The 25 Most Inspirational Books

Life has its set of ups and downs. We all love the ups, but the downs can get to us. We cannot handle them several times and need to be pulled out of them. So while friends and family may help us, we eventually have to work on ourselves to get us out.

One of the ways in which we can do this is by reading motivational and inspirational books. Reading about other people and their experiences can help us and guide us. Sometimes we are more open to the words of a third person than someone close to us.

That is where these books come in. So here we are with a list of inspirational books that can help and guide you.

1. The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

This popular self-help book by Mel Robbins talks about the proverbial 5-second rule: the 5 seconds you should take every time you need to push yourself. She spoke about this rule in her incredibly successful Ted Talk, which has been watched by over 8 million people around the world.

Robbins teaches you to become confident and break the habit of procrastination, uncertainty, fear and self-doubt to be happy. Pick up the book to absorb it all.

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book is one of my personal favourites. 

This book is about a young girl, Liesel Manager, who lives in Nazi Germany. She has a habit of pick-pocketing books, but this is what becomes a saving grace for her and others during those horrible times. The book is intense, inspiring, and a testament to the transforming power of stories and sentences, even during the darkest times. No fear, no authority, and no control can take away our imagination and our capacity to love and care. The book has been labelled as “life-changing” by the New York Times.

3. Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant

What’s the best way to pursue your career? Is it by sharing and helping others or selfishly following your goals without caring for anyone else?

According to Grant helping, others can actually improve your career trajectory dramatically. The book is a collection of charitable case studies that will change how you think about how you behave at work. There is no way that you won’t find value in this book.

 4. The Alchemist by Paul Coelho

Sometimes fiction can reach out more than non-fiction. This is what The Alchemist has done to many people. A book that is the favourite of celebrities like Madonna and Will Smith packs a lot of wisdom in its 163 pages. It provides self-help advice in the garb of a story. The book inspires you to go for your dreams despite all challenges. The story of the Andalusian shepherd boy Santiago who sets off in search of a glorious treasure, is hugely inspirational.

5. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

We all know Maya Angelou as a Nobel Laureate and an award-winning writer. But who was she before that? What was her childhood like? This book is a window into Angelou’s childhood from 1928 to 1944, which happened to be one of the most challenging and tumultuous eras in American history. It was a time fraught with racial tensions and the fight for civil rights. It was a time when American society was about ignorance and prejudice. Angelou grew up in that world, and in this book, she talks about it with her signature humour, grace and compassion. A seminal work by a seminal author inspires you to rise above all.

6. The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler

We keep looking for happiness all our lives, but most of the time, it eludes us. This is where this book can help. The book focuses on how compassion for others can be the key to your personal fulfilment. The book provides scientific and spiritual insights to help you find happiness. The book’s central lesson is that true happiness is not a fleeting state but an art that requires constant practice.

7. Educated by Tara Westover

Educated is an eye-opening, transformative memoir of a young girl who stepped into a classroom for the first time when she was 17. Before that, she lived with her Mormon survivalist family in rural Idaho, working in her father’s junkyard and stockpiling herbs for her midwife mother. Raised with her father’s non-mainstream views, Tara had no clue about the world or its happenings till the time the thirst and quest for knowledge took over. Today Westover is a Cambridge-educated PhD historian and a Gates scholar. The book points out the importance of education and how one can get what one wants in life as long as we have dedication and determination.

8. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

The well-known writer of Eat, Pray, Love is at it again with this book. She is here to motivate the reader by inspiring us to draw into our inner creativity whenever the need arises. This is a love letter to the artist inside you written in Gilbert’s conversational, to-the-point style. Whatever may be the goal of your life, this book will help you get there. The book is funny, honest and inspiring.

Also Read: 25 Self-help Books

9. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

We all want to get rid of the clutter in our homes but often don’t know how to do it. Marie Kondo helps by telling you how to organize your life. She believes tidying doesn’t mean just a cleaner house- it is about your mindset. It is a book that has helped millions worldwide declutter their homes and lives. You can apply her method and see the results.

10. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

This excellent read fills the reader with hope, optimism and positivity. Whenever we lose someone, we go through a period of grieving in which we hope and wish our loved one will come back to us. Though we know it can’t happen, we cannot push the feeling away. Didion captures this feeling in this book which is a memoir of the death of her husband. The book is honest but helps the grieving find a silver lining and a sense of recovery. Didion goes over her husband’s faults and strengths, inspiring the reader to live with the memories. A must-read for someone going through a loss.

11. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! By Dr Seuss

This happens to be one of Dr Seuss’ last books. The book is full of optimism and hope, telling us that we are not alone in the maze of life and we will eventually reach where we need to be. It’s a beautiful read packed with insights, wit and wisdom that can just lift you.

