Self-help books are required

11 really good books that will change your life

There are several reasons why we get to the point in our lives where we need the advice of others. Regardless of whether it is a personal catastrophe, a professional development or just spiritual and philosophical advice - where the words of family and friends sometimes don't help, books can do it. There is still something missionary about self-help books. You don't necessarily have to resort to self-help books to find enlightenment. Novels and even children's books can also help to open up one's perspective on one's own life and that of others. Over the past few years I have read various books that have helped me personally. Which books helped you?

1. "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Ruben

Former lawyer and writer Gretchen Rubin has a good job, two great children and a loving husband. Even so, she feels that she doesn't value her life enough and that she could be happier. Therefore, she makes the resolution to bring more happiness into her life for over a year. In her book "The Happiness Project" she talks about how she changes something in her life step by step every month. Her simple formulas such as "Remember Love" or "Make Time For Friends" are as simple as they are obvious that each of us can integrate them into everyday life just as easily and becomes happier by paying attention to the little things.

2. "4 hour week" by Tim Ferriss

The book title can easily be misleading, but it worked when I accidentally discovered the book eight years ago. In his work "4 Hours Week", Ferriss does not show how to work only four hours (although many readers actually did it), but gives very specific instructions on how to achieve your own goals in life. How do you make time for the things that you want to do, for things that you always want to do and not only during retirement or on vacation? The book was published ten years ago and is considered a work-life balance bible. What makes the book unbeatable is the fact that Ferriss not only gives very detailed tips (how to create an effective autoresponder, how to organize your day, etc.), but also conveys his thought pattern.

3. "The Prophecies of Celestine" by James Redfield

"The Prophecies of Celestine" tells of the search for a centuries-old document that predicts a radical change in our society at the beginning of the 21st century. Admittedly, the story that James Redfield tells is a bit far-fetched and sometimes annoying in terms of content, but at its core Redfield is about a new mindset and a new perception of the world that leads to a more open, sensual togetherness. Above all, I was moved by the chapter on coincidences: How often do we walk blindly through the world, unresponsive to the small signals. It is important to perceive these small signals and coincidences, to decipher the hidden messages in them and thereby direct our lives.

4. "Flying Without Wings" by Tiziano Terzani

The Italian journalist Tiziano Terzani was SPIEGEL's Southeast Asia correspondent from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. Based on a prediction by a Chinese fortune teller, he decided in 1993 not to fly for a year and to travel by land. He describes his experiences in "Flying Without Wings", which is not only a must for every traveler to Asia, but also breaks a lance for the deceleration that traveling by train or bus - especially in the greater Asia - brings with it. Because although flying is a fast way of traveling, it is also one that is decoupled from the cultures of the countries you are visiting.

5. "Reunion in a café on the edge of the world" by John Strelecky

"The Café on the Edge of the World" and the sequel "Reunion in the Café on the Edge of the World" is a book for people who like to stick poetry albums on their walls. This is not meant in a derogatory way, because almost every second sentence in John Strelecky's books has such obvious truth and depth that it is often overlooked in everyday life. Anyone who is caught in the weekly all sorts of things between work and leisure and needs a psychological boost every now and then is well equipped with the books.

6. "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to be interested in our universe. What makes dealing with the creation of time and space so exciting is the change in perspective that you get when you first deal with the seeming infinity of the universe. How often are we caught up in our little everyday problems, which pile up from small mosquitoes to large elephants and become almost unsolvable. "A Brief History of Time" by the recently deceased astrophysicist Stephen Hawking brings you back down to earth and shows how inconspicuous and small our problems are, measured against the big picture that surrounds us.

7. "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory" by Caitlin Doughty

"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" (which appeared in German under the less charming title "Ask Your Undertaker") helped me get over my fear of death. I met Caitlin Doughty back then as a Youtuber, on her channel Ask a mortician she reported about the death and her experiences as a crematorium specialist. In her book she tells how she got into this profession, about her sometimes absurd experiences and why we should change our approach to death. Because it is still associated with taboos and fear, especially in our western society, although other cultures have celebrated death as an essential part of life for centuries. Incidentally, the book reads particularly well in conjunction with "A Brief History of Time" and the knowledge that the atoms that make up our body do not die - so we never really die. What a comforting idea.

8. "Pippi Longstocking" by Astrid Lindgren

With "Pippi Longstocking" the Swedish children's book author Astrid Lindgren created a rebellious and self-determined female heroine as early as the 1940s. Pippi is nine years old and lives in her own house, the Villa Kunterbunt - without her parents, but with her horse "Little Uncle" and the nimble monkey Mr. Nilsson. She is incredibly strong (so strong that she can easily pick up her horse), incredibly brave and snotty. Because she lives alone, she can do what she wants and has the wildest adventures with her best friends, siblings Tommy and Annika. Pippi never lets himself be told by any authorities, has an unmistakable sense of justice and encourages us to believe in ourselves and to have fun with life. Each of us should be a bit like Pippi Longstocking at times!

9. "Momo" by Michael Ende

The novel "Momo" from 1973 takes place in a fantasy world and is about Momo, a little girl with pitch-black curly hair, who lives in poor circumstances and who always wears a man's jacket that is much too big. She has a special characteristic: she can listen extremely well. So good that it inspires people and stimulates their imagination when they tell Momo something. With her gift she tries to save the world from the "gray men" who work for the "Zeitsparkasse" and are out to steal people's time so that they become more restless, hectic and unhappy. Ultimately, “Momo” is a wonderful story about how we should live in the here and now and enjoy our lives instead of “saving” precious time and just striving for success.

10. "Siddharta" by Hermann Hesse

In "Siddharta", Herman Hesse describes the Brahmin son Siddhartha's search for enlightenment and the meaning of life. At none of his stations - neither as an ascetic in the forest, nor when meeting Buddha, as a rich secular merchant or as a father - does he find one or the other. He only succeeds in doing this at the end of his life as a ferryman on a river, from which he learns that knowledge cannot be imparted through teaching, but only acquired through personal experience. So, go out into the world and live!

11. "How to Read a Book" by Mortimer Adler

This scientific and philosophical classic is the ultimate book reading book and should therefore not be missing at the end of this list. Because if you do not read and understand all of the books mentioned correctly, then they have brought you nothing. Of course we all know how reading is, otherwise you wouldn't be here. But Adler's "How to Read a Book", which first appeared in 1940, is primarily about a better and deeper understanding of both scientific and philosophical reading up to and including fiction. He gives the reader techniques that are as simple as they are obvious, but tend to be forgotten while reading.

And now: have fun reading and get better!