11 people share the books that helped them unlock their potential

An inspiring page-turner can help you dig deep, make a change, and realize your full potential. These books made a profound impact on people’s lives.

For the second installment in our Books To Thrive By series, we’re featuring a roundup of incredible books that can change the way you see yourself forever.

Leading up to National Book Lovers Day on August 9th, we asked our Thrive Global contributor community to recommend the books that changed them. We were floored by the number of incredible recommendations that rolled in. (Don’t miss the first in the series of four: yesterday’s post on books that changed people’s careers for the better.)

An inspiring page-turner can help you dig deep, make a change, and realize your full potential. The books below made a profound impact on people’s lives, and we’re hoping they’ll do the same for you.

Want to evangelize your own game-changing book? Share a photo of the book on Instagram with the hashtag #BooksToThriveBy for a chance to be featured on Thrive’s Instagram.

Into The Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart by James R. Doty, MD

“My co-worker gave this book to me last Christmas, during an extremely stressful time in my life. It really cemented my belief in meditation as a necessary practice in my life. I, like many, get tunnel-vision under duress, so this book helped me to be more aware of my surroundings and to keep my mind, eyes and heart open.”

— Estelle Atney, accountant, Playa del Rey, CA

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

“This book helped me with my personal goals to build a new business and run my first-ever NYC Marathon this year. It helped me unlock what assumptions and habits I held in order to explore more creative solutions. Similarly, though I have been a lifelong runner, I struggled to trainer harder and reading the book challenged me to explore new courses and cues outside my usual routines.”

— Nekpen Osuan, data scientist, New York, NY

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

“This book changed my life. It made me realize that not only was there nothing wrong with the girl who doesn’t want to compete for airtime at brunch, but that there’s actual power in that. That the quiet, thoughtful, reflective, analytical nature that I’ve thought was a defect in some way is a true strength that not everyone has.”

— Sharon Podobnik Peterson, leadership coach, business owner, Washington, DC

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

“This book helped me see some of the reasons why I was holding myself down and not allowing myself to grow. It gave me the push to step up and grow into what I am capable of, and work toward what I want to be, do and have.”

—Herdis Pala, HR leader and speaker, Reykjavik, Iceland

Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankel

“Frankel’s account of how he emotionally survived being in a concentration camp taught me that we have the ability to create new narratives for ourselves that can help us live through the most devastating circumstances, moment by moment. We can find beauty in whatever speaks most deeply to us – a sunset, a kind gesture, a loving word – and focus on that rather than on the pain that could break our spirit.”

— Mark Chimsky, editorial consultant, Portland, ME

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle

“I read a lot of self-help books, so a memoir was out of the norm and I expected as a light vacation read. I was surprised at how affected I was by the writing. As an introvert who processes things internally and tends not to share my truth with others, I found Doyle’s raw truths to be rare and refreshing. More than once, her stories led me to cry while sitting and reading on my kitchen floor. It gave me a new perspective on how to tell my truth, and to articulate my authentic self in the world. This is something that I have actively tried to strengthen in my personal life and professionally as an entrepreneur. This book is now on the greatest hits shelf in my office.”

— Katie Rasoul, leadership coach, Milwaukee, WI

Rising Strong by Brene Brown

“This book has absolutely been instrumental in helping me better understand and tame the stories I tend to tell myself about uncomfortable situations/comments or events. The book helped me see that with mindfulness, we have the opportunity to challenge our thoughts and to finally own our story and rewrite it to reflect the truth, as opposed to self-harming assumptions.”

— April McGinnis, operations administrator, Brownsburg, IN

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

“This book made me realize just how much our views of our own past – and the stories we tell about our lives – can change over time. And if we can make new and better sense of our pasts, we have a better chance to make futures in which we’re happier and better versions of ourselves.”

— Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author and futurist, Menlo Park CA

Failing Forward by John Maxwell

“As a recovering perfectionist, this book helped me overcome a fear of failure. It shifted my perspective of failure. Now I fully understand that failure is a necessary process of success, which has opened up new opportunities in my life.”

— Erin Urban, career coach, Houston, TX

Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell

“I stayed in reading this book on New Year’s Eve 2015 with a glass of Prosecco. It was a year after quitting my job as a lawyer and I found myself a little lost again. Each word resonated with me at a soul level. I was right in allowing the world and person I’d created to crumble around me. I could create a more authentic and truer version of myself and that would reflect in the work I did. It was the start of everything falling into place for me, it made me feel supported and is a book I recommend to so many people.”

— Lulu Minns, business coach, UK

The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane

“This book helped me gain self-confidence and made me feel empowered. It challenges the idea of charisma as an innate characteristic and depicts it as a skill that can be learned, practiced, and mastered. Immediately, this way of thinking shook fixed ideas I had about achievement and charisma. I became more powerful and influential thanks to this it and I recommend it to anyone who wishes to thrive socially, academically, and professionally.”

– Jaimi Jansen, entrepreneur, Santa Cruz, CA

This article first appeared on Thrive.

Rebecca Muller|is a Content Fellow at Thrive Global