Knowing our passion helps us lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life. Finding your passion doesn’t mean life suddenly becomes easy or all your problems will be fixed overnight.
Still, having something in life, you’re passionate about can:
- Motivate you to keep going through hard times
- Guide you in the direction of your best life
- Help you find personally meaningful work
- Connect you with your life’s purpose
Finding your passion can take a lot of trial and error. Some of us strike gold at a young age with a passionate hobby or activity and follow it into a career or lifestyle, and many of us are still searching for our passion.
The good news is that you can find a passion at any age and may find a few different passions throughout your lifetime.
Below we’ve listed ten books about finding your passion from authors who have generously shared their wisdom and experience on the subject.
Ten books about finding your passion
Below we have listed our favorite top 10 books that will help you find your passion in life.
1. Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Mihaly Csikszentmihayli’s The Psychology of Flow was first published in 1990 and sold millions of copies worldwide.
Csikszentmihalyi taps into a powerful ability we all have – the ability to enter a flow state – and explores how that state is key to unlocking our creativity and authenticity.
In flow, time flies. We barely notice the passing of time because we become absorbed in what we’re doing.
When we can consciously enter this state of focus and presence with the techniques and lessons in the book, we become more conscious and intentional creators of our life. Csikszentmihalyi teaches us how to use flow to help us recognize our deepest passions and what we were born to do.
“It is better to look suffering straight in the eye, acknowledge and respect its presence, and then get busy as soon as possible focusing on things we choose to focus on.”Mihaly Csikszentmihayli – Flow: The Psychology of Human Experience
2. The Art Of Work: A Proven Path To Discovering What You Were Meant To Do by Jeff Goins
Self-awareness is a critical element of finding your passion.
In The Art of Work, Jeff Goins explores how self-awareness and self-understanding are vital to discovering what we were put here to do.
To look at it from another angle, Goins points out how a lack of self-understanding might lead to our deeper purpose passing us by without our knowing.
Goins helps us increase our self-awareness and discover our passion through practical exercises, such as creating a list of our life’s significant events and prompts for self-reflection.
Many of us feel anxious or intimidated by passion (or the apparent lack of passion in our lives), but Goins assures us that truly finding one’s passion can take years of trial and error.
Still, we can help ourselves get there faster by using simple but effective tools and techniques for reflection and self-understanding.
“A calling isn’t something new and shiny. Often it’s something old and predictable, a familiar face that’s easily taken for granted, an old habit or hobby that comes back into our lives.”Jeff Goins – The Art Of Work: A Proven Path To Discovering What You Were Meant To Do
3. The Passion Test: The Effortless Path To Discovering Your Life Purpose by Janet & Chris Atwood
This is a simple, accessible, step-by-step guide on uncovering your passion and aligning passion with work to live a meaningful life.
Chris and Janet Bray Atwood’s The Passion Test offers readers a framework for identifying what holds the most profound meaning in terms of time spent.
“Passion arises from the heart, and your heart’s impulse is more likely to be closer to the truth than your mind’s analysis.”Chris and Janet Bray Atwood – The Passion Test: The Effortless Path To Discovering Your Life Purpose
4. The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson
Ken Robinson is a British author, speaker, and international advisor on arts and education. In this bestseller, Robinson emphasizes the importance of the meeting point between our natural talents, skills, and passions – this is what Robinson terms The Element.
This requires self-awareness, a keen eye for the right opportunities, and the right approach to those opportunities.
Robinson also shares his views on the flaws in the education system and measures of intelligence, explaining that school focuses too much on obedience and memory rather than personal development, growth, and passion.
“The Element is about discovering yourself, and you can’t do this if you’re trapped in a compulsion to conform. You can’t be yourself in a swarm.”Ken Robinson – The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by
5. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson
Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life is a self-help book unlike any other.
Throughout the book, Peterson uses his engaging story-telling abilities to help young people figure out what’s most important in life, how to align with passion and purpose, and how to use discipline and self-awareness in life to improve our behavior, our health, our relationships, and pretty much every aspect of our lives.
The book includes core principles found in psychology, philosophy, religion, and ethics to shake up the reader and make us assess if we’re living our lives to their best potential.
“The better ambitions have to do with the development of character and ability, rather than status and power. Status you can lose. You carry character with you wherever you go, and it allows you to prevail against adversity.”Jordan Peterson – 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson
6. Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff
Bob Goff’s Love Does takes a more spiritual approach to find your passion than the other books in this list.
