Books that Changed Your Perspective on Life

StrictlyNovice's picture
Rank: Baboon | banana points 115

Hi all,

I just wanted to start a thread for great books that people recommend reading in their free time. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Although finance book recommendations are great, I really want to start reading books that will change my perspective on the world.

Cheers!

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Comments (82)

Jun 12, 2018

Start with these:
Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky- Covers morality, suffering, and judgement. Not a light read.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie- Great, simple book about dealing with people.

The Death of the West by Pat Buchanan- Essential reading about our current state of affairs.

The g-factor by Arthur Jensen- Psychology book about general intelligence and its heritability (aka think twice about pumping your seed into some dumb slut). Scientifically a very interesting read.

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Jun 15, 2018

My personal favorite is The Snowball Warren Buffet and the Business of Life. I read it 5 years ago and still remember every page.

How to win friends and influence people is a pretty good book, and The Buyside is another one of my favorites

Jun 29, 2018

Seconding Crime and Punishment - read it in AP Lit way back my senior year of hs but it was definitely memorable.

Jun 12, 2018
  1. Fooled by Randomness
  2. The Black Swan
  3. Barbarians at the Gate
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Jun 23, 2018
Kamoroun:

1. Fooled by Randomness
2. The Black Swan
3. Barbarians at the Gate

Great list! The first two are indispensable.

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Jun 23, 2018
GoingToBeAnMD:
Kamoroun:

1. Fooled by Randomness
2. The Black Swan
3. Barbarians at the Gate

Great list! The first two are indispensable.

Too technical though. No soft skills!

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Jul 2, 2018

Let's hope people aren't learning their soft skills from Barbarians at the Gate

Jun 24, 2018

Barbarians at the gate highly recommended

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Jun 12, 2018

How Starbucks Changed My Life
Extreme Ownership

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Jun 12, 2018

Extreme Ownership is fantastic. Highly recommend it to anybody

Jun 23, 2018

That's the Jocko Willink one right? I thought it was OK, maybe slightly overrated.

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Jun 25, 2018

I think Jocko Willink is slightly overrrated

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Jun 12, 2018
  1. The Emyth: Why Most Small Businesses Fail and What to Do About It by Gerber

(Have read at least 10 times at various stages of my life. Has completely different meaning at each stage. Captivating story about the evolution of a small business and IDing the various stages. Great read for anyone thinking about going out on their own or just being "entrepreneurial" .

  1. Good To Great by Collins

The whole fly wheel thing is brilliant. Aligning what you love, what you're great at, and monetizing it. When aligned, it's a Home Run. When not, can be good but NOT GREAT!

  1. Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus (Nobel Prize) - Fascinating read about Grameen Bank, microlending, thinking outside the box / contrarian. He literally lifted millions out of poverty. Saw him give a speech on this topic. He's quite a character. Brought tears to my eyes.
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Jun 12, 2018

Totally agree on your Good to Great review. Those principles can easily be applied to life.

Also thanks for suggesting the book on Grameen Bank. Was looking for a read on it.

Jun 14, 2018

Didn't half the companies in good to great end up failing. Almost a stock market peak book for them.

Array
Jun 15, 2018

Don't know. What I do know is at a personal level, it's a great formula for success. Not just because you ultimately make more money, but it's sustainable. Byproducts (again at the individual level) include:

  1. Because you're happier you're better to be around.
  2. When you're better to be around, interesting opportunities present themselves.
  3. You become a more positive person which leads to being a better spouse, parent and friend.
  4. Because you like what you do you have more energy, and therefore either do more of it or
    are more useful in other areas. (that's a big one- I've personally become quite involved in the
    community - coaching youth sports yr round for several yrs, becoming an advisory board
    member to a local law firm, guest hosting on a local financial radio show, etc.
  5. Picked up several personal friends as clients (which may seem easy but when you're dealing
    with their money, it's not. Lot of folks don't want you to know what they have.)
    6 .Because of the revenue engine, was able to hire more staff to free myself up which has
    allowed more time to workout and improve my health.

I'm sure lots of others.

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Jun 15, 2018

It has been criticized for being backward looking and fluff. I read the book a long time ago. It's backward looking. It's like he created a thesis on how he believed a company should be run and then picked the companies with recently strong stock market performance.

