The Best Books to Read When You’re Feeling Stuck in Life

Written: editor | July 13, 2023


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

If you're feeling stuck in life and searching for inspiration and guidance, one book that comes highly recommended is “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. This international bestseller has captured the hearts and minds of millions worldwide with its profound storytelling and wisdom.

Key themes and lessons

“The Alchemist” tells the story of a young shepherd named Santiago who embarks on a journey to fulfill his Personal Legend, or his true purpose in life. Along the way, he learns valuable lessons about following his dreams, listening to his heart, and finding meaning in the journey itself. The book beautifully explores themes of destiny, perseverance, and the power of self-discovery.

How it can inspire and provide guidance

As you read “The Alchemist,” you'll find yourself drawn into Santiago's quest for meaning and significance. The book's timeless wisdom and inspiring narrative can serve as a guide to help you reflect on your own life's purpose and find the courage to pursue your passions. It encourages you to listen to your inner voice, believe in the power of your dreams, and overcome obstacles that stand in your way.

Through Santiago's journey, “The Alchemist” reminds us that life is a constant adventure and that our personal legends can be found in the most unexpected places. It encourages us to embrace change, take risks, and trust in the universe's guiding hand.

So, if you're feeling stuck or searching for direction, “The Alchemist” is a book that can ignite your spirit, stir your soul, and inspire you to embark on your own journey of self-discovery and personal fulfillment.

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Exploring the power of finding purpose and meaning

In “Man's Search for Meaning,” Viktor E. Frankl takes readers on a profound journey through his experiences as a Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist. Through this powerful memoir, Frankl delves into the depths of human suffering and explores the importance of finding purpose and meaning in life, even in the most challenging circumstances.

Frankl argues that the fundamental human drive is the pursuit of meaning. He proposes that individuals can find meaning in their lives by engaging in purposeful work, connecting with others, and embracing life's unavoidable suffering. By finding meaning, individuals can endure and overcome the most extreme conditions.

The book emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility and the power of choice. Frankl highlights that even in the face of tremendous adversity, individuals still have the freedom to choose their attitude and response to their circumstances. This message serves as a reminder that we have the power to find meaning and purpose in any situation.

Impactful quotes and takeaways

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”

One of the most memorable quotes from the book encapsulates the essence of Frankl's message. It serves as a powerful reminder that despite the external constraints, we always have the freedom to choose our mindset and attitude.

The key takeaway from “Man's Search for Meaning” is that finding purpose and meaning is essential for human well-being. By embracing personal responsibility and choosing a positive mindset, individuals can navigate life's challenges and find fulfillment even in the most difficult circumstances. Frankl's insights continue to inspire readers and provide a roadmap for living a meaningful life.


Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Feeling stuck in life can be incredibly frustrating and overwhelming. If you're searching for inspiration and guidance to help you break free from the rut and unleash your creative potential, “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert is a must-read.

Embracing creativity and overcoming fear

Gilbert takes a refreshing and empowering approach to creativity, urging readers to embrace their curiosity and pursue their passion without being hindered by fear. She shares personal anecdotes and insights that encourage readers to face their fears head-on and tap into their inner wellspring of creativity. Through Gilbert's storytelling, you'll discover that creativity is not reserved for the chosen few but is accessible to everyone willing to take the leap.

Practical exercises and insights

“Big Magic” not only inspires but also provides practical guidance to help you bring creativity into your life and overcome the obstacles that hold you back. Gilbert shares exercises and techniques that can help spark your creativity and break through the blocks that may be preventing you from reaching your full potential. With her insightful and relatable writing style, Gilbert provides a roadmap for exploring your creativity and living a more fulfilling life.

Whether you're an aspiring artist, writer, or simply seeking a fresh perspective on life, “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” offers a dose of inspiration and practical tools to help you navigate your journey and embrace the untapped potential within you.


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F\*ck by Mark Manson

Changing perspectives and focusing on what truly matters

In “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F\*ck,” Mark Manson presents a refreshing take on personal development. Instead of offering a quick-fix solution, Manson encourages readers to reassess their values and priorities. By letting go of societal expectations and focusing on what truly matters to them, individuals can find greater fulfillment and happiness in their lives. This book challenges conventional wisdom and encourages readers to embrace discomfort and failure as necessary components of growth.

Unconventional wisdom for personal growth

“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F\*ck” offers a counterintuitive approach to personal growth by emphasizing the importance of choosing which problems and values to care about. Manson argues that we should not strive for constant positivity or try to please everyone around us. Instead, he suggests embracing life's inevitable struggles and finding meaning in them. Through witty and relatable anecdotes, Manson provides practical advice on how to develop a healthier mindset and navigate life's challenges.

Overall, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F\*ck” is a thought-provoking and unconventional guide for those feeling stuck in life. It offers a fresh perspective on personal growth, empowering readers to make choices aligned with their values and find true happiness and fulfillment.


Educated by Tara Westover

Tara Westover’s memoir, Educated, is a powerful and inspiring book that offers valuable insights for anyone feeling stuck in life. The book chronicles Westover's journey from growing up in a strict and abusive household in rural Idaho to eventually pursuing a higher education at Cambridge and Harvard.

The transformative power of education and resilience

In Educated, Westover vividly illustrates the transformative power of education in breaking free from limiting circumstances. Despite facing numerous challenges and obstacles, she demonstrates remarkable resilience and determination to acquire knowledge and create a life of her own choosing. Through her story, readers are encouraged to embrace learning as a pathway to personal growth and self-discovery.

