43 Books That Make You Think Differently

Reading is not just an escape from the everyday, it’s also an invitation to examine our beliefs and explore the world around us.

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43 Books That Make You Think Differently

These books will open your eyes, stir your soul, and give you a fresh perspective on the world we live in.

What Are Books That Make You Think Differently?

Books that make you think are those that challenge us to dig deeper into our own thoughts and beliefs. These books make us question our opinions and challenge us to explore different perspectives.

These books are able to provoke new thoughts and discussions about society, morality, and human relationships, as well as many other topics.

It’s easy to stay within the comfort zone of our own mindset but by reading books that challenge these limiting beliefs,  we open up our minds allowing more space for empathy, understanding, and compassion for those around us.

So let’s take a look at some awesome books that challenge our minds.

Eat, Pray, Love By Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Gilbert, Elizabeth (2007) Paperback

Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ is a riveting exploration of self-discovery that will make you see the world through a different lens by examining her journey of spiritual awakening and personal transformation.

Gilbert takes readers on an enlightening and captivating ride that will leave them questioning their own lives and beliefs.

Written with an eloquent and poetic style, this book is more than just a travelog; it’s an inspirational story about rediscovering one’s true self.

Pros

  • Inspirational.
  • Relatable.

Cons

  • Sexist – Some readers may find certain aspects of the book to be sexist, as it is written from a woman’s perspective.

A Walk In The Woods By Bill Bryson

A Walk in the Woods: A Walk in the Woods {A Walk in the wood}[A Walk in the wood]: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail : Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail

With the sound of crunching leaves and the smell of fresh pine in the air, Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods is an experience that goes beyond just reading.

A journey through nature, it is a metaphor for life itself as one walks along with Bill in his quest to find himself.

The book takes us through a trek on the Appalachian Trail, but it is much more than just a physical journey; it is an exploration into the depths of one’s soul where one questions themselves and their place in this world.

Pros

  • A humorous and light-hearted story.
  • An inspiring story of self-discovery and adventure.

Cons

  • Some readers may find the pace of the story to be a bit slow.
  • Some events are exaggerated for dramatic effect.

Don’t Keep Your Day Job By Kathy Heller

Don't Keep Your Day Job: How to Turn Your Passion into Your Career

Don’t Keep Your Day Job, by Kathy Heller is a must-read for those looking to make a career change. With inspiring stories from successful creatives, Heller provides readers with the motivation and courage to pursue their passions.

Heller emphasizes that it’s never too late to make a switch, no matter how daunting it may seem. She shares her own story of leaving behind corporate America and taking on freelance life, giving readers tangible tools to create their own path.

Pros

  • Clear and actionable advice for pursuing a career as an entrepreneur.
  • Includes stories from successful entrepreneurs to inspire readers.

Cons

  • Limited to one specific type of career path.
  • Focuses mainly on the U.S. market, so may not be relevant for all readers.

Big Magic By Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert dives deep into the creative process and offers inspiring insight for all kinds of creatives.

While many may think that creativity is an elusive gift given to some people and not others, Gilbert maintains that it is a power – energy – that everyone can access if they choose to do so.

This book provides readers with practical tips on how to unlock their creative potential and suggests that creativity can be found in unlikely places.

Pros

  • Offers practical advice for creative living.
  • Inspires readers to take risks and explore their creative potential.

Cons

  • Focuses more on creative living than on the actual craft of creating art.
  • Can be overly simplistic in its approach to creativity.

The Midnight Library By Matt Haig

The Midnight Library: A GMA Book Club Pick (A Novel)

The concept of a journey through a library stocked with books representing alternate versions of our lives might seem far-fetched, but Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library is an exploration of the power of choice and how it affects our outcomes.

Through Nora Seed, the protagonist, readers are invited to dive into this world that opens up possibilities – both in terms of what she will choose and what will be revealed to her.

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig has crafted an engaging story that speaks to its readers in meaningful ways.

By exploring different lives and decisions through Nora Seed, he encourages us to reflect on our own experiences and think about how we can make positive changes in our own lives.

Pros

  • Engaging story with a thought-provoking concept.
  • Beautifully written and captivating from start to finish.

Cons

  • Focuses heavily on the concept of regret.
  • Gritty and emotionally challenging in places.