Array
Jun 15, 2018

That may be. Can't speak to that and don't really care. I saw it as a metaphor for living a fulfilling life. Pretty basic stuff: Find something that you love, that other people need, and that you're really good at. The more you stay in that lane, the better off you are.

Jun 12, 2018

The Big Short. Although I love the movie, nobody really gets deep into thought about it because A) it happens so quickly and B) people want to believe its fiction or never will/had happen. Thats why the book made a big difference when i finished it. I truly got disappointed with the amount of unorthodox actions taken by individuals for their own personal gain. Truly crazy stuff.

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Jun 26, 2018

Don't understand why MS is getting thrown at you, you truly need to read the book to fully understand what went on

Jun 26, 2018

Re: MS about The Big Short: denial is not just a river in Egypt ;-)

Jun 12, 2018

Clifford the Big Red Dog, teaches you a lot about diversity.

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Jun 12, 2018

[Double Post]

Jun 12, 2018

Read Ashley Vance's autobiography on Elon Musk. Delves deep into his thinking and puts forth the good and the bad. A lot of things to take away from it.

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Jun 14, 2018

Playboy

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Jun 14, 2018

"Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates. "It is written as a letter to the author's teenage son about the feelings, symbolism, and realities associated with being Black in the United States". Very insightful read imo

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Jun 26, 2018

Agree that it's deeply moving, and he writes like an angel.

Jun 14, 2018

An edible history of humanity. Quick read you can crank out in a day or two. I enjoyed it a lot. t shows how food has affected countries to succeed or fail.
https://www.amazon.com/Edible-History-Humanity-Tom...
Thinking Fast and Slow. This is one of the best books about figuring why people act the way they do, and how you can use psychology to your advantage. Very fun to read lots or little games or example to show you how each system works in your brain.
https://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Fast-Slow-Daniel-K...
The origin of species: Darwin. Classic biology book. World changing.

Ben Franklin an american life: Walter Issacson. Favorite book ever.

Candide: Voltaire Funny book could be read in about 2-3 hours. While breaking it down it is very dark.

The United States Constitution- If you have not read though the constitution you should not read anything until you do. (You do not have to read all the amendments this would take you ages) Most important document in modern history.

The concept of Two liberties is not a book but rather a speech that was then printed.
This document I read for the first time in college, and I recommend it to everybody. This will truly help you to learn what freedom really is and why nobody is actually free.
If you close read this document it should take about a week to completely comprehend everything that is stated withing these pages. But when you do you will question everything.
https://is.cuni.cz/studium/predmety/index.php?do=d...
If you want more suggestion PM me.

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Jun 24, 2018

Fun fact about the declaration being one of the most important documents in modern historische: It copies/borrows a lot from the "plakkaat van verlatinghe", which is the dutch declaration of independence.

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Jun 25, 2018

Just letting you know that the constitution is different from the declaration of independence.

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Jun 26, 2018

ouch, and there goes my fun fact :P Silly mistake

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Jun 26, 2018

No problem it happens to the best of us.

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Jun 14, 2018

Definitely Black Swan. Reinforced some theories I had which was nice. Also a little humbling!

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Jun 14, 2018

The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle

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Jun 24, 2018

Bought this last week to Read on my vacation, can't wait!

Jun 14, 2018

Modern Man in Search of a Soul - Carl Gustav Jung
The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
I also enjoy stoicism books like Meditations, the Art of Living, and the Obstacle is the Way

Jun 14, 2018

Meditations is awesome.

Jun 14, 2018

See my quote.

As A Man Thinketh, by James Allen

"It is not our circumstance that controls us, but our thoughts that control our circumstance." -James Allen

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Jun 14, 2018

The Happiness Advantage - Shawn Achor . Truly influential for me

Jun 14, 2018

Also
- the Stranger by Camus
- Principles - Ray Dalio

And not a book, but just general biological anthropology and evolutionary psychology

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Jun 15, 2018
ctrl-z:

Also
- the Stranger by Camus

On a similar note, The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus

Jun 15, 2018

3 books I've read recently that have really changed my perspective on different issues (non-finance):
Chasing The Scream - looking at the war on drugs
The Happy City - looks at happiness and how our environment is affecting it
Eating Animals - you can probably guess the issue explored in this one

Jun 25, 2018

Someone once said that if God didn't want us to eat animals He wouldn't have made them so delicious.

