40 Readers Online Share The One Book That Genuinely Changed Their Life In A Very Meaningful Way


The great Italian writer and semiotician Umberto Eco once said “The person who doesn’t read lives only one life. The reader lives 5,000. Reading is immortality backwards.” And among those thousands of lives, at least one can really shake you to the core or make you realize something about life that will change how you live it.

If you haven’t read such a book yet, maybe reading something that made a huge impact on others can help with that. People on Reddit shared the books that left the biggest impression on them when VAMPCLAW asked, “What is that one book that absolutely changed your life?” Redditors shared both fiction and non-fiction books that made them think differently, inspired them to reach for more or helped them to get through a difficult time in their lives.

We are curious to hear whether you agree that the books mentioned in the list are worth reading and will leave you in deep thought afterwards. Also, if there is a book that you think everybody else needs to read, leave it in the comments and share why it was so life-changing for you.

More info: Reddit

#1 The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo By Stieg Larsson

the girl with the dragon tattoo when I was 18. I didn't go to highschool for reasons and this book made me go get my highschool degree and go to college because I wanted to become a journalist because of that book. I graduated college last month.

Image credits: Wonderful-Reading-42

#2 Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy By Douglas Adams

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy got me into reading

Image credits: drewisawesome14

#3 Redwall By Brian Jacques

Probably Redwall because it got me into reading as a child, and later writing.

Image credits: Dewy_Wanna_Go_There

#4 Breakfast Of Champions By Kurt Vonnegut

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut.

"The things other people have put into my head, at any rate, do not fit together nicely, are often useless and ugly, are out of proportion with one another, are out of proportion with life as it really is outside my head."


juicebox647replied:
Vonnegut is so profound and yet can say absolutely nothing at the same time. I love the way he writes so much. I've been reading this textbook sized book full of all of his short stories recently and they're amazing. Reading about the Tralfamadorians when I was a younger me totally changed my outlook on life and how I think about the time we have here. It really did transform my life.

Image credits: oikorapunk

#5 A Brief History Of Time By Stephen Hawking

A Brief History Of Time. The insanity and complexity of the universe was explained in understandable terms, bonkers.

Image credits: yaycoasttocoast

#6 The Easy Way To Stop Smoking By Allen Carr

The Easy way to stop smoking by Allen Carr.

I had zero intention to stop smoking when I started reading that book. To say I was sceptical about it would be an understatement. I was a heavy chain smoker. Smoked more than anyone I knew. But I went cold turkey after I read it. 3 years strong. I have not had a single puff since finishing that book.

If you smoke. You want to read this book now. I wish I read it earlier.

Image credits: madc**t2250

#7 Maus By Art Spiegelman

Maus; the first and only graphic novel to win a pulitzer price

It is a book about a second generation survivor of the Holocaust retelling his father memoirs of the event. This semi-biographic book puts into perspective the whole feeling of absolute terror and give us an insight on the before-after situation. The jews are portrayed as mouses and the nazis as cats, elaborating on the whole cat and mouse chase premise which demonstrates the horrors the jewish felt. Although it is a graphic novel, its images do really say more than words.

It is to this day, the only book which has made me cry and feel hurt; it makes the whole subject feel very personal.

Image credits: Eithanol

#8 The End Of Mr Y By Scarlett Thomas

The End of Mr Y.

My ex partner threw it at my face during an argument and knocked down and burst my forehead. So I left her and totally changed my ambitions in life. Kinda funny. Sometimes I see that book and scowl, and wonder what people think is going on.

Image credits: NovaCasanova

#9 There Is A Monster At The End Of This Book By Jon Stone

There is a Monster at the End of this Book. It really led me on a journey to overcome my fears and deeply examine what it means to be a monster. Also, pulling really hard against Grover to turn the pages helped me get buff. Really I was helping Grover face fears he was not ready to face. But we faced them together.

