Which Books Have Fundamentally Changed Me?

There are some books that are so good that they leave me a little shaken or emotionally distraught or so moved that I need a few days to recover. But then there are others that have completely altered the way I think and approach life, and imprinted their words on my soul. They’ve become a fundamental aspect to my being and I sometimes wonder what kind of person would I have been had I not been exposed to these texts.

So in no particular order, here they are:

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

This is the first series that I’d ever gotten into and this is the only fantasy series that I’d gotten into. There’s a whole host of posts and countless Buzzfeed articles dedicated to espousing all the wonderful things taught by this series so I won’t recap them here. For me, ‘Harry Potter’ is my safety blanket; my copies are worn out and some pages need to be held by sticky tape. I go back to it when I’m bored, when I’m in a reading slump, when I want to relive my childhood days, there’s a never ending list.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

I like self-improvement, I’m very reflective and introverted and I like taking apart my mind and working out what makes me tick. This text gave me sharper insight as to when and why I lapsed back into my regressive bad habits and break the cycle.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey

My dad bought me this book when I was in high school because he really believed in the principles of ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’. My favourite principle was the iconic ‘Win-Win’ Principle, I loved the idea that everyone can benefit and perhaps it’s my naivety but at least it helps me to believe that success, like a flame, doesn’t diminish when shared.

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

After reading this, I didn’t feel so small and it changed the way I perceived things. I wasn’t so overwhelmed by my surroundings and I didn’t find problems so daunting because of my inexperience. Also the triumph of the supposed underdog is immensely appealing.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

As psychopathic and repressed and intense as Scarlett was, I really related to her, in particular her obsession for more money. At that point, I was seriously considering getting a part-time job, on top of my full-time job, to earn a bit more cash. But Scarlett’s lust for wealth was insatiable, unlike Melanie who didn’t lose herself despite enduring the same harsh circumstances. I realised I could enjoy what I had, whenever I wanted to, instead of waiting for the elusive day when I “had it all” because if you’re never happy with yourself, nothing will. Of all the books I’ve ever read, this one impacted me the most.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

I know lots of people criticise it for only targeting the very specific demographic of Upper-Middle class, Highly Educated, White Collar, Cisgendered, Heterosexual Women, but I think Sandberg can only write from that perspective because that is what she is. Nevertheless, this book has helped me; even when I’m nervous and don’t feel ready for something, I now try to “lean in” just so I can grow and learn from it.


Of course, I recommend all of these texts, but I’m really curious to see which books have changed you.


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