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5 Books to Read When You’re Soul-Searching

5 Books to Read When You're Soul Searching

When you want to make a big change in your career, you usually undergo a period of soul-searching as well.

You feel lost. You wonder who you are, why you’re doing what you’re doing, and how you’ll ever get to the next place. At times like this, it really helps to have a community, but it’s also nice to have helpful books to read when you’re soul-searching. Here are some of my favorites.

5 Books to Read When You’re Soul-Searching

1 | The Four Agreements

Every human should read this book. The idea is that we “agree” with all of our beliefs, even the ones that are damaging. The path to freedom is to break the harmful agreements and make new, healthy ones. Four of them. If you feel like nothing is going your way, people are horrible, or you still don’t get what you deserve even though you try really hard, start with this book.

“That is why we need a great deal of courage to challenge our own beliefs. Because even if we know we didn’t choose all these beliefs, it is also true that we agreed to all of them. ”

— Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

2 | The Art of Possibility

Feel stuck? Trapped by circumstance? This book is for you. Don’t worry; this book will not just tell you to change your mind and think happy thoughts (‘cause no one feeling stuck wants to hear that). But it will tell you amazing stories and give you mind-bending challenges that will allow you to see past your perceived limitations. Read. Underline. Reread. Hug. Reread.

“In the measurement world, you set a goal and strive for it. In the universe of possibility, you set the context and let life unfold.”

— Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander, The Art of Possibility

3 | Man’s Search For Meaning

Written by Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, this book is about finding meaning in life, even in the worst of circumstances. Perfect if you need a healthy dose of perspective and are searching for meaning, yourself.

“We needed to stop asking ourselves the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct.”

— Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

4 | The Crossroads of Should and Must

There are things you should do, and there are things you feel you must do. At that crossroads, which do you choose? This is a delightful book filled with personal storied, illustrations, and short exercises. Good if you’ve got a bad case of the “shoulds” and are looking to shake things up.

“She said, ‘Have you ever tried to look for your dream in real life?’ […] I refused to consider it, but her question lingered, and eventually, I began to wonder…When you decide to look for your dreams in real life, where do you go? Craigslist, I thought.”

— Elle Luna, The Crossroads of Should and Must

5 | The Alchemist

Could any list of soul-searching books be complete without The Alchemist? Pick this one up if you’d rather read a story instead of non-fiction. Learn about your own epic journey as you follow the story of Santiago, a young shepherd.

“When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve.”

— Paulo Coehlo, The Alchemist

Have a favorite book to read when you’re soul-searching that I missed? I’d love for you to share it in the comments.

  1. melissaanderson2003@hotmail.com

    March 31st, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I love being introduced to new books so thank you! I’ve read The Alchemist & The Four Agreements which are both beautiful. Man’s Search for Meaning has popped up quite a few times in the past few months so maybe that’s a sign a need to read it… I haven’t heard of the other 2 so will be looking them up today. 🙂

  2. aishwarya.dg@gmail.com

    March 31st, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Oh i wouldn’t leave out Martha Beck’s "Finding Your Own North Star" 🙂 🙂
    I will definitely go read Victor Frankl and Elle Luna. Thank you for the suggestions 🙂 🙂

  3. Stephanie Woodward

    April 2nd, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    The Big Leap is one of my favourites when it comes to soul searching. I re-read it whenever I feel myself on the cusp of change, or when I’m stepping into a new chapter (or, ahem, contemplating a new chapter and am feeling quite chicken sh** about the whole thing)

  4. Samruddhi Bhagat

    September 12th, 2019 at 7:29 am

    sophie’s choice

  5. Tracy

    October 30th, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    It’s a Christian author, so may not appeal to some, but I really enjoyed ‘The Best Yes’ by Lysa Terkheurst. Really puts into perspective how to use your time wisely, as there are many things in our lives vying for attention, many that are good, but saying ‘yes’ too much is unhealthy.

  6. Sarah

    December 1st, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Thank you for these. Two of them were already on my list and I’ve read one. Getting to the other two soon. Man’s search for meaning truly has answers 🙌🏽

  7. Winnifred

    December 6th, 2019 at 1:03 am

    The Holy Bible is also a great read for soul searching, especially if you are a Christian. 🖒

  8. Amey

    December 10th, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    Extremely catchy content…Read Alchemist which was delightful experience. Up for other three books.

  9. Tisha

    January 8th, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Are these only good for career choices or would they be helpful on a personal level too?

  10. Laura Simms

    January 8th, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    Hi Tisha! These books are not career specific, so they’re great on a personal level. Hope you find something here that speaks to you.

  11. Anja

    January 12th, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Okay I love this post. Gotta save this and search for books. Thank you.

  12. Margaret E. Owens

    January 26th, 2020 at 5:52 am

    ” The Road Less Traveled”, Scott Peck. Classic reread too.

  13. Shilpa Kulkarni

    February 1st, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Illusions by Richard Bach is a book I would suggest.

  14. Carol

    February 9th, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    Man’s search for meaning is truly soul searching!

  15. Kalpana

    February 16th, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    For me “End the struggle and dance with life ” by Susan Jeffers was the book that started my journey of searching for meaning ., up I’ve found that the underlying themes of most soul searching books are principles taught by the Bhagawat Gita which are universal and applicabale to all mankind.

  16. Up

    February 20th, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Thanks for the list … Reading Coran with an open mind is also great for soul searching


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