100 books like Originals

By Adam Grant,

Here are 100 books that Originals fans have personally recommended if you like Originals. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Mike Schnaidt Author Of Creative Endurance: 56 Rules for Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Your Goals

From my list on books to help you achieve your creative goals.

Why am I passionate about this?

As both a professor of graphic design and creative director of Fast Company, I’m dedicated to helping others be more creative. At Fast Company, my job is to ensure the visuals for the world’s leading business media brand are consistently innovative. (Yea…no pressure.) Honestly, sometimes it’s tough to be innovative when I’m faced with a squeezed schedule, a towering to-do list, and a bargain basement budget. But, as a marathoner, I’ve learned that if you want to be successful, you need to push through sub-optimal circumstances. That’s where these five books come into play: they all provide relatable stories and insights into achieving success, despite tough odds. Let’s do this.

Mike's book list on books to help you achieve your creative goals

Mike Schnaidt Why did Mike love this book?

Chapter 3: “Effort Counts Twice” makes me feel seen. I don't consider myself to be the most talented designer or writer, but I’ll rewrite a story over and over until it’s just right.

Hard work is a common theme in Grit, and this chapter provides examples of teachers, artists, and businesspeople, all achieving success through hard work, instead of relying on natural talent.

By Angela Duckworth,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Grit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

UNLOCK THE KEY TO SUCCESS

In this must-read for anyone seeking to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth takes us on an eye-opening journey to discover the true qualities that lead to outstanding achievement. Winningly personal, insightful and powerful, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that - not talent or luck - makes all the difference.

'Impressively fresh and original' Susan Cain


Book cover of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Why am I passionate about this?

Fascinated with consciousness, spirituality, and the power of mind, I started reading books by Thich Nhat Hahn, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, and Alan Watts as early as 5th grade. But I was also infatuated with math and logic, which led to a degree in mathematics at UC Berkeley. Knowing there was more to understanding truth beyond logic, I balanced out my worldview with an M.A. in transpersonal psychology. For more than twenty years, I have passionately devoted myself to the study and practice of transformation. As a certified coach using expertise in interpersonal neurobiology, design thinking, and Conversational Intelligence®, I have provided thousands of transformative experiences for individuals, executives, teams, and organizations. 

Amy's book list on personal growth books that use more logic and science than New Age thinking to overcome self-imposed limitations and flourish

Amy Eliza Wong Why did Amy love this book?

This book is the one I’ve recommended the most to friends, family, and clients. In fact, I had a sales team I was coaching read it as an exercise, and it completely transformed their way of working!

I live for distinctions, and Dweck’s distinction between growth mindset and fixed mindset is so simple, so obvious, and yet so profound it transformed the way I endeavor to take risks, show up in life, be in relationships, and parent my children. I thought I understood what these mindsets were just by the names of them, but the subtleties and the nuance blew me away. The implications are deep! Dweck makes the invisible visible about why we thrive and why we suffer in certain aspects of our lives, clearly mapping our suffering and freedom to either being focused on inherent worth or process.

I love that she uses multiple categories (sports, business, relationships,…

By Carol S. Dweck,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Mindset as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the renowned psychologist who introduced the world to “growth mindset” comes this updated edition of the million-copy bestseller—featuring transformative insights into redefining success, building lifelong resilience, and supercharging self-improvement.

“Through clever research studies and engaging writing, Dweck illuminates how our beliefs about our capabilities exert tremendous influence on how we learn and which paths we take in life.”—Bill Gates, GatesNotes

“It’s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest.”

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this…


Book cover of Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Carlos A. Zuluaga Author Of The Wisdom Factor: Reducing the Control of Bias, Threat, and Fear while Building a Better World

From my list on inspiring personal growth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been passionate about continuous learning and understanding why people act the way they do. The books I recommend cover the topic of continuous growth across different states and areas of life. 

Carlos' book list on inspiring personal growth

Carlos A. Zuluaga Why did Carlos love this book?

This is a great book for those interested in promoting change. I like how the book combines stories, examples, and engaging information to present practical strategies that have been used to accomplish change when it seemed difficult to achieve. 

Reading this book made me realize small actions can have significant long-term effects when taken consistently and repeatedly. It opened my eyes to the fact that sometimes complex problems require simple solutions. 

