If you want to do your body good, fill it with healthy food. The same applies to your mind — if you want to do it good, fill it with healthy thoughts. And for the healthiest thoughts, we prescribe these ten books, each of them very different but alike in that they’ll inspire you to make changes in your life that will refresh your mind and spirit. From a memoir by a Holocaust survivor, to one of the most beloved children’s books of all time, to a collection of photographs that tell the stories of the people who give life to the most culturally diverse city in the world, we’re sure there’s at least one book in our collection that you’ll be excited to add to your reading list.
1. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
After her mother dies and her family and marriage falls apart, 22-year-old Cheryl Strayed’s life seemed to be moving in a downward spiral. This book documents her incredible solo hike through 1,000 miles of the Pacific Northwest on which she rediscovers herself and learns to heal in the wake of personal tragedy. (Reese Witherspoon stars in the movie based on this true story!) Buy it here.
2. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
A grumpy, lonely man named Eddie dies on his birthday while trying to save a girl from being crushed by a faulty carnival ride. What he learns in the afterlife will change the way he (and you, the reader) views relationships with others and thinks about the true meaning of a person’s life, no matter how worthless it may seem. Buy it here.
3. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
This book, an international bestseller, follows an Andalusian shepherd boy who dreams of traveling to Egypt and finding treasure there. When he eventually makes the journey, the treasure he finds is not gold or gems, but something even more valuable: a life-changing lesson on how to take advantage of opportunities and pursuing one’s dreams. Buy it here.
4. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
Fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai kept fighting for her right to an education while the Taliban took control of her Pakistani village in 2012 — even after members of the terrorist group shot her in the head for speaking out. This book details her experience, her recovery, and the work the Nobel Peace Prize winner and her family have done across the globe to advocate for education and inspire positive change. Buy it here.
5. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
Yearning for personal freedom, but don’t know how to reach it? This simple and straightforward yet powerful bestseller, based on traditional wisdom of the Toltec culture of ancient Mesoamerica, is the handbook you’ll need to open yourself up to new challenges and potential. Buy it here.
6. Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton
You’ve seen it on Facebook, now pick up a copy of the photography series for your home. This gorgeous book includes lovely portraits of New York’s citizens as well as their stunning, moving, and/or humorous life stories. Buy it here.
7. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl describes the four years he spent in Nazi concentration camps during World War II in this book. Read the astounding story of how he coped wit,h and found meaning in his experiences. The Library of Congress named Frankl’s memoir one of the ten most influential books in the country. Buy it here.
8. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This French classic has been treasured by children and adults alike since it was first published in 1943. Few pieces of literature have depicted the complicated relationship between one’s younger self and one’s older self, in term of creativity and responsibility, as well as this one does. Buy it here.
9. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom
This heart-wrenching memoir recounts the mornings author Mitch Albom spent with his former college professor and mentor, Morrie Schwartz, in the last months of Schwartz’s life. The book’s subtle yet compelling way of illustrating of how one person’s life can leave a lasting impression on others, makes it a must-read. Buy it here.
10. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
When Carnegie Mellon computer science professor Randy Pausch gave a lecture on achieving one’s childhood dreams, knowing it was the last lecture he’d ever give since he was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, he didn’t rehash his regrets. Rather, he talked about life, how to live it, and how to leave a legacy with the time you have. This moving book, which includes a transcript of his lecture, has rendered Pausch immortal since its release. Buy it here.This post was originally published on Unified Soul Theory