5 Books That Will Change Your Perspective On Life (2022)

Because sometimes all you need is a slight shift in perspective, not tidy self-improvement strategies

5 Books That Will Change Your Perspective On Life (1)

Most of us are drifting through life wearing dust-coated, cracked, or rose-colored glasses that skew our perception of things. Consequently, the world appears to us a monochrome when in reality it’s a vibrant photograph. But we can only know if we changed the glasses we were wearing, in other words, changed our perception of things.

But a lot of times we’re not even aware we’re wearing defective spectacles unless someone or something from the outside points it out. Sometimes, it’s a friend. Other times it’s a book.

Given that I spend more time with books than I do with people, it’s almost always books that have shaped my perception of life. Below is a list of some of these books.

This one is hands down the best on this list.

In this book, the author Viktor Frankl, a survivor of the Holocaust, shares his experiences inside the Nazi concentration camps and the lessons he learned there.

One of the most profound lessons I’ve learned from the book is that no matter how tough things get, how hopeless things may seem, there is always one thing we have control over and that is our attitude towards the situation. We can either surrender ourselves and become victims of our circumstances or hold onto whatever’s in our control and emerge as victors of our circumstances.

This book will both send chills down your spine and inspire you to find meaning and purpose in life. I keep coming back to it.

Quote from the book to ponder upon

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

I’ll be honest.

I’m not a fan of overly enthusiastic self-improvement advice that preaches stuff like:




You know, the kind of stuff motivational gurus plaster everywhere.

The book, Can’t hurt me, revolves around similar themes but it’s still worth a read. Bear with me for a while to know why.

First, a little about the author.

David Goggins is a former navy seal, ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete, motivational speaker, and Guinness World Record holder. In the book, he shares his journey of surviving childhood abuse, obesity, extreme poverty, and the challenges that come with it. Packed with straightforward, no BS advice, the book is about Goggins’ journey of transformation, overcoming adversity, and building mental toughness

There’s nothing unique about his story, so to speak.

A lot of motivational speakers had a similar trajectory of life. However, the way Goggins writes his story leaves you inspired and full of renewed energy. It’s as if the pages of the book carry not just words, but energy inside them.

Some key takeaways:

  • The obstacle is the way. You’re not a victim of your circumstances. Whatever challenges, pain, and difficulties you go through in life make you stronger.
  • You’re capable of more than you think you are. To most things in life, you only give your 40% because that’s all you think you’re capable of. But you’re capable of more. Tap into the remaining 60% of your fuel tank. Keep pushing.
  • Use an accountability mirror. Stand in front of it every day and give a pep talk about where you are in life and where you want to be. Be completely honest with yourself. Hell, even yell at yourself if the need be!
  • Whenever you feel self-doubt creeping in, ask yourself “What if?” What if you achieved everything you’ve dreamed of? What if the exact opposite of your fears happened? What if…..? Fill in the blank and flip the script.

Perhaps the most important lesson from the book I took home is about stretching your limits. We walk around with so many limiting beliefs that we stop ourselves before we’re even halfway there. In reality, we’re powerful beings, capable of so much more than we think we are.

If you’re worn down by such self-help advice, I challenge you to read this book and watch the impact it has on you.

Quote from the book to ponder upon

“The most important conversations you’ll ever have are the ones you’ll have with yourself.”

Several stories have touched my heart like this one.

As the subtitle of the book says, it’s about “an old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lesson”. The book is based on real-life events of the author Mitch Albom.

On his graduation day at Brandeis University, young Mitch promises to keep in touch with his favorite professor, Morrie as they bid farewell. But life gets in the way and Mitch fails to fulfill his promise.

Sixteen years later, while flipping channels on the TV, Mitch is shocked to find his professor, Morrie being interviewed on a television show. He decides to drive from Detriot to West Newton to pay his old professor a visit who is now dying from ALS.

Time is short and he must make the most of it.

Mitch decides to spend time with Morrie every Tuesday and they discuss topics like death, regrets, emotions, love, and marriage. Morrie’s wisdom deserves to be preserved, Mitch decides, so he tape records their conversations which later take the form of this book.

The book doesn’t read like a boring sermon or a list of quotes rather the author skilfully paints the character of Morrie for the reader and weaves everything together into a beautiful story that makes you laugh at some places and weep at others.

Tuesdays With Morrie taught shifted my focus to things that matter the most in life.

Quote from the book to ponder upon

“Don’t let go too soon, but don’t hold on too long.”

This book revolves around similar themes as Tuesdays in Morrie, mainly death, meaning, and purpose. However, the story is different. Where Tuesdays With Morrie softly caressed my heart, this book gripped and haunted me for days.

The author Paul Kalanithi is practicing neurosurgery as a student. Death is a character he meets every day. It’s like one of those people you see daily while commuting or waiting at the bus stop. Watching people fighting for their lives is part of Kalanithi’s job.

Until death comes for him.

In his mid-thirties when he is on the verge of becoming a fully competent neurosurgeon and also starting a family, Kalanithi discovers he has terminal lung cancer.

That the world would come crashing down at a point in his life when he was looking forward to so many things is something he had never imagined. That death, that passerby he saw every day would suddenly come so close to him, staring him in the eye had always been a distant possibility.

But Kalanithi wasn’t really unprepared for this. During his time as a neurosurgeon, he had learned both about life and death and had sought to find the meaning of life. So he decides to face death gracefully and spend the last days of his life with his family and writing this book.

This is one of those gripping books about the meaning of life that will stay on your mind for days. I’ll definitely read it for the second time and I bet you’ll want to as well.

Quote from the book to ponder upon

“I began to realize that coming in such close contact with my own mortality had changed both nothing and everything. Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. But now I knew it acutely. The problem wasn’t really a scientific one. The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live.”

This list couldn’t have been complete without Stoicism. So here comes a book that preaches the Stoic philosophy of stillness.

With the advent of modern self-improvement and the toxic hustle culture, the idea that’s being repeatedly sold to us is this: You’re not doing enough, so keep going.

You’re not positive enough, productive enough, rich enough, confident enough, successful enough…you’re never enough.

Consequently, we’ve become ‘hustlers’- people who are always on the go, chasing some arbitrary standard we’ve set for ourselves. No wonder, we’re often burned out and unhappy with our lives.

The antidote? Reverse the clock, go back to Stoicism, the philosophy of stillness.

Stillness does not mean you sit in meditation like a yogi. Yes, you do the work but you do it slowly. You keep your life balanced. You distance yourself from the noise and distraction. You move forward in baby steps instead of taking giant leaps.

Stop killing yourself in the name of productivity. Having sleepless nights because you’re hustling for your dreams? Not sexy. Sitting hunched in front of your laptop for hours slowly morphing into a question mark? Uncool. You can keep ignoring your health but it will catch up with you later in the hospital.

The book makes you zoom out and realize that in the larger scheme of life, the things you’re chasing don’t even matter, and the things that matter are way beyond your view.

I used to be someone who would always be rushing towards something. Everyone around me seemed successful and accomplished, I felt I was behind in life. But the book taught me to slow down and go through life at my own pace.

Quote from the book to ponder upon

“There’s nothing to feel guilty about for being idle. It’s not reckless. It’s an investment. There is nourishment in pursuits that have no purpose — that is their purpose.”

You might think you need something earth-shattering, perhaps a messiah, to transform your life. But you probably only need a change in perspective. Tiny shifts in perspectives can yield remarkable results.

That said, here are five books that will change your outlook on life:

  1. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frankl
  2. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
  3. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
  4. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  5. Stillness Is The Key by Ryan Holiday

Now I’m curious. Which book/s changed your perspective on life?

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