By Dan Heath, Chip Heath,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Switch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

___________________________________
Change is hard. It doesn't have to be.

We all know that change is hard. It's unsettling, it's time-consuming, and all too often we give up at the first sign of a setback.

But why do we insist on seeing the obstacles rather than the goal? This is the question that bestselling authors Chip and Dan Heath tackle in their compelling and insightful book. They argue that we need only understand how our minds function in order to unlock shortcuts to switches in behaviour.

Illustrating their ideas with scientific studies and remarkable real-life turnarounds - from the secrets of…


Book cover of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

Mel Jolly Author Of Becoming Future You

From my list on becoming a better you in the new year.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 2014 I finally came to the realization that I had become the most negative person I knew. I couldn't stand being that whiney, unhappy person anymore. So even though I didn't know how I was going to do it, I made a no-turning-back decision to kill off Negative Past Mel and become Positive Future Mel. The first step in my how was a book that taught me how to create a morning routine. That book saved me and set me on a path of personal growth and development and helped me take my first steps forward to becoming a version of Future Mel I actually enjoy being!

Mel's book list on becoming a better you in the new year

Mel Jolly Why did Mel love this book?

The most important thing I learned from this book is that “winners take breaks!” I was the kind of person who kept pushing and pushing and pushing myself because I thought that was how I would get ahead. I never understood the scientifically proven benefits of taking breaks. There’s a lot of other great stuff in here, but even that small tidbit permanently changed how I work.

By Daniel H. Pink,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Timing is everything. But we don't know much about timing itself. Timing, it's often assumed, is an art; in When, Pink shows that timing is in fact a science.

Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work and succeed. How can we use the hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule? Why do certain breaks dramatically improve student test scores? How can we turn a stumbling beginning into a fresh start? When should you have your first coffee of the day? Why is singing in time…


Book cover of Truth & Beauty: A Friendship

Patti Miller Author Of True Friends

From my list on the wonders and challenges of friendship.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a full-time writer of creative non-fiction, I am passionately interested in what makes us human. Like most people. I have always been fascinated by friendship and have had many friends throughout my life. I decided to write about friendship when a good friend 'pruned' me, that is, ended our friendship. I was bewildered and hurt and wanted to understand what had happened, which led me to write True Friends. When I discussed the topic with others, it turned out that most people had also experienced a friend break-up, but it was not much written about—until now!

Patti's book list on the wonders and challenges of friendship

Patti Miller Why did Patti love this book?

Ann Patchett is a successful American novelist, and Truth and Beauty is her memoir about her friendship with the poet, Lucy Grealy. She writes beautifully about Grealy, her talent and her warm, engaging personality, but also about her struggles and eventual death. Patchett conveys the depth of a passionate friendship by letting the reader see all her thoughts and feelings, courageously looking at how we can love someone, but how they can also try us to our limits. It is a book for those who love literature and are fascinated by the depth and intricacy of a creative connection between humans.

By Ann Patchett,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Truth & Beauty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of The Dutch House, Commonwealth and Bel Canto, Winner of The Women's Prize for Fiction and the Pen/Faulkner Award.

When Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy met in college they began a friendship that would define their lives. Lucy Grealy lost part of her jaw to childhood cancer, and a large part of her life to chemotherapy and endless reconstructive surgeries. Stoic but vulnerable, damaged by bullying but fascinated by fame, Lucy had an incandescent personality that illuminated those around her.

In this tender, brutal book, Ann Patchett describes Lucy's life and her own platonic love for…


Book cover of Monogamy

Armin Shimerman Author Of Imbalance of Power

From my list on Shakespeare and the Elizabethan period.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a classically trained Shakespearian actor who has spent a lifetime researching Tudor and Stuart times, imbibing their language, customs, and idiosyncrasies. As an actor, I'm trained to get inside my characters' heads and dedicate myself to their intentions. Also, as an actor, I've come to relish language and recognize what makes a good phrase, paragraph, and/or book. I not only perform the Bard, but I've also taught his rhetorical stylings to countless people. I love language and admire writers who use it elegantly. They say, "Write what you know." I know Shakespeare and the Elizabethan era inside and out. One's life can be changed by a book; the ones I've recommended have changed mine.

Armin's book list on Shakespeare and the Elizabethan period

Armin Shimerman Why did Armin love this book?

