10 Books That Changed My Life

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10 books that changed my life

10 Books that changed my Life

A list of recommended books for your business, your career and personal growth


At least once a day, I receive an email, a direct message on LinkedIn or Instagram or a WhatsApp, where people ask me, if I could recommend books worth reading (and just in case you´re wondering, yes I also have personal conversations on this topic). And I love these questions, because I just love books. I love buying them, reading them and – of course – as an author I love writing them. I read as many books as I can, because only a book allows me to get inside the heads of the smartest people who have ever lived, and to get inspired by their ideas, thoughts and opinions. Out of every book that I read – no matter how trivial it may be – I get at least one important idea that I immediately integrate into my daily routine. But of course there are a few books that really touch and challenge me at the same time. Books that inspire me to think about the really important questions. Books, that literally have changed my life. 

I have compiled these books in a list of the Top 10 books that I have ever read. May they be an inspiration for you as well.

1) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

It’s novel, but probably the best book about business and entrepreneurship ever written. No other book had a bigger impact on my personal growth than Atlas Shrugged. It’s probably because the main characters Dagny Taggart, Hank Rearden and John Galt represent my core values integrity, personal responsibility and clarity. The books mirrors my own life philosophy like no other. But also the storyline itself has everything you would expect: Love. Tension and lots of interesting characters. Atlas Shrugged is thought provoking, inspiring and my all-time favourite book.

Buy Atlas Shrugged by clicking this link


2) The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann

The next book is also a novel (and I think lots of novels include more wisdom than most of the business books out there, because they challenge your thinking, widen your view of the world and inspire you with new ideas), the Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (who – as a side note – was born in the same town as me, in Lübeck). The storyline in itself is not very complex. A young man called Hans Castorp visits his cousin Joachim Ziemßen in a health clinic in Davos/Switzerland. The planned 3 week visit turns into a 7 year stay. So what’s so fascinating about this story? The main characters, the artful descriptions of the individual developments and the various philosophical conversation. A true masterpiece that teaches me lots of lessons everytime I read it.

Buy the Magic Mountain by clicking this link


3) The 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

After reading this book in 2007, I asked myself the following question for the very first time in my corporate career: “What if…?” After that, nothing was the same for me. The idea of the book is as simple as it is brilliant. Live a life based on your expectations and standards. And then design a business, that allows you to live exactly that life. The 4 Hour Work Week is full of ideas, inspiration and suggestions for everyone who expects more from life than just a 9 to 5 job. Highly recommended read, even if it’s already a few years old.

Buy the 4 Hour Work Week by clicking this link


4) Life of the Party by Bert Kreischer

Bert Kreischer is one of my favourite comedians (if you don’t know him, I recommend checking out his signature story “The Machine”). This book is a mixture between a biography and a collection of many hilarious stories (many of which he also uses during his stand-up routines). I love his way of storytelling, and while listening to the audiobook (in this case I highly recommend the audio version, because Bert reads it himself) I just can´t stop laughing. 

Buy Life of the Party by clicking this link


5) The subtle Art of not giving a Fuck by Marc Manson

Time for the first business book in this list. Okay, maybe it’s not your typical management literature, the title speaks for itself. It’s more like a philosophical approach on personal development, and why it is so important to go your own ways in every single area of your life. A very inspiring book I cannot recommend highly enough. But a serious warning: After reading it, you won’t give a fuck about many things any more. 

Buy the The subtle Art of not giving a Fuck by clicking this link


6) The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

Seth Godin is one of my favourite writers. Him being a contrarian and critical thinker, I could recommend every single one of his books (and he has written lots of it), but my favourite one of all times is The Icarus Deception, because it had the biggest impact on my thinking. Again, it’s about becoming the best version of yourself and creation a lifestyle, where work and personal life are no longer separated but complement each other. An inspiring, thought-provoking and encouraging read.

Buy The Icarus Deception by clicking this link


7) The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Being a keynote speaker who attends conferences and meetings on a daily basis, I’m not a big fan of motivational mumbo jumbo, and maybe that’s why I like this book so much. While other authors give you cheesy advice on starting and running a business, Ben Horowitz tells the truth and nothing but the truth. I highly recommend The Hard Thing about Hard Things to every entrepreneur, executive and manager, because there is so much wisdom and practical advice in it. Read. Apply. Repeat.

Buy The Hard Thing about Hard Things by clicking this link


8) Disrupt Yourself by Jay Samit

I met the author during my book launch of “Think it. Do it. Change it.” at the C-Suite Conference in Boston in 2016, and we exchanged our books. And Disrupt You fascinated me from the first page on. It’s all about changing yourself, before you get changed. To adapt to the changing world, changing economy and changing business models. To be a disruptor instead of getting disrupted. A highly inspiring book full of real world examples, big ideas and a step by step formula to constantly reinvent yourself.

Buy Disrupt Yourself by clicking this link


9) Who moved my Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

This is the book that I gifted to other people like no other. Because it gets to the core of change in a very simple, yet very thought provoking way. The storyline is a short metaphor about two mice and two littlepeople who live in a maze full of cheese. Until one day, the cheese is no longer there. If you want to understand and master change, I highly recommend you read this brilliant book.

Buy Who moved my Cheese? by clicking this link


10) Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

I’m a huge fan of reading biographies, and this one is just fabulous. The book tells the story of Phil Knight and how today’s fashion giant NIKE was founded. I learned so much from reading it, and I have applied lots of the principles to my own business. If you only read one book this year, it should probably be Shoe Dog,

Buy Shoe Dog by clicking this link


What are your favourite books?

That were the 10 books that changed my life. What books do you read? Which ones do you recommend? Please leave a comment below and let me (and my readers) know. I´m looking forward to lots of inspiring suggestions.

Best wishes,


  • Ulrike Wahl says:

    Thanx a lot for charing your most inspiring books.

    Here are 4 of my favorites:

    Sebastian Kodden: Erwecke den inneren Helden. Begeisterung.
    (About enthusiasm, flow, burn-out, bore-out, endless tipps and exercises. Very inspiring. From a dutch Prof.)

    Sabine Asgodom: Lebe wild und unersättlich! 10 Freiheiten für Frauen, die mehr vom Leben wollen.
    (It´s all about your mindeset. Very concrete. Very personal. Very encouraging.)

    Hermann Scherer: Glücksgeschenke. Inspirationen für ein Leben voller motivierender Momente.
    (A book about luckiness. A book you can open – whereever you want. There is always an inspiring sentence or picture. And it is illustrated full of love.)

    Frank Bodin: Do it, with love.
    (A book – created in Switzerland, printed in Germany, bound in Turkish leather. A book full of 100 inspirations for a creative world. OH YES. And it is a book for all of your senses.)

    Ulrike Wahl

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  • Brittany Powell says:

    I can’t wait to check these out!! here are my favorites 🙂