Paulo Coelho’s own life story could be the inspiration for many of his books. His stories of hope and letting the universe do its work have touched millions of readers across the world. Reading The Alchemist is almost a rite of passage for many young readers, with his other works like Brida and The Pilgrimage topping many reading lists to this day. If you’re looking for positivity, with a certain amount of spirituality thrown in, then few authors can inspire you like Coelho.
Greatness doesn’t have to mean going through personal troubles or professional problems to write about them. Sometimes sheer simplicity does the trick, too. Ruskin Bond’s books are not literary masterpieces, but their simple stories from small towns in India are so captivating that an entire generation has grown up reading his stories and will vouch for his greatness.
Ayn Rand’s influence has been waning among millennials, but the fact remains that her two books, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, should be read by everyone in their twenties and preferably before they have chosen their career paths. Rand’s influence extends to making you question basic assumptions about capitalism and the value of being productive over being busy. No one comes out feeling the same way once they’ve read Rand’s work and therein lies her true greatness. Like this article? Also read: The Dependables: Quotes From India's Most Inspiring Leaders
Yes, J. K. Rowling’s rags to riches story is a great source of inspiration, but trying to replicate that would be foolhardy. Instead, take a moment to think about the value of your parents’ love for you and cherish your friendships as Harry Potter does in Rowling’s famous series. Indeed, her true greatness is in taking her readers back to their childhood and imparting some of life’s greatest lessons through her incredible cast of characters.
Yep, we know you probably haven’t heard about Michael Ondaatje. That’s okay. Now you do and your life is about to change forever. Just pick up a copy of his book, The English Patient, and get lost in some of the most beautiful prose ever written in the English language. This Booker-prize winner, set in an Italian villa at the end of the Second World War, is a thing of rare beauty that deserves to be read for the author’s greatness to stand out.
Chances are you’ve seen the Oscar-nominated movie Seabiscuit and Angelina Jolie’s directorial attempt Unbroken. Both these movies are based on books written by Laura Hillenbrand, who recreates the lives of indefatigable heroes – a racehorse named Seabiscuit and the real life story of Louis Zamperini. The irony – and Laura’s greatness – is that she wrote both her bestselling books while suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that she developed when she was 19.
Ernesto Che Guevara
We’ve all seen the T-shirts but, to really understand what the Argentina-born guerrilla leader stood for, you need to be acquainted with his work in order to understand why he is revered by an entire generation of revolutionaries. Just reading his most famous work The Motorcycle Diaries is enough to tell you more about South America than you ever thought you could know. It’s time you found out who the real Che was.
-Like this article? Also read: How To Slay At Work, As Told By Your Favourite Success Coach Cover Image courtesy: Shutterstock.com; Image courtesy: Facebook / Laura Hillenbrand