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17 Books That Changed Peoples Lives Forever

Photo by Rhema Kallianpur on Unsplash

Words have power, if you’ve ever been in an argument, you will know that. They can teach us, make us feel things we have not felt before, and change us forever. I reached out to people from all over the world to find out the books that changed their lives forever.

It might be a small change, or it might be a huge, life-altering change. Here are the books and how they changed their lives.

#1 The Blackfish Prophecy

There are two profound ways this book changed my life. The first was that it helped me to understand the orca as intelligent, family-oriented, long-lived beings, rather than a dumb fish for our entertainment. I had not really thought much about those giant creatures held in comparatively small tanks and how torturous it must be for them to be separated from their families, deprived of movement, and unable to dive deep in the water to escape the searing sun. It is no wonder that there have been incidences of violence with captive orca, we are literally driving them mad.

The second change has been amazing, and frightening. I was first introduced to 'The Blackfish Prophecy' as a manuscript in the publication queue at a small, Seattle-based publisher. I came on as a marketing manager and my first big task was to get a blessing from Dr. Jane Goodall. (We did it!) We launched the book on Earth Day 2015, and one week later, the publisher announced they were closing their doors. I knew that there was some magic in that book, that it was going to change the life of some reader, and that we couldn't let it die. In a matter of days, I decided to launch my own small publishing company to keep 'The Blackfish Prophecy' alive.

Thankfully, Rachel was game to come along on this new adventure. It hasn't been easy, and hasn't always been fun, but I do not regret that momentous change triggered by reading one little book.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Jodi Thompson

Company: fawkespress.com

12 points
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#2 The Four Agreements

The book is simple but powerfully transformative. It really does narrow down the four most important pieces of life advice that will drive you to personal fulfillment and satisfaction, no matter where you are in your life.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Sena Moran | Licensed Online Mental Health Counselor

Company: senamoran.com

9 points
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#3 Feminist Fight Club

About 18 months ago and realized that I wasn't crazy; that the subtle sexism I had been experiencing for decades was real and I was not alone in my experience. While reading the book, I decided to begin to strip away all of the adaptations and accommodations that I had created in response to the sexism and decided to live unapologetically as me without regard for how others think I should behave, or act, to make them feel more comfortable or to meet their expectations.

I now share my experience with many women through my podcast, my blog, and my speaking to encourage them to recognize that they, too, aren't crazy, that subtle sexism is real, and that there are ways to effectively deal with it.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Terri Mead

Company: terrihansonmead.com | Medium

6 points
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#4 Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment

This book, written by a Harvard psychologist who studies happiness, is part education, part memoir, and part how-to for increasing your happiness. Dr. Ben-Shahar makes the argument for viewing happiness as the ultimate currency (rather than money). He translates the latest scientific research into easy to understand pieces, gives practical hands-on exercises and strategies for increasing happiness, and shares examples from his own life to illustrate. If you want to be happier, read this book!

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Ashley J. Smith

Company: ablindquest.com | drashleysmith.com

5 points
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#5 Lord of the Rings + The Hobbit

When I was in middle school, I was the typical class nerd. My mother used to read me The Hobbit before bed. Then, I read Lord of the Rings and it became my favorite book. One day, we had a class assignment to read a poem in front of the class. I dressed up in full-on Gandalf gear, cape and staff included.

I read a poem from Lord of the Rings, and sure enough, all of my class made fun of me. But I wasn't mad or upset, because I was a wizard and wizards don't care what other people think about them, they only care about saving the world. I look back on who I was and I kind of miss that girl who wasn't afraid of what people thought of her. I never knew I'd be publishing my own poetry one day. Now when I go up to read my poems in front of people, I just imagine that I'm a wizard.

Want to read more reviews of J. R. R. Tolkien's Books or buy them? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Holly Walrath

Company: hlwalrath.com

4 points
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#6 Where the Red Fern Grows: The Story of Two Dogs and a Boy

My 3rd-grade class read this and it touched me more than any other book had and set a high bar moving forward. Dealing with loss (especially around pets) was a huge help for me at that age. I still remember that time fondly because of that book.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: John Wilker

Company: johnwilker.com

3 points
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#7 The Elfstones of Shannara

I read this in high school, a friend loaned me her copy. I read it in a weekend, and rushed to the mall (this was the 90s) and bought my own copy. It’s a trade paperback that’s seen better days but has been re-read dozens of times since. I lapsed in my reading and this rekindled my love of reading for fun...

