1. The Last Lecture
Awhile back, CMU created a lecture series called, "The Last Lecture". The idea was to have different professors give a lecture as if it was the last one they would ever give. Sadly, the book, The Last Lecture, is based off of Randy Pausch who actually had terminal cancer. I picked this book up at Half Price awhile back and read it cover to cover without putting it down. There is a wealth of knowledge and life lessons in his last lecture entitled, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." You can watch the entire lecture below, but I recommend reading the book as well!
2. Tough Shit
Tough Shit is an autobiography of sorts about one of my favorite film makers, Kevin Smith. Kevin Smith writes with such a humble pen throughout the book and is incredibly honest (and descriptive) with each chapter. He talks about the movie business, his personal life, and everything in between. I hope one day I can meet Kevin and interview him or just have a private conversation. Kevin and his book have inspired me in my own writings and creative projects. I would also suggest you follow him on Instagram and Twitter!
3. The Dharma Bums
I read Jack Kerouac's "Dharma Bums" about 4 years ago and I still find myself thinking about it about once a month. Kerouac had a way with describing scenes and human emotions that I feel no one else ever has. He's prolific throughout and incredibly personable at the same time. I've yet to read a book since that makes nature, travel, and life discovery so vibrant and attractive. I advise that you read it and then go find your own adventure.
4. Einstein's Unfinished Revolutions
I always add this book to my list of favorites, because it's the book that started me on my path toward leaving organized religion and introducing me to the wonders of science. (If you're wondering why it took so long for science to resonate within me, It's important to note that most of my schooling was at christian schools which taught creation science.) Einstein's Unfinished Revolutions hardly ever touches on the subject of religion though and the way author Paul Davies makes science feel and look is incredibly captivating, or at least it was to eighteen year old me. I will forever keep my copy of this book and recommend it to others.
5. Pale Blue Dot
The opening to this book is incredibly powerful. Even if you don't have time to read through one or all of the books on this list, I highly recommend watching at least the video below, which is read by Carl Sagan himself. His words and this book apply just as much today, if not more than it did when it was written. The Pale Blue Dot forever changed my perspective on what it means to be a human on this planet.