5 Books to Read When You're Soul-Searching

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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

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

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

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

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.