12. Congratulations, By the Way by George Saunders

If you are on the verge of graduating or have just graduated, this is just the book for you. It’s a convocation speech to graduates that has the ability to inspire and humble you. In case you are wondering if it is boring and sermonizing, it isn’t all these things at all. It is humorous, warm, wise, inspiring and is able to touch that chord. It is a short manual that lays out a few basic principles and tips for a fulfilling and happy life.

13. Emma and I by Sheila Hocken

This book is an autobiography written from the heart, centred around the purest bond of all-the love between a guide dog and her beloved human. Born with a disorder that led to progressive vision loss, Sheila Hocken could no longer navigate her life by the time she turned seventeen. That is when Emma, the chocolate lab, enters her life and changes it forever. Sheila no longer needs anyone else to face life and its challenges. This heartwarming book is a must-read for every dog lover.

 14. The Journey is the Destination by Dan Eldon

They say it is not the number of years you live, but how you live them, that is important. This can be said about Dan Eldon, the author of this book, who lived a short but eventful life. One of Reuters’ youngest photojournalists, Eldon, was only 22 when he was stoned to death while on assignment in Somalia. This book is a compilation of the journals he wrote while working in warzones, spearheading humanitarian fundraising campaigns in Africa and travelling to 46 countries. Though sad, the journals carry a vital life lesson: live an impactful life and make the journey your destination.

Also Read: Books on Indian History – A list of 21 Must-Read Books

15. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World by William Mc Raven

This is a commencement speech turned into a book. The author, Navy Seal Admiral William McRaven, gave a speech to the graduates of the University of Texas at Austin in 2014, which he adapted into this book which not only helps build character but also puts the reader in the mindset of service in the world. The book lists ten principles based on life lessons based on the Admiral’s experiences while facing failure, resisting bullies and dealing with the urge to quit. The book teaches you how the simplest shifts in behaviour can change your life.   

16. The More You Do, The Better You Feel by David Parker

If you are the kind of person who procrastinates but wants to get over the habit, then this book is for you. The book is loaded with proven ideas to help you overcome this habit. So you get to do more, and that makes you feel better. It’s a well-put-together informative book that makes you aware of the disabling effects of procrastination and then helps you deal with it. A great self-help book.

17. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

In this book, the author impresses the need for grit, dedication and determination to achieve a goal. She offers great insights to encourage the reader never to underestimate the power of being consistent in one’s efforts. If you are the kind to go on even when the going gets tough, this is the book for you.

18. Choose Yourself by James Altucher

This is a great book that makes the readers focus on themselves. According to Altucher, the most valuable asset that we have and in which we should invest the most time, effort, and resources is ourselves. The book is all about how we can be successful in life by choosing to invest in ourselves and our growth.

19. High-hanging Fruit: Build Something Great by Going Where No One Else Will by Mark Rampolla

This hugely inspiring book encourages the reader to aim high and work to get there. Full of optimism and positivity, it emphasizes how it is important to align one’s passion, purpose and integrity to achieve success in life. In life, it is important to have aspirations and ambitions; the higher, the better.

20. Girls Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

We often find that the women around us fail to live up to their full potential due to fear of falling short of perfection and not being enough. In this New York Times bestseller, Rachel calls for women to stop defining themselves through the lens established by others and instead define themselves the way they want to. She encourages women to pursue their dreams rather than talking themselves out of them. This is one of the best inspirational books for women.

21. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

This is a book in which Albom shares the wisdom he received from his college professor Morrie Schwartz. In this book, the student joins the teacher through the last months of his life every Tuesday to discuss the critical messages of life in a beautiful and heartwarming fashion. Ultimately, they come together to create one final class: lessons on how to live a good life. This is an inspiring book that touches your heart.

22. The Power of Positive Thinking: 10 Traits for Maximum Results by Dr Norman Vincent Peale

This is a book about faith and inspiration. It emphasizes the power of positive thinking; how positivity alone can help us cross hurdles in life and move on. So if you are down and out and need to be pulled in the right direction, go for this book. Life is beautiful, and we must never forget that.

23. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

In life, sometimes, our beliefs and our opinions hold us back from doing what we should be doing. This book encourages the reader to reflect and discover how their lives are being limited by their beliefs. It motivates the reader to go on a journey of self-discovery and correction.

24. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

Motivational books can become dull if all they do is sermonize. This book is different as the author dispenses her wisdom and tips in a humorous and captivating manner. She talks about our behaviour and thought patterns and how we develop them. The book is about change but also acceptance. We have to learn to change what we can and accept what we can’t.

25. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frankl

In this book, the author discusses his experience of living in Nazi death camps in-depth and the lessons he learned about spiritual survival. When suffering is inevitable, one must accept it gracefully and learn how to cope. If we can ascribe a meaning to it, we will be able to move forward with renewed purpose and vigour.  Pick up one of these inspirational books to read and get inspired.

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Hello! I’m Sangeeta Relan. Aside from being an educationist teaching at the university level for the last 28 years, I have been a corporate wife and a mother to two boys who have now flown the nest. I love cooking, singing, travelling and exploring new places.

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