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Must Reads for Living Your Life on Purpose

Books that have positively influenced my life and that I think will benefit yours, too. 

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Greg McKeown

Life is short. You won’t get much traction if you are spread thin and expending your energy in a million directions. Focus and excel. Don’t waste time with things in your life that aren’t important. It’s either a 100% Yes! or a it’s a No.

The Greatest Salesman in the World

Og Mandino

Don’t know how to harness the power of positive affirmations? Read this. I use some of the affirmations provided in this book word for word and other times I use them as guidelines to make my own. The inner story of the book reminds us that the greater reason we strive for excellence in all we do is to glorify and honor Him.

Gandhi The Man: The Story of His Transformation

Eknath Easwaran

This is a very doable biography of Gandhi’s life that highlights how he became the man he is. More than getting to know Gandhi, you get to know the principles of truth and light that guided his life. A study of Gandhi will make you a better human.

CS Lewis

Anything written by this man was touched by the gods. Brilliant. I recommend starting with Mere Christianity but if you’re more into fiction, the Narnia series are a must read and not just for children.

Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict

The Arbinger Institute

Told in narrative form, this book dissects what peace is and why we experience both intra- and interpersonal conflict. The secret to inner and relational peace? Being true to the divinity that is inherently in you. Get the audio book to better enjoy the dialogue among the characters.

The Great Work of Your Life

Stephen Cope

Cope breaks down a core message of the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Indian text, to illustrate that we all can find our true calling by following the Gita’s precepts. He uses examples of modern heroes who portray these principles—think Beethoven, Thoreau, Tubman. You’ll come away with a greater understanding of how you can fulfill your God-given mission whatever your personal circumstances may be.

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

So often, things do not go as planned. This book walks you through strategies on adjusting to the unexpected and how to find growth and healing in result. Semi-biographical, Sandberg shares about her husband’s death and becoming a single mom overnight.

Think and Grow Rich

Napoleon Hill

A non-religious dive into faith and belief and how they can change your life. This is an oldie so some of the language and style is a bit dated, but there’s a reason it is still widely read and recommended by some of the most successful people out there.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen R. Covey

This book is like reading the scriptures in self-help form. It’s been published for thirty years and is still one of the top-selling books in the country.

The Discovery of Joy

Richard Eyre

Eyre presents a unique, in-depth look into what joy is, why we crave it, and how to obtain it. Spoiler: joy is not a monolithic emotion. Instead, we experience different types of joy derived from different types of experiences. Go read it and learn ways you can improve the quantity and quality of joy in your life.

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)

Hal Elrod

Want to really rock your Improve You Time? Hal walks you through the steps on how to set up a morning routine that will transform you, one break-of-dawn at a time.

Insights from a Prophet's Life: Russell M. Nelson

Sheri Dew

What does a miracle-filled, let-god-prevail life look like? See it here. P.S. Hoorah for Israel.

The Hiding Place

Corrie Ten Boom

Corrie’s life has all the principles we talk about in this book.

Humility? She overcomes tragedy with it.

Power? She accepts God’s and saves thousands of lives with it.

Forgiveness? She finds healing through it.

Vision? She co-creates it with God and then works tirelessly and joyfully to realize it.

Forget my book. Read Corrie’s story and see how these principles do mind-blowing things in real, intimate, and lasting ways.

10 Great Souls I Want to Meet in Heaven

S. Michael Wilcox

If you can’t read the whole book, read the prologue. In ten short pages, Wilcox explains how he was mastered the art of finding God’s light through space, time, and culture. As he delves into the lives of ten outstanding individuals, you will become a believer that everyone is a child of God and that God’s plan is big enough for us all.


St. Patrick

Whenever you can read the original source of anyone’s life—do it. This is a great one to start with because so few primary sources from that time exist. Patrick doesn’t hold anything back in his autobiography. He’s honest, humble, blunt, and unapologetically a believer of Christ.

Little Women

Louisa Alcott

The movie adaptions do not do this book justice. The core theme of this book is how the power of God can unify a family and help each member rise above her everyday challenges and become the best version of herself she can be. Didn't know that by watching the movie, did you?

Anne of Green Gables

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Your imagination is one of your most life-changing assets. With this power, Anne finds safety from her enemies, joy among her burdens, and a vision that propels her to keep increasing her potential. She will also teach you how to find beauty in the things most of us take for granted.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Laura Hillenbrand

The story of Louis Zamperini illustrates Christ’s power to heal and to transform our lives by teaming up with Him. After reading this book, look up the author’s bio. Her own journey of overcoming hardship and excelling in struggle is also inspiring.

Daring Greatly

Brené Brown

What if you never speak up? What if you never go for it? What if you continue to hold yourself back, forever? Those What-Ifs should be scarier to you than the typical What if you fail? Brown shows you how and why you need to start taking life by the horns today, come what may.

Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

Robert Kiosayki

Why work for money when you can put your money to work for you? Kiosayki will change the way you think about money and how to create it in your life. Taking control of your cash flow is a key part of living your life on purpose. Don’t wait; learn how to do it now. Also check out The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason, which is an older take on a lot of the same principles.

The Brain that Changes Itself

Normon Doidge

I think that any type of healing or growth is a shadow of our eternal destiny. The power of the brain to change and grow is a look into the limitless possibilities of what Christ has promised you.

A Man’s Search for Meaning

Victor Frankl

Much of our lives are spent dealing with disappointments, disillusions, and discomfort. Making meaning out of our suffering helps us add depth and purpose in the times of life that we don’t seek after but that we are asked to deal with. This book will help you rise up and do the best you can with whatever circumstances come your way.

Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by the Sieur Louis de Conte 

Mark Twain

We know of Joan today because she didn’t care diddly-squat about what other people thought of her. She didn’t care about stereotypes and social norms. She let God define her role, her abilities, and her mission. If we were all as fearless in realizing our Divine Work, how different would the world be?

Twain considered this book the best and most worth-while thing he ever wrote. He took fourteen years to research Joan’s life and create this biography. Of Joan of Arc he said, “She is easily and by far the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced.” I agree.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

Understanding your emotions and why you behave in certain ways is POWER. Get on it and learn more about your inner self. This book provides knowledge about what emotional intelligence is, but also how to better understand and improve your own emotional intelligence from regulating your emotions and dealing with the emotions of others.


Amy Cuddy

Your mind and body are intimately connected, and you can harness that power to your advantage. Cuddy teaches you how to trick your mind into feeling calm, brave, and fearless at your most anxious moments merely by changing your body positions.

Atomic Habits

James Clear

The guide to making small incremental changes in your life that add up to some big differences. The principles in this book helped me jumpstart my life in a big way. I really believe you can change anything about yourself by deliberately changing your habits. Clear helps you figure out how to do that.

The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Compiled by Caroline Kennedy

Whether you’re a Kennedy fan or not, this is a great selection of poems that are accessible to everybody. There are poems of all kinds — short, long, funny, patriotic, famous, obscure. My suggestion—read slowly. Sometimes I have to read a poem a dozen times before it starts to mean something to me. But honestly, that’s the fun of the process—feeling meaning unravel itself with time and thought.

A Child’s Garden of Verses

Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert had a gift for writing all kinds of genres, but his poems, especially the ones for children, are ones that never get old. If you are new to the poetry world, I highly recommend checking out his work.

That We May Be One: A Gay Mormon's Perspective On Faith and Family

Tom Christofferson

Tom’s humility is power inducing. He shows you how to deal with struggles by leaning humbly on the Lord. His story teaches a beautiful mindset of how to love people even when we don’t understand them or condone their decisions.

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