9 books that will change your perspective on life

Defiance in the face of adversity or a life-changing experience – these books from some of the most inspiring authors will fundamentally change the way you view and experience everyday life.

Some books are there to make us laugh, others to make us fall in love, some to keep us on the edge of our seats. But there are some books, which are undeniably rare, that can transform the way we think, and see the world, forever.

So if you’re looking for a book that will stay with you long after the last page, here we share thirteen books that will change your perspective on life.

That Little Voice In Your Head

by Mo Gawdat

Mo Gawdat's That Little Voice in Your Head is a practical guide to rewiring your brain for joy. He reveals that by talking down the negative voice within, we can change the way we think, turn greed into kindness, transform apathy into compassionate action and create our own happiness. Gawdat's brain exercises draw on his experience as a former Google engineer and Chief Business Officer, as well as from his neuroscience studies. And he explains how – despite their complexity – our brains generally behave in predictable ways. Drawing inspiration from the life of his late son, Gawdat has written a manual for happiness that is steeped in empathy.

Too Many Reasons to Live

by Rob Burrow

Rob Burrow is known for his legendary rugby league career, with eight Super League Grand Finals, two Challenge Cups and three World Club Challenges. But in December 2019, not long after retiring and with three young children, Rob was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, a rare degenerative condition, and given just a few years left to live. The incredible outpouring of sympathy, affection and support quickly turned to admiration at Rob’s awe-inspiring and ongoing fight against the disease. Immeasurably more than a sports memoir, this is the story of a tiny kid who made it into the Leeds hall of fame and the story of a man who fought to make something positive out of a terrible predicament. 

Hope Not Fear

by Hassan Akkad

Despite having experienced the unimaginable, BAFTA award-winner Hassan Akkad holds onto hope and demonstrates the kindness humanity is capable of every day. Hope Not Fear details both Hassan's life in Syria before the war and his perilous journey to the UK as an asylum-seeker, followed by his experiences from the Covid-19 frontline as an NHS cleaner at a London hospital. His account of the pandemic has even driven a government U-turn on the exclusion of the families of NHS cleaners and porters from its bereavement compensation scheme. 

Hassan's story of triumph over adversity by standing together, united in kindness and love, is the most important message of our time. 

Read Hassan's account of his time as an NHS cleaner on the COVID-19 frontline.

The Kindness Method

by Shahroo Izadi

If you're looking to make a change in your life, Behavioural Change Specialist Shahroo Izadi believes there’s only one way to make change last, and that’s to be kind to yourself. The Kindness Method was developed through a combination of professional training and personal experience and will leave you feeling empowered, positive and ready to make a change, whether it’s weight loss, cutting down on alcohol or improving your relationships. 

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man

by Emmanuel Acho

With the same open-hearted generosity that made his video series of the same name a groundbreaking success, Emmanuel Acho tackles all the questions – large or small, insensitive or taboo – that many white people are afraid to ask. 

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man explains the core of many difficult concepts such as white privilege, cultural appropriation and 'reverse racism' by providing compassion and understanding in discussions that often lack both. Asking only for the reader's curiosity, his motivational call to join the fight against racism will leave you utterly captivated. 

Read Emmanuel Acho on the myth of the 'Angry Black Man'.

The Stranger On The Bridge

by Jonny Benjamin

In 2008, a stranger saw twenty-year-old Jonny Benjamin standing on Waterloo Bridge, about to jump. Seeing his distress, they stopped to talk with him - a decision that saved Jonny's life.

The Stranger on the Bridge is a memoir of the personal and public journey Jonny made to find the person who saved his life, including multiple TV appearances and a nationwide search that people got behind in their millions. Jonny sheds light on his continuing management of his schizoaffective disorder diagnosis, explores how he got to the bridge in the first place, and details his eventual life-long friendship with the man who saved his life.  A deeply moving and personal story with Jonny's own unique insights on mental health – uncovering the hope and redemption every person is capable of. 

In my world, the word inspirational gets bandied around a lot, but Jonny Benjamin is truly deserving of that adjective.
HRH The Duke Of Cambridge

Crying in H Mart

by Michelle Zauner

When Michelle goes to H Mart, an Asian supermarket chain, she's not just searching for cuttlefish and scallions. Amongst the shelves and isles are precious memories of her mother and aunt, who imbued her with a love for Korean food and provided the only link to her Korean heritage. Proving herself much more than a brilliant singer, songwriter and guitarist, Michelle Zauner tells a story of family, food, grief and endurance in this memoir about growing up mixed-race, re-discovering her Korean identity, and a personal reckoning brought on by the loss of her mother to terminal pancreatic cancer. 

Read our Q&A with Michelle on Crying in H Mart here.


by Bette Howland

In 1968, after swallowing a bottle of pills, part-time librarian and struggling single mother Bette Howland becomes a patient of a small psychiatric ward and discovers a world of dishevelled, momentary existence on the edge of permanence. W-3 is a world of pills and passes where crafty veteran patients are ruled over by all-powerful staff.

This dazzling book is a vivid portrait of the community of Ward 3 and an incredible account of a defining moment in Howland's life as a writer, replete with her own sweeping insights into life and existence.


by Olivia Laing

At a moment when our basic rights are once again threatened, Everybody is an ambitious exploration into the body and its discontents. Using the life of radical psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich as a guide, Laing takes us on a daring course of bodily freedom, from gay rights and sexual liberation to feminism and civil rights. 

Laing draws from her own experience in protest, alternative medicine and her travels from Weimar Berlin to the McCarthy-era prisons of America to open up questions of life, art and the forces emplaced against freedom. Everybody is a celebration of how the ordinary human body can resist oppression and ultimately influence the world. 

Discover the five books that opened Olivia Laing's mind and freed her body.

Dare Not Linger

by Nelson Mandela and Mandla Langa

1994. Nelson Mandela becomes the first president of democratic South Africa. In the five years that follow, he and his government ignite an extraordinary transformation of the country, after which, he stands down. Dare Not Linger is the stunning story of how a nation fractured by centuries of colonialism and apartheid was turned into a fully functional democracy in which all of South Africa's citizens, black and white, were made equal in the eyes of the law.

With a prologue by Mandela's widow, Graça Machel, the account of Mandela's revolutionary presidential years provides a vividly inspirational record of the challenges he overcame to achieve his ultimate vision of a liberated South Africa.