Top 8 Nonfiction Books with The Best Life Advice, Incredible Stories & Powerful lessons
Sometimes the lessons or guidance we need in life aren’t always focused on a specific area — be it business or personal. Sometimes we don’t always know what we’re missing either until it slaps us in the face. And sometimes just reading a good book with a simple moral weaved into its story is enough to strike a cord in us and show us a different way of living or thinking. All of these reasons are why I love these eight books below that all have the best life advice. Not looking for someone else’s two cents? That’s cool — these book all are filled with powerful, moving stories that will peak your interest in some way or another. Check out the list below to see what value you can pull from these top reads.
“Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek
If you haven’t heard the TEDx Talk by Simon Sinek “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” go ahead and watch it now. This talk and his book has the best life advice for both overall life and any personal goals you might have, whether it’s business related or not. And just to be clear, this book is not just for industry leaders. This book is for anyone who wishes to live a more fulfilled happier life. Although yes, it also will insanely transform leaders into powerful influences if that’s your goal.
I was first introduced to this book in college in one of my ROTC classes. Back then, I hadn’t seen its value (or paid attention much when our class watched the TEDx Talk). Fast forward to five years later when my business leadership group had me watch the same video and read the book… Its message was seriously life-changing and came at a time when I needed it most.
Knowing your purpose in life is what will keep you going even in the most challenging times when obstacles get in your way. For this exact reason, not knowing your purpose in life is exactly why so many people find themselves living a mundane life they aren’t happy with and accept that feeling as “normal” or something they just have to learn to live with. Well hun, if my blog teaches you anything, it’s that we’re on this earth to live our absolute best lives and enjoy the ride all the way through! So don’t wait on this one. Grab this book ASAP. You’ll quickly find yourself enwrapped in the fascinating stories in each chapter and pulling lessons you can apply to figure out your why.
“The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success” by Darren Hardy
I absolutely love this book and refer back to it always. And not just the book itself, but also by listening to Darren Hardy’s podcast Darren Daily On-Demand. It seriously has the best life advice you will get nowhere else. I start just about every morning with this motivational success podcast, but I will warn you of something… Darren Hardy — who is naturally the CEO of Success Magazine — is like, insanely productive, intense, and brutally honest. But I mean he does have a paid course called the Insane Productivity program so he kind of has to be.
The Pushy Father Figure You Never Knew you Needed
That being said, if you listen to the podcast, you’ll find golden nuggets in just about every episode. BUT if some of his advice is a little too much for you, don’t feel forced to take it. I am someone who strives to be both productive and happy and believes strongly in the “Work Hard, Play Hard” motto. That basically means while I have many goals I am aiming to achieve constantly, one of those goals is to maintain my sanity and relationships.
So obviously, be the judge of what advice is the right amount for you and your life goals. Darren is pushy, but it’s only because he has our absolute best interest in mind. But sorry (not sorry) Darren — I can only be so productive without losing my mind! Even still, Darren has been uber successful from his habits while maintaining a family, so kudos.
Some of my own Best Life Advice, The Ugly Truth
On another hand, if you’re easily offended, you may not be able to handle Darren altogether because, again, he is so honest and has no problem speaking his mind. But here’s some advice if this does already bother you hearing this… Stop being one of those people who are so easily offended by everything. This world could use a lot less of that right now. I mean, what even is the point? Allowing someone else’s actions to offend you or rock your boat in turn gives them control over your life. Be in control of your own life and emotions, hun…
A Book That Everyone On Earth Needs to Read
Regardless of those above points, his book is fantastic and everyone needs to read it. Why? Simply due to the fact that the compound effect literally affects everything we do in life. It’s the magnum opus of the best life advice. If you haven’t already realized that every decision you make — or don’t make — impacts your entire life and future, then you need this book. Whether you’re starting a new gym/health routine, or you’re learning to play an instrument, or you’re working on your craft as a creator or business owner… No matter what, this book will break down how your habits impact all areas in life and how you can use them to take control and reach your goals. And even better, he offers the book for FREE on his website (minus shipping). So really, there’s no excuse here but to get this book (and gift it many times over)!