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: John Wilker

Company: johnwilker.com

3 points
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#8 Cluetrain Manifesto

I read this as a twenty-something, and it became my business bible. I run a conference company and am 100% transparent with my customers, created a tribe that supports my business and feels invested in my success. My copy is well-worn and for a long time, I carried with me to re-read. I’ve since bought a Kindle version to make it more portable.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: John Wilker

Company: johnwilker.com

3 points
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#9 Strengthsfinders

The book that changed my life is called Strengthsfinders. The idea behind this book is that there are many personality strengths but everyone has their top five.

You should strive to integrate your top strengths into your career and everyday life. This helped me to understand that my top strength, woo, means I am extremely extroverted and need a social outlet. I should also choose activities that put me in a position where I am interacting with others.

For example, if I have a choice between baking a cake for a bake sale or being the person who sells the cake at the bake sale, I should volunteer for the sales role! This has really empowered me in my job and in my social life.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Leslie Fischer

Company: sustainableslumber.com

3 points
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#10 The Millionaire Next Door

I loved this book and it changed my life! It broke down the characteristics of the rich vs. the poor. In habits, thoughts, and attitudes. It provided this definition for frugal: the behavior characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources. The opposite of frugal is wasteful. The book states, that significantly wealthy individuals tend to spend less for suits and most high-status items. If I hadn't read this book, I would believe the opposite.

It states efficiency is one of the most important components of wealth accumulation. People who become wealthy allocate their time, energy and money in ways consistent with enhancing their net worth. They spend their wealth on wealth building activities.

It not only has helped me to prioritize what I do but what I wasn't doing, to incorporate into my lifestyle.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Chantay Bridges

Company: losangelesrealestatenow.com

3 points
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#11 The Four Hour Work Week

This book introduced me to the concept of lifestyle by design and challenged a lot of the ideas I had about work, life, and retirement. Since reading this informative and inspiring book, I have cultivated a lifestyle that deviates from the prescribed 9-5 for the next 40 years notion of work and retirement. I am able to spend my time, my most valuable resource, on the things that really matter!

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Ashley J. Smith

Company: ablindquest.com | drashleysmith.com

3 points
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#12 It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be

A short & concise yet powerful book that helped me realize the realities of working in a creative industry, as well as entrepreneurial life in general. Paul Arden is a veteran of the advertising industry and this is one of his most famous written works.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Adam McIntyre

Company: BrandPacks.com

3 points
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#13 Anatomy of an Illness

Thirty-seven years ago 'Anatomy of an Illness' by Norman Cousins changed my life. I had been experiencing disabling back pain of unknown cause for over three years. My life had ground to a halt. Cousins wrote about being diagnosed with a progressively crippling and painful joint disease and how he healed it with laughter therapy.

It was the first time I had ever heard of the mind/body connection. He mentioned biofeedback in the book. I sought out a psychologist who offered the treatment. I got better, as a result, went back to school, finished my social work degree and eventually became a biofeedback therapist. Now I help other people with pain and chronic illness get better.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Cindy Perlin

Company: paintreatmentdirectory.com

Editor: Cindy Perlin wrote a book about chromic pain, called The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments: The Best and Worst Strategies for Becoming Pain Free and started an online Alternative Pain Treatment Directory.

3 points
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#14 Essentialism The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

For 10+ years, I have had 3 or 4 large stacks of paper on my desk.  After this book, I cleared those stacks in 1 week and have kept a clear desk every since.  The best line in the book?  You will never die saying you wish you would have concentrated on the things you wanted to do... less.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Shanalee Sharboneau

Company: shanaleesharboneau.com

3 points
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#15 30 Days to Taming Your Finances

This book was small but packed with great tips and resources to get your financial health on track. It speaks of every goal having a milestone date by which something will happen that gets you closer to the end result. The interim victories keep you motivated to keep you going forward.

I loved this because it was not only easy to follow but broke it down into short-term and long-term goals that were manageable. I handle my money much better because of the insights I obtained while reading this book.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Chantay Bridges

Company: losangelesrealestatenow.com

2 points
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#16 The Power of a Praying Wife

Marriage can be challenging, marriage without help can be even more difficult. In this book, the author challenges women to keep their spouses covered in prayer. She breaks it down by topics such as his health, finances, protection, fatherhood, attitude, etc. She states, relying on God's power to transform you, your husband, your circumstances and your marriage.

This changed my life because it altered my thinking. It helped me to know that I wasn't in this alone. That with God by my side, I could do this! It provided a compass when the times get stormy and I'm not sure which way to turn.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Chantay Bridges

Company: losangelesrealestatenow.com

2 points
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#17 If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pits?

If Life Is A Bowl Of Cherries, Why Am I Standing In The Pits? by the late Erma Bombeck encouraged me to see the humor in things. Her essays about husbands and day to day life events, made me laugh. As such, it gave me permission to interject humor in my freelance articles and books to entertain, educate and empower others to laugh as well.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Carol Gee | Author

2 points
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