The best books about finding meaning within your life

Zachary Austin Behlok Author Of Manipulating Nature: An Existential Essay Regarding Humanity's Impact on the World Around Us
By Zachary Austin Behlok

Who am I?

For as long as I can remember, it has been of the utmost importance to find meaning in life, both for myself and for everyone else sharing this planet. I have spent much of my time over the course of the past few years pushing for a continued level of discourse in the field of philosophy. I have studied at and attended various educational institutions including Eastern Florida State College, The Florida Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and The University of Cambridge – the studies at such range between philosophy, psychology, behavior analysis, and engineering. I hope that my work will be of some assistance in pushing humanity towards positive progress.


I wrote...

Manipulating Nature: An Existential Essay Regarding Humanity's Impact on the World Around Us

By Zachary Austin Behlok,

Book cover of Manipulating Nature: An Existential Essay Regarding Humanity's Impact on the World Around Us

What is my book about?

This text looks at humanity’s effect(s) on nature and the wildlife within it in a phenomenological and existential approach this is being written in the hopes of bringing about a newfound sense of realization of the issues regarding our environment(s) (living and non-living) which surround us on a daily basis. In our own search for meaning and ease in life, we have removed the meaning of an existing being, the being in this case meaning nature, and our own selves as beings need the existence of nature in order to form our meaning. We are negating ourselves as a result of negating the essence of the existing natures which we were originally given. We can fix this, granted we put in the effort. 

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Existentialism Is a Humanism

By Jean-Paul Sartre, Carol Macomber,

Book cover of Existentialism Is a Humanism

Why this book?

This text provides the readers with a brief, yet in-depth look at the ideology behind the field of existentialism. In regard to the author, Jean-Paul Sartre, is deemed as one of the founders of modern existentialism, with it being his main focus throughout most of his life. This text, which was initially a speech, was used to provide a backbone to the field and bring about a heightened sense of understanding of the meaning of human existence.


The Metamorphosis

By Franz Kafka, Stanley Corngold (translator),

Book cover of The Metamorphosis

Why this book?

This text, by Franz Kafka, can be interpreted in many ways – some of which can be referred to as existential whereas others can just be interpreted as eye-opening. The Metamorphosis provides an in-depth analysis of our lives in the eyes of those around us, with the example being of a man who works to provide for his family. This book made me realize that for me to be a provider for those around me, I need to first be there for myself and become comfortable with whom I am. Whereas the main character was unhappy in his life, and in the pursuits he put himself through to provide for his family, such unhappiness engulfed him and turned him into a being which he, and those around him, could not comprehend, nor continue suffering to be around.


What Is Existentialism?

By Simone de Beauvoir,

Book cover of What Is Existentialism?

Why this book?

This book is more or less a collection of excerpts from some of Simone de Beauvoir’s best works. In this text, her foundations in the field of existentialism are laid forth for the reader to read and interpret very easily. These excerpts provide the reader with an analysis on the field in a more fictional way, as opposed to much of the other works relating to such, yet maintain the same, if not a higher, level of emphasis on the positive influences it can bring about in any given individual’s life.


Beyond Good And Evil

By Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche,

Book cover of Beyond Good And Evil

Why this book?

This text is one of the most pivotal pieces written by Friedrich Nietzsche. This text was my main influence at the beginning of my searches for truth in human existence. I find it very easy to find a common ground in Nietzsche’s work, with him providing a very simple, straightforward analysis of the world around him, which heavily relates to the contemporary era. In this work, Nietzsche criticizes the past work of various philosophers, which allows the readers to gain insights into just how different yet similar different subject-matter-experts in the field of philosophy can be.


The Undiscovered Self: The Dilemma of the Individual in Modern Society

By C.G. Jung,

Book cover of The Undiscovered Self: The Dilemma of the Individual in Modern Society

Why this book?

In this text, the famed clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung, gives his analysis on the world around us, in a way that aims to provide the reader with a higher level of understanding of the effects of such a world on our minds as individuals. For me, this piece really highlighted the ways in which the governmental powers above us have a grasp on the ways in which we live our lives, and are subsequently affected mentally. 


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in existential philosophy, isolation, and existentialism?

5,716 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about existential philosophy, isolation, and existentialism.

Existential Philosophy Explore 8 books about existential philosophy
Isolation Explore 11 books about isolation
Existentialism Explore 40 books about existentialism

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Full Dark, No Stars, The Yellow Wallpaper, and Midnight's Children if you like this list.