I loved this book for its humanity and the language she used to pithily emphasize characters and situations. There was not an excess word employed. She compassionately realized every character and gave them wisdom, angst, and a tragic sense of loss. I found it utterly absorbing and have reread it several times.

By Sue Miller,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Monogamy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Book of the Year
DAILY MAIL 'BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR TO GIFT FOR CHRISTMAS'
SUNDAY EXPRESS' S MAGAZINE 'WINTER WARMERS'
GOOD HOUSEKEEPING 'BEST BOOKS OF 2020' ONLINE

'One of the most emotionally truthful novels I have ever read' DAISY BUCHANAN
'Almost every line glows with even-handed wisdom - a superb novel, beautifully put together' DAILY MAIL
'An invaluably moving book' JULIET NICOLSON
'One to read first for the story and then to re-read at leisure and marvel at how real these people feel' ERIN KELLY
'Penetrating, intelligent, humane, funny too ... Smart and powerfully alive'…


Book cover of Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler Author Of The Genius of Opposites: How Introverts and Extroverts Achieve Extraordinary Results Together

From my list on for partners of opposite personalities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a talkative family in an extroverted culture near NYC. I discovered I also liked the quiet and found a man to marry who was very introverted. After the “opposites attract” phase we needed to learn ways to make our differences work and we've been doing that for almost 50 years. I took this knowledge to the workplace where, as a career coach and learning and development professional, I became a champion for introverts. I've written 4 books on harnessing the talents of both introverts and extroverts at work and speak about this topic around the world. I believe we are all better off when we work through our differences to achieve magic.

Jennifer's book list on for partners of opposite personalities

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler Why did Jennifer love this book?

I had a great deal of respect for this author from reading her Psychology Today columns. Sophia Dembling is an introvert and from her research and personal experience knows that relationships between different personality types can be challenging to say the least. 

She takes us through all aspects of the dating process and doesn’t slam extroverts. What she does is show us, through her great wit and transparency, how we are not perfect but that we can balance each other. 

Dembling teaches introverts “how to let someone into their hearts while honoring the solitude we need..” I found myself laughing many times, even while reading the table of contents. “Whee! Fun With Extroverts” and “I Love you But Please Don’t Call Me.” And she helps extroverted readers understand and empathize with introverts who don’t find joy in too much socializing. 

By Sophia Dembling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Introverts in Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of The Introvert’s Way, a friendly and accessible guide to dating and relationships for introverts.

Love is tricky for everyone--and different personality types can face their own unique problems. Now the author of The Introvert’s Way offers a guide to romance that takes you through the frequently outgoing world of dating, courting, and relationships, helping you navigate issues that are particular to introverts, from making conversation at parties to the challenges of dating an extrovert.


Book cover of The Cactus and Snowflake at Work: How the Logical and Sensitive Can Thrive Side by Side

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler Author Of The Genius of Opposites: How Introverts and Extroverts Achieve Extraordinary Results Together

From my list on for partners of opposite personalities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a talkative family in an extroverted culture near NYC. I discovered I also liked the quiet and found a man to marry who was very introverted. After the “opposites attract” phase we needed to learn ways to make our differences work and we've been doing that for almost 50 years. I took this knowledge to the workplace where, as a career coach and learning and development professional, I became a champion for introverts. I've written 4 books on harnessing the talents of both introverts and extroverts at work and speak about this topic around the world. I believe we are all better off when we work through our differences to achieve magic.

Jennifer's book list on for partners of opposite personalities

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler Why did Jennifer love this book?

The author is well versed in the Myers-Briggs and uses her knowledge of that instrument and years of consulting in this practical and funny book. 

The author focuses on thinking types and feeling types and describes how they can clash and achieve sweet harmony. Thinkers lead with their heads and Feelers lead with their hearts.

This is helpful for me as a “feeler.” I have a roadmap to guide me in the land of thinkers. The “CakFlake” instrument (this gives you a sense of the author’s sense of humor) is a great way to determine when I might fall into a trap like expecting everyone to process information like I do. It is a quick and fun read and you will leave with some actions to take right away.

By Devora Zack,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cactus and Snowflake at Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This hilarious and profound workplace guide proves the rigorously rational and the supremely sympathetic can meet in the middle and merge their strengths. Readers will discover how blending with their opposite opens the pathway to being their truest selves.

