Dear Lifehacker, Recommend A Book That Will Change My Life

Here is a pointless story. All through my adult like I was terrible with money. Not only was I terrible with money, but I didn't care that I was terrible with money. Like, I felt no real motivation to change my habits. Then one day, at an old job, a colleague brought in some books he was throwing out. Among them was a book about learning to use money. I have no idea why I picked it up, but I did. And it changed my life.

The tragedy is I can't even remember what that book was called. It was — even then — a relatively old book about managing money but I started reading it on the train home. Then I kept reading it when I got home.

And reading.

And reading.

Before I knew it I had finished the book and, because of it, completely transformed the way I thought about, and use, money. I've pretty much used those fundamentals ever since. I'm not rich, far from it. But I am now in a far better place financially than I would be had I not read that book.

Which is all just a long winded way of asking this question: have you ever read a book that legitimately changed your life for the better? And if so, what was it?

And while we're at it — any book recommendations? I want you to recommend a book that will legitimately change my life all over again.


    Sophie's World - Jostein Gaarder

    I found Nick Vujicic's Life Without Limits and Unstoppable to be pretty inspiring.

      That guy is amazing, just the positivity he exudes is blinding

    For anyone who hasn't seen the movie and doesn't know the plot, Never Let Me Go is extraordinary.

    Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly is simply incredible, if anything just for the epilogue that is added. Will make anyone who think illicit drugs are ok think again.

    Arthur C Clarke's Childhood's End really opened my eyes up to the world in a different way. Not sure exactly why, but it did.

      My God... A Scanner Darkly... So freaking amazing.

      That descent into madness is just too surreal. I remember watching the movie adaptation when it first came out, and I couldn't follow it or enjoy it, so went into the book with no high hopes.

      Still one of my favourite stories of all time.

    "Total Immersion" by Terry Laughlin. It changed my swimming life when I watched the DVD, and bought the book as soon as I finished watching it. I just wished that I was taught to swim this way when I was a kid - it would have saved so much training time and improved my triathlon races. I tell everyone I know, that Total Immersion is the way to swim.

    That sounds a lot like "The Richest Man in Babylon" by George S. Clason. First published 1926. That book rescued me from my money naiveté. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.

    To make things even more appealing, it is only 144 pages, so shouldn't be a problem for even the most infrequent reader.

      I was thinking the same thing! It changed my financial life as well!

      yeah I was thinking that or Rich Dad Poor Dad/any of Robert Kiyosaki's books

    Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

    Its pulpy, and written for the lowest common denominator, but that's part of the appeal.

    It introduces the concept of treating your personal finances like a business - that is, by reading the balance sheet. It opened my eyes to the idea that maybe working for someone else my whole life wasn't going to make me happy :)

    Of course, following the advice without thinking it through properly resulted in me getting into some crippling debt and almost going bankrupt after my business crashed and burned, but that's a different story :P

    Three books that will change your outlook.

    1. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
    2. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
    3. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

      I got rich dad poor dad as well as a few others from him. Good read.

    Walden - Henry David Thoreau

    "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

    At a time when I was questioning a lot about life, consumerism, and life in the rate race, I found it incredibly reassuring to find that someone else had considered these things and framed them so well in words.

    From Wikipedia:
    "Walden (first published as Walden; or, Life in the Woods) is an American book written by noted transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings. The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and manual for self-reliance. First published in 1854, it details Thoreau's experiences over the course of two years, two months, and two days in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts. The book compresses the time into a single calendar year and uses passages of four seasons to symbolize human development."

    Reading Walden was a big part in giving me the courage to leave my soulless corporate job and move my family to the country to start again on a different path. In fact I drew so much strength and inspiration from the book that I plan on naming our eventual homestead (that I plan to build myself) after it.

    To anyone else who is pursuing or considering the pursuit of 'the simple life', I strongly recommend reading Walden. The book is in the public domain and easily found in a variety of formats, as well as still being published as a paperback.

    "A dragonhiker's guide to the battles of thomas covenant at dune's edge: odyssey 2"
    Saw the book, planned to buy it - but never did. When I returned to the store it was gone.

    Moral: you never know what will disappear overnight. Sometimes it's small things, sometimes it's something significant.

      Did you get another copy from somewhere else?

        It was out of print. Fortunately, bittorrent came to my rescue

    A child called It

    Last edited 04/01/14 12:42 am

    Y: the last man.
    Its about a world where every guy is dead except for yorick and his all the women. It will give you a healthy fear of large groups of women. Also it's a comic \o/


    Many years ago, I gave Noel Whittaker's first book "Making Money Made Simple" to a friend who wasn't good with money. It changed his outlook and now he is looking forward to a very comfortable retirement.

    "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill

    1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

    The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene. You will ditch your old way of thinking after reading this.

    Not a financial book, but one that ratified and formalised much of my hodge-podge of personal philosophy: "A guide to the good life - The ancient art of Stoic joy" by William Irvine.

    It's a very accessible introduction to Stoicism, and the reading list can lead you onto the more original works.

      Related to this, I suggest either 'Letters' by Seneca or 'Meditations' by Marcus Aurelius highly as key texts in Stoic philosophy. Both, despite being written in Ancient Rome, are applicable to the 21st century.

    as a now 29 year old guy that grew up in a divorced family and had parents that thought spending money and buying me 'things' was loving me. ive had a real hard time trying to figure out what it means to be manly in the sense of responsibilities, self-worth, having good work ethics and life attitudes, being a good husband, being a good father, being a good friend. to be honest, its been a terribly hard journey. some books that i really appreciate and have given me hope were 'Fathered by God - John Eldredge, Father Heart of God - Floyd McClung, The Shack - William P Young,

    these books are from a Christian point of view, but reading the first 2 i found offered a very insightful look into why i was struggling with the things i was and were great contributing factors in pulling me out of depression.

    harry potter and the chamber of secrets

    The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. It's about a man who was taken prematurely by cancer but who managed to live out each of his childhood dreams over the course of his life. The book is a letter to his children on how to do the same. The book is full of little anecdotes that genuinely changed my outlook on life and made me a kinder, more empathetic person.

    Edit: this is a non-fiction, by the way. Randy Pausch was a real man.

    Last edited 07/01/14 6:33 pm

    Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. As an explanation of running and as an adventure story, this was a book I bought on Kindle and in paperback just so I could get others to read it.

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