11 Great Books for Unconventional Living

shelved under Self-Help and Bloggers' Picks

Want to increase your motivation for living unconventionally and avoid being like everyone else? These books will help get you off the couch and into the real world.


A Wild Sheep Chase

by Haruki Murakami

I love most of Murakami's work, but this is definitely my favorite. If you want to blend fantasy and reality and head off into the underworld of Japan, Murakami is the master.


Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World

by Tracy Kidder

Dr. Paul Farmer, the man who would cure the world. Read it and buy copies for your friends. Warning: you won't be the same after reading this book. (I’m just saying.)


The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

by Steven Pressfield

Someone much wiser than me once said, "We are all artists, even if we don't know how to draw." This book will help you overcome the enemy of resistance and win the war of art — no matter which art form you work in.

This book also appears on The Art of Being an Entrepreneur


Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner

by Dean Karnazes

This book will make you want to get up in the middle of the night and go for a long run. OK, you might not actually do that, but you'll definitely be inspired, even if you're not a runner.


Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

by Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez

This classic has reshaped the way thousands of us think about our relationship with money. The lessons on bond investing are largely irrelevant now, but the overall philosophy is timeless.


Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

by Alfred Lansing

If you're ever stranded off the coast of Antarctica without a ship or means of communication, read this book. Even if that's not your exact situation, the lessons of Shackleton may help you anyway.


It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: The World's Best Selling Book

by Paul Arden

An excellent, short primer on not letting the bad guys get you down in advertising and in life.


Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want

by Annie Gottlieb, Barbara Sher

One of the best "lifestyle design" books, published years before the industry was popular and still providing some great food for thought.


The Fountainhead

by Ayn Rand

Rand's Atlas Shrugged is better known (and truth to told, better written), but this first full-length book by Ayn Rand provides a good introduction to her philosophy of objectivism through the model of a heroic young architect.


The Alchemist

by Paulo Coelho

This easy (but stimulating) read is a classic parable of the quest for meaning.


The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Martin Luther King Jr., edited by Clayborne Carson

As cool as unconventional living is, in the end it's not all about you. This collection of King's writings will help you keep that in mind.