“The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers” by Alex Banayan
This was such a great book that my good friend and business partner gifted me! The story itself so intriguing and super easy to get through. I probably read it over two flights during a business trip to a conference (and no, I swear I didn’t skim it, it was just that interesting). And the lessons are incredibly relatable for someone my age who’s only been out of college for a few years. For all you young folks just starting this rollercoaster called “post-college life” … This is some of the best life advice you need to hear.
Learning from The Greatest Minds
The book tells the story of Alex, a college student whose family had his life and career path planned out. He begins to question his true path in life and goes on a journey of self discovery. This journey includes attempting to interview some of the most successful people in the world. Like Bill Gates — who he actually does get an interview with — and Warren Buffet. To fund this expensive trip that will require lots of traveling, Alex gets creative and ends up getting himself onto the game show The Price is Right. He goes on to win a boat on the show, which he sells to get the money to fund his trip. It’s quite interesting the lengths people will go to when they’re passionate about something. And for Alex, he just wanted to get the best life advice from top leaders in order to discover his own life purpose.
The Best Life Advice You’ll Get from Nowhere Else
The biggest lesson at the end of his book is powerful. Often there is another path (a third door) that we often don’t see at first as an option to get around obstacles in our way. But when we look hard enough and get creative, we find that path, and it is often one we never expected that ends up being even better. If that isn’t enough to read the book, check it out just for the fascinating stories about all the famous people he ends up meeting, like Lady Gaga!
“Party Girl” by Anna B. David
This book is a creative nonfiction memoir written by my author mentor, New York Times bestselling author Anna David! She is an incredible woman who I just happened to win over as my mentor when publishing my first book due to my genuine gratitude for her podcast “Entrepreneur Publishing Academy with Anna David” (formerly called “Launch Your Book with Anna David”). Anna was the first bestselling author I had ever heard talk about the truth behind traditional publishing after going that route. She spoke on why so many people nowadays are leaning towards hybrid and self publishing to keep the rights to their book and launch it better than a traditional publisher ever will — unless you’re the 1% of books who they decide to care about because they think you’ll make them a lot of money. Because of her decision to educate writers, authors, and entrepreneurs on this reality, I was able to breathe easy, knowing that I had landed an incredible hybrid publisher called New Degree Press instead of one of the many traditional publishers I had submitted to who would have owned the rights to my book. But enough backstory…
Get Ready for a Harsh Reality, Fellow Party Girls
Party Girl is one of my favorite stories because it shows the reality of living in Hollywood. What it’s actually like aspiring to be one of the starving artists desperate to break into the industry… Or people who do become celebrities and end up falling into the shallow trap of partying and doing drugs. Of course the shiny Hollywood lights, movie star glamour, and sexy lifestyle were all things that once appealed to me in a past life.
A Small Town Girl’s Hollywood Dream
Back when, I was hoping to attend the graduate film program at UCLA or Chapman to become a director and screenwriter. But then of course I miserably effed up my UCLA interview senior year of college… This was something I quickly realized was probably a really positive occurrence. Living in California with no job could have quickly turned into me being that starving artist. You know — the one with four waitress jobs living in a one bedroom condo with six roommates, addicted to meth because coke is too expensive. Maybe I’m being dramatic, but like, it could happen. And this book opened my eyes to that reality — that it sometimes and often times does happen to those who get sucked into that scene.
The Best Party Life? Maybe Party Less After College.
Anna’s story — drawn out through her fictional character Amelia — about ending up in rehab for a cocaine addiction was riveting. After rehab, she lands an insane job as the writer of a column called “Party Girl.” This is because of how insanely fun her former life seemed to people on the outside, who still believe she really is that crazy party girl (even though she’s supposed to now be sober). It’s this ending that hits me more than any other part, but you’ll just have to read it to find out why! The life lessons throughout the book are endless, though written with so much humor and emotion that it’s hard to put down.
