Some books help you relax at the beach. Others teach you something specific you need to know for your career or hobby. But some books do something much more profound than entertain or teach -- they open your mind to whole new ways of seeing the world, shifting fundamentally the way you approach your work and life.
Powerful but rare, these deeply thought-provoking reading experiences can radically change your life. How do you discover them?
One approach is to ask fellow entrepreneurs about the reads that have most impacted them. Many have helpfully shared their most life-changing reads in blog posts and interviews. Here's a roundup of recommendations.
1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki
This personal finance classic made an appearance in several blog posts and lists. "Kiyosaki successfully convinced me that I didn't need to live my life with a salary ceiling over my head," wrote soldier-turned-entrepreneur Ian Folau on his blog. "After searching my life and surroundings, I found a money opportunity in the lack of housing supply for my classmates at our next training post, Fort Huachuca. I bought a house within two weeks with a zero-down loan and was set on making my first business."
This book tops investor Brandon Turner's list of books that changed his life as well. He also notes that it's "hands down the most popular book recommended by guests on The BiggerPockets podcast that I co-host each week." Buy it here.
2. The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries
If you have startup dreams, several experienced founders insist you need to read this book. "In many ways, Eric Ries and The Lean Startup deserve a lot of the credit for where I am today," writes Buffer co-founder Joel Gascoigne. It's "an incredible handbook for anyone who wants to get their startup off to the very best start possible. It helped me to take Buffer from idea to paying customers in seven weeks."
"The Lean Startup changed everything for me," agrees Turner, claiming the book got him "excited about building a business that mattered, not just a business that made some money." Seed Sumo's Steve Tinkle calls it, "a foundational book for anyone who wants to build a business."
3. The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
"I never knew habits play such an important role in shaping our future until I read this book. It simply says, you are what your habits are, and also suggests the proven techniques to generate new habits that alter our lifestyle and eventually our life. A must read for everyone to understand the intricacies of the habit," writes entrepreneur Kamal Sucharan Burri, recommending The Power of Habit.
4. Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown
Changing your life isn't just about getting your finances and your business in order; it's also about getting your psychology right. This book by researcher and all-around inspirational character Brené Brown can help, according to TV host and matchmaker Paul C. Brunson. " This book explains the importance of embracing imperfection, conquering our fears of being vulnerable and mustering the courage to live wholeheartedly," he explains. You can also get a quick taste of Brown's life-changing thinking here on Inc.com.
5. The Seat of the Soul, by Gary Zukav
Or why not take a recommendation from one of the most inspiring and successful entrepreneurs around -- Oprah Winfrey? In a recent interview she claimed that Gary Zukav's The Seat of the Soul changed her life. "The number one principle that rules my life is intention, and I probably discovered that around 1989, after reading Gary Zukav's book," she said.
"After reading Gary's books, I literally had a big meeting with all my producers, and I said, 'We're now going to be an intentional television show.' "And they were like, 'What is that?' 'We're only going to do shows that come from a motivation that we're going to show people the best in themselves," she added, further explaining the deep impact of the self-help classic on her approach to her life and work.