The Inspirational Books List

These inspirational books are for go-getters and un-conventionalists, for people who want to set their lives on fire and delve into a totally-fufilled, passionate life. Okay, so maybe I over-promised on that one, but these books should help you take the first step. Not really self-help books, but nearly guaranteed to help you, help yourself do what you want to do, break the boring mold, go for your goals, and be the passionate being you were meant to be.


1. The Great Work of Your Life – Stephen Cope

My mom gave me this book. I think maybe it was a “It’s time for you to figure out what you’re doing with your life and do it already” hint. It didn’t really work (I still don’t know what my “great work” is), but that’s not the point. This book is basically the wisest of wisdoms from the The Bhagavad Gita (Easwaran’s Classics of Indian Spirituality) mixed with biographies of people who found what they were meant to do and did it. Did it good and hard.

The book includes many anecdotes and examples about people we all know who have obviously found their calling. One of my favorite bits was about Jane Goodall’s childhood. She wanted to know where eggs came from, so she disappeared for hours to patiently wait for the family chickens to do their thing. Once she learns the answer, she ran inside glowing from the incredible discovery she had made. This patience and intense curiosity about animals foreshadowed her great work with primates.

“Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved.” – Jane Goodall

Get The Great Work of your Life, here:


2. Vagabonding – Rolf Potts

Why did I read this book? Well, it’s the life I wanna lead, duh. But seriously, a family friend gave this to me before my first Central American adventure and I thought it was a great book. It really helped me feel good about heading off solo into the unknown. It was the reason I brought ear plugs to Guatemala.

Why did I read it a second time? ‘Cause a normally supportive human who is very close to me recently told me there was something wrong with me. I’ve been “home” for three weeks from Alaska, I’m just about rested up, and I told him I was planning my next adventure. He said I had issues. I traveled because I didn’t like to be close to people and / or that I was running away from something (uh, yeah. Monotony, boredom, and in this particular case, cold weather).

I was super upset that so few friends and pretty much no one in my family really GET me. I’ve never met Rolf, but after reading his book, I know without a doubt, that he is one of my people.

That’s why I read this book a second time. To comfort my bruised soul. To feel connected to others like me. To make sure my unconventional life isn’t smothered by naysayers.

Get Vagabonding, here:


3. The Happiness of Pursuit Chris Guillebeau

I don’t remember why I first picked up this book, and I’m glad I did. I mentioned its effect on me briefly in this article, but to quote myself:

“It is about setting goals, but it is also about passion: about how setting and achieving goals gives us purpose and meaning. And direction. It’s hard to decide where you want to go without direction.”

…And I’m pretty indecisive in general, so this was good for me.

And while the book is about setting audacious goals in general, the author’s particular goal was visiting every country in the world, so it makes for a great travel read. It’s what inspired me to go from wandering around the US, road tripping aimlessly, to a full fledge mission to visit all 50 states. And while I still believe in quality over quantity when it comes to travel, I am glad that I conquered the US, and I don’t think I ever would have really GONE FOR IT if it weren’t for the words in this book.

Get The Happiness of Pursuit, here:


If these inspirational books don’t light an aspirational fire under your ass, I don’t know what will.

Read them.

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