Personal Growth From Reading About Others

Libraries and bookstores list quite a different set of books in the inspirational category. On a stroll through the aisles of any such purveyor of literature, one may find theology textbooks, Bibles, studies, and devotionals. I treasure the spiritual value these publications provide. For me, such books exceed the term inspirational. I refer to this genre as foundational.

Today’s discussion redefines inspirational literature. After we’ve set our foundation upon spiritual truth, we can find inspiration by reading deep into the experiences of others. Through history, memoir, biography and poetry, our understanding of global life expands. These accounts invite us to see into the suffering, triumph, and failures of our human ancestry and contemporaries. The wealth within these volumes transcends time, to enrich generations far removed from the eras for which they were written.¬†We’re no longer limited to learning from our own circumstances or perspective. Empathy and vicariously obtained wisdom stretches the potential of our souls. Within the pages of these books lie vital keys to personal growth.

To read your way to your best self, check out the following genres. I’ve added a few suggestions to get you started in each inspiring category, but my list offers the barest sampling of the vast resources available. If you have favorites to suggest, please feel free to add them in the comments below.

Biographies Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

Mother Teresa by Kathryn Spink

Lincoln by David Herbert Donald

Susanna Wesley by Ray Comfort and Trish Ramos

The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers

Memoir Cuban-American: Dancing on the Hyphen by Amarilys Rassler

The Bipolar Experience by Leann Jeffries

The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Poetry Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

The Road Not Taken and Other Poems by Robert Frost

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

The Complete Poetry by Maya Angelou

History Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

A Night to Remember by Walter Lord

The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan

1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African American History by Jeffrey C. Stewart

How to Read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights

The Woman Who Smashed Codes

I look forward to reading your comments and adding your suggestions to my master list!


Be Encouraged,


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