“A young woman jumping high above a patch of white sand surrounded by the turquoise sea” by Laurencia Soesanto on Unsplash

17 Books That Can Radically Improve Your Life: An Index-Library

Links to comprehensive book notes on each book

“You cannot open a book without learning something.” — Confucius
“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” — Groucho Marx

Writer C.S. Lewis once said:

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

I’m not a huge tea fan, but I agree with the second half of that statement.

I don’t just like to read, though. I like to remember what I’ve read — I like to learn from books, and share the lessons.

That is what this Index-Library is for.

Here are books that I have personally read, and found helpful, even life-changing, included blurbs and links to detailed book summaries.

The Book Categories:

  1. Personal development books
  2. Books that inspire
  3. Books that promote health
  4. Books for entrepreneurs
  5. Writing books

All topics that I write about in my publication, The Write Purpose. Some of these categories, I admit, are a bit arbitrary.

Note:

  • To read the comprehensive (detailed, chapter-by-chapter, read-this-if-you-don’t-have-time-to-read-the-full-book) book summaries, click on the Bolded, Underlined Title/Authors.
  • To buy your own copy of the book, click on the hyperlink inside the book description or the link under the book jacket illustration.
    (full disclosure: these are affiliate links. You can also feel free to look up the books yourself on Amazon or at your local library. But if you choose to purchase the book through this link, that would be a huge support to me and The Write Purpose — thank you!)

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT BOOKS

Get your copy of Willpower Doesn’t Work here

Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin P. Hardy

Written by mentor and top Medium writer Benjamin P. Hardy, Willpower Doesn’t Work is exactly what it sounds like — a book that describes the fallacy of relying on willpower to create real, positive change, and the strategies that actually work, instead.

Written in clear, approachable language, Hardy also includes practical tips that readers can implement to change and improve their lives.

Get your copy of Psycho-Cybernetics here

Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

Over the course of his career, cosmetic surgeon Maxwell Maltz realized that what mattered most to people was not their outward appearance, but their inner self-image.

Based on this revelation, Maltz wrote Psycho-Cybernetics, a long-time bestseller aiming to help people change their self-image in order to choose the right goals and live a more meaningful and successful life.

Get your own copy of Daring Greatly here

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Researcher, professor, and well-known TED talker Brene Brown writes in Daring Greatly about the dual concepts of shame and vulnerability.

Using stories from her own life and the lives of her research subjects, Brown writes about the courage it takes for people to be truly authentic and vulnerable, and, ultimately, happy. Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability is one of the top 5 most-viewed TED videos in the world.

Get your own copy of The Art of Learning here

The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin

Chess and tai-chi champion Josh Waitzkin distills the principles that he used to achieve phenomenal success in two different fields in his book, The Art of Learning.

Using stories and lessons from his own life in competitive chess and tai-chi, Waitzkin discusses learning approaches and strategies that readers can use to achieve success and skill in their own fields.

Get your own copy of Essentialism here

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

If you ever feel like a headless chicken who believes that there aren’t enough hours in the day, Essentialism is the book for you.

In this book, McKeown shows readers how to cut out the unnecessary to focus on the few, truly meaningful activities and endeavors that will bring them the most satisfaction and fulfillment. McKeown recommends practical, clear strategies that everyone can use.

Get your own copy of The Compound Effect here

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

The biggest idea behind The Compound Effect is that tiny actions, compounded over time, create MASSIVE results — for good or evil.

Therefore it’s critical for you to pay attention not only to those seemingly insignificant habits and behaviors you do everyday, but to intentionally create small habits to make the compound effect work in YOUR favor. And in his book, Hardy shows you exactly how to do that.


BOOKS THAT PROMOTE HEALTH

Get your own copy of The Blue Zones here

The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner

Have you ever heard of the Blue Zones? 9 international locations where people not only live LONG (like 100+ years long), but also healthy? That’s what The Blue Zones is all about.

In this book, writer Dan Buettner travels around the world interviewing the longest-lived and healthiest people in Italy, Japan, Costa Rica, and America (yes, you read that right), and distills their secrets to a long and happy life.

