4 books that changed my life

We have more than a thousand books in our house. I’m not kidding. Since we’re young, my parents had always been generous in buying us books and any resources that will help us to improve. I think reading is one of the best habits an adult can cultivate in a child.

I watched Lavendaire’s YouTube video on books that changed her life and glanced through my bookshelf. Here are the 4 books that I’ve read so many times and still gasp, “Did I read this last time? I think I didn’t learn about this. Let me write this down!”

1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho 

Key message: What do you want?

This book is always on my desk. It’s a story about a shepherd boy who wants to travel to the Pyramid. The most popular quote in this book – “When you really want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” sounded like a cliché to me when I first read it. However, after some real-life experimentation (hello, I’m a scientist!), I think the message is real – we can achieve what we want if we are courageous enough to dream. The universe will make it happen. If you want to have more courage in doing what you do or try new things, I suggest that you give this book a go. I’ve recommended this book to many people and they like it too.

2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey 

Key message: What can you do to achieve what you want?

Of course dreaming alone will not lead you to where you want to be, you gotta start working on it. Every effort worth doing is also equally challenging. It requires you to be sharp, smart and effective. This book shows you how. I used to always complain that I was busy, but after reading this book, I changed my mindset and saw some habits and rituals of mine that can be improved and adjusted. I’m still a long way to go before adapting all the 7 habits into my life, but it’s okay I’m working on it.

3. The Willpower by Ferto 

Key message: How do you keep going?

The journey to reaching our goals is bumpy and lonely. It’s a marathon after all, not a short sprint. Keeping our mind positive and on track is extremely crucial. For me, doing PhD is definitely the longest marathon ever. I need willpower and stamina to finish the race. This book introduces stories and methods to train our brain to persist and be strong.

P.S. I have this book in Chinese version and I’m surprised I couldn’t find its English version. I suspect that a Chinese wrote it and claimed that it’s translated from the work of a fictional American author.

4. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Key message: Goals aside, what’s really the most important thing in life?

With so many goals to chase, so many ideas to execute, it’s easy to get lost in the midst of busyness and vast ocean of information. When I lose sight and feel anxious, I like to flip through this book to see what Morrie wants to teach me about life. Morrie is an old professor who is dying from ALS. His message on love, kindness and support keeps me grounded and grateful for everything that I have.


Do you have a book that have a strong impact on you? What book is that? Let me know!

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