“For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality” by Lonnie Barbach
This is a book I strongly believe every woman needs to read, especially while they’re young. I heard about this book on one of my favorite podcasts Sex with Emily by Dr. Emily Morse, who happens to be a good friend of Anna David and how I first discovered her. First off, know that this book is not just telling women to be more sexual. Its goal — and some of the best life advice for all women — is to help them understand their own bodies. This a concept that should actually be quite normal but isn’t taught or talked about nearly enough. Too often women grow up shamed for wanting or having sex or even just for expressing themselves sexually. Often this kind of shame starts with previous generations teaching their daughters to think this way. While obviously I can understand the very normal parental concern of avoiding teenage pregnancy, sex is a very normal human experience that is actually a positive one. And there are simply too many forms of contraception nowadays to think that teaching abstinence and shaming sex is an option.
Okay, ladies — Let’s Get Real.
It is time to end the negative stereotypes and for women to start embracing their sexuality and overall human-ness (because that’s what it is). And I’m not telling you to go out there and sleep with any and everyone. But I am telling you if that’s what you want to do, then do you girlfriend. Although I highly recommend learning to understand and respect your body and emotions well enough first so that you’re not regretting any sexual experiences, and can feel empowered instead. Get yourself this book and please, please, please ladies, pass this along to a friend. And for my self-proclaimed sex-perts out there, just know that this book can still teach you something. After all, having lots of sex doesn’t always make you an expert! Trust me.
“The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumphs” by Ryan Holiday
This is another genius book by Ryan Holiday that I love. (I also talked about his book Perennial Seller in my blog “Top 4 Nonfiction Business Books For Young Entrepreneurs.”) Like the title states, this one is all about facing obstacles in our lives, something we all come across at one time or another. Instead of being held down by these obstacles, we must simply find creative ways to go through them, if not around. Powerful success stories fill this book. Dating all the way back to Ancient Greece’s Stoic philosophers, it explains the timeless art of battling obstacles.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re facing everyday life problems, business problems, or even huge life altering obstacles… You know, those core-shaking occurrences that typically come completely unexpected and might spark a lot of uncontrollable emotion. This book has the best life advice that will help you learn to face any feat.
“Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game” by Joseph Parent
My dad first introduced me to this book when I first joined the varsity golf team in high school. You don’t have to be an avid golfer like I am to appreciate the lessons in this book though. All of the advice in this book apply to mastering your mind, something that can and absolutely should be applied to everyday life. I remember my high school golf coach telling me I was one of the most cool, calm, and collected golfers she had ever coached, which are incredibly useful and powerful traits to have if you’ve ever played golf. I credit those learned habits a lot to the lessons in this book (although my adverse attitude towards competition probably played a big role too LOL).
Also, if you don’t already play golf, what are you waiting for? Golf makes you a better person for the same reasons that this book will make you a better person. It will teach you patience and how to settle and focus your mind. Plus it’ll also make you a better businessperson too — hello golf course business meetings!
“How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else” by Michael Gates Gill
A little humility goes a long way in this world, and that’s exactly what you’ll learn in this book. It’s bout a man who has it all until one day when he gets divorced and also diagnosed with a brain tumor is wiped out financially. This brings him to work as a barista at Starbucks, an empire started by the infamous Howard Schultz who really was a genius and incredible person. While I don’t wish this type of misfortune upon anyone, sometimes life has a way of teaching people lessons and humbling them when they need it most. This is an emotionally driven story that will touch you and also lift you up at the same time.
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Interested in more business-related books? Head over to my blog “Four of the Best Books For Entrepreneurs.” Does spirituality peak an interest of yours instead? Check out my blog on “Top 5 Books on Spirituality with Powerful Affirmations.”
What are some other books you’ve read that have powerful life lessons? Drop them in the comments below and let us know!