20 Books We Wish The World Would Read

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“What is the one book that you wish the whole world would read?”

Our annual Creative Rehab retreat in Bali just finished, and amidst the breakdowns and breakthroughs, the highs and the lows, I asked each participant that question.

I wanted to know the book that changed their life.

I wanted to know the book they recommend above all others, their most favorite read.

If you’re looking for a new book to devour, a gift for a loved one, or an old treasure to reconnect with, this list is for you.

These are the 20 books we wish the world would read.

1. The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho (buy it here): There is a reason this book has sold 65 million copies worldwide. It is an absolute masterpiece that “tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different — and far more satisfying — than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.”

2. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (buy it here): Translated into more than 190 languages and selling more than 80 million copies, The Little Prince is a classic work of artistic perfection, and is universally cherished by everyone who reads it. “Few stories are as widely read and as universally cherished by children and adults alike as The Little Prince.”

3. Over the Anvil We Stretch by Anis Mojgani (buy it here): “Over the Anvil We Stretch contains swampy, powerful poems that are as exciting as the pocket knife you got for your birthday, the three-legged frog on the lawn and the jar of marbles your mother kept in the kitchen. Mojgani’s poems are the sound of the river and the stars burning above. He manages to capture the axe in the stump with blood still on the handle. Anis Mojgani has drawn a map of the country in the shape of his wild surreal poems. These are memories of a life, captured through the blue green filter of the bayou. Mojgani’s latest poems are tinged with the sound of crickets spying on us in the darkness. They move forward honestly, brutally and sweetly. The reader will be led into briar patches as well as the moonlight just on the other side.”

4. The Ascent of Humanity by Charles Eistenstein (buy it here): “In this landmark book, Eisenstein explains how a disconnection from the natural world and one another is built into the foundations of civilization: into science, religion, money, technology, medicine, and education as we know them. As a result, each of these institutions faces a grave and growing crisis, fueling our near-pathological pursuit of technological fixes even as we push our planet to the brink of collapse. Fortunately, an Age of Reunion is emerging out of the birth pangs of an earth in crisis. As our old constructs of self and world dissolve in crisis, we are entering a new narrative of inter-being, a more expansive sense of self, and a more ecological relationship to nature. Our darkest hour bears the possibility of a more beautiful world — not through the extension of millennia-old methods of management and control but by fundamentally re-imagining ourselves and our systems. Breathtaking in its scope and intelligence, The Ascent of Humanity is a remarkable book showing what it truly means to be human.”

5. Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer (buy it here): “What would it be like to free yourself from limitations and soar beyond your boundaries? What can you do each day to discover inner peace and serenity? The Untethered Soul offers simple yet profound answers to these questions. Whether this is your first exploration of inner space, or you’ve devoted your life to the inward journey, this book will transform your relationship with yourself and the world around you. You’ll discover what you can do to put an end to the habitual thoughts and emotions that limit your consciousness. By tapping into traditions of meditation and mindfulness, author and spiritual teacher Michael A. Singer shows how the development of consciousness can enable us all to dwell in the present moment and let go of painful thoughts and memories that keep us from achieving happiness and self-realization… With perfect clarity, this book opens the door to a life lived in the freedom of your innermost being.”

6. Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (buy it here): “What if everything you ever wanted isn’t what you actually want? Twenty-something, suit-clad, and upwardly mobile, Joshua Fields Millburn thought he had everything anyone could ever want. Until he didn’t anymore. Blindsided by the loss of his mother and his marriage in the same month, Millburn started questioning every aspect of the life he had built for himself. Then, he accidentally discovered a lifestyle known as minimalism… and everything started to change. That was four years ago. Since, Millburn, now 32, has embraced simplicity. In the pursuit of looking for something more substantial than compulsory consumption and the broken American Dream, he jettisoned most of his material possessions, paid off loads of crippling debt, and walked away from his six-figure career. So, when everything was gone, what was left? Not a how-to book but a why-to book, Everything That Remains is the touching, surprising story of what happened when one young man decided to let go of everything and begin living more deliberately. Heartrending, uplifting, and deeply personal, this engrossing memoir is peppered with insightful (and often hilarious) interruptions by Ryan Nicodemus, Millburn’s best friend of twenty years.”

