The best books for living a life of purpose

The Books I Picked & Why

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?

By Rick Warren

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?

Why this book?

With the powerful use of language, this book explains how everyone in this world is born for a purpose. There are 40 chapters in the book required to be read over 40 days’ time. I like the concept of reading one chapter a day and reflecting on the knowledge before applying it. The message of the book is to keep God at the center of your life in order to fulfill your true purpose.


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Markings

By Dag Hammarskjöld, W. H. Auden, L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg

Markings

Why this book?

Markings consists of profound thoughts, quotes, and poems of the Swedish economist and diplomat who served as the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. Hammarskjöld was a successful man yet his reflections in the book depict that if success is not motivated by a higher purpose it can’t provide genuine fulfillment. I enjoy the fact that the passages in the book are contemplative and can be read during quiet hours to ponder over.


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The Screwtape Letters

By C. S. Lewis

The Screwtape Letters

Why this book?

The Screwtape Letters is a wonderful satire about the spiritual ignorance of human beings. It consists of a series of 31 letters in which Screwtape, a devil, instructs his young nephew, Wormwood, on strategies for tempting humans to separate them from God. I find the book entertaining yet deep. The conclusion is that even though we know the path that we need to follow for our spiritual progress, our fears stop us and drive us apart from God.


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The Razor's Edge

By W. Somerset Maugham

The Razor's Edge

Why this book?

The Razor's Edge tells the story of Larry Darrell, a young American traumatized by his experiences in World War 1 seeking the Absolute. There are other characters in the story who have their own goals in life, which are materialistic, unlike Larry’s. The story indicates that how different people pursue different things in life, which ultimately define their life purpose. Larry’s abandonment of the conventional life and quest for the meaning of life provide him the freedom to live in the moment, whereas other characters are enslaved by their habits and fears.


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A Simple Path

By Mother Teresa

A Simple Path

Why this book?

The book is easy to read and features Mother Teresa’s thoughts and words along with the thoughts of the members of Missionaries of Charity, the order established by Mother Teresa in India. Mother Teresa’s life philosophy and purpose were simple, yet powerful - loving and serving each other. It is amazing to see how a simple life lived with purpose can perform great deeds in the world and become a source of inspiration to all.


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