The Vegetarian By Han Kang

The Vegetarian

Reading The Vegetarian by Han Kang is like entering a surreal dream, one where the characters are familiar yet distant and the setting both captivating and mysterious.

Through this book, readers will experience a story that tells of love, loss, and the power of choice. The novel follows Yeong-hye, an ordinary woman living in South Korea who has a dream that leads her to become a vegetarian.

She begins to reject societal norms and her own body’s needs as she takes on this new lifestyle.

Her transformation pushes her family towards its breaking point as they try to figure out what has happened to their daughter. It also offers an intriguing exploration into the nature of free will and how it affects our lives.

Pros

  • Short and powerful story.
  • Deeply philosophical.

Cons

  • Difficult to read for some people.
  • Heavy themes and imagery.

Turtles All The Way Down By John Green

Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green is a New York Times best-selling novel that has sold over two million copies worldwide.

This young adult fiction book tells the story of Aza Holmes, a sixteen year old girl navigating life with severe anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Green’s novel dives deep into mental health topics, creating an accessible narrative for readers to connect with.

Aza’s story allows readers to understand how it feels to struggle with mental health and provides insight into how one might go about finding help when one needs it.

It will make readers think differently about what it means to be human and how we can confront our own struggles in life.

Pros

  • Unique and creative storyline.
  • Captivating and emotional characters.

Cons

  • Slow pacing at times.
  • The ending may feel a bit abrupt for some readers.

How To Be An Antiracist By Ibram X. Kendi

How to Be an Antiracist

“How to be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi is a book like no other. It’s a firecracker of knowledge, with the potential to blow minds and shed light on uncomfortable topics.

As readers explore the pages, they will be equipped with the tools to better understand racism in society and how to combat it. Kendi’s work is a powerful exploration into the history of race in America and its effects today.

Drawing from personal experience and drawing on research, Kendi provides readers with an understanding of the underlying origins of racism that can help them become more informed citizens.

Pros

  • Offers an in-depth look at racism and its historical context.
  • Provides concrete steps for readers to become antiracist activists.

Cons

  • Can be difficult to understand.
  • Some readers may find the language and topics too controversial.

Small Great Things By Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult is a thought-provoking novel that explores the power of racism in our society.

The story follows Ruth Jefferson, a labor and delivery nurse who finds herself in an unexpected situation when she is asked to not assist with the birth of a white baby. 

In contrast to this heavy topic, Picoult also brings a lighter side to the narrative through her exploration of family dynamics and how they contribute to our understanding of racial injustice.

Throughout the novel, Picoult carefully examines how racism can be both overt and subtle, even within families and institutions that seem open-minded on the surface.

Pros

  • Explores important and relevant social issues.
  • Presents thought-provoking questions.

Cons

  • Contains difficult topics that may be triggering for some readers.
  • At times, the story can be slow-moving and difficult to follow.

Such A Fun Age By Kiley Reid

Such a Fun Age: Reese's Book Club (A Novel)

Kiley Reid’s Such A Fun Age is an excellent novel that takes a  satirical look at race and privilege, told through the eyes of Emira Tucker, a young woman who is struggling to make her way in the world.

The story follows Emira as she is thrust into a situation beyond her control—which forces her to confront some uncomfortable truths about the world around her.

It’s safe to say that Such A Fun Age will have readers laughing one moment and then shaking their heads in disbelief the next.

With its sharp wit and incisive observations about modern society, this book offers both entertainment value as well as an opportunity for reflection.

Pros

  • An engaging storyline that keeps readers interested.
  • Captivating characters with complex personalities.

Cons

  • Lack of clear resolution to the story.
  • An overly long climax that could have been condensed.

A Good Neighborhood By Therese Anne Fowler

A Good Neighbourhood

In A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler, readers are taken on a journey of self-discovery and examination of morality.

As the novel follows two families living in a suburban neighborhood, we see through the eyes of each character how their actions can have lasting consequences.

The story is full of complex characters that make us question our own moral compass and what is right or wrong for our society.

The main character, Valerie Alston-Holt, is an African American single mother who is determined to fight for her rights as well as to protect her son from the prejudice he faces in this new neighborhood.

