Give The Gift Of Life-Improving Books

Give the Gift of Life-Improving Books

Everybody loves a good book, and while fiction can teach you a lot about life, sometimes the most life-altering books offer straight-up life advice. Here are some some great books as gift ideas for the people on your list.

We haven't read every single one of these books, but we've reviewed quite afew of them before. So, here are a few of our favourites, mixed with a few classics. For each title, we've linked to Booko so you can find the cheapest copy.

The Obstacle Is the Way

We all encounter problems in our life. Sometimes they're mere inconveniences, and sometimes they can grind everything to a halt. If you've ever felt like you're stuck in life, or feel like the world is just crapping on you, Ryan Holiday's The Obstacle Is the Way helps you change your mindset. You won't find any overly-positive, head-in-the-clouds motivation here. Instead, you'll find practical truths that will help you view your problems differently and tackle them head on. You can read more in our review here.

Moonwalking with Einstein

Joshua Foer's Moonwalking with Einstein chronicles his journey through the US Memory championship, and everything he learned about the art of remembering everything. He learned from his fellow competitors and other experts that our minds are capable of much more than we give them credit for — including the forgetful among us. It's basically a bunch of useful techniques weaved into an interesting story.

Getting Things Done

If you've been reading Lifehacker for a while, you're probably extremely familiar with David Allen's Getting Things Done. This book is what started the now-popular GTD method of productivity, which stresses getting your to-dos out of your head and into an organised system that helps you...well, get things done. With that system in place, you'll be able to see everything you have to do, without having to remember it — leaving your mind free to focus on working. You can check out the book for the full, detailed rundown, or get the basic gist with our primer on GTD 101.

The Nerdist Way

Chris Hardwick is a comedian, podcaster, actor, musician, and nerd-of-many-talents. You've probably seen or read something of his before. The Nerdist Way comically details how Hardwick got his life on track after too many years drinking and partying and getting nothing done. He discusses harnessing your mind (addiction, anxiety and other mental issues), harnessing your body (fitness) and your time (finances, work, side projects), all from the perspective of a gaming nerd. You can read more about Hardwick's book in our original review here.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

If you've ever wanted to be one of those people that has their s*** together — particularly in the realm of finances — Ramit Sethi's I Will Teach You To Be Rich is the perfect starter guide. Despite its hyperbolic name, it's basically a beginner's how-to on managing your money: getting the most from your credit card and bank, getting started investing, how to budget your money, and how to automate it all so you don't have to think about it. I'm a firm believer that everyone should read this book in their 20s or 30s — which isn't hard, since it's pretty short. Read more about it in our review.

Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking

At least one third of the world's people are introverts, yet they're incredibly undervalued. Being an introvert actually has many advantages and Susan Cain's Quiet is all about being successful in a world designed for extroverts — whether you're an introvert yourself or the parent of one. Heck, even extroverts could stand to read this book and learn a thing or two. To get a taste of Cain's style, check out this interview we posted last year.

How To Win Friends And Influence People

It may be decades old, but when we asked you about your favourite books, quite a few of you recommended Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. It's all about interacting with others — from remembering people's names, to getting people to like you, all the way down to winning people to your way of thinking. It's basically the definition of a classic life hacking book.

The Power Of Habit

Whether you're trying to quit a bad habit (smoking) or start a good one (regular exercise), habits rule our lives. Changing them, however, is very difficult but Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit gives you all the tools you need to make it happen. Through a series of narratives, Duhigg explores the science of how habits work and how we can change them. If you know someone gearing up for a big New Year's resolution, this is the book for them.

A Guide To The Good Life

If ever a group of ancient philosophers fit into the "life hackers" category, it was the stoics. And, while the original texts are fantastic, William B. Irvine's A Guide To The Good Life is a great introduction to the stoic philosophy, modernized to fit today's sensibilities. From dealing with insults to dealing with loss and letting go of the past, this book delves into mind hacks for dealing with all of life's problems. It's practical, sure, but it's less about implementing little tricks and more about changing your outlook on life and the way you react to its troubles. Read more about it in our review.


Comments

    Obviously there are a zillion books that could be on this list, and I know you avoided fiction, but I've got two to throw in, just FWIW:
    Augustines Confessions: a classic of an ancient mind with surprisingly modern concerns, and the counterpoise:
    Kerouac's On the Road; just to see how lost some people can get, and get nowhere fast dealing with it; but a great read.

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