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11 Books That Changed Our Lives

Words By Alice Florence Orr

With Team Bombinate

5 Minute Read

From sweeping romances to productivity deep-dives...

Every year around World Book Day, we scour our shelves to find our most informative, joyful and thought-provoking reads. In short: those books that stay with us for years after we turn the final page. There’s no way of predicting when a story will change our lives, but all of our favourites have one thing in common, and that’s their ability to make us imagine, wonder, and ask questions about the world we live in.

From great American novels to productivity tips we can’t live without, these books are the real deal — but don’t just take our word for it. With topics ranging from sustainability to art, here are 11 books that changed our lives.

01.

Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes

— Dana Thomas

The cost of fast fashion has never been higher and this influential book has been key to opening our eyes to the problems rampant in the industry. Thomas’s book proposes a blueprint for a more sustainable future, a belief in “slow fashion” that echoes our own key values. This book makes us optimistic that the future of fashion is ethical, locally made and sustainable.

02.

Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and what the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves

— James Nestor

Guaranteed to make you yearn for the wide-open ocean, our Head of Partnerships Edy picked this true story of Nestor’s experiences in the deepest parts of our planet. “Deep is a beautiful discovery of the world of freediving. A convincing tale of the natural relationship between our bodies and the oceans.” With our waters at risk from climate change, this book is a timely adventure.

“This book made me believe that I could do it all.”

03.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Carol Dweck

It might seem counter-intuitive, but have you ever considered that failure is the key to success? Our Junior Marketing Manager Jonathan hadn’t either — until he read Dweck’s book. Based on the latest studies in her field, Dweck suggests that our success is influenced by one important thing: our minset. Since reading, Jonathan’s attitude to work, career goals and success has shifted to making the most of his potential.

04.

Lost Connections

— Johann Hari

“I’ve always felt lost when it comes to discussions of depression and anxiety in the modern world — until I read Lost Connections.” Hari’s book proposes that alienation is detrimental to our happiness, even going so far as to say that friendship, support and a community can be more helpful to our well-being than antidepressants. “Whether you believe that or not,” Alice, our Content Assistant, says, “this is a book that will challenge your assumptions about depression and anxiety. It really helped me.”

05.

Transcendent Kingdom

Yaa Gyasi

Our Sourcing Manager Max calls Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi an “incredible” book — and the critics agree. Beautifully written, uplifting and thought-provoking, Gyasi’s novel about a Ghanian family living in Alabama explores topics including faith, science, religion, love. It will make you laugh, cry and remember it for years after.

06.

How to Be an Artist

— Jerry Saltz

Balancing a full-time job and an artistic practice can be a tricky thing. Luckily, art critic Jerry Saltz has some straightforward advice for all his fellow writers and artists out there. Alice says “This book made me believe that I could do it all.” Funny, provocative and a great short read, How to be an Artist is sure to become a cult classic of the genre.

“It helped me to rethink my ways of experiencing life in the modern world...”

07.

A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East 

— Tiziano Terzani

For our Head of Content Alessandra, Italian author Tiziano Terzani’s autobiography is one of the best ever written — and it changed her life. “It helped me to rethink my ways of experiencing life in the modern world, such as reconfiguring my priorities and thinking about what really, really matters.” This is a charming and memorable travel narrative for those seeking a life-altering adventure.

08.

The Great Gatsby

— F. Scott Fitzgerald

Considered one of the “great American novels”, Fitzgerald’s classic story captured the hearts of more than one member of the Bombinate team. Saj, our Senior Content Writer, says that The Great Gatsby is her favourite book. “I've read it too many times because it tells a beautifully heartbreaking tale of how you can have it all and yet have nothing at all.”

09.

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster

— Bill Gates

As a world leader in technology, Bill Gates has some opinions about the way we live — especially the future of the planet. Edy picked How to Avoid a Climate Disaster because it brings sustainability issues to a wider audience. “This book is an optimistic recap of the situation and how we can tackle it, through technologies, governments and as individuals. It has just the right amount of data in there, for me.”

10.

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Reni Eddo-Lodge

Saj calls Eddo-Lodge’s book “an eye-opening take on racism in the UK today and a relatable telling of a systemic refusal of accepting the presence of institutionalised racism”. In short, this is a timely and essential read packed with thought-provoking statistics in a language that’s easy to understand, even if you’re new to the topic.

11.

When Breath Becomes Air

Paul Kalanithi

“This is one of my favourite books”, our Designer Amaia tells us. “I’ve read it once a year since 2019. It's an autobiography about a neurosurgeon who is fascinated in searching for what the true meaning of life is while he is then faced with realising his own mortality. It's a beautiful memoir that I would recommend to everyone.”

Your next favourite read is just around the corner. From ideas about sustainability to sweeping romances, what book changed your life?

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