Through her struggles, we can easily relate to her feelings of being judged for her race and gender. We also experience the feeling of uncertainty as she navigates this new world that doesn’t always accept her.

Pros

  • An interesting and engaging story with complex characters.
  • A thought-provoking look at the issues of race and class in America.

Cons

  • Slow pacing in certain parts of the book.
  • Some of the characters are not fully developed.

Stargirl By Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl (Stargirl Series)

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is a captivating story of a young girl, who is different and unique in all ways. She has an aura of mystery around her that draws her peers in, yet at the same time leaves them feeling uneasy.

Stargirl quickly captures the attention of everyone around her, but not always in the best way possible. The book paints a vivid picture of a society that doesn’t always accept those who don’t conform to its standards.

It is an eye-opening read that will make readers think differently about what it means to be normal and how this can affect relationships and friendships.

Pros

  • Inspires readers to be true to themselves and to stand up for their beliefs.
  • Promotes positive messages such as acceptance, kindness, and friendship.

Cons

  • Some topics may be too heavy for younger readers.
  • Lacks a clear-cut resolution, leaving some readers unsatisfied.

In Five Years By Rebecca Serle

In Five Years: A Novel

If you’re looking for a book that will make you challenge your current perspective, then “In Five Years” by Rebecca Serle is a perfect read!

The narrative is often satirical and It follows the story of a young lawyer whose life plan suddenly changes when she has a vivid dream that drastically alters her future – leaving her to question what she thought was true.

Satire aside, this novel dives deep into themes of identity, love, and fate. Serle does an excellent job of exploring what it means to be determined, as well as how we can stay open and flexible to new ideas.

She also questions the notion that our future is already set in stone – and provides an interesting take on how things can unexpectedly shift.

Pros

  • A captivating plot that keeps readers engaged.
  • The strong character development makes readers connect with the characters.

Cons

  • Predictable ending.

Ask Again, Yes By Mary Beth Keane

Ask Again, Yes: A Novel

Mary Beth Keane’s novel Ask Again, Yes is a thoughtful and emotional exploration of the complexities of family relationships. This book centers around two neighboring families living in upstate New York who are connected by a traumatic event.

The main characters, Francis McGrath and Brian Stanhope have been living next to each other for years but have never grown close — until their children become friends.

Through this connection, the two families learn how to move past the tragedy that brought them together and embrace one another as neighbors.

Pros

  • Captures the complexity of family relationships in a sensitive and realistic way.
  • Explores the redemptive power of love and forgiveness.

Cons

  • The pacing can be slow at times.
  • Some of the plot twists are not as believable.

Blood And Sand By Jennifer M. Lane

Blood and Sand (The Collected Stories of Ramsbolt)

Blood and Sand by Jennifer M. Lane is a thought-provoking novel that will make readers think differently about the world.

Set in rural New Mexico, the novel follows two women whose lives are profoundly changed when they are drawn into a dangerous conflict between two powerful forces.

The narrative focuses on the physical and emotional journey of its protagonists, exploring the ways they must rely on themselves to survive.

As they struggle to find their way forward, they must confront difficult questions about power, justice, and morality.

These struggles force them to confront their own beliefs and prejudices and redefine their understanding of the world around them.

Pros

  • The captivating storyline has an unpredictable ending.
  • Richly developed characters that are easy to identify with.

Cons

  • Slow pacing in the beginning.
  • Lots of characters to keep track of.

The Glass Castle By Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle: A Memoir (book)

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a powerful memoir that chronicles the life of Wall’s family and the struggles they faced. The book follows Wall’s journey from childhood to adulthood, and how she learned to overcome the obstacles in her path.

Through her narrative, Walls sheds light on a number of important issues such as poverty, addiction, mental illness, and resilience. It is a story of hope and courage in the face of adversity that will certainly make readers think about their own lives.

At its core, The Glass Castle is an exploration of Walls’ difficult relationship with her father who encouraged his children to be independent thinkers but was unable to provide them with basic necessities such as food or shelter due to his alcoholism.

Pros

  • An inspiring story of resilience and determination.
  • Captivating characters and vivid writing.

Cons

  • Disturbing childhood experiences and family dysfunction.
  • Quite emotional.

Caste By Isabel Wilkerson

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

This book explores the history and modern relevance of caste systems, both in the United States and around the world.

