With all that’s going on in the world right now, most of us would gladly stick our nose in a lighthearted chick-lit romance book or spy novel to escape. But if you can’t stop thinking about ways you could change the world, start by changing your thinking with these thought-provoking, summer beach reads.

Seek books that explore other people and cultures, teach new ways of thinking, offer self-reflection, and bring hope. Address the issues that weigh on your heart and soul, whether they’re taken from the headlines or part of your normal, everyday life.

Let the change in the world start with you.

‘Man’s Search for Meaning’

Viktor E. Frankl

Man's Search for Meaning book cover

Viktor Frankl’s purpose in describing his time in Auschwitz and other camps is not to dwell on the horrors — of which there were plenty — but instead to focus on how prisoners found meaning in their lives and chose to survive. Hauntingly profound and inspiring, this timeless classic proves it doesn’t matter what you expect from life, but what life expects from you.

‘Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood’

Trevor Noah

Born a Crime book cover

Comedian Trevor Noah shares his moving story from being born a criminal in apartheid South Africa to gaining his spot as the host of “The Daily Show.” Brilliantly witty one moment while having you in tears the next, “Born a Crime” is the perfect blend of social and political issues told in the form of short essays.

‘How To Be an Antiracist’

Ibram X. Kendi

How to be an Antiracist book cover

Drawing from his own experiences, Ibram Kendi demonstrates why becoming an antiracist is as essential as it is challenging in this groundbreaking work. His raw honesty helps readers of all races navigate a difficult territory by examining what racism really is and how important it is to identify and describe it so that we can dismantle it.

‘Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People’

Mahzarin R. Banaji, Anthony G. Greenwald

Blind Spot book cover

This secret gem is about the biases we don’t even realize we have. While it may be hard to completely eliminate all of them, we can, at the very least, identify them. An eye-opening read, “Blindspot” demonstrates that even if we’re good people at our core, we often still have prejudices.

‘Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging’

Sebastian Junger

Tribe book cover

Sebastian Junger combines memoir, journalism, and history to explore the mismatch of the hunter-gatherer way of life our ancestors lived with modern society that emphasizes competitive independence. This disparity can lead to clinical depression, anxiety, and chronic loneliness. “Tribe” explains why we are stronger when we come together and how to accomplish that in today’s society.

‘Resilient: Lessons Learned, Lives Changed’

Kathy Coover

Resilient book cover

Our very own Kathy Coover shares the wisdom she’s learned over a lifetime of determination and triumph. Kathy delivers the ultimate formula for success, not only revealing the principles, strategies, and mindset she’s used her entire career but also detailing how to excel in your business. A personal growth playbook, “Resilient” is your long-awaited guide to creating the life you want and deserve.

‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’

Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic book cover

Elizabeth Gilbert pushes us to embrace our curious side while reminding us that as great artists, needless suffering is just that: needless. Gilbert dares you to follow whatever it is that lights a fire in your heart. She challenges all who feel called to create (be it writing, music, or a new business) to joyfully accept their creative natures as gifts from the universe.


Glennon Doyle

Untamed book cover

Empowering, feminist, and beyond, “Untamed” is a wake-up call to anyone who’s ever known pain or shame. Doyle’s tale of divorce, parenting, forming a new blended family, and living her truest life are profound reminders that there is beauty in our struggle. Not that you needed one, but “Untamed” is your permission slip to stop pleasing others and start living the life you were meant to live.

‘Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives’

Brian L. Weiss, M.D.

Many Lives book cover

When logic- and science-based psychotherapist Dr. Brian L. Weiss takes on a new patient, he slowly realizes she has lived through many past lives throughout centuries of time. An unwitting pioneer in past-life regression, Dr. Weiss makes a compelling case for why we should look backward in order to move forward and that it may be the key to healing.

‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’

Stephen King

On Writing book cover

A Stephen King novel you can read with the lights on! King shares writing lessons he learned the hard way and how he overcame those hardships to become a bestselling author. A delightful, empowering memoir, “On Writing” reads more like fiction than a how-to for writers. And it’s not one bit as scary as “Carrie.”

All images are from their respective websites for purchasing.