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10 Meaningful Books Everyone Should Read (Classics Edition)

Recommended By: CJ From StagePlot Guru

Greetings From StagePlot Guru Blog Planet!

Here is an introduction into our SPG book review series. I’d like to suggest some books that have greatly impacted my life in all aspects, as a working musician, business owner, and general "student" of life.

I'm always looking for drops of inspiration (who isn't?).

The list below is in no particular order, meaning, there isn't a ranking system here. Each one of these have takeaway gems that will stay with you for life, guaranteed. The books I picked here, are the books that I feel stand "the test of time"-true gems, that I find myself reading over again, or referencing from time to time .

Those who know me personally, have likely heard me rave about these already, but many haven't, so here they are. And, as a huge fan of audio books these days (time, right?), many of the selections below are in audio format. I've included some links in the descriptions if you care to sample them. And yes, in the spirit of full disclosure, some of the links are from our affiliate sponsor. Which means, we get a couple pennies to help keep the site going, if you purchase something.

But even if you don't, no problem. I wanted to just share these selections in hopes that you could find some gems for yourself.

Stay Well-


StagePlot Guru


Man's Search for Meaning

By Viktor Frankl

I still get chills reading (now listening) to Dr. Viktor Frankl's book, "Man's Search for Meaning". Dr Frankl's perspective from someone who experienced the atrocities of 4 Jewish concentration camps during the second world war, will not only give make you appreciate what you have, but reminds us of the resiliency in the most trying of times. Dr Frankl discusses the concept of logotherapy, a therapy he constructed, in detail. It is designed to lead us to the meaning and purpose in our lives. He called this "A will to meaning". Logotherapy is the idea that we are strongly motivated to live with purpose and meaning. By responding authentically to any challenge we face, we are living our purpose. Pay close attention to the concept he calls "The Existential Vacuum". It is very insightful. You will be referencing this book for years to come, as his insight and contribution are timeless.


By Robert Kiyosaki

Want to understand finance in "black and white" terms? Want to know how to better manage your money, create real value and become financially "literate"? Well, look no further than Robert Kiyosaki's, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad". I will admit, when I first saw this book (and the really bad cover), I thought sarcastically "oh great, another get rich quick" book, which I am not a fan of. But I gave it a chance, and was totally wrong about my initial reaction. This book breaks concepts of finance down into simple terms for nearly everyone. You don't need to be a Business scholar to understand the key takeaways. It's brilliant, and though written in in '97, the concepts are timeless. Additionally, it has been updated. Well worth the read.

More from this author:


by Roberte Greene

Another book I chose to put on this list is one that is a bit controversial, Robert Greene's "The 48 Laws of Power". Just a heads up, you will either love it or you'll hate it. Robert Greene lays out the way

to play the "power game" of life in 48 laws. Going into this with the proper mindset is essential, or you will likely find this book repulsive, and arrogant.

An observation from one reader is pretty spot on- They said the following:

"First, to understand the 48 laws of power, you must know two key ideas

1. You CAN NOT escape the power game.

thinking you can "not participate" is as foolish as thinking that you could somehow escape gravity or make the sun stand still. Robert Greene explains why in the intro with some excellent examples

2. The 48 laws of power are neither good nor evil; they are just LAWS. If someone pushed a man off a cliff would you blame gravity for for his demise? This is the mindset you must adopt in order to learn a lot from this book".

Give it a chance, you'll start to see the perspective the author intends.

More from this author:


by Eckhart Tolle

Now on to a different kind of "power". You can't mention "must read" self improvement books without mentioning Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now". This book is packed with wisdom and will serve as a tool to help keep you grounded. Which, more and more, seems to be a struggle. If you struggle with distraction (who doesn't?). If you struggle with lack of inner peace, this is the book that will provide the tools to guide you through life's rough waters. It's written in "question and answer" format. I must admit, as a skeptic of "self professed guru's", Eckhart won me over. He offers a perfect combination of rich and simple philosophy, combined with awareness tools to view things through a different lens. Timeless concepts in this one.