Image credits: Ethandrul

#10 1984 By George Orwell

Nathaniel66 said:

1984- Orwell

DT-Archer added:

Just finished this one last week. Such a great book that still manages to be relevant 70 years later. Makes me worried about some of the trends we see today and how we need to put more value in privacy. It also made me really value the simple things that are so easily taken for granted like having your own place with your SO and the ability to lead a life of your choosing.

Image credits: Nathaniel66

#11 Depressive Illness: The Curse Of The Strong By Tim Cantopher

Depressive Illness: The Curse of The Strong by Tim Cantopher.

Whenever someone tells me they are struggling with their mental health, I immediately point them to this book. It is the first one I have read by a health professional where I got the impression they actually get what it means to be depressed, and unlike most books by professionals, it's pretty easy to read at about 100 pages.

It doesn't offer any cure-all remedies, but it does help you understand why this is happening to you, so you can start to do something about it.

Image credits: D-Angle

#12 Flowers For Algernon By Daniel Keyes

Flowers for Algernon. I read it as a teenager, and it made me realize that my intelligence was a privilege, and that it didn’t make me better than people who are less intelligent than me.

Image credits: hrdrv

#13 The Bible

The Bible. It made me an atheist.

Image credits: VodkaMargarine

#14 Dune By Frank Herbert

Dune. Fear is the mind-killer.

Also, A Wrinkle in Time.

Image credits: Wyndsock

#15 The Hobbit By J. R. R. Tolkien

The Hobbit.

As a young child, I had always found reading to be pretty dull. This changed when I was 7 and got my hands on The Hobbit- I realised that it wasn't reading that was boring - I just wasn't reading the right books!

The Hobbit started my life-long love of reading, particularly fantasy and sci-fi- A passion that I am now following as a writer!

Image credits: HeartSpire

#16 The Giver By Lois Lowry

The Giver

I remember reading that book in 6th or 7th grade and just being blown away. I had never experienced a book like that before and it really had a huge impact on me.

I'd also say The Harry Potter series because as a young kind reading those books I really felt like I was escaping into this magical world.

Image credits: -eDgAR-

#17 The Body Keeps The Score: Mind, Brain And Body In The Transformation Of Trauma By Bessel Van Der Kolk

The Body Keeps The Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma

If only more mental health care specialists read this book. If only more doctors read it. If only more people understood the ripples of intergenerational trauma and abuse.

Image credits: shakeastick

#18 The Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner

Completely eye-opening, and an emotional roller coaster.

Image credits: ladc2

#19 The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins

I’m embarrassingly basic but the hunger games. It got me into reading in grade school/high school which really benefited my comprehension, vocabulary and writing.

#20 To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

charxc2222 said:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

ronearc responded:

That's my answer as well. A book that legitimately changed my view of the world and the people in it.

Image credits: charxc2222

#21 The Way Of Kings By Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. Got me back into reading after 5 years without picking up a book and then later inspired me to become a self-published author

Image credits: SanderCast

#22 My Side Of The Mountain By Jean Craighead George

My side of the mountain. I was young and have always camped and loved the outdoors (still do) but this book had such an exciting story!

Its about a boy who runs away from home and plans to live in the wild on his own. He goes to a library and checks out a bunch of books on survival and lives in the forest. He even burns the base of a large tree and hollows it out and makes a living space inside. its a super easy read but I loved every page.

Image credits: mumbling_87

#23 The Outsiders By S. E. Hinton

The Outsiders. Beautiful story that opened me up to the wonders of the 50's and 60's in the western U.S. absolutely loved it. Please read it, who ever reads this.

Image credits: Cerberus-thiccus

#24 The Phantom Tollbooth By Northon Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth.

I reread it after hearing that Norton Juster passed. It may have resonated more with me at 32 years old than reading it as a child.

Image credits: Schmoreshmoosh

#25 The Long Walk By Stephen King

The Long Walk by Stephen King. Greatly shows the variety of lives and some lessons about the life itself.

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#26 Parable Of The Sower By Octavia Butler

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler; an incredible sci-fi book that was written in the 80s and is a mix of apocalypse fiction, socio-political critique & resilience.