Wilkerson dives deep into the connections between racism, classism, and caste systems to explain how they are intertwined and have shaped societies over time.

She examines historical events to illustrate her points, as well as providing personal anecdotes and interviews with people from different backgrounds who have experienced caste systems in different ways.

Wilkerson’s book not only provides an eye-opening look at how societies create and maintain caste systems but also offers hope for a future where these oppressive structures can be dismantled.

Pros

  • Provides a comprehensive overview of the caste system.
  • Explores how current and historical events are shaped by caste systems.

Cons

  • Can be dense and overwhelming.

A Burning By Megha Majumdar

A Burning: A Read with Jenna Pick

This 2019 debut novel examines the complex and intertwined lives of three characters in contemporary India and how their lives intertwine with the politics of class, caste, religion, and gender.

The story follows Jivan, a young Muslim woman who is falsely accused of terrorism after a bus fire kills many people.

Her journey becomes even more complicated when her friend Lovely, an aspiring actor from an impoverished background, is also caught up in the court case.

Meanwhile, PT Sir, a gym teacher in Jivan’s neighborhood with an ambitious dream of becoming a movie star, finds his life changed by this tragedy as well.

Majumdar’s writing style shines through her vivid descriptions and dialogue between characters. 

Pros

  • Explores the intricate caste system and its implications in the United States.
  • Well-researched and carefully documented.

Cons

  • May be too dense for some readers.
  • Not an easy book to read due to the difficult subject matter.

Paper Towns By John Green

Paper Towns

John Green’s Paper Towns is a coming-of-age novel that follows the story of Quentin Jacobsen, a high school senior who spends a night out with his childhood crush – Margo Roth Spiegelman.

Through their adventure and conversations, Quentin begins to realize how little he truly knows about himself and life in general. He embarks on an epic journey of self-discovery as he investigates Margo’s sudden disappearance.

First, the novel dives deep into questions about identity and growing up. We follow Quentin as he grapples with what it means to be an adult, and how many expectations society places upon him.

Second, Paper Towns explores themes of uncertainty and risk-taking. As Quentin searches for Margo, we learn about the importance of taking risks in order to discover our true selves.

Pros

  • Unique and entertaining story.
  • Captivating characters.

Cons

  • Unsatisfactory ending.
  • A lot of focus on teenage angst.

Me Before You By Jojo Moyes

Me Before You (Me Before You Trilogy)

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is a timeless classic, like stepping back into the golden age of love stories.

It follows the story of Louisa Clark, a small-town girl who takes up a job as a caretaker for Will Traynor, an affluent young man who has become paralyzed after an accident.

It is a story filled with unexpected twists and turns, as well as moments of joy and sorrow. The novel captures the essence of life and its struggles in an emotional way; it is both uplifting and heartbreaking.

It explores themes such as love, friendship, family dynamics, courage, and resilience.

Through Louisa’s journey to discover herself and her relationship with Will, she learns to appreciate life in all its forms – from savoring simple everyday moments to taking risks for something greater.

It is a book that will make you think about life and its potential – how we can all make our lives richer by embracing every moment while striving to achieve more.

Pros

  • A captivating story that will keep readers in suspense.
  • Well-developed characters with complex personalities.

Cons

  • Lack of diversity in the characters.
  • Unsatisfying ending for some readers.

Middlesex By Jeffrey Eugenides

Middlesex: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club)

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides is an epic story of identity, family history, and the power of love. It follows Cal, a hermaphrodite, as they search for answers about their unique identity.

Set in the multicultural city of Detroit, the novel examines themes such as cultural assimilation, gender norms, and social change.

With its complex characters and emotionally charged moments, Middlesex gives readers an opportunity to reflect on their own views of society.

The narrative voice shifts between humor and poignancy as Cal’s journey takes them from childhood to adulthood. Eugenides also cleverly incorporates elements of Greek mythology into the storyline that add depth to the exploration of identity.

In addition to its thought-provoking content, the novel is beautifully written with vivid descriptions that draw readers into Cal’s world.

Pros

  • A captivating story of identity, family, and culture.
  • Richly detailed characters and settings.

Cons

  • Slow paced in some sections.
  • Lengthy plot with many characters.