Jun 15, 2018

book of zhuangzi -
"Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness."

book of liezi -
"Strength should always be complimented by softness. If a branch is too rigid, it will break. Thus, the strong person knows when to use strength and when to yield, and good fortune and disaster depend on whether one knows how and when to yield."

Jun 15, 2018

The only book you need is THE HOLY BIBLE.

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Funniest
Jun 15, 2018

The Complete Guide To Divorce Law

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Jun 23, 2018

HAHAHA! Should be required reading for any man looking to get married.

"If you have never considered the possibility of killing another person then you have never been through a divorce!" - Christopher Titus.

Jun 15, 2018

The Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert Pirsig

Philosophical in its nature, but it was a really great read for me. You can either be the type who maintains your own motorcycle or the type who pays someone to.

Jun 15, 2018

All three of the books below have affected the way I think about life,

  1. Mere Christianity by CS Lewis - Regardless of your religious beliefs, this is one of the best, if not the best book on understand the philosophical and theological beliefs of Christianity. If nothing else, you will better understand the most influential religion in the history of Western Civilization.
  2. Start With Why by Simon Sinek - Quite simply, it helps you cut through all the secondary things and helps you have a framework for understanding the primary motivations and passions in life.
  3. Leadership Excellence by Pat Williams - Not a popular book, but my favorite book on leadership. It shows what it means to lead with the mindset of a humble servant, which is probably the toughest thing to do.
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Most Helpful
Jun 15, 2018

Ok slightly lit but compelled to reply.

I have read a lot of shit over the last 10- 15 years and I have come to the conclusion (props to Taleeb for helping me along the way) that if you want meaningful go old. Really old.

If something has stuck around for hundreds of years there must be a reason. Hell, even if it's utter shite the fact that is it has stuck around means it has had a meaningful impact on the development of thought in the modern world so it is at least useful from that perspective.

The thing that has struck me about reading older material is that these were people who actually thought about how they lived their lives, what makes a good life and how they can live a good life. This was not about scoring a mutli-million dollar book deal or getting your balls licked by Jimmy Kimmel. This was the most serious shit in the world to these guys.

That is incredibly valuable insight and it is timeless. Revisiting the works of great thinkers throughout history has had an immense impact on my life.

So here is my advice.

  1. Read "How to read a book" (I know) by Mortimer Adler. This is not exciting stuff but it really helped me to get more from reading.
  2. Have a look through the list of recommended books in Adler's book. What topics interest you? pick something you think you will like.
  3. If you want some suggestions I would recommend the stoics. Stoic philosophy is incredibly relevant to the modern times we live in. There is a lot of good shit about the world today but as a society we face unique challenges unseen previously and a lot of aspects of Stoicism are tailor made for dealing with this shit. As a start read Seneca and Marcus Aurelius Meditations.

It is my opinion that from the perspective of living a good fulfilling happy life there is no more useful single book in the history of mankind than Meditations.

  1. I do enjoy the guilty pleasure of a book written from the age of indoor plumbing from time to time. I think Taleeb is a great thinker. I love all his stuff and highly recommend it. Signal and the noise by Nate Silver did have an impact on my thinking. Interesting book. Charles Duhigg "The Power of Habit" is a shocking little book, 95% drivel, but the concept it talks about is incredibly powerful and understanding habit and using it as a tool has had a big impact for me personally.
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Jun 16, 2018

this one was an absolute game changer for me.

Jack Stratton - How i made $290,000 selling books

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Jun 19, 2018

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Written decades ago by a fellow who spent his career interviewing successful people including Andrew Carnegie. The principles in this books quite literally change your mind and thinking for the better.

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Jun 19, 2018

*A Healthy Dose of LSD. *

It isn't a book, but definitely the truth.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

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Jun 22, 2018

The Intelligent Investor - Ben Graham. Warren Buffett says this is the best book written on investing.

Wild at Heart - John Eldredge

You are Not Your Brain - Jeffrey Shwartz

Nicomachean Ethics - Aristotle

Each book radically changed my thinking and my life.

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Jun 27, 2018

Wild at Heart is a great book. Definitely up there for me as well.

Jun 22, 2018

originals - adam grant

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Jun 22, 2018

I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell- Tucker Max. It's transcendent.

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Jun 22, 2018

The Power of Habit changed my life.

Jun 23, 2018

I've always enjoyed reading, so I do it a lot and I can relate to a lot of the books on this list. So I'll leave out the ones that are already on here and I'll eliminate the "really, really good" books from the ones that really changed my life (as the OP intended).