More from this author:


Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road

And for even more perspective, Neil Peart's, "Ghost Rider- Travels on the Healing Road", is a lesson in overcoming and embracing personal tragedy. For the uninitiated, Neil was the Drummer and Lyricist for the Rock band, Rush. In '97, Neil lost his 19 years old daughter in a tragic car accident, and his wife of 20 years to cancer, all within a 6 month span of time. Lost, and broken, he jumped on his BMW motorcycle and just kept riding. The world through his lens is one of the most incredible and unique perspectives you will ever encounter (just read the lyrics to any Rush song, and you'll understand what I mean. This book will make you cry, laugh, and give you the macro-perspective you might need to step out of your small world. If that's what you need to do, I can't recommend this enough. Even if you have no idea who Neil Peart is, or you're not a fan, it doesn't matter. Anyone that has ever suffered loss will read this, and gain more insight into their lives. It's a timeless "must read", as are any of his other books. Neil was a brilliant man and a true gift to the world.

More from this author:


The Four Agreements

By Don Miguel Ruiz

The simple anecdote to the four agreements is what makes this book timeless. There are times when life calls for simplicity, when you need to return to the fundamentals. The Four Agreements sheds light on principles that can benefit all of us. Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Always do your best. The four agreements is a book that transcends time, and is laid out very well, so anyone can relate.

More from this author:

The Five Levels of Attachment, StagePlot Guru blog
Sample Here


Flow-The Psychology of Optimal Experience

By: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

For those who have been fortunate enough to experience the concept of "flow" you will relate to his book in a huge way. If you're curious to know what activities put us in this flow state, or how to find tools to put us in the flow state of mind, do read this book.

Legendary psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's famous investigations of "optimal experience" have revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. In this new edition of his groundbreaking classic work, Csikszentmihalyi ("the leading researcher into ‘flow states’" —Newsweek) demonstrates the ways this positive state can be controlled, not just left to chance. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience teaches how, by ordering the information that enters our consciousness, we can discover true happiness, unlock our potential, and greatly improve the quality of our lives.

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is an incredible book. Recommended books by StagePlot Guru
Sample Here

More from this author:


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

The depth and knowledge of this book can't be overstated enough. Sapiens is the Gold Standard of learning about who we are as humans. The careful construction and deep analysis is woven together to tell the story of Who we are, Why are we here, and How we got here. Put a different way- it's the story of creation and evolution as told by renowned historian, Yuval Harari.

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.

Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years.

More from this author:


Stumbling on Happiness

By Daniel Gilbert

Do you think you know what happiness is? You might be surprised to know what real happiness means for most. In this brilliant, witty, and accessible book, renowned Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert describes the foibles of imagination and illusions of foresight that cause each of us to misconceive our tomorrows and misestimate our satisfactions. With penetrating insight and sparkling prose, Gilbert explains why we seem to know so little about the hearts and minds of the people we are about to become. I would also recommend watching any of Dan Gilbert's Ted X Talks and watch his brilliant 3-part PBS documentary on the subject. I've included a link below to that as well. Enjoy.

More from this author:


By: Jeff Olson

The Slight Edge is a way of thinking, a way of processing information that enables you to make the daily choices that will lead you to the success and happiness you desire. Learn why some people make dream after dream come true, while others just continue dreaming and spend their lives building dreams for someone else. It's not just another self-help motivation tool of methods you must learn in order to travel the path to success. It shows you how to create powerful results from the simple daily activities of your life, by using tools that are already within you.

In this 8th anniversary edition you'll read not only the life-changing concepts of the original book, but also learn what author Jeff Olson discovered as he continued along the slight edge path: the Secret to Happiness and the Ripple Effect.

This edition of The Slight Edge isn't just the story, but also how the story continues to create life-altering dynamics--how a way of thinking, a way of processing information, can impact daily choices that will lead you to the success and happiness you desire. The Slight Edge is "the key" that will make all the other how-to books and self-help information that you read, watch and hear actually work.


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