9 People Share the Books That Changed Their Relationships

Have you ever read a book that changed the way you loved?

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Today we’re celebrating National Book Lovers Day by talking about all of the books that have changed our lives, whether they changed our careers, unlocked our full potential, expanded our outlook on the world, or improved our relationships, as the recommendations below did for readers.

For our fourth installment in our Books To Thrive By series, we asked our contributors to tell us about the books that made their relationships more meaningful, whether it be with a partner, a spouse, a parent, a child, a friend, or a co-worker. We’re hoping they’ll inspire you to reflect on your own bonds, too.

Want to evangelize your own game-changing book? Share a photo of the book on Instagram with the hashtag #BooksToThriveBy for a chance to be featured on Thrive’s Instagram.

Happy reading!

Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

“This book changed my relationship with my parents. It’s a powerful message from a father to his son that opened my eyes to the plight of black men that I did not understand, but it also helped me to understand certain lessons from my own parents. There were times where I thought they were nagging, but really they were sharing their trials and tribulations in hopes that they would cause the roads of my life to be less bumpy.”

–Ashlee Simpson, public relations, New York, NY

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations For a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson

“This book gave me the tools to love my husband on a deeper level. When I thought I was great at connecting emotionally, this book gave me a run for my money. The book allowed me to share deeply, receive, ask and give on a whole new level.”

–Karen Donaldson, communication & confidence coach, Toronto, Canada

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

“This is my favorite children’s book. All you need to know about how to love others is there.”

–Erin Duddy, human resources, Cary, NC

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

“I don’t care that it was not entirely true. This was a visceral read that prompted me to talk to my teenage sons about addiction. It was the first book I ever read on substance abuse that made me FEEL what it was like to struggle with addiction. I will never forget how I felt reading it.”

–Deni Bayer, fitness studio owner, LaPlata MD

How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

“At a time where mindfulness is of critical importance in an individual’s life, this book provides a backbone for more human-centered and selfless communication. The reader learns how to dialogue with any individual by centering the conversation around the other person’s interests and passions. When you are able to create dialogue that invokes a sense of curiosity and intrigue, you are able to engage many an individual and audience.”

–Colleen M. Faltus, corporate well-being program manager, Charlotte, NC

Life’s Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard

“This book was pivotal [for my heart and mindset] during a time when I was rebuilding my life as a 30 year old widow.”

–Karen Millsap, international speaker, Orlando, FL

One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

“This book helped me better understand the people in my life. It resonated with me because it honors the elderly and their worth to us individually and as a whole, loving someone who is different, and the value of friendship that transcends age. And the difficulty we all have sometimes in understanding others be it our family, friends, or community.”


Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

“This book changed my relationships and it has been the inspiration of how I have chosen to create my life. The author speaks passionately about saying yes to No, being kind to yourself, mindfulness and spiritual growth. Each day I try to manifest and master that lifestyle and I’m enjoying the journey! I’m not perfect and it’s OK. The goal is consistency, not perfection.”

–Cheli Njoku, account manager, Atlanta, GA

The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

“I first read this book when I was moving forward from my failed marriage and was opening up to a new relationship. I was leaving an awesome job at a global company and transferring cities for my next job. The book asked the tough life-changing questions, helped with my relationships, and gave me hope for a brighter future.”

–Edwin S. Soriano, life coach/trainer/author, Manila, Philippines 

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