7. A Course in Miracles by Helen Schucman (buy it here): “The great classic work, A Course in Miracles, is devoted to teachings about who we are, our relationships to God and with each other, and the actually mental nature of our bodies and the world. There are three constituent parts to the Course: the Text, a Workbook for Students, and the Manual for Teachers. The Text lays out the theoretical foundation for the metaphysical system of the Course. The Workbook contains a series of 365 Lessons to be practiced daily for the purpose of retraining the mind and healing our perception. Finally, the Manual contains information for and about advanced teachers of God. The Course is also about miracles, which students understand to be, in part, a shift in perception to healed vision. But miracles are more than a shift in perception, because the shift has consequences in the world as we see it. The Course is a self study educational program for retraining the mind that is spiritual, rather than religious, in its perspective. Although the Course uses Christian terminology, it expresses a universal experience, and its underlying ontology is reminiscent of ancient refrains, echoing the world’s most hallowed traditions.”

8. War, So Much War by Mercè Rodoreda (buy it here): “Despite its title, there is little of war and much of the fantastic in this coming-of-age story, which was the last novel Mercè Rodoreda published during her lifetime. We first meet its young protagonist, Adrià Guinart, as he is leaving Barcelona out of boredom and a thirst for freedom, embarking on a long journey through the backwaters of a rural land that one can only suppose is Catalonia, accompanied by the interminable, distant rumblings of an indefinable war. In vignette-like chapters and with a narrative style imbued with the fantastic, Guinart meets with numerous adventures and peculiar characters who offer him a composite, if surrealistic, view of an impoverished, war-ravaged society and shape his perception of his place in the world. As in Rodoreda’s Death in Spring, nature and death play an fundamental role in a narrative that often takes on a phantasmagoric quality, and seems to be a meditation on the consequences of moral degradation and the inescapable presence of evil.”

9. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown (buy it here): “Daring Greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where ‘never enough’ dominates and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of getting criticized or feeling hurt. But when we step back and examine our lives, we will find that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as standing on the outside of our lives looking in and wondering what it would be like if we had the courage to step into the arena — whether it’s a new relationship, an important meeting, the creative process, or a difficult family conversation. Daring Greatly is a practice and a powerful new vision for letting ourselves be seen.”

10. Awakening Intution: Using Your Mind-Body Network for Insight and Healing by Mona Lisa Schulz (buy it here): “In this groundbreaking, major work on intuition, well-being, and brain science, Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz reveals innovative, fresh, and exciting ways to tap into intuitions that have the power to improve your health and save your life. Like Spontaneous Healing and Anatomy of the Spirit, this book gives new insights into the intimate connections between the mind, body, and emotions. Like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, it provides astonishing new perspectives on what science has uncovered about the powers of the mind and cellular memories. Dr. Schulz relates how her clients have used intuition to gain insight into the underlying meaning of their life challenges, stories that will inspire you to learn your own body’s unique perceptive language. By learning to read your sensations, memories, and the signals of distress and disease, you can strengthen your mind-body consciousness and empower yourself to create a healthier, happier life.”

11. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (buy it here): “A masterpiece of Biblical scope, and the magnum opus of one of America’s most enduring authors… Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families — the Trasks and the Hamiltons — whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. The masterpiece of Steinbeck’s later years, East of Eden is a work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence. Adapted for the 1955 film directed by Elia Kazan introducing James Dean, and read by thousands as the book that brought Oprah’s Book Club back, East of Eden has remained vitally present in American culture for over half a century.”