The Unfortunate Expiration Of Mr. David S. Sparks By William F. Aicher

The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks

The unfortunate expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks by William F. Aicher is an allegorical tale about the power of love and forgiveness.

It follows the journey of a man, Mr. David S. Sparks, who finds himself at a crossroads in his life between despair and hope—between ultimate defeat and possible redemption.

The story begins with Mr. Sparks facing the difficult decision of accepting or rejecting his own death, while he is stuck in a state of purgatory between this world and the next.

He must decide whether to let go of the pain and suffering that has been inflicted upon him throughout his life, or whether to cling to it and be left behind forever.

As he struggles with this choice, he meets various characters who help him explore his innermost fears, pains, and doubts—and ultimately come to terms with them so that he can finally accept his mortality and move on in peace.

Pros

  • Enjoyable and engaging story.
  • Relatable characters.

Cons

  • The length of the book is too short.
  • Limited character development.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse By Charlie Mackesy

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy is a delightful and heartfelt story of friendship and understanding. Through his enchanting illustrations and words of wisdom, Mackesy reminds us that we all need companionship in our lives.

It’s a book that will help you be more grateful for what you have, to appreciate small moments of joy, and to be kinder to yourself and others.

Pros

  • A heartwarming story that touches on the importance of friendship.
  • Lovely illustrations capture the emotions of the characters.

Cons

  • Limited in its depth and message.
  • Not particularly suitable for very young readers.

Quiet By Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Quiet by Susan Cain is an exploration into the power of introverts in a world that celebrates the extrovert, where many have felt their inner selves oppressed and unheard.

Through her thoughtful prose, Cain uncovers the depths of introversion, proving that it can be a force for good. The power of Quiet lies in its ability to provide readers with a sense of comfort and belonging.

By showcasing both research and real-life stories from those who have embraced their introversion, readers are able to gain insight into how they can use their unique gifts to create positive change.

Pros

  • Provides helpful insight into understanding introversion.
  • Explains how to develop and foster relationships with introverts.

Cons

  • Can be overwhelming with the amount of information.
  • May be difficult to apply the advice in real-life situations.

The Black Friend By Frederick Joseph

The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person

The Black Friend by Frederick Joseph is an inspiring, thought-provoking read. This book dives into the experience of growing up Black in America, and how this experience has been shaped by systemic racism and oppression.

Through a combination of personal anecdotes, interviews, and analysis, Joseph creates an in-depth narrative that is both eye-opening and inspiring.

The Black Friend is ultimately about understanding one another better – about finding common ground despite differences and building bridges between people from different backgrounds.

Joseph provides readers with insight into his own journey as well as those of others he’s encountered along the way; this book will leave readers feeling empowered to take action against injustice and inequality.

Pros

  • Presents an important perspective on race and racism.
  • Features sensitive and compelling illustrations.

Cons

  • The limited scope of topics.
  • Not comprehensive enough to be used as a teaching tool.

Woman At 1000 Degrees By Hallgrímur Helgason

Woman at 1,000 Degrees

Woman at 1000 Degrees by Hallgrímur Helgason is a stunning exploration of identity, death, and the human spirit. Through the story of an elderly Icelandic woman, the reader is taken on a journey as her life unfolds over decades.

From her experiences in World War II to her struggles with loneliness and depression, this novel paints a vivid portrait of a woman who has seen it all.

The narrative moves between time periods with ease, allowing readers to feel connected to her experiences and come away with a new understanding of life.

Pros

  • Provides insight into a unique perspective of the world.
  • Captivating story with unexpected twists and turns.

Cons

  • The narrative style can be difficult to follow.
  • The plot is sometimes slow-paced.

The Beauty In Breaking By Michele Harper

The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir

The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper is a powerful and thought-provoking book. It tells the story of an ER doctor’s journey as she navigates life, relationships, and her own career decisions while helping other people.

Through her experiences, Harper encourages readers to find the beauty in breaking apart and rebuilding their lives so they can find clarity and purpose.

Harper’s story resonates with readers who may feel stuck in their current situations but still want more out of life. She shows how painful it can be to break away from old patterns, but also how rewarding it can be when you eventually do.

