15 Books Worth Reading if You Want to Make Significant Changes in your Life

My reading hasn’t always been this focused, but I’ve found that almost everything I’ve read in the past few years could be classified into three categories: memoir, self-help, or social sciences/cultural commentary. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there are some commonalities those genres. Chalk it up to the the #therapythirties if you’d like, but I suppose at my core I’ve been interested in a few very basic questions. How does this world work? Is it possible to change? What is the good life?

It’s no stretch to say that the work (and the reading) has been fueled by its share of discontent, by the frustration and disappointment of feeling like life isn’t turning out the way I want it to. The good news is that the journey — both in and outside of the reading — has been incredibly rich and that there have been signs of progress along the way. I feel more hopeful now than I ever have before. For anyone who’s interested, here are 15 books — which I’ve grouped into six different topical categories — that I’ve found helpful along the way:

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John Updike’s Rabbit, Male Alienation, and the Fear of Intimacy

In the acclaimed 1986 film, Hoosiers, Myra Fleener observes that “a basketball hero around here is treated like a god.” Speaking about the town’s star, Jimmy Chitwood, she says, “I don’t want this to be the high point of his life. I’ve seen them, the real sad ones. They sit around the rest of their lives talking about the glory days when they were seventeen years old.” John Updike, the late American novelist and cultural critic, has shown a willingness to take on the godship of the male athlete and the loneliness that comes with it after the stardom dies, as it inevitably does.

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