26 people list the books that made them a better person

26 Books That Made BookBub Readers Better People

By G.G. Andrew•Updated: August 13, 2020•5 min read

At the start of the year, we asked our readers a question: “What book made you a better person?” We loved the answers you gave us, ranging from novels that inspired gratitude to books that opened your eyes to the world around you. Read on for this list of inspiring books recommended by fellow readers. Reviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Book cover for Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E Frankl

Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor E FranklView Price…Save to List

Claire: “Man’s Search For Meaning changed my life when I was struggling to find my purpose for living. It showed me that I needed to quit whining and worrying about my own happiness — and get out there and help folks who really had something to worry about. Somewhere down the road, I found I was happy. That purpose and happiness came from helping others.”

Book cover for A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled HosseiniView Price…Save to List

Renna: “A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Those two books have shaped how I see people around me and taught me that the weakest people on Earth can be the strongest if they have the power of love.”

Book cover for Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

Prozac Nation Elizabeth WurtzelView Price…Save to List

Melissa: “Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel changed my life. I was, and had been, dealing with deep depression, and the book made me feel understood in a way I’d never experienced. It also made me realize that if she could find a way to manage her depression, then I could find a way to manage mine. I’ve read it countless times.”

Book cover for Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre Charlotte BrontëView Price…Save to List

Sharon: “As a lonely little girl growing up at a time when it’s a woman’s job to be pretty, engaging, and marriageable, Jane takes possession of her life through her brains and her appetite for hard work. When good fortune comes, she shares it with those she loves the most. She seeks a place in the world, not through wealth and status, but through being valued for what she does and can bring to others. She’s not always likable but she is clever, gutsy, and holds to her own values. What more can we ask of ourselves than integrity and courage?”

Book cover for Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy Bryan StevensonView Price…Save to List

Kathleen: “Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson opened my eyes to the injustice of our mass incarceration system that continues to treat people as less than human.”

Book cover for Science of Being and Art of Living by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Science of Being and Art of Living Maharishi Mahesh YogiView Price…Save to List

Ken: “[I] read it around 1968. I was a 17-year-old kid in a back-water town and it opened my eyes to another way to see the world. Changed me.”

Book cover for Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Night Road Kristin HannahView Price…Save to List

Jane: “Every teenager and parent of a teenager should read this book. Made me think about the consequences of my actions, and the necessity of following through when you say something.”

Book cover for Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie Mitch AlbomView Price…Save to List

Cate: “This book added so much dimension to my life. It brings wisdom, comfort, and hope about both life and death. It changes your priorities. ‘The truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.’

Book cover for Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women Louisa May AlcottView Price…Save to List

Julie: “Little Women taught me about loss and love when I was young and my mom was ill.”

Book cover for A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

A Fine Balance Rohinton MistryView Price…Save to List

Angy: “I challenge you to read it and have it not change you. Deeply moving.”

Book cover for Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Where the Red Fern Grows Wilson RawlsView Price…Save to List

Michele: “Where the Red Fern Grows showed me how rich a family can be with little to no money, how hard work pays off, and also [how] to respect my elders and love dogs. It is still my favorite book ever.”

Book cover for Bitter Winds: A Memoir of My Years in China’s Gulag by Carolyn Wakeman, Harry Wu

Bitter Winds: A Memoir of My Years in China’s Gulag Carolyn Wakeman and Harry WuView Price…Save to List

Antoinette: “Inspirational. His courage, dignity, strength, and survival kept this in my book case for many years. Thank you for the memory. I’ll read again!”

Book cover for Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Just Listen Sarah DessenView Price…Save to List

Carlie: “Just Listen by Sarah Dessen had one of the biggest impacts on my life. I first read it when I was in middle school and it changed my perspective a bit. One of the quotes is ‘Don’t think or judge, just listen.’ For a 12-year-old, that’s something big to read because we all know it, but in this book it shows just how much doing that can impact someone’s life.”

Book cover for Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

Angela’s Ashes Frank McCourtView Price…Save to List

Cheri: “Every time I’m having a pity party about what I don’t have, I think of this story about a family who had nothing. It makes me stop and count my blessings every time.”

Book cover for Becoming by Michelle Obama

Becoming Michelle ObamaView Price…Save to List

Janet: “‘Am I enough’? Yes I am!”

Book cover for The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl Anne FrankView Price…Save to List

Kathie: “I checked out Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl in the mid-1950s when I was a kid myself. It was the first time I realized that words have power. The fact that it was a real story made a huge impression on me. I’ve never forgotten that reading experience.”

Book cover for The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

The Poisonwood Bible Barbara KingsolverView Price…Save to List

Eugenia: “The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver changed my life. A child who dies in the story is telling her mother to let go. She knows her mother is afraid of forgetting her, but that it’s okay, she won’t forget. After the loss of my own child a few years earlier, I needed to hear that. I needed to know it was okay if life changed around me and I changed with it. I felt free to go forward without my son, knowing he would always be there in my heart.”

Book cover for Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Wonder R. J. PalacioView Price…Save to List

Jane: “[An] amazing story of kindness, understanding, and perseverance! Changed me in many ways by making me see people as they are!”

Book cover for The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz, Janet Mills

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom Don Miguel Ruiz and Janet MillsView Price…Save to List

Isobel: “Had them pinned up on my board in work for years. I worked in social services in a hospital. ‘Never make assumptions’ was a big one!”

Book cover for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone J.K. RowlingView Price…Save to List

Dawnita: “The Harry Potter series helped me through dark depressions by reminding me there is still magic in this world.”

Book cover for The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

The Shell Seekers Rosamunde PilcherView Price…Save to List

Emelia: “The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher is undoubtedly the book that changed me. It taught me to always be grateful for what I have, never wish for more, appreciate the people in my life, and always think carefully about my decisions.”

Book cover for To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird Harper LeeView Price…Save to List

Becky: “I vividly remember reading To Kill a Mockingbird in my eighth grade English Literature class. Although I was only 14, I remember delving into deep discussions with my peers about race, prejudice, compassion, and empathy. It forever changed my young view of the world.”

Book cover for The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut

The Sirens of Titan Kurt VonnegutView Price…Save to List

Kathi: “I read it when I was 14 and it opened my eyes about the whole concept of free will and why we are here. It was science fiction but it taught me about healthy skepticism, which has been a bedrock for me professionally.”

Book cover for Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Black Beauty Anna SewellView Price…Save to List

Belinda: “I think Black Beauty gave me my compassion for animals or reinforced it as an eight-year-old.”

Book cover for The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give Angie ThomasView Price…Save to List

Sarah mentioned The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas as a book that made her a better person.

Book cover for The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist Paulo CoelhoView Price…Save to List

Kelsey: “I take something new away every time I read it!”

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