Here is a collection of books that will change your life. I have divided them up into three sections: books that will change your perspective, books that will help you build a business, and books that will help you understand education.

Books are like teachers, most simply provide information, while the best ones inspire you to discover information for yourself. That is my hope for the books on this list. I hope that they light a spark. I hope they force you to ask questions. I hope they make you as thirsty for knowledge about entrepreneurship, education and life as they did for me.

If these books are not worth every second of your time I’ll buy you a beer.

A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink

All through high school I hated books. I couldn’t understand the fascination some had with them. I didn’t care about the story if it provided no useful knowledge. Then in my freshmen year of college I happened upon this book, A Whole New Mind. Pink’s book walks through the paradigm shift we are about to take. You will be obsolete in the next decade if: someone in India can do it cheaper, a robot can do it faster, or if you can’t provide a unique value. The good news is that it is not too late. Pink lays out six traits that will be vital for individuals relevancy in the second half of this decade. After reading this book I realized everything I know is wrong

This is the perfect book for those that are ready for a change of pace, or looking for somewhere thought provoking to begin.

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

No theory has changed my world more than Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle. It is a simple, yet profound take on how to inspire. His TED talk on how leaders inspire action is one of the all-time most viewed videos on TED. If you want to hear more about the Golden Circle  it is worth the 20 minutes.

Start With Why expands on his speech and gives more examples. It is a perfect follow up if you just read A Whole New Mind.

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl was a psychologist and survivor of four Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. He recalls the tragic events of the Holocaust and vividly portrays life in camp from a psychological perspective.  A terrifying and fascinating read, Frankl discusses how man is able to find meaning amid suffering.

I have yet to read a book with as much meaning packed into so few pages.

The Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

The Four Hour Work Week is perhaps the best book for those looking for a taste of entrepreneurship. It is entertaining and enlightening. If you want to start a business this weekend, this is the book to read. Although released in 2007 all of his marketing techniques are still relevant.

Beyond being a fantastic writer, Tim Ferris is a Thai Kickboxing Champion, Tango extraordinaire and speaks eight languages (well maybe six).

Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank

This is the Holy Bible of entrepreneurship. If you have been taking classes about putting a business plan together throw those books out the window. Models of entrepreneurship more than 30-years-old are no longer relevant. If your entrepreneurship teacher hasn’t heard of Lean Startup suggest they read this book. It won’t be entertaining as Four Hour Workweek, but you won’t find another guide that will tell you exactly what to say to your first customers.

I have yet to read a more important book in the realm of starting a business. If you are a student, go to Steve Blank’s website to purchase the book for half price. If you aren’t a student at $40 this book is still a huge bargain. This is what I read instead of going to my Organizational Behavior classes.

The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg

Ellsberg interviews some of America’s most successful people about how they achieved success. Whats the single common denominator? None of them graduated from college. Ellsberg offers enlightening interviews that suggest the biggest thing you won’t learn in college is how to succeed professionally.

Can 35 millionaires and 4 billionaires really be wrong?

Dumbing us Down & Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto

A three time New York City teacher of the year, John Taylor Gatto believes that the current school system is designed to make children intellectually and emotionally. People are naturally interested to learn as much as they can about the world around them. School people into poorly lit rooms for eight hours.

A book for those that have a hunch that something about our educational system is wrong.

Some links on this page have referral tags. 8 Books That Will Change Your Life is from the archives.

Posted by:Sam Solomon

I'm a designer, writer and tinkerer. I currently lead workflow and design systems at Salesloft.