Examining the impact of family and personal beliefs

The memoir also delves into the complex dynamics of family and the influence of personal beliefs. Westover grapples with the conflicting emotions of loyalty to her family and the desire for independence. Her journey highlights the importance of questioning inherited beliefs and forging one's own path.

Educated serves as a reminder that even in the face of adversity, it is possible to overcome challenges and carve out a fulfilling life. It is a compelling read that offers profound lessons on the power of education, resilience, and self-discovery. Whether feeling stuck in life or seeking inspiration, this book has the potential to ignite a sense of possibility and drive for positive change.


Atomic Habits by James Clear

Building positive habits and breaking bad ones

When life feels stagnant or you find yourself stuck in unproductive patterns, James Clear's Atomic Habits offers a practical guide to enhance personal and professional development. Clear emphasizes the power of small, incremental changes, rather than grand, sweeping transformations. By building positive habits and breaking bad ones, individuals can create lasting change.

Clear outlines a four-step methodology for habit formation: make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy, and make it satisfying. By implementing these strategies, readers can create a conducive environment for habit formation and make positive actions a natural part of their daily routine.

Practical strategies for personal and professional development

In addition to habit formation, Atomic Habits provides practical strategies for personal and professional development. Clear's approach focuses on optimizing processes and refining systems rather than relying solely on willpower or motivation.

The book covers various areas of life, including health, work, and relationships. It offers valuable insights on overcoming obstacles, staying motivated, and achieving long-term sustainable growth. Clear's practical advice can help individuals identify and leverage their strengths, improve productivity, and develop effective strategies for success.

Overall, Atomic Habits is a valuable resource for anyone feeling stuck in life. It provides actionable steps to create positive change, enhance personal habits, and achieve long-term success.


Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

In times of uncertainty and feeling stuck in life, a good book can provide guidance and inspiration to help navigate through challenging situations. One such book that comes highly recommended is “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck.

Understanding the importance of having a growth mindset

Dweck introduces the concept of a “growth mindset” versus a “fixed mindset.” She explains how individuals with a growth mindset believe that their abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, while those with a fixed mindset believe their capabilities are fixed traits. By adopting a growth mindset, readers can learn to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, and view failure as a stepping stone towards personal and professional growth.

Applying mindset shifts for personal and professional growth

Dweck provides practical strategies and real-life examples to illustrate how changing our mindset can positively impact our lives. She explores the implications of adopting a growth mindset in various areas, including education, relationships, parenting, sports, and business. Readers can gain insights on how to foster a growth mindset within themselves and others, leading to increased motivation, improved performance, and ultimately, a more fulfilling and successful life.

Whether you are feeling stuck in your career, relationships, or personal development, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” offers valuable insights and actionable steps to help break free from limiting beliefs and achieve your full potential. So grab a copy, dive in, and embark on a transformative journey towards a growth mindset.


Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

When life throws unexpected challenges that leave you feeling stuck and uncertain, it can be helpful to turn to a book that offers guidance and inspiration. “Option B” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant is a compelling read that explores navigating through difficult times and finding resilience.

Navigating through difficult times and finding resilience

Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, chronicles her personal journey of loss and grief after the sudden death of her husband. With Grant's expertise in psychology, the book provides practical advice and strategies on bouncing back from adversity. It emphasizes the importance of building resilience and finding joy even in the face of adversity.

Insights on grief, adversity, and building a meaningful life

“Option B” also delves into the psychology of grief, providing insights on how to cope with loss and navigate the feelings of sadness and uncertainty. The authors share stories of individuals who have faced various challenges, illustrating how they have not only overcome adversity but also found ways to build a meaningful life.

With its honest and compassionate approach, “Option B” offers hope and a roadmap for those feeling stuck in life. It encourages readers to embrace their inner strength, reframe their mindset, and find joy even when faced with unimaginable circumstances.

Note: The word count is 229 words.



Feeling stuck in life can be overwhelming and discouraging, but remember that you are not alone. There are countless books out there that can provide the inspiration and guidance you need to navigate through challenging times and find your way forward. These books offer valuable insights, practical advice, and stories of resilience and triumph that can help you overcome obstacles and discover your true potential.

The power of books as a source of inspiration and guidance

Books have the extraordinary ability to transport us to different worlds, expand our perspectives, and ignite our imagination. They provide comfort, empathy, and wisdom when we need it most. When feeling stuck, turning to books can offer a fresh perspective, new ideas, and strategies for personal growth and self-discovery. Reading stories of others who have found themselves in similar situations and have overcome adversity can be incredibly motivating and empowering.

Personal recommendations and further reading suggestions

If you're looking for books to help you when you're feeling stuck in life, here are a few personal recommendations:

  1. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho – This timeless classic is a spiritual quest that encourages following our dreams and embracing the journey of self-discovery.
  2. “Man's Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl – In this powerful memoir, Frankl shares his experiences as a Holocaust survivor and explores the importance of finding purpose and meaning in life.
  3. “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert – Gilbert offers insights and inspiration on tapping into your own creativity, embracing curiosity, and living a fulfilling and authentic life.

Remember, these recommendations are just a starting point. There are countless books out there that can help you on your journey. Happy reading and may you find the guidance and inspiration you seek!