Books that Changed my Perspective on Life – And Could Change Yours Too
Let me start by saying I read fairly serious books. This is not a list filled with fluffy “you can do it!” books. These are books covering vastly different topics that have either stuck with me, or changed the way I approach life. And I think they have the potential to change your perspective, or broaden your mindset.
Some of these books might seem “out of the box” per se, only because usually lists of books that will “change your life” tend to include happy, inspirational books.
But I still think you should consider these options next time you are in a book store or library looking for your next great read.
Also, I think if you were to read them, you would get your own perspectives and lessons from them. Below I have shared what I have learned, or come across in each book, which could be different from what you find. But you’ll never know unless you read them!
Outliers: The Story of Success – Malcom Gladwell
Outliers is a fantastic book that discusses why some people end up successful and others don’t. Malcom Gladwell points to factors such as timing, opportunity, and perseverance as being connected to your chances of success. Gladwell also talks about the 10,000 hour rule, which essentially suggests that if someone spends 10,000 hours on a task, they will become a master at that task.
Overall this book is a great read if you are looking to learn a little bit about why the world is the way it is, and why certain people are at the top and how they got there. I definitely recommend adding it to your book list of must reads!
A House in the Sky: A Memoir – Amanda Lindhout
This book was absolutely heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. Amanda Lindhout really demonstrates the human capacity for kindness, perseverance and compassion. Amanda was kidnapped in Somalia and kept for 460 days, where she suffered unspeakable brutalities. But she comes out of it much stronger, and I saw this as a reminder that we all have incredible strength within ourselves.
Today Amanada Lindhout gives talks on the act of kindness, and continues to be an inspiration to people everywhere. This book, and its author are both captivating and enlightening and I highly recommend reading it. The least it can do it make you realize your problems aren’t so large after all.
Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life – James Daschuk
Clearing the Plains is one of those highly serious historical books that changes the way you think about how we as humans interact with each other. As the title suggests, this book discusses research into the loss of Aboriginal life across Canada, from the 1400’s to 1900’s. James Daschuk splits the book into yearly sections, and discusses some of the findings in each section. These findings are generally horrific, and include everything from the withholding food rations, to the deliberate spreading of disease to Aboriginal populations.
While the information in this book is difficult to read, I think it is an important book to read because it is part of the country’s history. It also clearly demonstrates how animalistic humans can be to each other. We claim to be a superior species, but there are numerous historical examples where we have resorted to treating each other in a completely uncivilized manner – ironically usually in the name of civilization.
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
Big Magic is a book about creativity and fear. Specifically, it is a book about how we harness creativity in the face of our own limitations. Throughout the book, Elizabeth Gilbert discusses that living creatively doesn’t mean you need to be painting a picture or singing a song, rather, it means living in a way where you can put time into tasks that you love. Whether that be gardening, knitting, biking, it is up to you, but the options are endless. Gilbert also picks apart some of our commonly held stereotypes regarding creative people, such as the tormented artist, and how this potentially affects our own mindset in regards to being creative.
I found this book to be highly interesting and inspirational because Elizabeth Gilbert really lays it out on the table with blunt statements such as “Nobody cares what you are doing. But keep doing it anyways”. I think fear is something that prevents many of us from doing things we are interested in, and this book explains why this shouldn’t be a barrier. Even if you aren’t currently engaged in something you would consider “creative”, I still suggest you give this a read.
The Break – Katherena Vermette
This book was a CBC Reads Finalist, and it is easy to see why. This book has an emotionally deep story line, and deals with themes such as identity, racism and violence against Indigenous women and girls. While reading the story, you might think to yourself, who could write such a story? But the sad truth is that this IS the story of so many women and families in Canada.
This is one of those books that I couldn’t put down, even if only for my sheer curiosity of knowing what happened next. Don’t feel like you do not have enough of a background in Indigenous issues to read this book. This book is for everyone and I feel like everyone can learn from it in their own way. I highly recommend you pick this up, it won’t take you long to get hooked!
These are just some books that I have come across in the last couple of years that I feel have had an impact on my life, each in their own little way. I hope to continue to come across books similar to these, and potentially write another post at a later time on a new set of books.