A Long Way Gone

Books like A Long Way Gone

September 12, 2022

#1 The Glass Castle

A tender, poignant story of unwavering love in a family that gave the author the ferocious desire to carve out a prosperous life on her own terms despite its obvious imperfections.

Jeannette Walls was raised by parents whose values and obstinate nonconformity served as both a curse and a blessing for them. Four kids were born to Rex and Rose Mary Walls. They initially led a nomadic lifestyle, traveling between Southwest desert settlements and camping in the mountains. When Rex was sober, he captivated his children’s attention by teaching them about physics, geology, and, most importantly, how to live freely. Rex was a captivating, bright man. Rose Mary, a writer and painter who couldn’t stomach having to support her family, referred to herself as an “excitement addict.” Making an artwork that would endure a lifetime was more appealing than preparing a dinner that would be eaten in fifteen minutes.

#2 Into Thin Air

In the early afternoon of May 10, 1996, Jon Krakauer had not slept in fifty-seven hours and was suffering from the brain-altering consequences of oxygen deprivation. Twenty other climbers were still tenaciously making their way to the summit as he turned to start his lengthy, perilous descent from 29,028 feet. Nobody had noticed how the sky was starting to get cloudy. Krakauer collapsed in his tent six hours later, 3,000 feet lower, in blinding snow and 70-knot gusts, safe but experiencing weariness and hallucinations. He discovered the next morning that six of his climbing companions had not returned to their campsite and were frantically fighting for their life. Five of them would be dead when the storm eventually subsided, and the sixth would have suffered so severe frostbite that his dominant arm would need to be amputated.

In this book, