Life is busy. We have a lot to accomplish within a day and as such fitting in reading time usually becomes a step too far. People tell me; “If books were small, I would have had the desire to read because it would require less time to finish.” The truth is, there are small books. There are books that are able to say what they want to say and use not too many pages to do that.
They are short but the excitement and knowledge they bring you are nothing short of magic. I love small books too. I love it when I can finish a book in one sitting. It gives me joy and it’s also an opportunity to move on to another book. Below are some of the books I’ve found to be short and yet leave your life better. Note, all ratings are based on ratings on Goodreads and were the current ratings as at the time this article was being published.
Steal Like an Artist (Non-Fiction)
by Austin Kleon (Rate: 3.88)
This is a book for the artist. Whatever your work is, if you really want to be able to create something new or copy from the masters without any feeling of guilt, this book is for you. It’s small but packed with all the wisdom one needs to create something new from the old version. The book’s premise is that “there is nothing new under the sun. Everything is just a remix.” You only have to put a twist to the old, and it becomes yours. It teaches you how to create new ideas from the old and how to make the old idea your own.
The Spy (Novel)
by Paulo Coelho (Rate: 3.34)
This book is inspired by the life of Mata Hari, a Dutch exotic dancer who during her lifetime enchanted many with her graceful dancing moves. Due to her beauty and grace and exotic dance, she was able to mingle with great men of her time and it was this same association with great men that landed her into trouble. She was accused of espionage, imprisoned to face firing squared. During her days in the prison cells, she wrote a letter to be delivered to her lawyer when she finally got killed. This book is about that letter Mata wrote.
This quote sums up who Mata was; “I am a woman who was born at the wrong time and nothing can be done to fix this. I don’t know if the future will remember me, but if it does, may it never see me as a victim, but as someone who moved forward with courage, fearlessly paying the price she had to pay.”
The War Of Art (Non-Fiction)
by Steven Pressfield (Rate: 4.05)
This book is about art. Ultimately it’s about life. Life is an art. Pressfield talks about the enemy that only springs up anytime you have an intention to create something with your life. This enemy is the self—your own self. Pressfield calls it “Resistance.” It comes up to give you a reason not to do what you’ve decided to do. It’s the first voice that tells you, “Don’t be stupid, you can’t be successful with that.” Or it gives you all the reason not to start doing the work. This book is about how to beat the enemy and get the work done.
The Death of Ivan Ilych (Fiction)
by Leo Tolstoy (Rate: 4.05)
This book is touted as one of the greatest works of Tolstoy and you need to read it to know why. In just about 52 pages, Tolstoy was able to tell the story of death and dying in a way you can’t find anywhere. His main character, Ivan had lived a life he was not proud of. Now he lay dying and regretting the way he had lived his life. I’ve read a lot of books that tackle the subject of death but this book does it in a way that pushes you to reflect on your own life and ask yourself; “I’m I living a life I would be proud looking back on during my death?”
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff (Non-Fiction)
by Richard Carlson (Rate: 3.95)
I love the simple style this book was written in. The whole book is written in short essay style which makes it very easy to read. It’s about letting go of the problems of life which are mostly self-inflicted. It “shows you how to keep from letting the little things in life drive you crazy” and also give you the practical steps to follow to let go of the pain, anger, stress and other things that make life burdensome. “It’s all small stuff” and you don’t have to make it occupy the greater part of your life.
The Shift (Non-Fiction)
by Mo Issa (Rate: 4.18)
Read the extended review here. This book takes you on a journey with a man struggling to find happiness in his daily life. He’s been successful with his business and created a major company that’s doing very well and bringing him a lot of money. He could afford to buy expensive things and even own the latest Rolex watches but none of these brought the needed happiness in his life until he found himself during a self-discovery journey. In the end, he realized the only way to happiness is authentic living. The Shift teaches you how to shift from a life of misery unto the life of happiness and authenticity.
by Seth Godin (Rate: 3.82)
This book is about leading. It’s about finding something you are passionate about and providing leadership to others who are also passionate about what you are passionate about. It talks about how the internet has made it easier to find people who share your ideas and lead them. In effect, this book encourages you to dedicate your life to a specific cause and be ready to provide leadership because it’s now easier than any time in history to find people to lead. It’s written in simple language and I like the flow with which the ideas are presented.
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