The 7 books that have made the biggest impact on my life

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers”

Charles W. Eliot, former president at Harvard University (1834-1926)

Since I told you about why I think you should spend more time reading books I have felt great inspiration to write about the most impactful books I have read in my life. This list consists of 7 great books that are different from each other, but which all have inspired me to do some radical changes in different parts of my own life. Furthermore, the books have given me a strong belief in how important it is to read regularly to get inspired from wiser and smarter thinkers than yourself.

Here we go:

1. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – Robin Sharma

This book is the absolute cornerstone in my own personal development process – and I am not the only one. More than 3 million people have bought this book and Robin Sharma keeps motivating people every day. If you like me have spend too much time chasing other people’s dreams or are putting (way) too much value into materialistic stuff I can guarantee you that this book will transform your life. If you want to take a look into the universe of Robin Sharma you can download his Little Black Book For Stunning Success free of charge here.

2. Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson

When I started reading this book I thought it was a biography. But trust me, this book is so much more. It is a modern fable about a human being that was relentless in trying to achieve his biggest dreams. He might not have been the best boss, the best husband or the best dad but he has transformed all of our lives in some way. Walter Isaacson spend years following the Steve Jobs world and the book is not only well-written it is a manifesto of challenging the status quo in innovation, design and usability. I am serious: just read it!

3. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

This book has become classic travel literature but I will recommend you to read it when you are not traveling because it gives you so much wanderlust to travel the world and to expand your wildest dreams. The book is about a Spanish boy named Santiago that one day decides to go on a journey to Egypt to find treasure. On his way he encounters several obstacles and learn so many valuable and useful lessons that can be applied to his own life (and yours of course). Furthermore, it is a book about following your heart and your dreams, which is something that can be challenging in a busy everyday life.

4. Walden – Henry David Thoreau

A book I thought about reading for several months before I read it as the first in 2015. After living in a remote area in Nepal I start experimenting with living with less and that is a concept Thoreau valued and was inspired by as well. In 1845 he moved to a remote area in the woods of Walden in the state of Massachusetts, US, to live deliberately and a spartan life with minimum needs in order to sustain life. To me, this book has become something more and I will love to read it again because it made me realize how few of the things we have or consume that we simply do not need. I will recommend you to read it in English because the language Thoreau uses can be difficult to translate directly to Danish.

5. The Art of Happiness – Dalai Lama & Howard Cutler

On my path to finding more happiness, my grandmother lend me a copy of this wonderful book where the American Psychiatrist Howard Cutler interviews the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet the Dalai Lama. I have always been fascinated by Dalai Lama and even though I did not visited Tibet on my Asia-journey last fall I read a couple of his books in my time in Nepal. It is a book about how the Dalai Lama believes that people inherently have the ability to find happiness but in our modern society with our superficial beliefs and materialistic needs are obstructing our way to true happiness and fulfillment. This book made me consider my own values and beliefs and has truly been a great inspiration in my everyday life.

An open mind is definitely necessary when reading this book and if personal development, mindfulness etc. are new words to you I will recommend you to start with one of the other books. However, I strongly believe that this book will help you consider what your true values and beliefs are, which might help you live a more deliberate life.

6.  7 Habits Of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey 

Stephen Covey’s bestseller from 1989 still stands as one of the most impactful books in the category of personal development. For me this book has been crucial and his 7 habits have helped me a lot on my way to develop a more sustainable and strong character. Covey’s book helps you apply his concept to your everyday life and though some of the habits require some serious willpower and personal investment. I have found especially the habits about interdependence (habit 4 to 6) very helpful to understand other people better. Right now I am reading this book for the third time and I am finding new valuable advices and inspiration every time I read it.

7. The Story of My Experiments With Truth – Mohandas K. Gandhi 

I bought this book at the official Gandhi Museum in Madurai in India for the price of less than $1, which makes it the best investment I have ever done. This biography about the life of the younger Gandhi overwhelmed me and made me understand why life should be lived for a higher purpose. Until his death he sticked to his values and beliefs no matter how ill he was, how much danger he was in or even how scared he was; he never did anything that wasn’t part of his set of values. Furthermore, he kept his needs to a bare minimum and spend everyday of his life fighting for a higher purpose and ultimately he helped India become an independent country. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the story about Gandhi because no matter what this book will take you on a journey that will question everything you do that is not aligned with your values, beliefs or dreams. You can read the book online here.

Thanks for reading this Tuesday-treat – I sincerely hope that you will pick up one of the books within your nearest future. And please, if you have read some tremendous life changing books, share them with us in the comments!

Happy reading.

/Jeppe

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