Top 10 Classic Books Which May Change Your Life

Not all books are created equal, so without further ado here are 10 classic books which may significantly alter your perception of life.

If you enjoyed this list, well here the Top 10 Books That Make You Smarter.

10

Cat’s Cradle

The best Vonnegut book is usually considered to be Slaughterhouse-Five. I agree, but Cat’s Cradle makes you ask all the right questions, like how absurdly powerful weapons today have become, the problems of religion, human stupidity, the futility of everything in the end and so it goes.

The story is about a guy named Jonah who is planning on writing a book about Dr. Hoenikker, the father of the Atomic bomb. When his research gets him in contact with the late doctor’s children, he finds out that he had invented something far stronger than the bomb, and from that point on the story just becomes something else.

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9

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

This is one of the best philosophy books I have ever read. The story is basically a 17 day trip from Minnesota to California on a bike with the author and his son. During their journey they have various philosophical discussions on topics such as the concept of quality, then the difference between the romantic view of life and the classical (non rational vs rational), how important it is to have peace of mind and finally the importance of enjoying and loving what you do.

It’s a book which after reading it you will feel the need to not only try to improve your life but also enjoy it more in general; not many books can claim to do the same.

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8

Cosmos

Cosmos by Carl Sagan is one of those books which everyone should read at least once. It’s a really humbling book which makes us realize how small and insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things. It also explains the history of our universe in a way, any lay man can understand regardless of their prior knowledge of astronomy. Most importantly though Carl Sagan’s enthusiasm about the subject is infectious and may spark an interest about the topic in your mind.

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7

One Hundred Years of Solitude

On its surface the book is a masterpiece of magical realism, look a little deeper and you see that its all an allegory of the political and historical realities of Latin America. You observe the Buendía family (a very influential Latin American family) for seven generations, seeing their greatest triumphs and disasters. What you take from this book at the end is up to you, but you will undoubtedly learn something about the meaning (or meaningless) of life.

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6

The Brothers Karamazov

Its another philosophy book, hidden inside a normal story. Anyone who has read it though would disagree that this book is not a “normal” story either. Vonnegut (from entry no. 10) once said that “Everything you need to know about life is in it”, he was right. It’s based on the time period when Russia was modernizing, and while the book asks big questions, you also see a lot of ethical debates unfold in front of you, ranging from god to free will.

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5

1984

What was meant to be a dystopian science fiction novel, is turning out more and more true today.  This is the book which coined the term “Big brother” today its a synonym for the abuse of government power.  It’s set in Great Britain which is now part of the huge Oceanic empire, and its a story about a man who lives a life where the government controls everything and people can be punished just for independent thinking. The government also monitors and taps everything (seems familiar?).

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4

The Alchemist

This is an adventure novel in which the main character has a dream which inspires him to go on a treasure hunt. It’s set in Spain and later he travels to Egypt. The book is about finding your own destiny and to quote what the old king told the protagonist “when you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true”, powerful stuff.

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3

Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius

Yes, Marcus Aurelius the emperor. In AD 170 he sat down and wrote a book of small lessons on how to be a better person. Its one of the best works of stoic philosophy, and also one of the best self help books of all time. It’s surprising that even after two thousand years, some truths never change.

Here it is available free.

2

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

This book is a compilation of Tibetan Buddhism exploring topics such as karma, rebirth, the nature of the mind, and finally on how to train your mind through meditation. What really interested me was the focus on death, on how one should just fully accept it and be prepared for it. Also the book is divided up in a very interesting fashion, half is about living and the other half is about dying. If you fear death (who doesn’t?) then you should definitely read this book.

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1

Brave New World

This novel attempted to predict the future, just like “1984” did but a very different and slightly more positive future. A world where sleep learning and psychological manipulation is widespread. Drugs usage is extremely common. A world which is similar to what we are becoming.  This is another book which everyone should read. After you finish this, you should check out Brave New World Revisited which is strictly non-fiction and more up to date about what the world is becoming.

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Honorable MentionsDune, Ishmael and How to win friends and influence people.

MTemuri

MTemuri

Writer/Beautiful Human Being at Listogre.com
Life is like the Shawshank Redemption, but with more tunneling through shit and no freaking redemption.

Also I love historical things, creepy stuff, and videogames.
MTemuri

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  • Richard Mason

    I’ve discovered some really great books from this list. Thanks so much for sharing. Top of the list for me in self help books would have to be Jason Treu’s Social Wealth. The principles and ideas shared on building positive relationships and strong social networks is absolutely priceless. It’s been a total life changer for me in more ways than one. Can’t recommend it highly enough. http://beextraordinary.tv/

  • THORLOKICAC

    WOW. Some solid picks here.

    Aurelius is the greatest philosopher for all things tangible, in my opinion.

    Brave New World, arguably, there is no argument.

    This list is great. One thing though, Paradise Lost is missing.

    • I am glad you liked it! And yes Paradise Lost is one of the most important books out there. I will hopefully add that to another classic book list, when I come around writing it.

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