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10 meaningful books you’ll want to read before you die

meaningful books

Meaningful books are hard to find.

Believe me, I’m always on the lookout for more inspirational books to read. Here are some of my absolute favourites.

So, pour a cup of your favourite drink and sit down in your reading chair. You won’t regret welcoming these ten meaningful books into your life.

Which book will you read?

Man’s Search for Meaning

This book is written by Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl. He shares his experiences about living inside the concentration camp during the Second World War.

Through the pages, he explores how people decide to survive even in the harshest of circumstances. Meaning, it turns out, is the primary force in our lives.

You can find the book here.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

In this classic, the late Stephen R. Covey examines the space between stimulus and response. He is a passionate advocate for the character ethic, and his book has had a lasting impact on millions of people across the world (including me).

Click here to learn more about the highly effective habits. You won’t be disappointed. I promise.

Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us

I recently finished this book by Daniel H. Pink. It’s easy to read and full of practical advice on why intrinsic motivation is our most powerful drive.

Sure, carrot-and-stick rewards still work for the most mundane tasks, but it’s actually harmful for the more creative tasks most of us are faced with.

The whole book shows us the gap between what science knows and what business does. Unfortunately, the gap is big and it’s time for us to do something about it.

Ready to learn more about your own drive? I thought so. Click here to get going.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

This is one of my favourite books by Dr. Carol S. Dweck. It’s enjoyable and paints a refreshing view on life.

It has helped me see my life and talents in a different way.  I’ve written about it here and here, and I even teach about it in one of my online classes.

Is your mindset holding you back?

How We Decide

I’ve always been fascinated by how we can make better decisions.

Through his funny and entertaining style, author Jonah Lehrer goes through the decision-making process.

Can’t decide whether this book is for you?

Mmm… sounds like you need to read it. 🙂

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Ideas. The world is full of them. But few survive.

As promised, the Heath Brothers show us what makes some ideas more sticky than others.

It’s easy to read and essential for anyone who has a message to spread. And who doesn’t?

Do yourself a favour and make your ideas stick with this awesome book.

Word Bytes

While some people like to rave about the latest gadget, I like to stick to the fundamentals.

Writing is still our most effective means of communication. And crafting powerful prose is in high-demand.

In her book Word Bytes, my former lecturer and tutor Carolyne Lee shows us how to write well.

Carolyne’s advice is both practical and endearing. which is why I decided to include it in my list of meaningful books.

As you might know, I believe that writing is one of the most effective ways to get to know yourself.

So, grab a pen and paper and start writing.

Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World

This book is written by Professor Mark Williams at Oxford University and journalist Danny Penman. It’s a useful and challenging read, but it’s been very helpful to me.

Through its 8-week meditation program, it teaches you the basics of mindfulness and how you can incorporate it into your everyday life.

Ready to begin a more mindful life? Check out my mindfulness series.

Getting Things Done

We live hectic lives and there’s so much stuff that needs to be done. We need to learn new skills to deal with these challenges.

I’ve written a few useful articles on productivity, but David Allen’s book is a great starting point if you want to learn more.

What are you waiting for? Make some time in your schedule and read this helpful book.

Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life

In this short gem, writer Spencer Johnson manages to squeeze in many valuable lessons for us. It’s written as a fable, where we follow two mice and two little people on their quest for new cheese.

It’s cleverly written and a must read for everyone.

Join the maze and go cheese-hunting now.

Bonus book: The Inner Scorecard

The Inner Scorecard combines years of research on personal growth, neuroscience and psychology. It blends personal stories with practical advice.

It’s written by Olle Lindholm (hey, that’s me!) and you can learn more about it here.

The “secret” recipe behind meaningful books

These books are meaningful because the authors care relentlessly about you, the reader. They want to guide you towards a richer and more fulfilling life.

They dig deep into our common humanity as they share their experiences and observations with you in hope you’ll do something about it.

These aren’t easy-reads. They will challenge you to think differently about life and its many dimensions. More important, they encourage you to make small changes to live a happier and more fulfilling life.

Over to you

What are some of your favourite books? What have they meant to you? Please share your suggestions in the comments.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 25 October, 2012. It has been updated with more recommendations because you can’t get enough of good books! 

7 responses to “10 meaningful books you’ll want to read before you die”

  1. Hajduk Avatar

    Thank you Olle for jotting them down and creating a list. Lists are good! 🙂 I can’t wait to have more time to read something else besides my school literature and then I know where to start.
    This whole year I’ve only managed to read one book – Metro 2033. I loved it!

    1. Olle Lindholm Avatar

      You’re welcome Hajduk! I’m glad you found the list useful. I am also waiting for summer to arrive. I can’t wait to read some more books! I’ll check out Metro 2033. From what I’ve heard, it sounds really good.

  2. Lou Avatar

    Yes, thank you Olle for this list! I was actually in search for some meaningful books to bring with me to South Sudan. Wanted something that will help me clear my thoughts and stay focused after a long day of challenging work! Thank you! This is great!

    1. Olle Lindholm Avatar

      You’re welcome, Lou! I’m always happy to help.

      You might also want to check out “The Gift of Rain” and “The Garden of Evening Mist” by Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng. I think you might like them. We both know I have a much longer reading list, but I’ll leave you with these suggestions for now 🙂

  3. Kate Avatar

    The small incites into these books have generally made me want to read them all! I’ve been looking online for lists of recommendations for good and meaningful reads, this is exactly what I wanted. Thank you!

    1. Olle Lindholm Avatar

      Hi Kate! I’m so glad you found these gems useful. What books do you recommend? I’m always happy to add more great books to this list 🙂 ‘

      Wishing you a great start to the new year.

      All the best,

  4. Tristan Avatar

    I loved every book. teacher told me to read so i came across this page! lucky i did too these books are life changing for the good Asian/mexican boy i am!

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