Best Life-Changing Books to Read At Least Once


Books are a safe haven that help us escape the harsh edges of our lives, but every once in a while we come across a book that follows us into the real world. A book that hurdles us into a state of self-reflection and completely revamps our personal perspective. They’re hard to find, but completely impossible to forget when we do. From Toni Morrison’s Beloved to Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, we rounded up some bestsellers that have left their mark on millions, below.

‘Beloved’ by Toni Morrison

A close up of a book

Toni Morrison’s fifth book, Beloved, is about a slave who escapes from Kentucky to Ohio, but remains unfree while confronting the trauma of losing her unnamed baby. It’s inspired by a true story, and was a 1987 National Book Award finalist.

‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’ by Joan Didion

A close up of a blue table

It’s hard to choose the most impactful work from Joan Didion, but Slouching Towards Bethlehem makes it way to the top of the list thanks to her landmark essay “Goodbye to All That,” which is featured in this collection. If you’ve ever fallen in and out of love with a city, you’ll be able to relate to this deeply.

‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz

Don Miguel Ruiz has laid out the four agreements we should make with ourselves in this life: 

1) Be impeccable with your word

2) Don’t take anything personally

3) Don’t make assumptions

4) Always do your best

‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens

Delia Owens’s Where the Crawdads Sing alternates stories between a young girl named Kya and a murder case that’s being investigated by a sheriff who’s convinced Kya had something to do with it. The book has spent hundreds of weeks on the bestseller list. 

‘Untamed’ by Glennon Doyle

As Glennon Doyle so perfectly puts it in her book, Untamed, we can do hard things. Her memoir is filled with multiple lessons on how to live our most authentic lives and become, quite simply, untamed. By the end of the book, you’ll be ready to change your life.

‘How to Be an Antiracist’ by Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist is a masterclass on the conversations America isn’t having about racism, teaching us how to confront our nation’s dark history and what the path towards true equality looks like. 

‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert

Italy. India. Bali. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love has encouraged women everywhere to book the ticket and leave behind the life society tells them to have for an unpredictable, messy, beautiful journey instead.

‘Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning’ by Cathy Park Hong

Soon to be adapted into a television series, Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning remains an essential read during a time when Asian Americans are facing an unprecedented amount of hate crimes. The essay collection dives into the racial consciousness of America and Hong’s theory of “minor feelings.”

‘Giovanni’s Room’ by James Baldwin

James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room was a groundbreaking book for its time, and remains a classic in the literary world for its LGBTQ+ representation. The book centers on an American expat named David and his ex-lover Giovanni, an Italian immigrant.

These are the best life-changing books to read.

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