The book is a memoir of Goff’s life as a Christian and a lawyer, how his understanding of faith, God, and religion was transformed through experience, and how that understanding, in turn, changed his life.
Goff emphasizes how the love of God and following the path of Jesus Christ is a better focal point for our lives than the obsession with material gain, compassion, and external success.
Even if you’re not religious, Goff’s explanation of how love is the highest motivating factor in real, inner success in life may inspire you to follow your version or vision of love and how that might guide your actions and behavior.
“Living a life fully engaged and full of whimsy and the kind of things that love does is something most people plan to do, but along the way they just kind of forget. Their dreams become one of those “we’ll go there next time” deferrals. The sad thing is, for many, there is no “next time” because passing on the chance to cross over is an overall attitude toward life rather than a single decision.”Bob Goff – Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World
7. Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself by Henri Junttila
How can we follow and cultivate passion if we don’t even know what ‘passion’ means?
In his book Find Your Passion, Swedish writer Henri Junttila poses 25 questions to the reader, all aimed at helping us uncover what passion means to us, what is holding us back from following our passions, and what we can do starting today to help us move in the direction of our dreams.
“Follow your bliss’, writes Junttila, ‘and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”
Junttila makes an essential point in the book that may cause initial discomfort but is worth considering. He highlights how many of us who want to follow our passions can sometimes procrastinate with over-preparation.
“It’s scary to jump into the unknown. That’s why many people would rather keep attending seminars, reading books, and pretending to make changes. Ultimately it’s up to you to take responsibility for your life.”Henri Junttila – Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself
It’s wise to read, educate, and reflect on our passion, but it’s equally, if not more, essential to get out there and explore them.
8. The Renaissance Soul: How to Make Your Passions Your Life by Margaret Lobenstine
Sometimes we feel stuck when it comes to our passion, not because we can’t find anything to do but because we want to do everything!
Margaret Lobenstine’s The Renaissance Soul is a guidebook for those who don’t want to box themselves in by choosing one specific life path.
The book includes practical advice on how to live a creative life, defined by your interests and instincts, not limited by a career path or label.
Readers can apply Lobenstine’s teachings with engaging exercises, valuable resources, and plenty of advice on surviving a life of any interest and thriving in it.
Below is just a snippet of the advice Lobenstine offers her reader to help them thrive:
“Whenever you start coaxing a new Focal Point to life, think about the categories of help you might need. For each category, come up with three friends, associates, or contacts who could supply it. (A person can supply more than one form of help, but remember that the point here is to avoid leaning on any one person so hard that you push him or her over the edge.).”Margaret Lobenstine – The Renaissance Soul: How to Make Your Passions Your Life
9. The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion – Elle Luna
Even when we’ve identified our passion, other factors in life can hold us back from actually following through with it.
We place limits and labels on ourselves based on society and our relationships with others that ultimately confine us to that label and inhibit our freedom to become who we truly want to be. Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must is an eye-opening look at how we limit ourselves and how to break free from the conditions and circumstances that keep us from thriving in authenticity.
Luna points out that we all have unique gifts to offer the world and that those gifts help us align with our passion and purpose in life. “All too often,’ Luna explains, ‘we feel that we are not living the fullness of our lives because we are not expressing the fullness of our gifts.”
“If you’re not prioritizing the things you say you care about, consider the possibility that you don’t actually care about those things.“Elle Luna – The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion
10. The Alchemist – Paolo Coelho
The Alchemist is renowned worldwide as a mind-opening book about self-discovery, following your heart, and listening to your inner wisdom.
The only piece of fiction on the list, The Alchemist deserves a place on every list of self-help books.
The story follows a young Andalusian shepherd on his journey to find a treasure he dreamed of, leading to a journey of self-discovery that remains with the reader long after the last age has been turned.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”Paolo Coelho – The Alchemist
We all want to find our dream job, follow our own path, and live more fulfilling lives. Doing so often requires a deep dive into the self.
We need self-awareness to see in which areas of life we’ve held ourselves back and to uncover our natural talents and our heart’s deepest desires.
Finding your passion is a journey that may take you in many different directions in life, but the journey is more than worth it and makes the destination that much better.
Self-awareness, asking questions, finding honest answers, and a lot of trial and error are vital to finding your passion.
On a final note, don’t just read about passion. Go out and find it.
We can use the mind to explore and understand ourselves, but through engagement with the world, we discover ourselves and what’s most essential and meaningful to us.