9 Inspiring, Non-Religious Books That Might Just Spark You To Change Around Your Whole Life

Whether or not you're a believer, there’s no doubt that religion has inspired some serious acts of kindness. For religious people, reading the books of their faith can help them through times of sadness and need, or prove life-affirming at celebrations. But, luckily, for those that don't carry that kind of faith, religion is far from being the only route to spirituality.

Many things we practice today, from marriage to yoga, have their roots in religious tradition. But most of them have been pretty magically transformed into something a lot more inclusive. An increasing number of couples are expressing their love for each other in non-religious wedding ceremonies, meditation is helping non-Buddhists live healthy stress-free lives, and anyone can find inspiration in beautiful books, regardless of their beliefs.

These nine books can do for non-believers everything that the Bible does for Christians, or the Qur’an does for Muslims. As the number of religious Americans decreases, books like these become oh-so-important to give us all the role models, hope, and guidance that religious believers have always gained from holy books. Whether you’re looking for instruction on living a more enlightened life, a no-nonsense way to put your life in perspective, or the motivation to make a change, these books may just turn your whole life around.

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'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joyce

There’s no wonder this novel has become such a bestseller. The story of a man walking the length of England simply by putting one foot in front of the other will give you a whole new world-view. Material things fade into the background in this wonderful novel about human relationships, resilience, and love.

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'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle

Mindfulness is the buzzword of the decade, and it’s helping people through depression, bullying, illness, and all the difficulties of day to day life. In short, it’s a quite literally life-changing practice. Mindfulness itself is actually very scientific, but if you prefer a more spiritual approach, The Power of Now taps into the mystical results you can gain from adopting mindfulness into your life.

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'Why Can’t I Meditate?' by Nigel Wellings

On the other end of the spectrum, Why Can’t I Meditate approaches mindfulness with the no-nonsense rationalism that many non-believers relish. If you struggle to get inspired by meditation, this factual book might help you find your motivation.

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'Veronika Decides to Die' by Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho’s novella has such an uplifting conclusion that it’s impossible to finish it and not feel like you’ve just had some kind of religious experience. You’ll get back in touch with long-lost relatives, you’ll take up a new hobby, you’ll spend more time outdoors breathing in this wonderful little thing that we call life.

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'The Happiness Project' by Gretchen Rubin

For many non-religious people, the idea of sitting back and waiting for life to bless you is pretty hard to swallow. The Happiness Project follows one woman’s experiment in actively living a happier life for a year, using ideas combined from contemporary science and ancient wisdom.

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'Yes Man' by Danny Wallace

I know what you’re thinking, but the book behind Yes Man is actually nothing like the film. The book is very British, very dry, very funny, and ultimately very positive. It may not have Zooey Deschanel, but it will take you on an inspirational journey and show you that sometimes the most unexpected paths can lead you where you want to go.

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'The Magician’s Way' by William Whitecloud

Put your cynicism aside, and indulge in this enchanting tale about one man’s journey to self-awareness. The book is set in a magical world, but the realizations the protagonist makes about himself can be perfectly applied to your own life, and can inspire some amazing self-discovery.

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'Still Me' by Christopher Reeve

After starring in three Superman films, Christopher Reeve was involved in a horse-riding accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Many religions take comfort in believing we are more than our bodies, and Christopher Reeve’s never-failing determination is a testament to this. You don’t have to believe in souls to find this a hugely beneficial realization.

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'Gift from the Sea' by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Gift from the Sea is an unsentimental yet hugely romantic exploration of relationships and marriage. It’s commonly quoted at non-religious weddings (I chose a paragraph for my own wedding!) because of its gracefully written words of wisdom about love.

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'The Art of Racing in the Rain' by Garth Stein

Sometimes you have to view life from a whole different perspective before you can truly understand it… like that of a dog, for example. Enzo is a deeply philosophical dog who, on the eve of his death, muses on life, loyalty, and the absurdities of being human.

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'Life Is Short, Wear Your Party Pants' by Loretta LaRoche

All you have to read is the title to be inspired. Seriously, don’t you already want to go out there and live your best life? Reading the actual book only makes this better; reduce stress, tension, and anxiety by just living every moment as it happens — all while wearing your party pants.

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