One of my favorite things about reading a variety of book genres is the different perspectives each of them give. Thrillers leave me on the edge of my seat. Young Adult books give me a glimpse into the life of a teen, and chick lit gives my mind a much need break from it all.
I’ve always thought that “inspirational” wasn’t a genre. Self-help is a genre, but these aren’t self help books. These are books for that for one reason or another set me on fire after reading them.
The books from this list couldn’t be more different from each other in plot, but they are similar in that they are all books that will inspire you to follow your dreams, no matter what that dream is, or what circumstances you face.
Books that will inspire you to follow your dreams
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
I read Big Magic towards the end of 2015 and could not get enough. This book is specifically geared towards people in the creative business but I’m nearly positive every person with every kind of aspiration will be inspired by Gilbert’s account of the ups and downs of following her own dreams. My favorite part about this book is that Gilbert doesn’t make it all smiles and rainbows. She talks about the tough times and the times she wanted to give up just as much as the good times. This book gives a very real picture about how the most successful people have usually gone through the most challenges.
Favorite quote: “I’m going to spend as much time as I can creating delightful things out of my existence, because that’s what brings me awake and that’s what brings me alive.”
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
A few years back, good friend of mine asked me if I’d ever read this book. When I said no she was completely blown away. She insisted I borrow her copy and read it right away. Considering how adamant she was about it, I followed her instruction and read it right away. The Alchemist tells the story of a shepard boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the pyramids. Along the way, Santigao meets many different people who impact him each in their own way. This book is the ultimate tale of just how powerful our dreams can actually be if we choose to follow them.
Favorite quote: “The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself…no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.”
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Randy’s story is truly unique and uplifting. Randy was a successful professor at Carnegie Mellon University, when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He famously gave his “last lecture” called The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. This lecture was recorded and went viral on YouTube. After making several media appearance including on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Randy soon wrote a book called The Last Lecture on the same premise. My recommendation is to watch the YouTube video and read the book. They are similar but hearing Randy deliver the message via video and then via his book each gave me different emotions. Nevertheless, this story delivers the most honest and real account of what achieving all of your wildest dreams is really like.
Favorite quote: “Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls aren’t there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want things.”
Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
I love a long and deeply insightful book about following your dreams, but honestly, sometimes all we need is the quick and fast truth. Nothing does that better for me than, Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go. I was given a copy of this book when I graduated high school, and to this day, whenever I’m going through a big life change or doubting whether or not I’m good enough, smart enough, or qualified enough to do something I pop open this book and read it. It is so simple, but so true and inspiring.
Favorite quote: “You’re off to great places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!”