12. The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham by Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks (buy it here): “This book presents the powerful basics of the original Teachings of Abraham. Within these pages, you’ll learn how all things, wanted and unwanted, are brought to you by this most powerful law of the universe, the Law of Attraction (that which is like unto itself is drawn). You’ve most likely heard the saying ‘Like attracts like’, ‘Birds of a feather flock together’, or ‘It is done unto you as you believe’ (a belief is only a thought you keep thinking); and although the Law of Attraction has been alluded to by some of the greatest teachers in history, it has never before been explained in as clear and practical terms as in this latest book by New York Times best-selling authors, Esther and Jerry Hicks. Learn here about the omnipresent Laws that govern this Universe and how to make them work to your advantage. The understanding that you’ll achieve by reading this book will take all the guesswork out of daily living. You’ll finally understand just about everything that’s happening in your own life as well as in the lives of those you’re interacting with. This book will help you to joyously be, do, or have anything that you desire!”

13. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (buy it here): “A summer reading pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, from a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution — a #1 international bestseller — that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be ‘human’. One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one — homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas. Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?”

14. The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure by James Redfield (buy it here): “You have never read a book like this before — a book that comes along once in a lifetime to change lives forever. In the rainforests of Peru, an ancient manuscript has been discovered. Within its pages are nine key insights into life itself — insights each human being is predicted to grasp sequentially; one insight, then another, as we move toward a completely spiritual culture on Earth. Drawing on ancient wisdom, it tells you how to make connections among the events happening in your life right now, and lets you see what is going to happen to you in the years to come. The story it tells is a gripping one of adventure and discovery, but it is also a guidebook that has the power to crystallize your perceptions of why you are where you are in life, and to direct your steps with a new energy and optimism as you head into tomorrow.”

15. Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing by Anita Moorjani (buy it here): “In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body began shutting down — overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience where she realized her inherent worth… and the actual cause of her disease. Upon regaining consciousness, Anita found that her condition had improved so rapidly that she was released from the hospital within weeks — without a trace of cancer in her body! Within these pages, Anita recounts stories of her childhood in Hong Kong, her challenge to establish her career and find true love, as well as how she eventually ended up in that hospital bed where she defied all medical knowledge. As part of a traditional Hindu family residing in a largely Chinese and British society, Anita had been pushed and pulled by cultural and religious customs since she was a little girl. After years of struggling to forge her own path while trying to meet everyone else’s expectations, she had the realization, as a result of her epiphany on the other side, that she had the power to heal herself… and that there are miracles in the Universe that she’d never even imagined. In Dying to Be Me, Anita freely shares all she has learned about illness, healing, fear, ‘being love’, and the true magnificence of each and every human being! This is a book that definitely makes the case that we are spiritual beings having a human experience… and that we are all One!”

16. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (buy it here): “Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago. Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger? Mitch Albom had that second chance. He reconnected with Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons in how to live. Tuesdays with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie’s lasting gift with the world.”

17. The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abrams (buy it here): “For a thousand generations, human beings viewed themselves as part of the wider community of nature, and they carried on active relationships not only with other people, but also with other animals, plants, and natural objects (including mountains, rivers, winds, and weather patters) that we have only lately come to think of as ‘inanimate’. How, then, did humans come to sever their ancient reciprocity with the natural world? What will it take for us to recover a sustaining relation with the breathing earth? In The Spell of the Sensuous, David Abram draws on sources as diverse as the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, Balinese shamanism, Apache storytelling, and his own experience as an accomplished sleight-of-hand magician to reveal the subtle dependence of human cognition on the natural environment. He explores the character of perception, and excavates the sensual foundations of language, which — even at its most abstract — echoes the calls and cries of the earth.”

18. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl (buy it here): “Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945, Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl’s theory holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful. At the time of Frankl’s death in 1997, Man’s Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a ‘book that made a difference in your life’ found Man’s Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.”

19. Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! by Tony Robbins (buy it here): “Wake up and take control of your life! From the bestselling author of Inner Strength, Unlimited Power, and MONEY Master the Game, Tony Robbins, the nation’s leader in the science of peak performance, shows you his most effective strategies and techniques for mastering your emotions, your body, your relationships, your finances, and your life. The acknowledged expert in the psychology of change, Tony Robbins provides a step-by-step program teaching the fundamental lessons of self-mastery that will enable you to discover your true purpose, take control of your life, and harness the forces that shape your destiny.”

20. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (buy it here): “From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of. Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the ‘strange jewels’ that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.”

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Source: Rebelle Society