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What’s the meaning of life?
What are we here for?
How do we find our purpose?
If you’re looking for answers to questions about life, we’ve compiled nine of the best books that can help you in your quest.
Life can be hard and confusing at times, but it can also be exhilarating and inspiring.
Sometimes, we need guidance on how to navigate through life’s challenges in order to arrive at our own definition of what life is.
This collection features both fiction and nonfiction books on the topic of life. These titles are from the areas of psychology, spirituality, science, and literature. They can all help you figure out what life is really all about.
Whether you’re reading for pleasure, looking to learn something new and expand your knowledge, or simply whiling away the time, books have the power to change your perception of life.
Check out these books on life!
1. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
Many people go through life with the belief that they are not good enough and are therefore unworthy of love. They get caught up in their pursuit of perfection and end up with lives devoid of happiness and love.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are: Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life shows us how to live wholeheartedly, accepting our imperfections and believing that we are enough just as we are.
Specifically, this book gives you the tools for developing “worthiness.” You’ll discover a new definition of love and uncover the barriers of living and loving wholeheartedly.
This is the best book for learning about self-acceptance, authenticity, and inspired living.
2. The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
Have you ever wondered about your life’s purpose?
In The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure, readers follow an unnamed narrator as he journeys to Peru in search of an ancient manuscript containing nine insights about humanity’s evolution.
The book is quest-like in its format, with the narrator looking for each insight in the order they were written in the manuscript. Experiences during the narrator’s quests are directly related to the insights being discussed.
Some of the insights readers will discover include:
This is a great book to read to learn about life’s purpose from a spiritual perspective.
3. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
If you’ve ever asked how the universe came to be and where we’re headed, A Brief History of Time contains the answers.
Published in 1988, it defied the expectations that a book on theoretical cosmology would only interest academics and university students. Instead, it appealed to the general public as an easy-to-understand book about concepts related to astronomy, physics, and mathematics.
The humor, analogies, and Hawking’s overall writing style are the main reasons why this book is a bestseller.
4. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth recognizes how difficult life can be. It is a gentle guide for discovering how we can live life to the fullest, despite the inevitable difficulties.
The book has four main sections, with each focusing on a specific topic, including:
M. Scott Peck’s writing style makes it easy for the general reader to understand the concepts of psychotherapy and spirituality discussed in the book. He also shares numerous anecdotes to help readers grasp the concepts covered.
This is the ideal book for those looking for a guide on how to achieve true and lasting happiness.
5. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Although written primarily for young readers, The Giving Tree appeals to readers of all ages.
The Giving Tree is about the passage of time, and it is seen through the relationship between a tree and a young boy.
As the boy grows older, his needs become more complex than just running around and playing with the tree. Yet, throughout life, the tree manages to supply all he needs, even in his old age.
This story has been interpreted as a metaphor for life, and delves into the sacrifices we make for those we love, how childhood bliss is replaced by adult worries, and our desire for happiness, peace, and rest.
6. Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman
The story of Carl the Earthworm shows how everything in the world is interconnected. It affirms the fact that we are all significant in the greater scheme of things, even if we don't realize it yet.
To help you find your life purpose, check out this post for questionnaires and quizzes designed to reveal your “why” in life.
7. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
Tuesdays With Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson is considered one of the best memoirs of the 21st century. It tells the story of a young man who visits his former professor and mentor during the professor’s final days.
Those visits were an opportunity for the professor, Morrie Schwartz, to share lessons about life and living it well. The book contains these lessons and flashbacks to Morrie’s lectures when he was still a professor.
Sections in the book include:
The melancholic narrative is filled with lessons that readers can apply in their lives in order to experience a sense of fulfillment.
8. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
This bestselling work of fiction from Brazilian author Paulo Coelho is a story of self-discovery.
The Alchemist is about the adventures of a young Spanish shepherd named Santiago who decides to follow a dream that told him there is treasure hidden beneath the pyramids of Egypt.
This book is written as an allegory or fairy tale, and is about being empowered to be self-sufficient. It provides actionable guidelines for conquering depression and cultivating self-esteem. Finally, it is an inspiring resource for manifesting and applying the Law of Attraction.
As the book’s now-famous quote states: “…When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
9. Meaning in Life and Why It Matters by Susan Wolf
Have you ever wondered what motivates you—what gives you the reason for the things that you do and the sacrifices you make?
Meaning in Life and Why It Matters provides an eye-opening discussion about what motivates human actions. Is it altruism? Egoism?
The author, Susan Wolf, has another theory: Human actions are motivated by love for the things we believe are worthy of our love. And through these actions, life becomes imbued with meaning.
Final Thoughts on Books About Life
There you have it—nine books about life to help you formulate your own answers to the questions you may have about the purpose of it, your reason for being here, and life’s meaning.
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