(There are a lot more but these are the ones that come to mind! They are not in any particular order.)
Asking the right questions by M. Neil Browne
Critical thinking: I read this book in 2017. It forced me to see my assumption and hindsights in having great discussions or contributing to significant dialogues. I also learned about fallacies and how not to be easily swindled with other peoples words.
Marital Advise to My Grandson, Joel by Peter Davidson
Marriage: This book is partially a memoir with humorous ways to keep a lasting marriage and as the author describes - "how to be a husband your wife won't throw out of the window in the middle of the night." It is engaging and simple.
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Finance: Dave Ramsey broke down wealth and ownership into simple steps that if you pay attention and take action, it no longer seems unattainable. This book isn't only about finance but mind-set change.
Knots by R.D. Liang
Poetry: For some reason, this was one of the first poetry books I read that made something click inside my head. The book is old and I knew about it though a Psychology professor - Rafael Mendez that simplified life and navigating adulthood into 4Ps play, pretend, perform, and philosophize. R.D. Laing's book did that masterfully.
The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion
Grief: There are several books I could recommend about grief and loss. I read this much later after recovering from two years of losses close to me and I felt seen. When I came to a place of accepting that I wouldn't know all the answers to my questions about life, I wanted to read a book that reflected a person who passed through grief madly and also gracefully. Joan Didion's memoir is one I'll cherish.
Touching the Rock by John Hull
Disabilities: Too many times, I have heard this question, “If you knew today would be your last, what would you spend it doing?” So, when Hull wrote about how he read with a magnifying glass in the final days of his sight, I couldn’t help but think, “If I knew today would be the last with my sight, what would I use it to experience?” At first, I thought it would be to see my loved ones, but the series of thought-provoking experiences he shared left me undecided. I could barely contain my thoughts from trying to choose between seeing my face while touching it to remembering its details, reading my favorite book, walking down the street to hoard the memory of my way back home, and looking at my house to remember where things are, and more. It was ironic and equally wonderful to experience a blind man show people a unique perspective to life through his own loss.
Man in Search of Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Meaning of Life: Many people have been at that point where they just ask themselves - what's the point of life? Why should I wake up and try when I could just choose to fight? What makes a person like Viktor who experienced the horrors of concentration camps desire to live and see another day? This book may not answer all your questions about why life is worth fighting for. However, when you read the experience of someone who has been through one of the most dehumanizing life-experiences that will make you wonder where God is, still seek life and desire some spirituality, you will have a different mindset about your own circumstances.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Supporting others with life-ending diagnosis: I read this book when one of my mentors had to nurse her only daughter who was my age mate to death. If you want to look at another relatable example, think Chadwick Boseman at the peak of his career. Experiences like these make you question God and why bad things happen at the wrong time to good people. Paul Kalanithi was almost at the height of his career finishing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. This book talks about how with the support of his wife and community, he transitioned. It also allows you to learn the value of life beyond work and the pursuit of money.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Attaining Success: If you think your success in life is based on your hard work, this book will make you think twice. Ecclesiastes 9:11 ESV says, "Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all." Malcolm Gladwell analyzes several factors within or outside our control that lead to success. If you enjoy this book, I'll recommend David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell; also, The Tipping Point.
The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
Power: It is funny because I will quote Jordan Peterson here. "You should be a monster. Everyone says, 'Well, you should be harmless, virtuous, you shouldn’t do anyone any harm, you should sheath your competitive instinct. You shouldn’t try to win. You don’t want to be too aggressive. You don’t want to be too assertive.' No. Wrong. You should be a monster, an absolute monster, and then you should learn how to control it. It’s better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.” This book reveals the power tactics used to control relationships and who it benefits. While I will hope the fear of God in anyone would make them act right and not use the information maliciously against others, I opens your eyes to see that the world is not all milk and honey. It is a capitalist pot that everyone is trying to get a share from.