Pros

  • An inspiring story of resilience and transformation.
  • Provides valuable insight into medical and emotional care.

Cons:

  • Some readers may find the pacing to be too slow.
  • Themes may be triggering for some.

Nickel And Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America By Barbara Ehrenreich

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

In Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, author Barbara Ehrenreich dives deep into the life of low-wage earners, providing readers with a unique insight into the struggles of trying to make ends meet.

She embarks on an investigative journey across the US, taking on different roles such as a waitress, a house cleaner, and a nursing home aide in order to get a firsthand experience of the uncomfortable realities of poverty.

Through her research, Ehrenreich reveals how hard it is to survive solely off of minimum wage jobs — a reality that many people have to face.

Her story allows readers to see what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck and illustrates how difficult it can be to make small improvements in one’s life when they are constantly struggling just to stay afloat.

Pros

  • An insightful look into the life of low-wage workers.
  • Eye-opening analysis of class inequality.

Cons

  • The limited scope of investigation.
  • Emphasis on individual experience over structural change.

The Alchemist By Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist, 25th Anniversary: A Fable About Following Your Dream

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a powerful book. It follows the story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who dreams of traveling the world in search of a hidden treasure.

He embarks on a journey to follow his dream and discovers his destiny along the way. This book speaks to readers of all ages and backgrounds; it is full of wisdom that can be applied to everyday life.

The themes explored within this text are those of courage, determination, self-discovery, and resilience.

Pros

  • Positive messages about following your dreams and destiny.
  • Invokes a feeling of nostalgia and reflection.

Cons

  • Difficult-to-follow plot line.

The Little Prince By Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince

This story, originally written in French, has been translated into over 250 languages and is loved worldwide. It tells the story of a prince who travels to different planets, each inhabited by a grown-up with their own unique problem.

Along the way, he discovers life lessons that help him understand what’s truly important in life. This book is powerful because it speaks to issues that are universal across cultures and ages.

It encourages readers to think about what’s most valuable in life and how our choices affect others around us.

Pros

  • Contains timeless lessons about life.
  • Captivating story with beautiful illustrations.

Cons

  • Too short to fully explore the story.
  • Not suitable for younger children due to its philosophical themes.

The Catcher In The Rye By J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is an iconic novel that has been beloved by readers for decades.

It follows Holden Caulfield, a teenager from New York, on his journey of personal discovery and self-reflection as he deals with the growing pains associated with early adulthood.

One of the things that makes The Catcher in the Rye so powerful is its honest portrayal of teenage angst. Holden’s struggles are relatable for many teens, making it easier for them to connect to his story.

His internal monologues reveal his insecurities and doubts, giving readers insight into how teenagers think and feel.

This allows them to gain a better understanding of what life can be like during these formative years and how they can navigate it successfully.

Pros

  • Engaging and relatable protagonist.
  • Rich and vivid descriptions of 1950s New York City.

Cons

The Giver By Lois Lowry

The Giver: A Newbery Award Winner (Giver Quartet, 1)

In The Giver, readers explore a world where everything seems perfect on the surface. But as they follow protagonist Jonas’ journey, they discover what lies beneath this seemingly utopian society.

Lowry paints a vivid picture of a dystopian future where citizens have no control over their lives and emotions are not allowed to be expressed.

This thought-provoking book invites readers to contemplate the consequences of living in a world without freedom or emotion.

Pros

  • Thought-provoking story.
  • Memorable characters.

Cons

  • Slow-paced plot.
  • Somewhat predictable ending.

Walden By Henry David Thoreau

Walden: The Original 1854 Edition (A Henry David Thoreau Classics)

Henry David Thoreau’s Walden is a powerful book that makes readers reevaluate their lives. It was written in the mid-1800s and has remained relevant to this day.

The book tells the story of Thoreau’s two-year experiment living in nature near Walden Pond, where he attempts to simplify his life and focus on the essentials.

His thoughts on nature, self-discovery and social issues are laid out in detail throughout the book, challenging readers to reconsider their perspectives on life.

Walden is an exploration of Thoreau’s journey as he goes to find himself, or perhaps tries to understand what it means to be alive. He reflects on personal responsibility and how people interact with one another in society.

In particular, he questions whether or not humans should strive for material comfort or if they should remain true to themselves and live an authentic life.

