Transformational Books: 8 Reads that Changed the Course of My Life

Since the moment I learned to read, I’ve been devouring books. Reading is basically like my best friend. Along the way, I’ve come across eight reads that have been game changers for me, and they’ve offered me nuggets of wisdom that made me more aware of myself, my relationships, and my purpose. I could read them over and over and over again.

1. “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” Audrey Niffenegger

This is a love story about a woman who is married to a man who time travels. It changed the way I look at love and really, the concept of time in general, because it made me see that love will always remain, regardless of any barriers, like time, age, or even being in the same physical space. No matter what, love will always stay. “The Time Traveler’s Wife” helped me realize that it’s important to enjoy the time we have with the people we love.

2. “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life,” Anne Lamott

In this beautiful book of essays, Anne Lamott shares personal experiences about her life, and how she has overcome some of the obstacles she’s faced in her career as a writer. Lamott says, “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.” This quote totally inspired me because it helped me realize that by wanting everything to be perfect, I was actually holding myself back. The biggest takeaway for me was to approach writing, and life, in a step-by-step, bird-by-bird, day-by-day way.

3. “The Solitude of Prime Numbers,” Paolo Giordano

Girodano’s book is one of my favorite novels of all time because it’s unique in every sense – from his writing style to the plot to the new ideas he brings to light on every page. A prime number is lonely. It can only be divided by itself or by one, and it never truly fits with another. The main characters, Mattia and Alice, are both “primes,” misfits who meet as teenagers and recognize a kindred spirit in each other. Filled with so many nuggets of truth, this novel is pure wisdom and true love from cover to cover.

4. “The Alchemist,” Paulo Coehlo

The story of Santiago, a shepherd boy on a journey to uncover his personal destiny, has been an inspiration to people all over the world to follow their dreams. It taught me that fear is the only obstacle in my way, that the truth will always remain, and that positivity and personal success have a ripple effect on the people around us. One of my favorite quotes from this amazing book is: “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

5. “The Four Agreements,” Don Miguel Ruiz

You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.” Derived from ancient Toltec Wisdom, Don Miguel Ruiz shares the four agreements for personal freedom: to be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best. I’ve returned to this book repeatedly because it’s helped me take full responsibility for my actions and know that I am a co-creator of my own reality.

6. “The Book of Secrets,” Deepak Chopra

This personal and wisdom-packed book focused on life’s big questions helped me realize that achieving success is not a straight path, and that there are infinite possibilities for how my life can unfold. Whether a decision is right or wrong, life usually has a way of leading you back toward your ultimate purpose. I’ve re-read this one a bunch and refer back to it often. It’s alleviated any guilt over past mistakes by showing me new ways of approaching how I view my decisions, and helped me trust that the universe has my back. As Chopra writes, “Evolution is win-win…life is self-correcting.

7. “Light is the New Black,” Rebecca Campbell

Rebecca Campbell is a modern-day mystic and her work is so empowering. I read this book in one sitting, and every page was filled with all the things my soul had always wanted to hear, like that spirituality is both deeply personal and universal. Campbell’s book helped me uncover a deep sense of the divine by focusing on the feminine aspect that I had been yearning to connect with. And her writing is so fun, simple, and clear – like pure light.

8. “The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi,” Elif Shafak

This novel follows two storylines: one contemporary story of love and heartache between a middle-aged couple, and one set in the 13th century around the poet Rumi’s experience with falling in love. It’s interwoven with Rumi’s undying message of universal love. If I could recommend any one book, this would be it. It is truly a treasure and I cherish every bit of it, because it made me think more deeply about how I can give and receive love in all the relationships in my life.