As an English major I have devoted the majority of my life to reading everything I could possibly get my hands on. I remember sneaking out from my bedroom as a child after my bedtime and reading by the light that was streaming through the window in the hall. This sneaky adventure only lasted a few minutes until my parents found me and sent me back to bed. It was a nightly occurrence that ended in tears as I longed to find out how my favorite protagonist was going to get out of the grave dilemma. Nevertheless, my love affair with books has never ended.
Like all good relationships my relationship with books has developed and changed throughout the years, molding me into new shapes. Saint biographies, papal encyclicals, spiritual motivation books, and Catholic online articles guided me through my conversion as I readily devoured every bit of knowledge I could get my hands on.
Following are 10 nonfiction books that have deeply altered my perception of the world and myself. Some of these books are self-help, some of them are psychological, some of them are historical, or business oriented but all of them are useful for the discerning Christian woman.
In a world with so much clutter and noise, it’s important to keep our mind free to think and feel. In this way we can better serve God and His Will.
10 Secular Books to Super-Charge Your Life
1. The Road Less Traveled by Dr. Scott Peck (1978)
The Road Less Traveled, written by Dr. Scott Peck is a psychological view on spirituality and it’s benefits towards the human person. I highly recommend it because of its straight forward information. It also gives a necessary perspective on the importance of religion and spirituality to our psychological well-being.
2. The Republic by Plato (380 BC)
If you are looking for a book that will help cement your understanding of philosophy and society, this is it. Plato’s Republicis a cornerstone text that enables us to understand our world and what makes it the way it is. We can learn so much about our world by diving into this book that’s still relevant more than 2000 years later.
3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo (2014)
The environment in which we live often demonstrates a direct correlational to our emotional health. In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo goes over the importance of surrounding ourselves with things that are beautiful and create joy in our lives. It’s an easy introduction to minimalism and changes our perspectives about our material world. Check it out!
4. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl (1946)
This book suggestion came from a Carmelite Sister while on retreat. Boy, am I glad I took her up on the suggestion (Life pro-tip: Never doubt a book recommendation from a Religious Sister). Without a doubt, this book changed my life. Victor Frankel was a world renowned psychotherapist who went through the horrors of Auschwitz during World War II. In this book he goes over how the human spirit is capable of conquering even the depravity of a concentration camp. With his knowledge he was able to retain his inner strength even during such a harrowing time. Man’s Search for Meaningis not to be missed.
5. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck (2006)
Do you have a fixed mindset a growth mindset? The basic premise of this book revolves around our mindsets and how that helps or hinders us in our life. Oftentimes, people in a “fixed mindset” are afraid to mess up, hindering their ability to grow. In a “growth mindset”, we are more willing to learn from our mistakes. I recommend this book for anyone who has ever felt stuck.
6. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell (2008)
Outlierstells the stories of people who have been profoundly successful. Reading this book will help you put success and motivation in its proper context. Malcolm Gladwell is easily able to make difficult concepts interesting. By reading this book you can learn how people are able to create a successful life.
7. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferris (2016)
Tim Ferriss is widely regarded as the “Oprah of the Online World”, his podcasts regularly reach over 150 million people and his books have received numerous accolades. Tools of Titans is a compendium of all of the people he’s interviewed in his time as a podcaster. Tools of Titansis regularly one of the top of the best-selling nonfiction books on Amazon. If you like reading other people’s success stories and struggles then this book is for you.
8. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (2008)
When Dr. Randy Pausch discovered that he had terminal cancer he knew that he wanted to leave something behind for his family. The Last Lectureis the last college lecture that Dr. Pausch made. This book is inspirational and heartfelt. There are so many moments that will touch your heart and leave tears in your eyes.
9. As A Man Thinketh by James Allen (1903)
As A Man Thinkethis the grandfather of all self-help books. This incredibly short book, 30 pages, is packed with great insight and can easily be read over and over again. James Allen goes over the importance of focusing our thoughts to create the life that you want. Saint Paul reminds us in scripture that we must constantly be thinking about holiness and raising our thoughts to God. This books gives great advice on how to do just that.
10. Lean In by Cheryl Sandberg (2013)
As the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Cheryl Sandberg has her hands full. This book is a guide for all woman who want to have a successful career. In the book, she discusses the pressures of women in the workplace, the difficulties of maintain a work life balance and how to be a good mother when the world keeps pulling you in multiple directions. Whether, you’re a stay at home mom or full-time career woman, I believe this book is important for any woman.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (Self-help/Life Advice)
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter (Financial Advice)
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (Financial Advice)
- Night by Elie Wiesel (Auschwitz/Holocaust)
- The Power of Imperfection by Brenè Brown (Self-Help/Psychology)
What do you think? Do you have any books that I missed or ones you would recommend? Let me know! I always love good book recommendations.