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Whether we admit it or not, there are powerful, life changing books out there. Some of them once were the basis for revolutions. Others slowly changed societies from the inside. Not everything that gets published, thankfully, has such earth-shattering properties.
Some books can just help you to see something you have never seen before and come to important realizations. They belong to different fields, but have one thing in common – they help us understand the life around us a little better.
When you open a book, you never expect it to really influence you. People read for many reasons: to pass the time, to be entertained, to gain some information. But books are subtle like that: page after page make you dive deeper and think of something you never thought about before.
And you would never guess it just from the title. Here is a list of some of the best life changing books, according to multiple people. These are marvelous works, of both fiction and non-fiction that make you see the world anew.
“The Alchemist” is a story about growing up and finding your own path. Though the story is apparently simple, the way it is told is not. There is a reason why Coelho’s signature works steadily remains a bestseller. And just like any really popular book, Coelho’s signature novel causes many controversies.
On the one hand, many “serious readers” despise it as just a cheap read. On the other, it is exactly the author’s easy, poetic and understandable prose that made many people try to follow the path of Santiago, a shepherd boy from Andalusian. The path to one’s dreams.
This book is not really motivational in the strict sense. It does not teach how to lead one’s life and change it for the better. And it is really scary. But for me, it was much more than a book I had to read to do my homework. Just imagine for a minute. A respectable man is suddenly getting arrested and judged.
He does not know why. He does not know for what. Kafka perfectly captures this nightmarish confusion that overcomes a person when faced with an inexplicable, undefeatable danger. Yes, it is not an easy piece to read.
But one needs to do it at least once. This story of what power can bureaucracy potentially wield also highlights how important justice and honor really are. Life without these things would be unbearable.
The synopsis of this book that was also recently made into a beautiful movie is very engaging. The story is about a young Tamil boy that was forced to spend 227 days in a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
And of all possible things, he had to share this boat with a tiger that had a human name – Richard Parker. But this book is actually many things, significantly more than advertised.
It is an adventure book, a tale of survival and also a tale of believing – in Nature, God or yourself. This is certainly a masterpiece that is likely to become one of the books that changed your perspective on life.
Frankl is a psychiatrist. But not your average one. He is a Holocaust survivor. He has managed to survive the loss of the loved ones and the grueling life at a concentration camp and now tells the readers about his experience.
But this is not just a memoir. It is also an example of how to change the way you think to cope with loss, pain and fear. And there is hard to find a person who can relate to such experiences as Frankl, considering the things he was forced to endure.
This is one of the books that make you think long and hard on everything you thought you knew. De Waal is one of the world’s leading primatologists. Primatologists of the 20th century have made us understand how complex and sometimes pretty human-like primates are.
The geneticists have shown us that we are not that genetically different either. But there are still some beliefs we desperately cling to. For example, the idea that we are the species that have invented morality – the distinction between what is right and wrong.
But de Waal actually stresses that it is not so. Animals understand compassion, goodness and justice just as well as humans do. And one does not need such things as religion, a watchful eye from heavens, to act like a decent being. Not really. It is indeed something to ponder about, isn’t it?
What does it mean to be happy? To like what you do? Psychologist Mikhail Csikszentmihalyi thinks that there is a recipe to feeling good and happy. And he has research to back his ideas up. This book gives some tips on how to change your life and daily routine to feel significantly better about family, work and life and general.
Closing the Book
Of course, this list is hardly exhaustive. And there are many other excellent books out there. For example, for me, the most significant book that determined my whole life was a fantasy one – “The Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien.
For others, it could have been a serious volume on psychology or philosophy. For many, it was as simple as reading the Bible for the first time. The list above is just an example of the undeniable fact – by starting to read a book – any book – you always take the risk that you will be a completely different person after closing the last page.