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Read These 12 Books to Change Your Life in 2018

12. Nov. 2021


People join Remote Year because they want to make a major life change.

Can you relate? On a work and travel program, you’ll come across opportunities for growth and development on an almost daily basis, whether they’re organized or organic.

One way that Remote Year communities stay on top of their personal growth and professional development is by participating in community-led book clubs.

An added bonus? These book clubs meet around the world.

Join a work and travel program today to become a part of a growth-focused community.

Remote Year programs choose one book per month to help them grow as individuals. Gathering together on beaches in Croatia and in tea houses in Japan to discuss their major takeaways can help Remotes implement life-changing lessons throughout their work and travel journey.

The Remote Nation focuses in on books pertaining to productivity and happiness, growth and challenges, passion and creativity.

Sound like a book club that you want to be a part of? There are two things you can do to get in on the action: 1) join a Remote Year community (what are you waiting for?!) and 2) start making your way through these 12 books that have been read over and over again by Remote Year book clubs.

1. The Happiness Advantage - Shawn Achor

For as long as we can remember, society has been telling us that we’ll be happy once we get that raise or promotion, buy that house, or lose that weight. In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor lays out the psychological research that shows that it’s actually the opposite: happiness makes you more successful, not the other way around.

Why Remotes Love It: As people who are breaking the traditional mold for success and professional pursuit, Remotes see this book as a way to “retrain their brains”. With the lessons learned, they can adhere to a new perspective and push themselves in the direction of their goals and passions, instead of feeling like they never have enough, do enough or are enough to be happy.

2. Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg

Gender inequality is a timely topic across societies and Sheryl Sandberg’s book on the phenomenon is the leading resource on this conversation. She goes into detail about her professional experiences as a woman, offers advice for what women can do to get ahead, and outlines what changes society can make as a whole to achieve equality in the workplace.

Why Remotes Love It: The Remote Nation is filled with powerful women who are navigating the modern workforce - and Sheryl Sandberg is a resounding force for them to consult along their journey. As they continue down their path toward their personal professional pursuit, they can use this book to consider the ways in which society will attempt to hold them back - and how they can persevere regardless.

3. Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Mark Manson

In a contrasting argument to the aforementioned The Happiness Advantage, Mark Manson says, "Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." He rails against the generational idea of participation trophies and instead proposes that to be happy and successful as a society, we need to understand that there are winners and losers - and sometimes you’re the loser.

Why Remotes Love It: Mark has a no-B.S. way of explaining his ideas, which Remotes can relate to as traveling professionals who don’t have time for fluff. In addition, one of Mark’s most prevailing ideas, that true wealth is about experience, not money, hits home for our communities. As they see the world while pursuing the things that light them up, that idea proves itself true for them over and over again.

4. The 4-Hour Workweek - Timothy Ferris

This much-loved book on how to live your best life now, instead of waiting for retirement, is a must-read for people interested in a location independent lifestyle. Tim Ferris gives advice based on his own experience as someone who travels consistently while making a living that is aspirational to many. He  gives professional, and financial tips so that you can live a life that isn’t defined by the number of hours you spend in the office - but what you do with those hours. Tim is the prime example of someone who works smarter, not harder.

Why Remotes Love It: To be frank, a 4-Hour Workweek sounds like a dream, so even people outside of Remote Year have fallen head over heels for this book. Tim offers practical tips on how to transition into remote work for those who haven’t made the move - yet. In addition, the book also has specific relevance to people who are already working remotely and traveling, particularly those who are entrepreneurs or aspiring to become their own boss.

5. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez

This book was named the must-read book for those who are traveling to Colombia by the Colombian ambassador himself. It defines an entire genre of writing related to the region called “magical realism” and it helps people understand the underpinnings of Colombian society and culture.

Why Remotes Love It: Many Remote Year itineraries travel to Colombia during their Latin American leg, and this book provides key insights into the culture  they’re going to experience. It helps Remotes put Medellín and Bogotá into perspective, and gives them an appreciation for the stories and rich history of the people who make their homes in beautiful Colombia.

6. Ice Cream for Breakfast: How Rediscovering Your Inner Child Can Make You Calmer, Happier, and Solve Your Bullsh*t Adult Problems - Laura Jane Williams

We don’t know why it happens, but at some point in life apathy becomes cool. It’s seen as more mature to not get excited over new ideas or opportunities. Laura Jane Williams throws that idea to the wayside and encourages readers to embrace their inner child whenever possible. Being an adult is hard, and sometimes the only way to get through it is to let yourself relax, break the rules, and eat ice cream for breakfast.

