No one book has inspired me the most.
Books inspire me.
When I read a book, it’s like I get the curated thoughts of another person’s entire life.
It takes me five hours to read a book, give or take. In five hours I get to absorb what another writer thinks are the most important 4,000 thoughts of their life.
A book changes my life when I think to myself, you know what: my life would be better if I try this ONE thing I learned in this book. With each book, if you get just one takeaway that makes life better, then it’s a good book.
For instance, in Antifragile I learned that even more important than being “resilient” is to teach yourself how negative things that happen to you can make you stronger.
In Man’s Search for Meaning I learned that even in difficult times, if I find meaning in my life, it can push me forward to the next day and even make the next day much better.
In Mastery of Love
In Old Man and the Sea
And so on:
Here’s my “top 40 countdown.”
Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
Antifragile by Nassim Taleb (and The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness by him)
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
Master of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz
Anything You Want by Derek Sivers
Mindset by Carol Dweck
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Sapiens by Yuval something.
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson (a collection of short stories, not a religious book)
The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley (and the Evolution of Everything by him)
Bold by Peter D. and Steven Kotler
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Peak by Anders Ericsson
The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer (along with The Untethered Soul by him)
Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist by Stephen Batchelor
Mastery by Robert Greene
Zero to One by Peter Thiel
War of Art by Stephen Pressfield (and Turning Pro)
Post Office by Charles Bukowski
Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Maus by Art Spiegelman
On Writing by Stephen King
How We Got to Now by Stephen Johnson (and his book on ideas)
Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull
Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (and Practicing the Power of Now by him)
5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
What We Talk About When We talk about Running by Haruki Murakami
The Stranger by Albert Camus
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner
The New Evolution Diet by Art Devany
Poking the Dead Frog by Mike Sacks
Socrates by Paul Johnson
Small Victories by Anne Lamott
Meet Your Happy Chemicals by Lorette Breuning