100 books like The Psychology of Making Life Interesting

By Wendell White,

Here are 100 books that The Psychology of Making Life Interesting fans have personally recommended if you like The Psychology of Making Life Interesting. 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 Into the Wild

M. R. Reed Author Of Enthrall

From my list on doing what is right when others are against you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m drawn to the idea of doing what you think is right when others are against you because I’ve always felt the desire to row against the current and just do my own thing. I tend to avoid following the crowd because oftentimes I simply don’t agree with them. Am I being purposely difficult? Maybe. But I fear a society that goes with the flow simply because it’s easier and it doesn’t require them to think for themselves. It’s okay to listen to other people, but before you make any major decisions, ask yourself a question: Is this right for me?

M. R.'s book list on doing what is right when others are against you

M. R. Reed Why did M. R. love this book?

Here’s my confession: I hated Chris McCandless by the time I finished this book. I hated his cockiness and lack of respect for the power of the wilderness.

But you know what I give him credit for? His ability to leave his life of privilege and the courage to go out into the world and forge his own destiny. He did what he thought was best for him despite the pushback he received from his friends and family.

I think I hated him so much because I wanted him to succeed, and he doomed himself through his own hubris. 

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…

Book cover of Anne of Green Gables

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a romance writer who moved around often as a child. Whenever I started a new school, I’d bring a book with me. Even now, I always run errands with a print book and my Kindle as I’m a writer, wife, and mother of four. Two of my children have medical conditions, and I’ve spent time in various doctor and hospital waiting rooms. I’ve taken books into MRI booths where I’d read while my daughter underwent an MRI. I gravitate toward emotional romances that keep me entertained while possessing a thread of humor or something unique about them so I can lose myself in their world anytime, anywhere. 

Tanya's book list on books to read anywhere, anytime (especially while waiting for your child, your parent, the person ahead of you in line)

Tanya Agler Why did Tanya love this book?

If you are a kindred spirit, you know immediately why I’m recommending this book! I first picked this book up without knowing anything about it when I was a teenager. I immediately fell in love with Anne, Gilbert, Marilla, Matthew, and everyone in Avonlea. I can read this book anywhere and at any time. 

Anne Shirley is an orphan who winds up at Green Gables and is given a trial basis to prove to Marilla Cuthbert why she should keep Anne, who is not a boy. Imaginative, romantic, and funny, this book (and its sequels) kept me laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time. Most of all, it reminds me that every morning is the start of a new day with no mistakes in it. 

By L.M. Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked Anne of Green Gables as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anne of Green Gables is the classic children's book by L M Montgomery, the inspiration for the Netflix Original series Anne with an E. Watch it now!

Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are in for a big surprise. They are waiting for an orphan boy to help with the work at Green Gables - but a skinny, red-haired girl turns up instead. Feisty and full of spirit, Anne Shirley charms her way into the Cuthberts' affection with her vivid imagination and constant chatter. It's not long before Anne finds herself in trouble, but soon it becomes impossible for the Cuthberts to…

Book cover of Emma

Charisse Cooke Author Of The Attachment Solution: How to develop secure, strong and lasting relationships

From my list on how to create a great relationship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was fortunate enough to meet my husband over 17 years ago, and we have packed a lot of life in since then. Along with two kids and a dog, we’ve had our fair share of tough moments: financial challenges, bereavement, family issues, marital disagreement, and traumatic life events that taught me just as much as my two decades-long career as a relationship psychotherapist has. This, combined with working with individuals, couples, and partners in search of what love means and how to practically go about achieving it, has clarified for me just how much we all need tools and teachings when it comes to matters of the heart.

Charisse's book list on how to create a great relationship

Charisse Cooke Why did Charisse love this book?

Jane Austen would have made such a great therapist! Her razor-sharp observations, combined with profound insights into people and relationships, make this book an all-time favorite of mine. I love her descriptions of falling in (and out of) love and how fallible each of her characters is, reminding us of our humanity–especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

What also strikes me is how true it is that pride, image, and status can still play out in our more modern relationships today. This book feels very old-fashioned in places, but it warns us how easily we can hurt other people and damage relationships, sometimes irrevocably. There’s a lot to learn from Emma, and I enjoy seeing relationships depicted in fiction, where so much can be explored through a fascinating and absorbing story, too.