So that comes down to only one book (and I'm surprised no on has mentioned it):

Mastery by Robert Greene.

This book gave me a completely different outlook on what to do with the rest of my life, how to invest my time, views on mentors, views on learning & persevearance. I really think that my life has changed for the better (not that it was terrible before!) since reading this book.

Plus, this book covers a lot of ground. I would challenge anyone to read this book and have that person say, "I didn't learn anything". Theres literally something everyone can learn from this book.

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Jun 24, 2018
  • Governing the World by Mark Mazower
  • Ugly Americans by Ben Mezrich
  • The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
  • From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America by Elizabeth Hilton
Jun 24, 2018

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson - https://www.amazon.com/Subtle-Art-Not-Giving-Count...
The Rational Male by Rollo Tomassi - https://www.amazon.com/Rational-Male-Rollo-Tomassi...

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Jun 25, 2018

Cheers to The Rational Male. Great book.

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Jun 24, 2018

ration male will give you a paradigm shift ^^

7 habits of highly effective people was a good one for me.

also enjoyed the fountainhead

shoe dog

meditations

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Jun 25, 2018

I'm glad you and @TheROI enjoyed it. I've recommended it to a few friends and it has been a game-changer for me.

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Jun 24, 2018

The Great Gatsby - Despite being written in the 20s, the story sheds light on social issues that are still relevant today like wealth inequality. It's one of the few books that still gives me a different perspective after having read it 5+ times. Also helps that it's a quick read.

Principles (by Ray Dalio) - Working through this one and it has a lot of great lessons that someone can apply to their careers as well as their personal lives. Not a challenging read.

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Jun 25, 2018

Will sound silly but "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki completely changed the way I view money and the importance of being an owner of capital vs. labouring for someone elses' capital. I also really enjoyed both Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead. I'm not a huge fan of Ayn Rand but I found both books give a really interesting take on the concept of individualism and the libertarian mindset.

Jun 25, 2018
StrictlyNovice:

I really want to start reading books that will change my perspective on the world.

Specifically related to this are two perspective-type books I read. The first is: "The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future" - Stiglitz. The second is a direct rebuttal to this: "The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class" - Conard.

If you read both it gives you a really good look into two completely different perspectives.

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Jun 26, 2018

You may also like Conard's Unintended Consequences.

Jun 25, 2018

"How to Read a Person Like a Book" -forget the author... body language; most important book I read in college
"The Art Of War" Sun Tzu
"(Letter to) The Prince" N. Macchiavelli
"Emotional Intelligence" Daniel Goleman

Jun 25, 2018

I read the book The Gene recently and it was quite enlightenining to say the least.

Jun 25, 2018

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Completely changed how I think about almost all choices humans make.

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Jun 26, 2018

Agree that "Fast & Slow" is one of the most influential books I've ever read.

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Jul 12, 2018

Yeah, the entire study of behavioral economics and body of research around how we make decisions is so interesting. Reminds me of a scene in WestWorld where they say something along the lines of how all human choices are just the interaction of ~10k different variables and easy to be mapped [sorry for a small spoiler if anybody isn't up to speed]. A bit frightening to learn how we're all susceptible to the same pitfalls

Jun 26, 2018

To kill a mockingbird is an all-time favorite.
Others that come to mind are

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
And the mountains echoed by Khalid Hosseini
How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie
The monk who sold his Ferrari.. Don't remember the author

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Jun 26, 2018

Re: MS about The Big Short: denial is not just a river in Egypt ;-)

Jun 26, 2018

If you're considering the entrepreneurial path:
* The Hard Thing About Hard Things - Ben Horowitz (founder turned VC)
* Zero to One - Peter Thiel (another founder turned VC)
* Creativity Inc - Ed Catmull (CEO of Pixar)
* Becoming Steve Jobs - Brent Schlender (a better perspective of Jobs' entrepreneurial Hero's Journey than Isaacson's biography)

If you're wondering why public policy is so crazy:
* Thinking Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman
* The Undoing Project - Michael Lewis (if you're too lazy to read Kahneman's original ;-)
* The Righteous Mind - Jonathan Haidt
* The Fatal Conceit - F. A. Hayek
* Human Action - Ludwig von Mises

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Jun 27, 2018

I just started reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck seems pretty good so far hopefully I can finish it because I have started many books but haven't finished

Jun 27, 2018

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