Nine Books That Inspired Me to Improve Myself

Authors like Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell have written works that have inspired countless readers to change how they view the world. But that isn’t exactly what I look for in a book. For me, the real triumph of written works is books that inspire people to take action and improve themselves.

The following is a list of the nine books that have changed not just how I view the world, but more importantly, how the world views me.

The Nine Books That Inspired Me to Improve Myself

9. Drink, Play, F@#k – Andrew Gottlieb (Inspired me to get reading again)

8. Iceland, India, Interstate – Colin Wright (Inspired me to share my travel experiences with others)

7. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury (Inspired me to revisit the classics)

6. The War of Art – Steven Pressfield (Inspired me to embrace my creativity)

5. Vegabonding – Rolf Potts (Inspired me to take the leap to Argentina)

4. In Defense of Food – Michael Pollan (Inspired me to take action on my diet)

3. Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott (Inspired me to love writing again)

2. 1984 – George Orwell (Inspired me to write a novel)

1. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho (Inspires me to do more… repeatedly)

The Important Part!

These are only the books I have had the privilege of reading. I am sure there are more out there.

What books have shaped you? What works have you read that have inspired you to take action and improve yourself?


P.S. Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means I earn a small percentage of the sale if you choose to buy the books. That said, these really are my favorite books and I recommend them even if you don’t buy them via my links above. They are really fantastic!

P.P.S. Thanks to Hailee Rustard for the idea for this post. :-)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ben Spak

    Hey Danny,

    Been following you since your early Moz days, love how far you’ve come as a person, very awe inspiring and make me want to take bigger steps in my life. Thanks for being who you are and empowering others to find out who they truly are.

    I highly recommend you pick up “How to get Rich” by Felix Dennis. This book made me laugh out loud a few times. It was originally written by the author to be a joke, to dissuade people from taking the path he took to becoming wealthy. However it seems to have had just the opposite effect for myself and many other readers. Defiantly worth checking out!

    Kind Regards,

    • Hey Ben!

      Good to hear from you again! I remember you from my days at the moz and have appreciated your support over the years :-)

      Great recommendation with “How to get Rich”. I have actually already had the pleasure of reading that book. I totally agree with you, Felix Dennis is hilarious. You the man Ben!


  • I loved the following books and would encourage anyone to read them:

    “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield
    “Getting Things Done” by David Allen
    “Quitter” by Jon Acuff
    “The Hundredth Monkey” by Nate Folan and Friends

    There have been many more, but I can’t think of all of them right now. I will check out the books on your list as well! Thanks!

    • Nice, you are expanding my Kindle sample list. Thanks! :-)

  • Mattea

    Big fan of all of those!! Check out Born to Run. It’s my new inspiration for running. Safe travels!!

    • Good to hear from you! I hope life is kicking ass wherever you are :-) You and Sam are like an echo machine! Unlike his millionth suggestion to read it, your suggestion just made me add it to my list.


  • Inge

    Wait!, I think you forgot one…didn’t you write a book also?? :-) keep kicking ass D.Dover!

    • lol, ;-p Yeah that one is good too! Cheers Inge!

  • hayle sturgin

    you are amazing mr. dover

  • John Mazzella

    Danny, love your book list, I will start with “Bird by Bird” and go from there. I recommend “The Phantom Tollbooth”. As a budding writer myself, this children’s story is targeted at the young creative reader. It documents a young boy who travels through his imagination, similar to Alice in Wonderland. Without giving any spoilers, you learn about point-of-view in an all new way.

    • Thanks John! Looking forward to diving into it! Cheers!

  • bevlee

    How was I ever complete without stumbling into this blog & your work??? Completely dumbfounded but happy, nonetheless. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • James

    Danny, I just got around to this one, didn’t realize that it was from before we met.

    A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway is a big one for me. His sparse style and discussion of his own writing habits along with a frank discussion of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s insecurities made this important for me.

    Haunted – Chuck Palahniuk. This is the author of fight club and it too talks about writing and the modern desire for something to happen to you (rather than making something happen) that will make you famous and you can just write it down. It also shows his philosophy of viewing all things with humor, despite how awful, disgusting and sometimes horrifying they can be.

    Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlein. This is classic science fiction set in the future as predicted in 1961. It’s got a lot of relevance today with religious movements and people rejecting their prescribed notions about how life should be.

    • Hey thanks bud, just added these to my list! Woot. Books.

  • NancyDrew

    I love 1984, a reflecting of where society is right now…

  • NancyDrew

    I love 1984, a reflection of where society is right now…

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