By Jane Austen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Her masterpiece, mixing the sparkle of her early books with a deep sensibility' Robert McCrum, Observer

Although described by Jane Austen as a character 'whom no one but myself will much like', the irrepressible Emma Woodhouse is one of her most beloved heroines. Clever, rich and beautiful, she sees no need for marriage, but loves interfering in the romantic lives of others, until her matchmaking plans unravel, with consequences that she never expected. Jane Austen's novel of youthful exuberance and gradual self-knowledge is a brilliant, sparkling comic masterpiece.

Edited with an Introduction by FIONA STAFFORD

Book cover of The Catcher in the Rye

Adam Kuper Author Of The Museum of Other People: From Colonial Acquisitions to Cosmopolitan Exhibitions

From my list on books that helped me to grow up.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in white South Africa, a racist, philistine, authoritarian, and puritanical society. The first four books I have chosen appeared in the 1950s, and I read them in my teens. Catch-22 was published in the ‘60s, but all five heroes–or anti-heroes–of these novels were of the same generation, about ten years my senior, so they were perfectly placed to be role models. They were rebels and mavericks, and except for Yossarian, they were all would-be writers. I recognised a kinship with them and took them as my guides into adulthood. And so I left for Paris and became a writer and an anthropologist. No regrets.

Adam's book list on books that helped me to grow up

Adam Kuper Why did Adam love this book?

This is a compulsive first-person account of the plight of Holden Caulfield, an awkward adolescent, just expelled from his private boarding school, who is shyly trying to find sex and love while pursuing a personal crusade against adult hypocrisy. (His favourite put-down is “phony”).

I read it first as a teenager in South Africa and felt an immediate kinship with Holden, a Tom Sawyer for our times, who was standing up for himself against the idiocies of the grown-ups.

By J.D. Salinger,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The Catcher in the Rye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After leaving prep school Holden Caulfield spends three days on his own in New York City.

Book cover of I and Thou

Ilse Sand Author Of Confronting Shame: How to Understand Your Shame and Gain Inner Freedom

From my list on helping you to be authentic and true to yourself.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a psychotherapist and pastor. Since my first book Highly Sensitive People in an Insensitive World, which became an international bestseller, I have received letters from all over the world, from people, telling me about their lives. I discovered there is a need for books on how to live your life in an authentic way. I have studied Psychiatrist C.G. Jung and Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard at the university. The books, I recommend are easier to read than these two. In my books, I use many examples. It is important to me that the wisdom of great writers becomes accessible to all people regardless of their level of education.

Ilse's book list on helping you to be authentic and true to yourself

Ilse Sand Why did Ilse love this book?

When I read this book the first time, I discovered the difference between two ways to relate to others and yourself. You can relate as if the other part were a thing. Predictable and without intentions and feelings. “I and it” Buber names this way to relate. The second way is to relate as if the other part is a living being, “I and Thou.”
I discovered that I sometimes related to myself or others in the first way. And that the second way was a bit scary, because there you can predict nothing and you must be ready to be changed yourself in contact with the other being in the now. It takes courage to meet your surroundings as a “You.” But it is all worth it.

By Martin Buber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Buber's main proposition is that we may address existence in two ways: [1] that of the "I" towards an "It", towards an object that is separate in itself, which we either use or experience; [2] that of the 'I' towards 'Thou', in which we move into existence in a relationship without bounds. One of the major themes of the book is that human life finds its meaningfulness in relationships. All of our relationships, Buber contends, bring us ultimately into relationship with God, who is the Eternal Thou.

Considered a landmark of twentieth-century intellectual history, this is Martin Buber's classic treatment…

Book cover of Arena

Sarah Ashwood Author Of Land Beyond the Sunset

From my list on portal fantasy adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by fairytales since I was a little girl, watching Disney movies with my grandparents. As I grew older, I read fairy tales almost insatiably and was also drawn to mythology and folklore of every variety. When I discovered the fantasy genre, in my early teens, it was like coming home…a genre that combined all of the elements I’d grown up devouring: fairytales, mythology, and folklore. My love of fantasy developed my love of portal fantasy—the idea that other realms, other worlds, other dimensions exist, and we can travel between or to them. I wrote my first portal fantasy novel at eighteen and have continued writing fantasy and portal fantasy novels ever since. 

