The best books to inspire a big life change

Brooke Baum Author Of Moving Away: The Emotional Side of Leaving
By Brooke Baum

Who am I?

Some people are terrified of change, but I crave the new scenery, experiences, and interactions. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t scary to take that leap into the unknown. In my experience, making the effort to change the parts of my life that weren’t working has led to so much personal growth and satisfaction. When I moved far away from my hometown at 22, I had no idea that it would help me overcome so many long-held fears and embolden me to become a full-time traveler, writer, and business owner. But it’s all about taking that first step and being open to letting the journey change your perspective.

I wrote...

Moving Away: The Emotional Side of Leaving

By Brooke Baum,

Book cover of Moving Away: The Emotional Side of Leaving

What is my book about?

Leaving for a new home is an exciting and emotional time. If you find it challenging to manage the rollercoaster of emotions that come with moving away from loved ones, you aren't alone. In this book, you will get honest insights into the joys and struggles of leaving for a new home.

Moving Away will inspire you to chase your dreams while encouraging you to still be realistic about some of the obstacles that will likely come your way with such a big life change.

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The books I picked & why

The Alchemist

By Paulo Coelho,

Book cover of The Alchemist

Why did I love this book?

Who doesn’t love a book about travel, treasure hunting, magic, and following your dreams? But it is so much more than that. This is one of those books that stays with you. And if you read it at the right moment, it stirs something up inside of you that empowers you and helps you to feel like, despite all the obstacles, the universe may be on your side after all. 

For me, The Alchemist was given as a gift after I announced my husband and I would be moving from our hometown to pursue a new life across the country. Reading it confirmed my decision and made me take a different perspective on what following my heart could lead to.

By Paulo Coelho,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked The Alchemist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A global phenomenon, The Alchemist has been read and loved by over 62 million readers, topping bestseller lists in 74 countries worldwide. Now this magical fable is beautifully repackaged in an edition that lovers of Paulo Coelho will want to treasure forever.

Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. This is such a book - a beautiful parable about learning to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life's path and, above all, follow your dreams.

Santiago, a young shepherd living in the hills of Andalucia, feels that there is…

Into the Wild

By Jon Krakauer,

Book cover of Into the Wild

Why did I love this book?

Even if you have already seen the movie version of Into the Wild, I highly recommend reading the book. It has so many more details and insights that help paint a more complete picture of the fascinating true story of Chris McCandless who sought freedom from the world of materialism that no longer served him. 

While extremely well written, this isn’t an easy book to read - especially for those of us who relate to the desire to go off into the wilderness and abandon the stresses of modern life. It pulls at your emotions and tends to inspire and frustrate you at the same time. However, that’s why I enjoyed it. I appreciate that the author shows the multi-faceted nature of being human and how even the brightest among us struggle to find the right balance in life. And I think it asks an important question all adventurers should ask, how far is too far when chasing a dream?

By Jon Krakauer,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Into the Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Krakauer’s page-turning bestseller explores a famed missing person mystery while unraveling the larger riddles it holds: the profound pull of the American wilderness on our imagination; the allure of high-risk activities to young men of a certain cast of mind; the complex, charged bond between fathers and sons.

"Terrifying... Eloquent... A heart-rending drama of human yearning." —New York Times

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all…

The Great Divorce

By C. S. Lewis,

Book cover of The Great Divorce

Why did I love this book?

This is my favorite book of all time and permanently changed the way I look at life. While the story is focused on the idea of heaven and hell, you don’t have to believe in either to benefit from the perspective shift this book offers. It’s deep and powerful.

Lewis uses a story about a man traveling from hell to heaven to point out the ways us humans tend to keep ourselves bound to misery. It’s an important read for anyone wanting to overcome pessimism or who feels like joy is constantly escaping them. As Lewis says, “All that are in hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.”

By C. S. Lewis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Great Divorce as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a classic Christian allegorical tale about a bus ride from hell to heaven. An extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment, Lewis’s revolutionary idea in the The Great Divorce is that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis’ The Great Divorce will change the way we think about good and evil. 

Book cover of Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson

Why did I love this book?

Because I strongly believe that a successful transition into a big life change is more about having a good attitude and positive outlook than any planning or logistics, here is another book to help make those important mental shifts.

Tuesdays with Morrie tells the powerful true story of the author’s time spent learning from his dying college professor who was a beloved mentor to him as a young man. Morrie candidly shares the most important lessons he learned throughout his life as well as what he was experiencing and thinking as a dying man. But the best part is how these lessons affect the author and how his life changes because of it. This book is powerful and uplifting - one everyone should read at least once.

By Mitch Albom,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Tuesdays with Morrie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'Mitch Albom sees the magical in the ordinary' Cecelia Ahern

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague? Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it? For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn't you like to…

Book cover of The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Why did I love this book?

While my go-to books obviously have a deeper lean to them, you don’t always have to have a spiritual awakening or read a harrowing story of adventure to be inspired to make a change. Sometimes you just need someone to lay out a plan for you. That’s what Ferriss does in The 4-Hour Workweek.

I must say, this is a pretty dangerous book. Within a year of reading it, I had quit my desk job, convinced my husband to do the same, and we had set off to reclaim a life under our own terms. While Tim’s path was wildly more successful than ours, and caution should be taken, his tips do have a lot of merit and he pushes you to think about work in a much different way. Overall, it empowers you to take more control of how you use your time and gives some actionable examples to do that. I still use many of these tactics years later!

By Timothy Ferriss,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The 4-Hour Workweek as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new, updated and expanded edition of this New York Times bestseller on how to reconstruct your life so it's not all about work

Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan - there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, this book is the blueprint.

This step-by step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:

* How Tim went from…

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