Why Remotes Love It: True to their non-traditional spirits, Remotes flock to this book to reset their views on aging and taking on more responsibility. They’ve too often been required to compromise their wildest hopes and dreams in order to stay the course and make a living - this book gives them permission to let that narrative go.

7. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World - William H. McRaven

It’s all about the little things. William H. McRaven argues this in his book based off his viral commencement speech to the 2014 graduating class at the University of Texas at Austin. As a former Navy Seal, he tells the stories behind the greatest lessons that he learned during his time of service, and how the smallest changes and attention to detail can change the world.

Why Remotes Love It: Remotes are keen on helping the world come together to appreciate diversity and unique perspectives - but the world tends to make that mission a difficult one to achieve. This book encourages the Remote Nation to keep moving forward and to realize that their smallest actions can have a ripple effect.

8. Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People - Bob Goff

This book envisions a world in which people aren’t held back by fear or worry, a world in which they are free to love unconditionally. Bob shares personal anecdotes from the moments that he’s experienced this type of no-holds-barred love and care and encourages his readers to open themselves up to relationships with strangers in order to make the world a more peaceful place.

Why Remotes Love It: This book has direct roots in the overall Remote Year mission of creating a more peaceful and productive world by fostering genuine human connections across diverse cultures and people. Remotes who read this book find themselves more likely to create connections with locals in the cities that they work and travel to, building bonds without inhibition or insecurity.

9. The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything - Ken Robinson, Lou Aronica

Ken Robinson describes “the element” as the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. It is the ultimate achievement, where people feel most like themselves and most fulfilled in their day-to-day lives . He goes into detail about how some of the most successful people in the world (think: Paul McCartney, Arianna Huffington, and Meg Ryan) have found their element - and gives his readers tips for how they too can define their passion.

Why Remotes Love It: Remotes are always seeking out ways in which they can feel more fulfilled  in their own lives. The Element provides them with a perfectly laid out path on which to start. Sometimes, that passion is living inside Remotes already - they just need a bit of a push to understand and pursue it.

10. Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All - Tom Kelley, David Kelley

Contrary to popular belief, everyone is creative. Tom and David Kelley set out to showcase the different ways that creativity manifests itself in successful people. Then, they help their readers identify their own creative attributes so that they can implement new ways of thinking into their personal and professional lives and therefore become more productive and successful.

Why Remotes Love It: Though perhaps they are not always part of industries that are conventionally seen as creative (software development, law, medicine, etc.), each member of the Remote Nation has implicit creativity. They are creatively designing their lives after all as members of a work and travel program. This book allows them to tap into the characteristics that drew them to this dynamic, personalized lifestyle and apply them to other personal and professional areas.

11. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom - Miguel Ruiz

Life can be a confusing game, but we’re all forced to play. There are no universal rules, you never know what’s coming around the corner, and it’s impossible to tell whether you’ve “won” or not. Miguel Ruiz decided to make things just a bit simpler. In his Four Agreements, he lays out the four things that you need to commit yourself to if you want to live a free, happy, and loving life.

Why Remotes Love It: Some Remotes can get a little woo-woo and this book falls perfectly into that category. It’s based on ancient Toltec wisdom, but it can still be applied to modern day life. Remotes see it as a way to transform their lives through positive thinking and energy.

12. Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback - Robyn Davidson

Tracks follows the journey of Robyn Davidson as she treks 1,700 miles across the Australian Outback - on her own. She endures sweltering heat, poisonous snakes, men with bad intentions, and injury along the way. However, those physical moments of agony and fear were nothing compared to her moments of self-discovery and personal growth.

Why Remotes Love It: As travelers, Remotes can see themselves in Robyn. They understand what it’s like for the world to force you to grow, without you asking anything of it. They to have been through hardships and personal challenges on their individual journeys, but are comforted and emboldened by Robyn’s willpower and strength, which helps them carry on toward the “finish line” of their Remote Year.

It’s safe to say that these books aren’t found in your typical book club. They are chosen by Remotes with the hope of gleaning newfound information that could change their perspective - and even change their lives. Pick up one (or all) of these titles if you’re interested in personal growth or professional development or, better yet, join a Remote Year program and discuss the next big bestseller with a group of individuals who are just as interested in evolving as you are.