Monday, July 6, 2015

10 books that will make you see the world differently

Can a book change our life?

Can a simple page change our worldview?

It really depends on the moment that book enters our life.

If we consider the theory of Boris Cyrulnik, any person, event, book or even a movie, can become a tutor of resilience. It means that they can be a support to allow us become more mature and grow as people becoming stronger through adversity. They can be the spark that ignites the fuse of our inner light, they can give us the motivation and the strength we need to move forward.

What have to include a book to provoke personal change?

The weird thing is that a book that can be insignificant at a certain stage of our life, it can be enlightening later.

This means the most important thing is that words have emotional resonance. When the book comes at the right time, it's like a little piece that seamlessly interwoven in our emotional mechanism, causing it to work perfectly.

However, for that to happen, it is necessary for the book to appear in our lives at the right time and that we have some degree of maturity, both intellectually and emotionally, enabling us to understand its message.

Yet, we can say that there are books containing such profound lessons for life that sooner or later, it will "click" on our emotional system, opening the doors to a different world view.

The books you should read - repeatedly - throughout life

1. The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran

Great works are untimely. This is evidenced by this book, which dates from 1923 but the pages remain as relevant as the first day. It is not a common book, it is structured very simply but is one of those works we can return again and again and have always a different teaching to offer.

In each of his short chapters, a prophet who leaves the town where he lived for years, speaks with people to address the issues that we’re mostly concerned about: from love and friendship to religion, death, justice and pleasure . Thus, each page becomes an invitation to reflect on humanity and on our own behavior and deepest beliefs. Each page is a nod to change.

2. The Art of Loving, Erich Fromm

It is not a self-help book in the literal sense of the term, although it is written in a simple language, making it an affordable work to all. In this book Fromm summarizes and complements the ideas outlined in "Escape From Freedom" but from the perspective of love. In fact, for this psychologist, learning to love is equivalent to master the art of living, an essential skill that can lead us to happiness or suffering.

Through its pages he pinpoints his theory of love and explains how this feeling has been completely disintegrated in the contemporary society. At the same time, it gives us some clues to develop a mature love to allows us to grow.
3. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, by Jean-Dominique Bauby

It is virtually impossible to read this book and continue to see life the same way again. It is an autobiographical work, short on words and with no easy recourse to tears. Perhaps that is because it is so revealing. It tells the story of an editor of a famous fashion magazine, with a narcissistic personality, who suffered a massive stroke that left him paralyzed and unable to communicate.

However, Jean invented a system of communication moving only his left eye. In this way he dictated his book, which has become a veritable ode to life and what is really essential. It is an emotional work, that invites us to appreciate and enjoy every moment and to be grateful for all those little details that we normally take for granted.

4. The Little Prince, Saint-Exupery

There are few books, as simple and profound as this, and appropriate as much for a child than for an adult. Although perhaps, most surprising is that its pages always reveal a new teaching because every sentence is adapted to the stage of life through which we are living.

It is a work that helps us find the essence, through a travel undertaken by a very peculiar character through different planets, where he’s meeting people with whom we may feel very identified. This book teaches us that the essential is invisible to the eye and encourages us to see with the heart, beyond what the society deems appropriate.

5. Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl

What keeps us alive when all seems lost? This was the question that guided Viktor Frankl while in the concentration camp, an experience lived as a prisoner and, simultaneously, as a psychiatrist.

The result of his experiences was this book that reveals the horror of the Nazi concentration camps and reveals the psychological mechanisms that destroy the will of a man. However, the book is also an ode to strength and resilience and to the importance of maintaining hope despite everything. He says in one of its pages: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 
6. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig

This is one of those pleasant readings that make the hours fly. In fact, before you know it, you've finished the book. The story is about a man who embarks on a motorcycle trip with his eleven years old son. Along the way, the book is taking out many smiles and even reflections, since it is a work of philosophy.

The journey becomes an excuse to unveil our philosophical heritage, from Socrates to Kant, spiced with hints of Buddhism. In fact, it is also an ideal place to rediscover another way of living, to see the world and face the daily life. This book teaches us to savor life in a different, more leisurely way and, at the same time, more intense. Its message can be summarized in: do what you love and feel and be proud of it.

7. The Giver, by Lois Lowry

A 12-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly perfect society where everyone is equal and pain and suffering have been removed. However, he has been chosen to treasure the memory of the previous decades, when all were different and there were conflicts. So, what at the beginning seems an utopian society in which we all would love to live, it is becoming a dystopian society, lacking emotions and interest.

This book, deeply criticized and even banned in some places, touches the sensitive fibers of humanity so it is practically compulsory for all of us. The reading is fun and fast, but we shouldn’t be fooled by its apparent simplicity because it contains great philosophical questions that allow us to give a different meaning to those things that disturb us or we’d like to eliminate from our life.

8. Paula, by Isabel Allende

It is a heartbreaking novel, in which the Chilean writer recounts the days she was next to his daughter while she lay in a coma. With her usual mastery, Isabel Allende pinpoints the story of Paula giving us a glimpse through the pain experienced by a mother facing the real possibility of losing a daughter.

After reading this novel, nothing will ever be the same, because we understand the importance of every second we spent with our loved ones, and you probably don’t want to waste it on useless fights.

9. Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse

Published in 1922, this novel is still a jewel of knowledge. It tells the story of an Indian man named Siddhartha, who embarks on a journey in search of knowledge and enlightenment. His desire to find the truth is so great, that he refuses the tie with any religion or philosophy, but decides to follow his own path, convinced that only this way he will discover the meaning of life.

Throughout the book we encounter a dozens of phrases that invites to reflection on the value of the things around us, the attachment and the importance of looking within ourselves and not be blindly guided by the established rules, regardless of where they come from.

10. Anticancer: A new way of life, by David Servan-Schreiber

Because it is useless to feed the soul, if we don’t care of the body. This book may be the push you needed to make that change in your lifestyle, to take you to adopt healthier habits. The author was a neuroscientist diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor at the age of 31 years. He underwent surgery but after a while, the tumor reappeared and doctors gave their case lost. However, he did not give up and decided to delve into alternative therapies.

In this book, he collects all the "unofficial" studies on cancer and lifestyle in an understandable form and accessible to all. He exposes different theories and, more importantly, gives us precise guidelines to lead a healthier life, from the point of view of diet and the emotional life.


Keep feeding your neurons

10 books that will make you see the world differently

Jennifer Delgado Suárez

Psicologist by profession and passion, dedicated to string words together. Discover my Books


Psychology as you never heard about...

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