Sarah's book list on portal fantasy adventures

Sarah Ashwood Why did Sarah love this book?

This was probably the next book that confirmed the concept of portal fantasy for me. It’s an allegorical story of a young woman’s fight against evil and evil forces, but starts out on Earth before moving to a parallel fantastical realm. I remember reading this as a teen and being fascinated by the idea of moving back and forth between worlds. At this time, I wasn’t even aware of the term “portal fantasy” or the subgenre, but Arena developed my interest in it. 

By Karen Hancock,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Repackaged Award Winner From Karen Hancock

Callie Hayes is living a life of fear and disillusionment when she volunteers for a psychology experiment that promises to turn her life around. As her orientation proceeds, Callie becomes frightened by the secrecy and evasion she encounters. When she demands to be released from the program, she is suddenly dropped into a terrifying alien world and into a perilous battle between good and evil. With limited resources and only a few cryptic words to guide her, Callie embarks on a life-changing journey. Will she decipher the plans the Benefactor has established for…

Book cover of Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance

Jeff Bernier Author Of The Money and Meaning Journey: A Guide to Clarity, Financial Confidence, and Joy

From my list on financial peace in retirement.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a wealth advisor for over 37 years, I find many people reach retirement lacking clarity and confidence. Traditional financial advice often focuses on things that are unknowable, uncontrollable, and frankly don’t matter that much. While sound technical investment, estate, and tax planning are critical, the soul’s need for meaning and purpose are as important as sound financial plans. The path to true financial peace may be simpler than you think. These books can help you focus on the fewer, more critical things so that you can thrive in retirement and free yourself from financial media which is not in business to support your vision of a meaningful life.

Jeff's book list on financial peace in retirement

Jeff Bernier Why did Jeff love this book?

I read this book (a second time) as I was approaching my 50th birthday.

It totally changed the way I viewed the “second half” of my life. While this book is geared to a Christian audience, it offers great encouragement on ways you can “go to the locker room” at halftime and strategically plan the second half so that it is the best half!

By Bob P. Buford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Your midlife doesn't have to be a crisis. In fact, the second half of your life can be better than the first. Let bestselling author Bob Buford show you how.

What do you want to do with the rest of your life?

In Halftime, Buford provides encouragement and insight to propel your life on a new course to true significance--and the best years of your life. Buford focuses on this important time of transition to the second half of your life, giving you the tools you need to:

Take stock of your successes and accomplishments thus far Redefine significance and…

Book cover of The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with Alzheimer's-Type Dementia

Laura Wayman Author Of A Loving Approach to Dementia Care: Making Meaningful Connections While Caregiving

From my list on dementia and how to find joy while caregiving.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my decades of working with caregivers as a dementia care expert, I have heard many accounts of what the experience is like—from the sad and hollow to experiences rich in significance. Everyone faces obstacles when caring for a loved one; some of these obstacles come in the form of uncomfortable or painful emotional histories or past unresolved conflicts. After each opportunity to raise awareness and understanding about how dementia impacts individuals, their families, and their communities, I have been gratified to witness enhanced feelings of hope and comfort for all involved. It is my hope that through this book I will enter your home or your professional caregiving setting and work alongside you. 

Laura's book list on dementia and how to find joy while caregiving

Laura Wayman Why did Laura love this book?

Sensitive and insightful, The Validation Breakthrough is an essential resource for families, friends, neighbors, home health aides, doctors, nurses, social workers, and long-term care staff.

I learned as I read this book the necessity of walking beside the elderly in the final life stage. I learned empathy and to listen and talk with them, rather than patronizing them or telling them what to do. And I learned a very different understanding of why those with dementia symptoms do the things that they do-how the decline in cognitive abilities affects them in a very individual way, and to better understand the reasons behind their disorientation and sometimes challenging behavior.

The Validation Breakthrough was the foundation for my dementia care programs and method, and I often recommend this to all my family and professional clients to help raise their dementia awareness.

