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

7 reasons why reading more books will improve your life

“Reading is to the mind what excise is to the body”

– Joseph Addison, English poet (1672-1719)

If you are one of the people who haven’t realized the huge potential that lies waiting for you at every single library on the planet you are not alone. And good for you: it is never to late to start being a real bookworm.

Years ago I didn’t read books regularly but when I started being insecure about my own personality I took up reading and I haven’t left it since. I read everything from personal development, to fiction and historical non-fiction. More about this in my next blogpost.

Underneath, I have put together 7 reasons why I think you should seriously consider spending more time reading books:

1. Reducing stress

In a world where everything and everyone are being busy reading is such a great way to unwind and to enjoy peaceful time with yourself. Research has shown that reading for six minutes has an improving effect on reducing stress by slowing down the heart rate and ease tension in the muscles.

2. Improving concentration and focus

Unlike watching a bad movie or reading a short article sitting down with a book takes concentration and focus for a longer period. To be able to turn off your phone and only putting your mental focus to the book can over time strengthen your ability to concentrate.

3. Improving our imagination

Before I read Gregory David Roberts’ Shantaram about a prisoner breaking out of a prison in New Zealand and escaping to India I never dreamed about traveling to India. However, reading this book made me realize that I HAD to visit India. 6 months later I landed in New Delhi for the first time and I fell in love with the country just like Gregory David Roberts had done a couple of decades earlier. Reading books can improve our ability to dream big and to imagine things you never would have thought of before.

4. Developing verbal skills and makes you a more interesting person to dialogue with

Reading has this great function of shaping our skills verbally which can dramatically improve our ability to specify our thoughts and our feelings. Furthermore, it gives us a wider vocabulary we can use in our everyday life.

5. It makes you smarter 

Unlike watching TV reading is mentally challenging and is stimulating our brain. By reading more books, you will think more and become smarter.

6. It makes you learn everywhere

Compared to many different kinds of information, books are great because they are portable and therefore you can take them with you everywhere which make them such powerful learning tools.

7. Can change your life

How many times have you heard from friends or family that a given book at a given time have changed their life forever? My aunt told me that Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig (great book btw) changed her life completely in the mid 80’s while Robin Sharma’s The Monk who sold his Ferrari changed my way of living a couple of years ago. Reading can really change your life to the better and might even make you realize some of the things that holds you back from doing the things that can improve your happiness and your self-esteem.

Thanks for making it to the bottom of the page. Please let me know if you have other good reasons to read more books and tell us about the books that have changed your life!