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These Life-Changing Books should be Required Reading for All Humans

Learn about sleeping, breathing, and life’s meaning

These Life-Changing Books should be Required Reading for All Humans

Books light up the way.

When you are lost in life, a flashlight won’t help. But a good book would. It will not only give you hope but also teach you what to do.

The following books will show you the way in different aspects of your life. They’ll change your life for the better.

Read on for a brief overview of each of them.

These Life-Changing Books should be Required Reading for All Humans

The quest for something bigger.

There is more to life than eating, sleeping, and pooping.

What is that?

We are all trying to find out. Some of us might have. Others are still looking.

“Life asks you the meaning of life by questioning you; you don’t ask life.”

Frankl tells us that life’s meaning is not static. It’s not a holy grail that people are looking for and failing to find.

Life’s meaning is different for different people. It also changes with time.

“The meaning of life is unique to each moment; no situation repeats itself.”

Using logotherapy, Frankl gives us three ways to find meaning in life:

  1. Love

  2. Work

  3. Suffering

The name logotherapy comes from the Greek word ‘logo’ which denotes ‘meaning’.

Being a psychiatrist, the author created logotherapy to help others.

Frankl also draws on his own experience and the experiences of his mates in the Nazi concentration camps. Through examples, he gives us hope and the energy to face whatever comes our way.

This book will help you approach suffering and pain in a whole new way.

These Life-Changing Books should be Required Reading for All Humans

Where do we come from?

Harari does a great job of crunching all human history into a book.

“History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was ploughing fields and carrying water buckets.”

The author takes us to the early humans. Their brains started developing, letting them win the survival race.

The next stop is agriculture. Learning how to farm, allowed humans to have time for other skills like weaving and blacksmithing.

As civilization grew, we started trading. Language and money were the key components for recording transactions.

“This is the essence of the Agricultural Revolution: the ability to keep more people alive under worse conditions.”

Exchanging goods and services gave way to a technological boom. Math, science, and arts grew exponentially.

Children used to die in childhood a lot more. Thanks to medical science that number has shrunk to one in a 1000.

The timeline might be the key theme in the book but the author touches on a lot more. He offers philosophical explanations for many things like human’s inclination to believe in ideologies and religions.

If you want to learn history concisely, this book will be your guide.

These Life-Changing Books should be Required Reading for All Humans

Change your life through…. breathing??

The writer James Nestor participated in a 20-day experiment with his breath trainer Anders Olsson.

Both men plugged their noses for 10 days and breathed only through their mouths. This led to elevated blood pressure, higher stress hormones, and excessive night snoring. They also got tired easily after exercise.

The above happened even though their blood sugar, blood markers, and ionized calcium showed little to no changes.

“Mouthbreathing, it turns out, changes the physical body and transforms airways, all for the worse.”

For the next ten days, they breathed exclusively through their noses. Snoring decreased by 85% and then completely stopped. The blood pressure of the writer returned to a healthy range.

Both of them were mentally focused and were better at exercise.

Through the details of this experiment, evolutionary history, and other studies, Nestor impresses on us the importance of breathing correctly.

We have to breathe slower, deeper, and through the nose.

An important book that will help you make your life better by breathing properly.

These Life-Changing Books should be Required Reading for All Humans

Banned in prisons, what secret does this book hold?

How to get power? How to maintain it? How to protect yourself from the power of others?

Robert Greene uses power struggles from history to teach us all about it. From manipulation techniques to defeating enemies, everything is in this book.

I understand why this book has been banned from many US prisons.

The writer gives us 48 lessons which he calls laws. Each one of them is interesting in its own way.

I’d like to share two of them.

Law 4: Always Say Less Than Necessary

Being a blabbermouth, this is a tough one for me. But I get it. Greene says that the more you speak, the more common you appear.

“Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.”

Perhaps I am happy with being a commoner.

Law 38: Think as You Like, but Behave Like Others

Hmm… this made me think. It’s true people can recoil in horror if you let them know your most unorthodox thoughts. As Greene says, share them only with ‘tolerant friends’.

This book is worth a read. Just don’t use it to start a cult!

These Life-Changing Books should be Required Reading for All Humans

White lies are worse than you think.

Being truthful is a lesson that has been ingrained in me since childhood. And I have seen many benefits from staying truthful throughout my life.

Through your conduct, people come to know that you really are truthful. Once they do, they’ll trust you.

Friends or acquaintances won’t doubt your intentions when you ask for a loan for example.

Reading this book by Sam Harris was like everything being affirmed.

“Every lie is a direct assault upon the autonomy of those we lie to.”

Harris made me question my slightest of deceptions. Like when someone asks, ‘Is this pretty?’ or ‘Am I fat?’

He says by lying, we deny others our view of the world. And that can lead them to make wrong decisions.

“Honesty is a gift we can give to others.”

