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10 Life-Changing Recommended Books by Ryan Holiday for a Mindset Overhaul

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Read these books and flip your life around.

10 Life-Changing Recommended Books by Ryan Holiday for a Mindset Overhaul

We are all in disarray at times.

In those times, we are at a loss for what to do or where to go. ‘Was this the life I was meant to live?’, we ask ourselves. We are frazzled and in need of guidance.

In times of confusion, sometimes all we need is to reframe our thought process and get back on track.

This list of books suggested by Ryan Holiday is meant to do just that.

A few of these books were suggested twice by Holiday, both in 2022 and 2023.

10 Life-Changing Recommended Books by Ryan Holiday for a Mindset Overhaul

From death’s door to inspiring success, a holocaust survivor rose to her best.

Edith Eger is a psychologist who survived the atrocities of the Holocaust.

She was a 16-year-old ballerina and gymnast in Hungary. Along came 1944, breaking her life to pieces.

Her parents died in gas chambers. She and her sisters were made to work in factories. They witnessed horrible atrocities and were even part of the death march.

“Suffering is universal. But victimhood is optional.”

They were rescued from the concentration camp. Edith was severely malnourished and was found among a pile of corpses.

Despite all odds, she recovered.

“Our painful experiences aren’t a liability — they’re a gift. They give us perspective and meaning, an opportunity to find our unique purpose and our strength.”

She married and later fled to the US. There she studied psychology and eventually got a PhD. She eventually returned to Germany for a speaking arrangement and faced the demons of her past experiences.

Edith also shares stories of her patients throughout her memoir and how humans become locked in their mind’s prisons.

Her approach is that of hope, valuing the present, and learning from suffering.

Regardless of what you are facing right now, this book will make you full to the brim with optimism. No matter how dire the circumstances, there is always a way.

10 Life-Changing Recommended Books by Ryan Holiday for a Mindset Overhaul

Are leaders born or made?

Goodwin chooses to focus on four American presidents, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Having written a book on each of them before, she is well aware of their stories. This allows her to contrast their journeys as leaders.

“Avoid dull facts; create memorable images; translate every issue into people’s lives; use simple, everyday language; never use big words when small words will do.”

Firstly, Goodwin discusses how leadership qualities come to be in people. Secondly, she discusses how tough times further shape those qualities.

The author concludes that long before the four subjects of his book became leaders, their qualities were recognized by those around them.

“Chance had placed him in the catapult and now it was up to the vagaries of history to cut the catapult’s rope.”

The most fascinating thing I learned from this book is Lincoln’s way of handling anger at someone. He used to write a “hot letter” to that person and put it aside.

And no, he didn’t actually send them. The writing practice was meant to be cathartic.

Many such letters were discovered by historians later on.

As you read this book, you’ll learn a thing or two from the giants of the past.

10 Life-Changing Recommended Books by Ryan Holiday for a Mindset Overhaul

From a financial crisis to a financial comeback.

Housel tells us all about money.

What shapes our attitudes to it? How can we save it? Who is to be blamed for our failures?

The author tells us that what we go through in our formative years shapes our financial decisions. Similarly, luck plays a very important role.

“Some people are born into families that encourage education; others are against it. Some are born into flourishing economies encouraging of entrepreneurship; others are born into war and destitution.”

One of the important lessons of this book is that ‘rich is not equal to wealthy’. Riches can be seen while wealth is hidden. Wealth is when you have the power to buy something in the future.

“Planning is important, but the most important part of every plan is to plan on the plan not going according to plan.”

Alongside telling us about the importance of time and compounding, Housel tells us to be prepared for uncertainty.

If you are still not convinced to buy this book, check out my detailed summary here.

10 Life-Changing Recommended Books by Ryan Holiday for a Mindset Overhaul

Move your ass and become a hero of your life!

If I have to define this book in one word, it would be ‘Commitment’.

The author motivates us again and again to commit to our dreams. Get up and get going. Do what you have to do.

“It is not an idle or airy-fairy proposition to declare that the universe responds to the hero or heroine who takes action and commits.”

What does this mean?

If you want to become a writer, get your ass to the chair and start writing. Pick a time and concentrate.

If you give one hour every day, it will make 365 hours in a year which makes almost 9 work weeks. 40 hours x 9 = 360

We have to take responsibility for our choices and actions.

The author also touches on the concept of a ‘Higher Dimension’. The ‘Higher Dimension’ helps us when we decide to commit.

“Work — day-in, day-out exertion and concentration — produces progress and order. That’s a law of the universe.”

Stop complaining and start doing it! This book will fill you with vigor to achieve your dreams.

10 Life-Changing Recommended Books by Ryan Holiday for a Mindset Overhaul

Don’t shy away from being a multi-talented badass.

I can’t even explain how glad I am to come across this book.

I can’t commit to one field. I want to be a blogger, a painter, a journalist, a writer, and many more things.

I have been told to do one thing consistently but I just can’t. Whatever Power is up there, makes my brain run in all directions.

“Our work preferences and our life preferences do not stay the same, because we do not stay the same.”

Epstein makes a case in favor of generalization.

He tells us to experiment, dwell in different fields, and build a wealth of skills. The author uses examples of various successful people.

What’s their secret?

They didn’t tie themselves to one path early on.

