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7 Non-Fiction Books That Will Change Your Life

Random House / William Morrow

Books are subjective. While one person might be head over heels in love with one book, someone else might hate it.

However, there are a few reads that we can all collectively agree are one of a kind and have the potential to change lives.

I've curated seven best-selling self-help books that have the power to drastically improve your quality of life as it has done for me and for the millions that read them before you.

These non-fiction books touch on a range of subjects, from habits to happiness, and once you get through them you will be looking at life through a different lens.

1. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

This is one of those books that will actually motivate you to take action as soon as you finish reading it.

Written by Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Charles Duhigg, the book gives the reader an in-depth analysis of the role of habits in our lives.  

New York Public Library

Duhigg puts emphasis on the fact that our brains can’t differentiate between good and bad habits, so it is really important that we know how habits are formed and how they can be changed.

Once we understand how to harness the power of habits, then we can experience growth and literally change our lives.

2. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers is one of Gladwell's most popular and best-selling books and it isn't hard to see why.

In the thought-provoking book, Gladwell argues that success isn't just the product of hard work, there are plenty of other factors, such as timing, opportunity, persistence and even birth date, that play a major role.

Hachette Book Group

He reassures the reader that it isn't the best and brightest who always make it, but rather those who were in the right place at the right time and are aware of an existing opportunity.

He uses the stories of well-known and successful individuals, like Bill Gates, to illustrate his points.

This book quantifies success in a way that changes how you view your life's trajectory and inspires you to work harder.

3. The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking

The Danish word 'Hygge' (pronounced 'hue-guh') doesn't really exist in the English language, and is hard to pronounce, but it is one of the most important secrets to happiness.


In this book, Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, explores the concept of Hygge, which when loosely translated, means "sense of togetherness."

He claims that we are happier when we're with people we love and have a "feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe."

Wiking suggests ways in which we can incorporate Hygge into our lives and along the way we begin to understand why the Danish are always ranked as the happiest people in the world.

4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Steven Covey

This self-help book was first published in 1989 but it is still considered as one of the most influential reads ever.

Covey makes the argument that how we view the world is entirely up to our own perceptions.

So if you want to alter an aspect of your life, you will have to change how you see yourself and the world around you.


"The way we see the problem is the problem," he writes.

This may be easier said than done, so Covey outlines seven habits that you need to adopt in order to create effective personal change, which will then be reflected in other areas of your life.

If you find yourself in need of some personal growth, this book may be just what you need to inspire change.

5. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

How many times have you been told to forget about the past and just focus on the present?

Well, there are actually very good reasons why you should follow that advice, and Eckhart Tolle outlines them in The Power of Now.

According to Tolle, the only way to attain genuine happiness and enlightenment is to live in "the now," instead of dwelling in the past and worrying about what the future holds.


Of course,  we have trouble figuring out when enough is enough because nowadays it's trendy to be busy, and that's why Tolle's philosophy resonated with so many of us.

It helps us better understand how we're getting in the way of our own happiness by placing too much focus on our thoughts and emotions. It also tells us what we can do to fix it.

6. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

In a world where we many people socialize through screens more than they do in-person, Carnegie's How to Win Friends & Influence People is more important than ever.

Published in 1936, the best-seller contains the kind of advice that's similar to the ones you'd get from your parents, but with an extra oomph.


If you're someone who has trouble forging and maintaining relationships, personal or business, this book will certainly help you win more people over.

Carnegie shares six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to sway people to your way of thinking, and nine ways to persuade people to change without coming across as mean, rude, or condescending.

The book has transformed the lives of many influential people, including billionaire Warren Buffet.

7. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Even if her name doesn't immediately ring any bells, you're definitely familiar with Shonda Rhimes's work.

Rhimes is the talented writer and producer behind the hit TV shows Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, How To Get Away With Murder, Scandal, and many more.

In her memoir, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person, Rhimes chronicled how only saying "yes" for a year altered her life, and how it can do the same for you.

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Rhimes, an introvert with a debilitating social anxiety, had a habit of saying "no" to almost anything that required her to interact and socialize with other people, including media appearances, industry parties, and speaking gigs. She would simply chalk it up to being busy.

By saying "yes," she was able to land a book deal, appear on multiple magazine covers, share a box with then-President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle.

Rhimes says you too can reach new heights by opening yourself up to new opportunities, loving yourself, and understanding that you're worthy of yes.

Have you read any of these titles? Let us know!

For more inspirational books, check out:

12 Books That Will Make You Happier

13 Inspirational Books To Read During A Big Life Transition

10 Empowering Books Every Woman Should Read

5 Books Every Christian Must Read In Their Lifetime

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.