This is certainly something to reflect on.

This book might make you uncomfortable, especially if lying is a part of your everyday life. But it will show you through real-life examples, why being truthful is the way to go.


These Life-Changing Books should be Required Reading for All Humans

Let’s get ahead of the future.

From the origin of intelligence to the self-designing AI beings, Tegmark shows us all. He discusses the good that AI has to offer and also stuff that we need to be wary of.

If we say robots can’t control humans, we are fooling ourselves. The author gives the example of tigers and humans. Humans control tigers not because they are stronger but because they are smarter.

“The robot misconception is related to the myth that machines can’t control humans.”

If such a possibility exists, it can lead to very bad outcomes for humans. Especially if the goals of the super-intelligent beings are not aligned with ours.

Tegmark tells us about anthills. We never think about the well-being of ants when building dams and flooding the anthills.

“A superintelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we’re in trouble.”

We have to make sure that humanity doesn’t end up like those ants.

These Life-Changing Books should be Required Reading for All Humans

You are not the center of the universe.

Ruiz Miguel brings us wisdom from the ancient Toltecs. He shares four agreements. By applying them, we can discover personal freedom.

Agreement 1: Be Impeccable with Your Word

Our words are an important part of how we view the world and ourselves. If we believe others’ negative words about us, we can have self-limiting beliefs.

Agreement 2: Don’t Take Anything Personally

We are not as important as we think. Taking everything personally means we are selfish and think that everything is related to us. Only it isn’t.

“Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; therefore, you don’t need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally.”

Agreement 3: Don’t Make Assumptions

Assuming without having the whole information causes relationships to crumble. Ruiz tells us to ask questions and seek clarity instead of believing in our faulty assumptions.

Agreement 4: Always Do Your Best

Always doing your best doesn’t mean never making mistakes. The author tells us that even our best varies with our physical and mental condition and that is okay.

“Learning from your mistakes means you practice, look honestly at the results, and keep practicing.”

The lessons in this book will help you focus on ‘doing’ while letting go of negative beliefs.

These Life-Changing Books should be Required Reading for All Humans

Continuous lack of sleep can cause cancer.

The information presented in this book is mindblowing and will make you appreciate the importance of sleep.

Walker tells us that our sleep is regulated by two things:

1.Circadian Rhythm:

It is a natural almost 24-hour rhythm followed by our body. The brain uses factors such as daylight to determine it.

2.Adenosine level:

This chemical keeps building up when we are awake. After 12 to 18 hours it makes us sleepy. When we are asleep for almost 8 hours our body gets rid of it.

“Humans need more than seven hours of sleep each night to maintain cognitive performance.”

The author also informs us about the two phases of sleep:

  • NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement)

  • REM (Rapid Eye Movement)

In NREM sleep information is transferred from short-term memory to long-term memory. In REM sleep, our feelings and memories are made into dreams.

Routinely sleeping less than 6 or 7 hours wrecks our immune system, doubling the risk of cancer.

“…if you don’t sleep the very first night after learning, you lose the chance to consolidate those memories, even if you get lots of “catch-up” sleep thereafter.”

After you read this book, you’ll make good sleep an important priority in your life.

These Life-Changing Books should be Required Reading for All Humans

One brain, two systems.

We all have one brain each. Inside, there are two systems. They compete to steer the brain.

Have you ever felt that you are doing everything wrong? Like when you are tired or hungry.

I have always felt that I make a blunder or two in hunger.

Kahneman tells us why. System 1 is rash and impulsive. System 2 takes time and uses logic and rationale.

“…there is evidence that people are more likely to be influenced by empty persuasive messages, such as commercials, when they are tired and depleted.”

System 2 requires focus and self-control. When we don’t have those, for example when tired, sleep deprived, or hungry, we start using system 1 for decisions that should be made by system 2.

The author uses various studies to show that with the same output, these systems reach different conclusions.

This book also discusses biases, our failure to prioritize statistical evidence, and decision-making loopholes.

All in all, a great book that will help you hack your thinking for improved life decisions.

These Life-Changing Books should be Required Reading for All Humans

Change your view, change everything.

We all come across problems in life.

At times, we cannot do much about them. Except wait. For example, a medical issue, or a financial deal.

For our medical issues, we can’t do much apart from treatment. Whether it heals the way we want it to, is not up to us.

A financial deal can go bad, leading to loss. We cannot go back and fix it.

“If an emotion can’t change the condition or the situation you’re dealing with, it is likely an unhelpful emotion.”

What to do?

Using Stoic wisdom, Holiday tells us to find opportunities in the obstacles that come our way. He shares various stories of the past where the protagonist applied ancient wisdom and won.

Although difficult at first, if we do improve our mindset, our lives will become a lot better.

“Focus on the moment, not the monsters that may or may not be up ahead.”

This book will help you find your way when the path ahead is blocked.


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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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