Completely changed my world view & put me on the path to sustainable off-grid living, which I'm really grateful for.

I also equally love the sequel Parable of the Talents and there's an amazing podcast called Octavia's Parables that came out last year which goes through each chapter of the book. I recommend it for anyone thinking about starting the book or re-reading it, it's like being in a book club that goes at your own pace :)

Image credits: brownanddownn

#27 The Road By Cromac McCarthy

The Road. I read it before and after becoming a father. Drastically different experiences. And the world according to garp. I read it when I was a kid and it was the first novel that made me laugh outloud and come close to crying in the same book.

Image credits: zjustice11

#28 Clan Of The Cave Bear By Jean M. Auel

I remember when I read Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel. I was about 10 years old and I had seen the movie a dozen times before I found out it was a book. I devoured it in 2 days. I was hooked on the whole series for decades and it started my obsession with books. I will read anything but historical fiction is my favorite and it started with the Earth's Children series.

Image credits: vettechrockstar86

#29 Where The Red Fern Grows By Wilson Rawls

Where the Red Fern Grows. It still has the best imagery of any book I’ve ever read. A must read for dog lovers.

Image credits: omgyouc**t

#30 Thinking Fast And Slow By Daniel Kahneman

Thinking Fast and Slow. I had no idea how my overreliance on my intuition was impacting my ability to think through tough problems. It has forever changed the way I look at the world.

Image credits: KirbysaBAMF

#31 Python For Beginners By Denny Novikov

susfromrus said:

Python for beginners :)


[deleted] responded:

Lol I like this one. I casually read Learn Python the Hard Way, and it sparked an interest that led to a coding bootcamp, which has me currently interviewing with a couple good tech companies in my area. If and when I land a job, the Python book will have changed my life more than any other book by a long shot lol

Image credits: susfromrus

#32 Siddhartha By Herman Hesse

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Made me rethink the nature of religion.

Image credits: BatteryRock

#33 The Stinky Cheese Man And Other Fairly Stupid Tales By Jon Scieszka And Lane Smith

pretty-ok-username said:

The stinky cheese man and other fairly stupid tales

ZweiEnte added:

This book basically set my sense of humour. I can trace my affinity for shaggy dog stories and deadpan humour straight back to the princess & the bowling ball and the other frog prince.

Image credits: pretty-ok-username

#34 The Dark Tower Series By Stephen King

The Dark Tower series. Those books helped me escape during some trying times.

Image credits: zalez64424

#35 The Last Lecture By Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

I read it in my late teens and I really tried to take in as much as I could. He seemed like an incredible man, and I'm grateful that he shared so many life lessons with the world before he passed!

I should read it again!

Image credits: GarbageGutt

#36 East Of Eden By John Steinbeck

jhgibson said:

East of Eden

markitf**kinzero responded:

I was surprised I had to scroll so long to find this book. I didn't want to comment if it was already on here. Reading Steinbeck has influenced the way interact with the world, and this book in particular has influenced me more than others. It made me more introspective and I work on being better instead of just being the same person year after year.

#37 Neuromancer By William Gibson

Neuromancer. It somehow gave me hope. Might have been at a low point in my life, I really can’t say. But I started collecting books again, reading more, and I put up with way less s**t from people. There’s got to be a reason somewhere, so I’m giving credit to William Gibson

Image credits: [deleted]

#38 How To Win Friends And Influence People By Dale Carnegie

How to win friends and influence people -Dale Carnegie. Was living in a broken down suburban with 2 flat tires. Now I'm on my way to to 200K a year and just bought a van in cash to turn into a camper...it was more than just that obviously. But the motto "I can do anything through strengthening" definitely changed my life.

#39 The Five Love Languages By Gary Chapman

Gotta go with The Five Love Languages. As a 20-something divorced dad, it was eye opening. Really makes you appreciate how others operate in a relationship.

#40 Discrete Mathematics 4th Edition By Susanna S. Epp

Discrete Mathematics 4th edition, never wanted to end my life so quickly

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