“The challenge we all face is how to maintain the benefits of breadth, diverse experience, interdisciplinary thinking, and delayed concentration in a world that increasingly incentivizes, even demands, hyperspecialization”.

Having different experiences in different fields allows for out-of-the-box thinking, innovations, and creativity.

This book is a recommended read for everyone who can’t or doesn’t want to specialize in one field only.

10 Life-Changing Recommended Books by Ryan Holiday for a Mindset Overhaul

You’ll never be enough and it’s okay.

The author tells us to go against our intuition.

We feel that if we do enough, and plan enough, we will become efficient.

No, you will not. Why?

You only have 4000 weeks on this earth. 4000 weeks are in the average human span. You cannot achieve everything and do everything.

“It’s alarming to face the prospect that you might never truly feel as though you know what you’re doing, in work, marriage, parenting, or anything else. But it’s liberating, too…”

Accepting our morality will make us kinder to ourselves. It’s okay to procrastinate and give downtime to your mind. Even the most successful people do it.

It is humanly impossible to function at an optimal rate every minute of the day.

“We’ve been granted the mental capacities to make almost infinitely ambitious plans, yet practically no time at all to put them into action.”

Honestly, this book made me feel better about my downtime. Now I know, it is my need for functioning better on the whole.

10 Life-Changing Recommended Books by Ryan Holiday for a Mindset Overhaul

Pack up your sh*t and let’s turn pro.

I must say this book is unconventional.

By unconventional I mean, it is a bit vague. It made me question myself a lot.

Am I in my shadow career? Have I turned pro yet? If not, what do I do to become one?

Reading Pressfeild’s words, you’ll go down a path of introspection.

“Turning pro is like kicking a drug habit or stopping drinking. It’s a decision, a decision to which we must re-commit every day.”

The author was a truck driver in New York. He made a conscious decision to move to California and start working on a book.

He reflects on why being a truck driver was his shadow career. Shadow career is not our main purpose but somewhat similar.

Why don’t we pursue our real passion?

The culprit is ‘Resistance’.

Resistance is the negative force that distracts us and pushes us away from our real cause. And it is stronger near the finishing line.

“What happens when we turn pro is, we finally listen to that still, small voice inside our heads. At last we find the courage to identify the secret dream or love or bliss that we have known all along was our passion, our calling, our destiny.”

Ah! Thanks, Steven for making me overthink my life. AGAIN.

10 Life-Changing Recommended Books by Ryan Holiday for a Mindset Overhaul

A dead man answers.

Michel de Montaigne was a sixteenth-century French aristocrat. He wrote ‘Essays’ which became very popular.

The ‘Essays’ was a compilation of his writings, which were a free exploration of his thoughts. They consist of his observations, experiences, and life.

“The trick is to maintain a kind of naïve amazement at each instant of experience — but, as Montaigne learned, one of the best techniques for doing this is to write about everything.”

Sarah Bakewell attempts to narrate his life story in a unique form.

The question is: how to live? Bakewell attempts 20 times to answer this question as Montaigne would.

“Learning to live, in the end, is learning to live with imperfection in this way, and even to embrace it.”

I’m going to share 3 out of the 20 answers.

  • Be ordinary and imperfect

  • Don’t worry about death

  • Question everything

The original work of Montaigne might be hard to stomach for the average reader, but you will get all that wisdom in Backwell’s ‘How to Live?

10 Life-Changing Recommended Books by Ryan Holiday for a Mindset Overhaul

Wisdom of the world crunched in one book.

Leo Tolstoy was a Russian writer.

In his book, he compiled wisdom from ancient personalities like Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, Socrates, Kant, and many more.

The reader is meant to read one page per day.

“Those who feel the need to spread their faith through violence and force either lack faith in God, or in themselves.”

The author gives us a perfect balance of philosophy, wisdom, and inspiration. This book will make you sit and reflect on what you read.

“A man who does not understand the benefit of suffering does not live a clever and true life.”

To me, quotes are bite-sized chunks of wisdom. Sometimes, reading a few lines is a profound enough experience to leave me in awe.

“Neglecting your health can prevent you from serving people, and too much attention to your body and its health can bring the same results.”

If you like learning from the great minds of the past, this book is a must-read for you.

10 Life-Changing Recommended Books by Ryan Holiday for a Mindset Overhaul

Let’s glow up!

Phosphorescence means glowing, like those jellyfish at the bottom of the sea.

This book is a memoir of the author. It won the “Book of the Year” award at the Australian Book Industry Awards.

In her acceptance speech, Baird said, “We write to be able to put our arms around another person.”

Many times we feel understood by a person who lives far away, whom we’ve never even met. This is the gift of reading.

“In short: when we are exposed to sunlight, trees, water or even just a view of green leaves, we become happier, healthier and stronger.”

As you feel alone and in the dark, Bair puts her arms around you, guiding you on how to ignite your inner light.

Baird went through a painful heartbreak and then battled cancer. She tells us what helped her survive in those dark times, for example, connecting with nature, and good friends.

“It can take a while, sometimes, to be the woman you want to be, and to excavate the misogyny or critical eye we too often internalise.”

Baird intertwines her experiences and thoughts with scientific facts.

Once you finish reading through the pages, you’ll be filled with new realizations and knowledge.


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If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out the rest of my book lists on my blog-

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