We always struggle with finding time for things (especially the luxury of time for reading) outside of work and family. However, what if I told you that these books could shape your life, in numerous unimaginable ways? These tiny bunches of paper can give you a different way to look at the world and for this reason alone they are well worth your time investment. So, here are 5 books you need to read at least once whilst you're alive.
1.Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
This is a diary of the last great emperor of Rome, written during his military campaign against present-day Germany. Hailed as one of the cornerstone pieces of Stoic philosophy this book is a collection of bullet point style recommendations on how to live a morally just life. Last but not least it was written by the most powerful man in the world at that time.
2. Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L'Amore
This is an autobiography following L'Amore from impoverished beginnings with little formal education as he goes through life taking up various jobs. We learn about his journey as a boxing prize fighter to a deckhand in south-east Asia, to an army officer in WW2. Quite simply through self-discipline and a ferocious appetite for reading L'Amore was able to become Americas most prolific Western genre author. A truly inspiring read.
3. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
*disclaimer - this book is some 900 pages, however, even the first few chapters are worth your time investment if you can't commit for the whole thing.
This book artfully depicts the spectrum of human emotions, allowing you to self-develop through the progression of the main character. This book follows an escaped convicts flight to Bombay India, where this Western man is pushed to the bottom of the Indian class system to later become a "slum-doctor". This book invites you to explore the hard choices that come with love, loyalty and the pursuit of personal growth.
4. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
This brilliant book by Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman is a fascinating account of all the incredible behavioral economics research he has done over the years. This book explains how our psychology affects our decisions – and explains how our thinking is divided into two systems: one fast and one slow. The fast thought process is governed by our hardwired instincts and includes things such as emotions, pulls from our evolutionary past and shows us to be an unconscious irrational animal, at best. The slow thought process is governed by purpose and logic, but can easily be distracted and takes a lot of effort. Both play a large role in our lives and Kahneman explores in laymen's terms how these two thought processes shape our reality. It is a truly fascinating and mindblowing read.
5. Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa
This is the dramatic retelling of the life and story of Miyamoto Musashi, Japan's greatest swordsman. Set in feudal Japan, it chronicles his life and training, notable for the more than 50 duels he fought with other samurai, each time emerging victorious. It showcases the hardships and sacrifices one must overcome when fully committed to perfecting their craft, be it sword fighting or scholarly pursuits. It is a captivating tale which provides a glimpse into the philosophy of Bushido and the Japanese martial spirit, an excellent choice for anyone on the path to get a little better each and every day.