By Naomi Feil,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Validation is a practical way of communicating with and managing problem behaviour in older adults with Alzheimer's-type dementia. It helps reduce stress, enhance dignity, and increase happiness. Since its inception in 1989, Validation has helped thousands of professional and family caregivers improve their relationships with residents and loved ones with dementia. Caregivers who use these techniques validate older adults' expressed feelings, rather than focusing on disorientation and confusion.

In this Anniversary Edition of The Validation Breakthrough, you'll learn how to re-create relationships between confused older adults and their caregivers. be caring and non-judgmental understand and handle challenging behaviours interpret non-verbal…

Book cover of Happiness: A Very Short Introduction

Valerie Tiberius Author Of What Do You Want Out of Life? A Philosophical Guide to Figuring Out What Matters

From my list on understanding what's really important.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I entered my fifties, I was very surprised to discover that I didn’t have my life all figured out. This was especially surprising since the nature of a good human life has been my research topic for decades. What I have learned, from philosophy and from my collaborations with psychologists, is that it’s always going to be a process. We have to figure out what matters and how to get it, we have to navigate value conflicts, and we have to accept that the answers will change as our circumstances change. The books I’ve recommended aren’t guides to life, but I think they’re great for understanding the process. 

Valerie's book list on understanding what's really important

Valerie Tiberius Why did Valerie love this book?

Everyone values being happy – it’s something we all want and should want!

Haybron’s little book has so much wisdom packed into it about what happiness is and how best to get it. He draws on philosophy and psychology to argue that the feeling of happiness is actually made up of three different emotional states: attunement, engagement, and endorsement. 

He then explains the research about good strategies for getting into these positive emotional states.

My students have really enjoyed this book and it contains one of my favorite lines from a book of philosophy: “don’t be an asshole in the pursuit of happiness.”  

By Daniel M. Haybron,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Happiness is an everyday term in our lives, and most of us strive to be happy. But defining happiness can be difficult.

In this Very Short Introduction, Dan Haybron considers the true nature of happiness. By examining what it is, assessing its importance in our lives, and how we can (and should) pursue it, he considers the current thinking on happiness, from psychology to philosophy.

Illustrating the diverse routes to happiness, Haybron reflects on contemporary ideas about the pursuit of a good life and considers the influence of social context on our satisfaction and well-being.


Book cover of Spiritual Emotions: A Psychology of Christian Virtues

Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung Author Of Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies

From my list on spiritual formation and Christian virtue.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a moral philosopher, I ask practical questions: What kind of person am I becoming? What kind of life will I live? What loves, hopes, and fears drive my choices and shape my relationships? Character formation moves us from vice to virtue. It starts with self-reflection and moves toward intentional practice. Over time, those practices shape us and add up to a way of life. You will be formed—but how? Glittering Vices, like my job, combines my passions for character development and wise teaching. Enduring the fiery furnace of cancer treatment made formation an urgent, life-changing topic for me. I hope these books open your life to renewal too.

Rebecca's book list on spiritual formation and Christian virtue

Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung Why did Rebecca love this book?

Humility, joy, gratitude, hope, contrition, and peace are virtuous emotions of Christian character—shaping how we see and feel and respond to the world, to God, and to each other. This gem of a book deserves to be widely read. Roberts offers mature Christian reflections on patterns in our emotional life. A Christian perspective offers a distinctive spin on each of these virtuous responses. When I was going through the most difficult time of my life, the chapters on gratitude and hope reframed everything for me. 

Roberts’ work at the intersection of philosophy and psychology is insightful and spiritually rich. It has also catalyzed a new generation of Christians thinking about virtue ethics and character formation.

By Robert C. Roberts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An expert in moral and philosophical psychology, Robert C. Roberts here develops an original, up-to-date understanding of human emotions in relation to spirituality and as a basic part of Christian moral character. With an eye on pertinent Biblical texts, Roberts explores emotions as nonsensory perceptions that arise from personal caring and concern. His study culminates with an in-depth examination of six "fruit of the Holy Spirit" emotion-virtues: contrition, joy, gratitude, hope, peace, and compassion.

Though Spiritual Emotions is rigorous in its focus on the inner structure of Christian character, it is nonetheless readable and is laced with many narrative examples.…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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