Pros

  • Encourages readers to live simply and reflect on their lives.
  • Illustrates the importance of nature and self-discovery.

Cons

  • Promotes an isolated lifestyle that may not be feasible for some people.
  • Does not address the realities of modern life and its complexities.

The Art Of War By Sun Tzu

The Art Of War

The Art of War is a timeless classic written by the Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. It’s a book that has been studied and referenced for centuries, offering insight into how to conduct warfare as well as wider application to business strategy.

It’s an incredibly powerful read that can challenge the way you think about complex situations.

The Art of War contains thirteen chapters examining different aspects of warfare, from using spies and positioning troops to managing morale and seizing opportunities.

Each chapter is filled with wise counsel based on Sun Tzu’s years of experience in the field. The advice is presented in such a way that it transcends its original context, allowing readers to apply it to their own lives and situations.

Pros

  • Offers timeless strategies for both personal and professional success.
  • Provides wisdom and insight into human behavior.

Cons

  • Uses militaristic metaphors which can be off-putting.
  • Can be hard to apply the advice to modern-day scenarios.

1984 By George Orwell

1984

George Orwell’s 1984 is a powerful book set in a world where government surveillance and control has become the norm. This book serves as a warning against totalitarianism and gives readers an insight into how oppressive regimes could potentially operate.

The main character, Winston Smith, is an everyman who works for the Ministry of Truth – an organization that distorts the truth and creates propaganda.

He eventually meets Julia, another rebel who also opposes the system, and together they attempt to overthrow it.

Through this story, Orwell illustrates the power of oppression over individuals and how quickly freedom can be taken away from them.

At its core, 1984 is a cautionary tale about how easy it is for governments to take advantage of people and manipulate their thoughts and beliefs.

Pros

  • Satirical and thought-provoking.
  • Thoughtful and relevant to present-day society.

Cons

  • Difficult to understand at times.
  • Dark and depressing subject matter.

Man’s Search For Meaning By Viktor Frankl

Man's Search for Meaning

Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is an incredibly powerful work. It paints a vivid picture of his experiences in the concentration camps, and how he found meaning in suffering.

This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the depths of human emotion and resilience. Frankl uses his own story to illustrate the importance of making one’s life meaningful.

He speaks of how even in the worst of circumstances, there is still some hope to be found if you can look deeply enough within yourself.

His theory of logotherapy gives readers practical tools to use when faced with difficult situations, showing them that they don’t have to succumb to despair and hopelessness.

Pros

  • Explores how to find meaning in life.
  • Offers practical advice on how to live life with purpose.

Cons

  • Difficult to understand in parts.
  • Philosophical concepts can be challenging to comprehend.

The Art Of Happiness By The Dalai Lama

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living

This book provides readers with a unique perspective on how to lead a satisfying life, from one of the world’s most beloved spiritual leaders.

Through his teachings, the Dalai Lama emphasizes that true happiness comes from within and encourages readers to explore their inner selves in order to find peace and joy.

By sharing stories from his own personal journey, the Dalai Lama shows us that we all have an opportunity to create our own paths to fulfillment – no matter what our circumstances may be.

From this book, readers gain valuable insight into how they can start living with more purpose and joy today.

Pros

  • Inspiring stories and anecdotes.
  • Offers easy-to-follow advice for achieving happiness.

Cons

  • Written from a religious perspective.
  • Not always applicable to all situations.

Siddhartha By Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse is one of the most powerful books that can make readers think differently. Hesse’s novel follows the spiritual journey of Siddhartha, a man from India who strives to understand the true meaning of life and happiness.

The story is set in ancient India, during a time when spiritual knowledge was highly valued and sought after. Throughout his journey, Siddhartha encounters various teachers who help him on his path to enlightenment.

The main themes of the book revolve around self-discovery and understanding one’s purpose in life.

Through Siddhartha’s experiences, readers are able to see how he struggles with different aspects of life such as suffering, attachment, and impermanence.

Pros

  • Highlights the importance of self-reflection and inner peace.
  • Encourages readers to seek a personal spiritual journey.

Cons

  • Unclear conclusion.

The Power Of Habit By Charles Duhigg

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg is a book that can drastically change the way one perceives and approaches their own life.

