your time is limited, what are you willing to struggle for?
5. No More Mr. Nice Guy
“I’m a nice guy. I avoid conflict and am nice to people, like how my mother taught me. So why am I losing? Why do women not wanna date me, and why do I get bullied at work?”
This book should be required reading for all young men. A guide to becoming a modern gentleman, who balances masculinity (without becoming a “toxic alpha” male) with gentleness (without becoming a wuss).
Pro-tip: Women actually like nice guys. What they don’t like are weak guys.
6. How to Win Friends and Influence People
Long before I became a writer, I was a scared, self-conscious teenager, wondering how come all the popular kids had so many friends and I had so few. And of course, unlike the loud popular kids, I didn’t go out and talk to more people — I retreated to books and tried to study my way to becoming popular. Then I stumbled across this one.
It contains time-tested principles on how to develop stronger relationships, particularly useful in collectivist culture like us in Asia. But the greatest thing this book taught me was that even the unlikeliest of skills (how do you make more friends by reading a book?!) can be sharpened — with the right knowledge, determination and practice.
7. Rich Dad, Poor Dad
“Rich Dad, Poor Dad” finds the perfect balance between introducing a deeply complex, scary topic (money), and storytelling with extreme relatability. Not only was it entertaining to read, when I put it down, I felt as if blinders had been lifted off my eyes. Finally able to see a world with rich possibilities.
There are deeper, more factual, and better-researched introduction books to money out there. But after all these years of studying personal finance, and trying to figure out how to get people responsible with their money, I’ve not found a better book than “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” to inspire people.
8. Choose Yourself
The first time I read one of James Altucher’s viral articles, it gave me the “What the f*ck did I just read?” (in the best kinda way) feeling. This book is a collection of his most popular blog posts, united behind the idea that traditional institutions (i.e. things that our parents taught us) are failing, and how we can take personal responsibility to secure our own futures.
“Choose Yourself” will never win any awards for good writing technique or focus. But the one way it wins: vulnerability. The way James openly talks about all his failures in life, we can’t help crying, laughing, and wishing he’s the wiser, older person we have in our corner.
9. The Game
Pickup artistry is dead now, drifting at the fringes of modern society. But once upon a time, it was an up-and-coming fantasyland where young men chased women and indulgent desires that normal people only fantasize about. The Game tells the unlikely story of how a geeky writer became the most famous Pickup Artist in the world, admired and loved by men and women alike.
It is also the cautionary tale of how lust can feel good in the moment, but ultimately it is emotional connection that we all crave.
10. Digital Gold
What is Bitcoin and why will it change the world? These are the inside stories behind how some code by computer geeks became a hundreds-of-billion (trillion soon?) dollar industry. But as any true believer will tell you, price is the least interesting thing about cryptocurrencies — at a philosophical level, some are saying Bitcoin will be as important as the invention of the printing press, Telegraph or the Internet itself.
By looking into the past, I have seen the future and I cannot unsee it. This book inspired me to uproot my career and work full-time in the cryptocurrency industry. Read it at your own risk.
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For Malaysians, use my promo code “MRSTINGY” to get a one-time RM 5 discount when buying from Bookurve.
For everyone else, feel free to use the Book Depository (affiliate) links. Delivery takes a while, but the prices are good.
What are the most meaningful books of all time for you?
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Originally published at Bookurve.
Pic from Pixabay: skeeze