Reading rocks! (22 books I recommend)
Updated: Mar 9
Have you never felt touched by a book you read?
Reading is one of the most efficient forms of conveying information. I’d say it's a fantastic way to accomplish many ends, such as being taught, inspired, entertained, and sparking imagination.
Our input shapes our way of thinking
When you read a news article about someone doing something bad, you'd have a naturally negative reaction to that person. The thoughts and ideas conveyed in the article would likely affect your own thoughts. Though even when it's not very convincing, and you don’t like it, you still have a similar, strong, reaction (adversely).
What you read has a great influence on what you think. Which is why we need to be careful to make sure that we read good material with a good purpose. Books have great potential, but they can be used for good or bad.
There are a lot of wonderful purposes for reading.
Books teach us
Reading teaches us a lot about the world. This is generally through nonfiction books, but fiction books can do this as well.
Whether it's reading from a history book, working through a self-help book, trying to find answers through articles, or learning about bravery from a fantasy novel, we learn a lot from reading.
Books motivate/inspire us
Reading is also a method of inspiration and motivation. Reading about the experiences of others helps trigger your own belief in your own ability to do those same things. And it helps you to develop that sense of understanding and guidance in your own life. Even in fiction, reading can uplift and inspire you to become a better person and emulate your heroes in the book.
Books spark our imaginations
When details are described, but not shown, it almost forces our minds to paint the picture ourselves, which I think is a fantastic imagination exercise. That's one thing I love about older books - they are so descriptive. That sometimes makes them feel like they take forever, but how deeply they describe everything around them is very interesting and precious.
If you think about it, 100 years ago, we couldn't simply Google what the Iguazu Falls in Argentina look like. (The fact that the word Google can now be used as a verb is quite incredible.) Thus an author would have to describe the falls in vivid detail, so that the person reading could imagine it in their head. Nowadays, we can Google what everything looks like, so authors can leave out a lot of the details and it’s fine.
Unfortunately, we are so used to visuals and media that we also don't have as much scope for our imagination, in our primarily consumptive world. We lose some of our creativity, which is a loss. Fortunately, reading and learning help us imagine better and develop our abilities to think.
Reading is fun! You know that. It’s exciting to discover new worlds, plots, and enjoy the realms of the imaginations of others.
There is a question as to whether fiction or nonfiction is better. I've been on both sides, but I think they both have a lot of value.
Fiction is a fantastic place where you can learn about people who aren't necessarily real, but have real values that can help motivate you to become better and face adversity.
Nonfiction tells you true stories that can help instruct you to better yourself. (I love self-help books.) Memoirs from the lives of others can help you find what you should do in your own story.
My favorite books by category
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - Post coming soon!
This might be the best book I've ever read (apart from scripture). It gives amazing advice for life, work, relationships, and whatever you want to apply it to.
This book is both inspiring and impactful, as you learn how Hal Elrod overcame terrible trials and he tells you the secret to success that he learned from many other successful people.
The Power of Habit - Post coming soon!
I haven't yet read this book (so I feel slightly guilty putting it on the list), but I have heard many summaries and am excited to read it soon. It examines what makes up our habits so we can learn to control them.
Getting Things Done - Post coming soon!
I'm reading this book very slowly, so I'm only halfway through (because I haven't applied the principles I've read yet), but it is an amazing strategy to become more productive. I keep his flow chart in my office for reference.
Why Marriages Succeed or Fail - Post coming soon!
John Gottman is one of the leading experts in marriage with a bunch of scientific backing. If you are married or might get married, I highly recommend any material from him.
I love Mark Gungor's approach to marriage. This short book is about the Flag Page, which sums up a person's motivations, so you can be more mindful of the type of communication the person responds to and what is most important to them. I hear this is helpful with children as well!
The Peacegiver (Fiction) - Post coming soon!
This is a book about a struggling relationship and how a man learns to let Christ heal his relationship. My cousin gave it to me and I found it very eye-opening and inspirational.
Added Upon (Fiction) - Post coming soon!
This is a fictional story based on the faith of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ. It follows a few people from their pre-mortal life to the afterlife. It was very special to my grandma and has found a place in my heart.
The Gifts of the Spirit - Post coming soon!
Also based in the Latter-Day Saint faith, it discusses the gifts of the spirit that Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 12.
In the Eye of the Storm - Post coming soon!
This is the story of John H. Groberg. As a young man, he went to Tonga to teach the people about Jesus Christ. The three years he served were full of miracles and tragedies.
Never Split the Difference - Post coming soon!
This is a negotiation book that was written by a negotiation expert from the FBI. I would describe it as a follow up to Getting to Yes.
Getting to Yes - Post coming soon!
This is a book on negotiation where you focus on making both parties happy by considering the principles over the positions.
This book was a large study on millionaires done in the 90s (since then, Chris Hogan has done a larger study, which is discussed in his book Everyday Millionaire; I haven't read this book yet, but I hear it is amazing!). Basically it busts a bunch of myths about millionaires and shows how these seemingly ordinary people grew extraordinary wealth.
The Richest Man in Babylon - Post coming soon!
This is a fictional book that talks about a guy in ancient Babylon and how he was able to become rich using his 7 cures for a lean purse and 5 laws of gold.
The Total Money Makeover - Post coming soon!
This is Dave Ramsey giving his famous 7 baby steps and explaining how to fix your finances.
Anne of Greene Gables (series) - Post coming soon!
This is a classic about the dreamy-eyed girl from Avonlea. I find Anne and Gilbert to be an inspiring couple. Anne has such a love for life and is one of my role models in life.
Polyanna - Post coming soon!
Polyanna is another role model of mine. She is always so happy and positive. She is famous for the Glad Game, where she is grateful for everything she can be. I think that a grateful heart is truly the key to happiness.
Festival Knights - Post coming soon!
This book is not for children, as it can get a little sketchy (not as much as many teenage romance novels though), but it has a wonderful moral about chastity and respect.
The Stanton Curse - Post coming soon!
This is a sweet love story/adventure about overcoming evil with good.
The Story of Mathematics - Post coming soon!
This is a book I got from my grandpa about the beauty of math. It goes through a history of various fields in math and is a great read for math and self-declared non-math people alike (I personally think anyone can be a math person, but that is a different conversation).
Flatland (Fiction) - Post coming soon!
This is a fascinating short story about a world of two dimensions. It is designed as a social commentary, but I love the mathematical explanations of how to understand higher dimensions.
Lessons in Play - Post coming soon!
This was probably my favorite college textbook. Since my master's thesis was on game theory, this was my main source for my research.
I want you to think of or find a book that you love and enjoy. Review it, even if you only look for a summary or skim through a few of the pages. I want you to review some of the principles you learned from it. Remind yourself why you love that book.