It is like an allegory of a man deep in a cave, searching for his true self, illuminated only by the dim light of distant torches.

Pros

  • Provides insight into why habits exist and how they can be changed.
  • Offers practical advice.

Cons

  • Too much emphasis on corporate/organizational applications.
  • Lack of focus on individual applications of the habits discussed.

Rich Dad’s Guide To Investing By Robert Kiyosaki

Rich Dad's Guide to Investing: What the Rich Invest in That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

Rich Dad’s Guide To Investing by Robert Kiyosaki is a powerful book that can help you to transform the way you think about money and wealth.

This book provides an interesting perspective on financial literacy and offers practical advice for anyone who wants to make smart decisions with their money.

Kiyosaki lays out his philosophy of how to create financial freedom through investing, understanding taxes, and creating multiple streams of income.

The concepts he presents in this book are simple yet profound, making it a great choice for anyone looking to improve their knowledge of personal finance.

Pros

  • Introduction to financial concepts and principles.
  • Easy to read and understand for beginners.

Cons

  • Detailed advice is not provided.
  • Does not address the complexities of the financial world.

The Brain That Changes Itself By Norman Doidge

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science

Norman Doidge’s book, The Brain That Changes Itself, is a groundbreaking work that explores the world of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the idea that the brain can be trained and rewired to think differently and adapt to new circumstances.

The book looks at how individuals can use this knowledge to better their lives in multiple ways.

Through research, interviews with scientists, and case studies of people who have used neuroplasticity to overcome physical and mental limitations, Doidge provides a deep understanding of the science behind neuroplasticity as well as practical advice for how readers can apply it in their own lives.

Pros

  • Explores the idea that our brains are malleable.
  • Shows how to use specific techniques to improve mental and physical health.

Cons

  • Quite dense and scientific.
  • Relies heavily on anecdotal evidence.

How Not To Die By Michael Greger, M.D.

How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

Irony strikes when we consider how the title of ‘How Not to Die’ relates to life. Despite the author’s best efforts to provide a path toward a long and healthy life, death still remains an inevitability.

But it is through his book, Dr. Michael Greger encourages us to take action in order to extend our lifespans, and gives us insight into rethinking our diet choices and lifestyle habits.

He provides the reader with detailed scientific studies and evidence that support dietary changes that could help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more.

He also explains how one can adopt healthier habits such as regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and managing stress levels, all of which will contribute to leading a longer and healthier life.

Pros

  • Comprehensive coverage of evidence-based methods for preventing chronic diseases.
  • Offers practical advice on how to incorporate lifestyle changes into everyday life.

Cons

  • The book only focuses on the physical aspects of health.
  • Some of the dietary guidelines may be difficult to follow.

Sapiens By Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

This revolutionary book by Yuval Noah Harari shows us that humans have come a long way since the beginning of our species.

With this book, we take a deep dive into our history and explore the changes in human behavior and evolution throughout the centuries. We don’t just look at what happened, but also why it happened, and how it could continue to shape us.

What sets Sapiens apart is its clever use of satire which will keep readers hooked from start to finish.

In particular, Harari uses humor to highlight some of humanity’s most absurd moments in history, resulting in an entertaining yet thought-provoking read.

He also explores some deeper philosophical questions about who we are as individuals and as members of a collective species – leaving us with plenty of food for thought.

Pros

  • Comprehensive overview of human history.
  • Clear and accessible writing style.

Cons

  • Limited coverage of non-western cultures.
  • Limited focus on the present and future of humanity.

Conclusion

Ultimately, the books on this list have the power to open our eyes and minds to different perspectives. They can challenge us to think in a way we may not have before, leading to even more meaningful conversations and understanding.

By reading these books, we can broaden our horizons and gain a deeper appreciation for the world around us.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes A Book Thought Provoking?

A good thought-provoking book is one that presents an argument, idea, or question that challenges the reader’s assumptions or beliefs. It should open the reader’s mind to new possibilities and encourage them to consider different perspectives and points of view.

What Types Of Books Make You Think Differently?

Books from a wide variety of genres have the power to make a person think differently. Novels, biographies, autobiographies, fiction, and nonfiction – all have the potential to change how we view ourselves and the world around us.

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Noah Burton