Get your own copy of Whole30 here

Whole30 by Melissa Hartwig

The wrong diet can result in all kinds of ailments, from headaches and insomnia and lethargy.

But which food(s), exactly, are keeping you from reaching your full health potential? Whole30 offers an effective strategy for you to find out!

Get your own copy of Easy Way to Stop Smoking here

Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr

Even if you do not smoke, Easy Way to Stop Smoking is a fascinating read that can help you with whatever addiction you are struggling with. (And we are almost all addicted to something)

Carr’s basic premise is that smokers do not smoke for the reasons we all think they do. But once they realize why they ACTUALLY do what they do, it will be easy and painless to quit.


BOOKS THAT INSPIRE

Get your own copy of Man’s Search for Meaning here

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Written by a psychologist who was a Holocaust Survivor, Man’s Search for Meaning is Frankl’s magnum opus.

In this stunning autobiography, Frankl discusses his experiences at Auschwitz and other concentration camps, and the lessons he learned about human nature and life meaning — lessons that helped him develop a completely new approach to psychotherapy: logotherapy, the “will to meaning.”

Get your own copy of How to Be Like Walt here

How to be Like Walt by Pat Williams

One of the most comprehensive biographies on the life and world of Walt Disney, How to be Like Walt is the result of Williams tracking down and interviewing virtually every important person who had ever known Walt Disney.

In this biography, Williams draws lessons from the life of one of the most influential men in history: his tenacity, humor, humility, and creativity.

Get your own copy of the Bible here

The Bible by multiple authors

A mix of history, poetry, prophecy, and more, The Bible has long been the world’s most influential book. Whether you are interested in stories, history, society, or human nature, it would be a good idea to start your research from this book.

The Bible has changed the lives of millions of humans through the course of history, and it can change your life, too — if you want it to.


BOOKS FOR ENTREPRENEURS

Get your own copy of Start With Why here

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Start With Why explains the critical importance of letting your mission drive your pursuits. People who know WHY they do what they do will be more successful than those who do things just to make money.

Knowing your WHY helps you make the best choices, draw like-minded supporters, and keep success from derailing you as it has so many other successful people and companies.

Get your own copy of The One Minute Millionaire here

The One-Minute Millionaire by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen

Half expository book, half novel, The One Minute Millionaire is part of Hansen and Allen’s grand plan to create a million Enlightened Millionaires within a decade.

Anyone can be a millionaire, the authors say, as long as they follow the right strategies with integrity — creating a win-win situation for everyone. The second half of the book illustrates concepts with a creative, well-written story.

Get your own copy of The 4-Hour Workweek here

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek arguably kicked off modern digital nomad/untethered entrepreneur culture.

This detailed book describes Ferriss’ own experiences freeing himself from the 9-to-5 and offers specific strategies (on everything from how to outsource everything you don’t want to do, to how to manage your email) to help readers find the same freedom.

Get your own copy of Contagious

Contagious by Jonah Berger

If you want to understand the scientific concepts behind viral products, ideas, and concepts, Contagious is the book for you.

Berger, a professor and researcher, uses clear, compelling examples from real life to illustrate 6 STEPPS that contribute to making any product or idea catch on. This well-written, easy-to-read book will help any writer, entrepreneur, or business person understand how to give their ideas sticking power.


WRITING BOOKS

Get your own copy of Story Genius here

Story Genius by Lisa Cron

This is the most helpful writing book I’ve ever read. After 10 years trying and failing to write a novel, I finished my first novel in less than 3 months, thanks to Lisa Cron’s Story Genius.

This book will teach you how a REAL story (novel) is written, from the ground up. Lisa Cron uses an actual student’s work-in-progress to illustrate her concepts in an easy-to-read manner, and includes “What to do” instructions at the end of every section for readers to follow along.


Ready to Write With Purpose and Power?

I’ve created a Write Purpose Manifesto to help you clarify your goals, discover your purpose, and change the world through your words.

Get the manifesto here!