Darius Foroux (pronounced as Da-reeus Fo-roo) is the author of 7 books, and the creator of 6 online courses. He writes about productivity, business, and wealth building.
For the past few years, I’ve formed a habit of asking everyone for life-changing book recommendations. It’s one of the habits that has truly changed my life. Reading is my favorite way to develop my mind because it’s the most effective way to learn something. But not every book changes the way you think. Francis Bacon said it best:
“Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”
So when I recently stumbled upon a question on Quora that went like this: “What are some books that expand our mind?” I started thinking about the books that had such an impact on me. Because not every book has the same impact.
To me, expanding your mind means that a book had an impact on the way I look at the world.
And after serious thought, I came up with the following 22 life-changing books that caused a real shift in the way I think. I hope they expand your mind too.
1. Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl
I still think about this book almost daily, years after I first read it. What happened to millions of Jews 70 years ago, is truly horrific. We forget that it was only a few decades ago. Not centuries. And Victor Frankl’s account of his experience in concentration camps is almost superhuman. His philosophy and perspective on life should be cherished and passed on forever. Read this book.
2. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau started my ‘thinking about life’ journey ten years ago. I remember how I discovered his writings — through the movie Into The Wild. The movie (released in 2007) was based on a Jon Krakauer book with the same title about Christopher McCandless, a young and naïve idealist who wanted to live a simple life. McCandless’s story is sad. But his biggest inspiration was Thoreau. And since Thoreau isn’t recommended reading in school in The Netherlands, I decided to pick it up by myself (and the Jon Krakauer book too). I haven’t stopped thinking, reflecting, and living more consciously ever since.
3. The Art Of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli
We make a lot of decisions in our life. How many of those decisions are rational? If you ask Dobelli, very little. This book is an excellent collection of 99 thinking errors — from cognitive biases to social distortions. This is the most practical book I’ve read on decision making.
4. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
This book lives up to its hype. You will change the way you think after reading Kahneman’s book. It’s a summary of his most important findings ever since he started as a cognitive psychologist in 1961. I think it’s one of the most important books that’s published in recent years.
5. The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal
Self-control is the number one skill that helped me through my college years. And this practical book inspired me to bring my willpower to the next level. McGonigal writes in a down-to-earth manner that inspires you to take action.
6. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Your ability to enjoy your work not only determines work satisfaction, but it also impacts how good you become at something. Flow is one of those books I think about every day. Getting in a flow state is something that actually changes the way you work and experience life.
7. The Story of the Human Body by Daniel Lieberman
Who knew that knowledge about human evolution could change the way you live? At least, that’s what happened to me. To truly understand your body, you have to know how it evolved. You’ll appreciate it more after reading this book — I can tell you that.
8. Spark by John Ratey
I’m a big believer in daily exercise. To me, it’s as important as breathing. John Ratey’s book inspired me to include daily exercise into my life. And I can’t tell you enough how significant the impact has been on my productivity, confidence, health, happiness, and overall enjoyment of life.
9. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
I don’t agree with all the hype of this book being the best book of all time. It is, however, a great summary of human history and evolutionary psychology. And, most importantly, it reads beautifully.
10. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
A novel about a young, nameless black man, as he moves through life invisible, “‘simply because people refuse to see me.” Is the book fact or fiction? Doesn’t matter because it paints the picture from one person’s perspective on race—that’s what matters. The book is published in 1952 but still seems current after all those years. Life is about understanding others. This book will help you do that.
11. Influence by Robert B. Cialdini
This classic book teaches you the science of persuasion. And it’s full of research and anecdotes that will change the way you look at life, relationships, business, and people’s intentions.
12. Quiet by Susan Cain
Most introverts don’t even know they are introverts. Quiet is a book about knowing yourself. And that simple skill can change the outcome of your life. It comes down to this: Don’t try to be something you’re not.
13. When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead by Jerry Weintraub
One of the most entertaining life stories I’ve read. Weintraub is a Hollywood legend. He’s someone who genuinely thought different from the rest of his industry. And this book inspires you to be more practical, hard-nosed, and persuasive.
14. The Greatest Salesman In The World by Og Mandino
If you’re looking for a hardcore self-help book, look no further. If you read this book the way Og Mandino instructs, it will change your life.
15. Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz
Making decisions is one of the most mentally draining things you have to do daily. This book changed the way I look at options: Less is better.
16. The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Forming new habits is a practical skill that immediately impacts the quality of your life. Want to lose weight? Be more productive? Exercise regularly? Build successful companies? One thing is sure: Without habits, those things will be extremely difficult to pull off.