Learn from the mistakes of those who came before you.
When it comes to reading non-fiction, my favorite picks are memoirs. There’s power in learning from somebody else’s first-hand experiences.
First of all, you can connect with the writer. Their stories come from the deepest corners of their soul. Secondly, because memoirs are written with candor, reading about these experiences feels like having a conversation with the writer
And what can be more valuable than the lessons from somebody who’s committed terrible mistakes and is now warning others to not do the same?
This post is a collection of three memoirs written by people who led offbeat lives. They changed the way I think and they can have that impact on you as well. When you’re feeling a little low on inspiration, you can pick up one of these books. Trust me, you won't feel the same after you’re done.
(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)
1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
At 30, Elizabeth Gilbert faces a crushing personal failure that sends her life into turmoil. To heal from the trauma, she takes a one-year-long journey to discover the peace that she so craved. And so, she travels to Italy, India, and Indonesia in the search of that ever-elusive balance.
In Italy, she learns to love herself again by indulging in the pleasures the country has to offer. She eats the best pizzas, talks to gorgeous men on the streets, and lives life like a tourist moving from one Italian town to the next. This experience teaches her how liberating simple acts of self-care can be, and how important self-love is for any person to function.
Next, she moves to India where she lives in an ashram practicing Yoga and meditation. She leads a simple life, eats only vegetarian meals, and learns what it means to have a connection with the divinity around and inside herself. She makes peace with herself — something the pursuit of hedonistic pleasures didn’t quite give her.
Then, she travels to Indonesia where she learns to find a balance between pleasure and piety. She learns how she can live a fulfilled life without losing connection with her innermost self.
This book might sound like a travel memoir, but it has so many passages, which felt like they were written for me, even though I have nothing in common with Gilbert’s life.
I recommend this book to any person who’s struggling to find some meaning in life.
When you read it, you’ll feel like you are on the journey with Elizabeth Gilbert around the world. The way she talks about her adventures will make you feel like you are living vicariously through her words. This journey is not just a journey through three countries. Rather, it’s a journey of finding yourself by getting lost in somebody else’s words.
I don’t speak so highly of every book, but when I do, know that it’s truly worthy of such high praise. Eat, Pray, Love is a book every person should read at least once, no matter what stage of life they’re currently at.
2. Will by Will Smith
Will Smith is one of the most successful actors, not just in Hollywood, but around the world. This memoir chronicles his story of how he grew up in a poor neighborhood with an abusive father and all the steps he took on his journey to become one of the most widely known faces in the world.
Will is not simply a rags-to-riches fairytale, but it’s a story of grit, determination, and the undying optimism of a single person who dared to dream bigger than anyone gave him permission. Smith’s story will make you cry. It will make your heart beat faster as you root for the author to survive his struggles.
I recommend this book to any person who feels that life is terribly wrong.
Sometimes, we get so lost in our own struggles that we lose sight of what the bigger picture is. We forget our own potential and get lost in the small problems of day-to-day life.
Reading Will will make you realize how untrue you are being to your true potential. It will give you the push to pursue your dreams with renewed vigor. It will make sure that you don’t give up on your dreams, no matter how badly you want to.
Will is a lesson in perseverance and grit. It’s a much-needed reminder in today’s world to never give up, no matter how badly the odds seem to be stacked against you.
3. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
James Frey is an addict who spent a long time in rehab, trying to get over his terrible substance addiction. Written in a unique fashion that sometimes read like poetry, this book is a poignant examination of the human psyche.
On the surface, it’s the story of an addict’s recovery. But when you look beyond the obvious, it’s also the story of the strength of the human will. It’s a testimony to how resilient humans can be. It’s a reminder that no matter how badly your life seems to be screwed up currently, you can always rebuild it.
And once you do, the book will equip you with the right tools so you can hold onto your newfound glory and not sink back into the abyss of whatever led you down that path of self-destruction.
I recommend this book to every person who knows they deserve better but are currently stuck in a loop of procrastination and mediocrity.
This book can be a wake-up call that your life isn’t defined by your failures. Yes, currently, you might be a living embodiment of everything you hated in your childhood. But if you wish to, you can still turn your life around. This book is a powerful ode to the miraculous results perseverance can bring about.
It’s not an easy read. But it’s one of the few books in the world that’s definitely worth all the effort you put into it while reading.
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