Do you know these books that you make you think outside the box? Books that changed your perspective on life?
I’ve been reading since I was very little. Everything that I could find, actually. When I grew older I started to become more intentional with the books I read, and for a while focused completely on personal development and self-help books. And, what can I say? Some of these books really changed my life!
If you’re looking for recommendations for non-fiction books to read, books that make you smarter, then this list is exactly what you’re looking for!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Can books really change your life?
With all this talk about books to read and how books make you smarter, there’ll be this little voice in the back of your head, asking “Can books really change your life?” And, in my opinion, that is a very legitimate question. Because while I think books can have a tremendous impact on the trajectory you’re on, they won’t change your life unless you’ll put what you learn into action.
I once talked to someone about the first book on my list below, full of enthusiasm about how it had positively impacted my productivity and self-esteem. And his answer really made me think. He said “Yeah, it didn’t work for me. It only worked for like a week and then it was over.” Obviously, he didn’t “unread” the book after a week. No, he had stopped applying what he’d learned, so, of course, the effect wasn’t there anymore.
So, before I tell you about the books that changed my life, I implore you: make time to actually act on the advice you get from these books. They won’t work unless you do!
What are some life changing books?
Mel Robbins, “The 5-second rule”*
Mel Robbins is like that tough-talking friend that doesn’t let you wallow in self-pity. Instead, she gives you a kick in your behind and shows you how you can pull yourself out of your problem. Her most universally applicable, and scientifically supported advice is summarized in the “5-second rule”. (No, not the one with the food on the ground!)
The 5-second rule* is the book that helped me and millions of other people kick our procrastination habit to the curb. And build healthier self-esteem and a life we actually want to live in the process!
Miranda Gray, “The optimized woman”*
I found Miranda Gray’s book after getting thoroughly annoyed with the male dominance in personal development fields and realizing that some things might just work differently for women – like bio-hacking for example.
While googling around and reading about this, I kept stumbling onto the book “The optimized woman”* and finally bought it. It really opened my eyes as to why I sometimes seem to be a different person from week to week. And why women are incredibly powerful, yet often don’t know it.
It definitely helped me optimize my work and private life according to the different strengths I have at different times. For anyone who is female, lives, or works with females, this will be an eye-opening and helpful read!
I believe that this book is a must-read for anyone who puts themselves out there in one way or another.
But this book is especially helpful for people like me, who might at times struggle in dealing with rejection. I fully believe in the notion of failing forward, but needed to work on my emotional ability to actually dare to fail. While reading lots of advice on the topic, I kept hearing about this book* by Marc McGuiness.
If you can at all relate with the feat of speaking up, publishing something, or just being critiqued for whatever it is you’re doing, Marc McGuiness will give you actionable advice and exercises to get better at this. It really changed my mindset when it came to these issues!
Marie Kondo, “The KonMari method”*
You might be surprised to see the decluttering bible on a list of “books that changed my life”. In my opinion, this book is about much more than decluttering and it definitely will support your personal development.
The way the KonMari method works is to not only teach you how to declutter and organize your life. No, it starts with making you aware of what is important to you. It helps you develop a vision for your life. And teaches you to follow through on that.
Even years after introducing the Konmari method into my life, I still ask myself a lot “Does this spark joy?” Not only when it’s about items in my household!
Jen Sincero, “You are a badass”*
If Mel Robbins is your tough-talking friend, Jen Sincero is an enthusiastic cheerleader friend that can make anyone believe in themselves. Where Mel cites studies and goes into brain research, Jen talk about “source energy” and the law of attraction.
Granted, this rather “woo” stuff is not for everyone. But if you can get over these parts, this book is the best pep talk you’ll ever receive! And if you are in need of a pick-me-up or suffer from low self-confidence, this book will show you a new perspective.
Hal Elrod, “The Miracle Morning”*
I have to admit something: I have never read Hals full book! So why does it still appear on this list of books that changed my life?
I read countless reviews, summaries, and excited recommendations about this book. And because those alone were so convincing, I have used his principle of the life S.A.V.E.R.S in my morning routine forever now.
The effectiveness of that morning routine has me absolutely convinced. So, see this as a recommendation of his principle, and the book listing as an honorary mention.
In case you want to be more thorough than me, you can get the book here*!
Jocko Willink, “Extreme Ownership”*
This book almost lost me in the first chapter or so. (Spoiler: I would have seriously missed out if I had stopped reading at that point!)
The author draws lots from his experience as a Navy SEAL. And I can absolutely understand how this has impacted him and how he learned from it. But the beginning of the book sounds like a war story. And for me, someone with zero understanding of anything military and a non-US citizen, it was a little much.
But then, it gets goooood! Jocko Willink’s idea of taking complete ownership of anything happening in your life seems a little extreme at first glance. Even nonsensical. On second glance, though, it is unbelievably empowering.
He shows how you can really be in control over what happens in your life, simply (but not easily!) by changing your perspective. He gives lots of examples from his consulting experience and breaks his philosophy down in steps.
No matter if you’re interested in leadership or if you just want to stop feeling like you’re victim to people and circumstances in your life – I think really anyone will benefit from reading this book and applying its lessons!
Tommy Baker, “The 1% rule”*
Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you any details of what this book is like. And yet, I feel the impact it had on me almost every day, and I’m super grateful I read it!
Sounds confusing? Well, the way this book worked for me was driving its point home so well, and doing it again and again, that my thinking and behavior were sustainably changed.
Simply by re-iterating his point and proving it through all kinds of resources and anecdotes, the author hammers home how we can achieve anything if we’re just willing to put in continued effort.
If you’re someone who’s easily overwhelmed by how far their goals seem, or if you feel like you’ll never amount to anything, I recommend reading this book and letting it change your thinking!
Tim Ferris, “The 4-hour workweek”*
It feels almost too cliché to put this book on the list of books that changed my life. But it’s true: this book definitely impacted my life in a big way. My brother gave it to me as a gift a few years ago, because he thought it would “fit me”.
At first I didn’t fully get what he meant by that, but once I started reading, things came together. This book is for anyone who doesn’t feel like working a 9-to-5 is really what they’re made for. And it shows you actionable steps and strategies to get to the life you want.
What can I say: a few years after reading the book and starting to work on my dream life, I am so much closer! And the strategies adapt while my goals adapt.
So, even if maybe cliché, this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to live a less conventional lifestyle!
*These links are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.