Carl Jung's personality typology introduced the distinction that Feelers (who lead with their hearts) put more weight on personal concerns and the people involved, and Thinkers (who lead with their heads) are guided by objective principles and impartial facts. This book calls them Cacti and Snowflakes—each singularly transcendent. But can people with such fundamentally different ways of making sense of and…


Book cover of Belonging: The Science of Creating Connection and Bridging Divides

Dorothy Suskind Author Of Workplace Bullying: Finding Your Way to Big Tent Belonging

From my list on why work sometimes sucks and what to do about it.

Why am I passionate about this?

The truth is, I’ve never fit in. I'm always asking questions like: Why do we do it that way? And, what if we tried this instead? These types of questions, however, though intriguing to me and other creatives, make the keepers of the status quo really nervous. As a professor and narrative inquiry researcher, I study the stories of people who've been silenced—extracting the characters, plot, and setting these narratives have in common. For workplace abuse survivors, a salient theme is they think big! To support this mission, I'm on the Executive Board and serve as the Education Director for the National Workplace Bullying Coalition and am a regular contributor to Psychology Today. 

Dorothy's book list on why work sometimes sucks and what to do about it

Dorothy Suskind Why did Dorothy love this book?

As a narrative inquiry researcher, I study stories of people who have experienced a shared phenomenon, such as workplace bullying, sexual assault, or a natural disaster. Almost without exception, the initial plotlines are ones of devastation.

Over the years, I have attempted to come to a deeper understanding of where the hurt resides. Cohen answers that question, documenting for the reader how our desire to be a contributing member of a community is at the center of our striving, and how the surest way to wound another is by pushing them outside the inner circle. The cruelest of all acts is to revoke someone’s belonging to their community, and more tragically, themselves.

In Cohen’s masterful book, he shares stories and details the research on why our need to belong is an essential ingredient of being human and offers the reader fruitful ways to form more meaningful connections. 

By Geoffrey L. Cohen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Belonging as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stanford University psychology professor Geoffrey L. Cohen has used science to show that when people don't have a sense of belonging, negative consequences often follow: diminished performance at school and work, poorer health, increased levels of hostility and more divisive politics. This book offers concrete steps that we can all take to foster belonging.

Cohen is known for major studies revealing practical actions ("wise interventions") that creatively reduce conflict in all areas of life. Something as simple as affirming your core values before a test can markedly increase your score. Helping others in even small matters can improve health and…


Book cover of Shattered Assumptions

Dorothy Suskind Author Of Workplace Bullying: Finding Your Way to Big Tent Belonging

From my list on why work sometimes sucks and what to do about it.

Why am I passionate about this?

The truth is, I’ve never fit in. I'm always asking questions like: Why do we do it that way? And, what if we tried this instead? These types of questions, however, though intriguing to me and other creatives, make the keepers of the status quo really nervous. As a professor and narrative inquiry researcher, I study the stories of people who've been silenced—extracting the characters, plot, and setting these narratives have in common. For workplace abuse survivors, a salient theme is they think big! To support this mission, I'm on the Executive Board and serve as the Education Director for the National Workplace Bullying Coalition and am a regular contributor to Psychology Today. 

Dorothy's book list on why work sometimes sucks and what to do about it

Dorothy Suskind Why did Dorothy love this book?

I am a voracious reader, digesting several books a week. Every once in a while, a book stops me in my tracks, charging me to yell to myself and anyone who will listen - “Yes, yes, that is it!” This is exactly how I felt when I read Janoff-Bulman’s explanation of how trauma sleeps not in the “what” of the story but in how that “what” shatters our assumptions of a benevolent world, making us question if the world is inherently good, if events are meaningful, and whether we are truly worthy.

As both a survivor and researcher of workplace abuse, bullying on the job shatters all of these assumptions - charging the target to doubt the benevolence of the workplace, the predictability of the work environment, and the innate belief that we are inherently worthy despite the workplace gossip that hijacked our narrative.

This seasoned but timeless book talks…

By Ronnie Janoff-Bulman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shattered Assumptions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book investigates the psychology of victimization. It shows how fundamental assumptions about the world's meaningfulness and benevolence are shattered by traumatic events, and how victims become subject to self-blame in an attempt to accommodate brutality. The book is aimed at all those who for personal or professional reasons seek to understand what psychological trauma is and how to recover from it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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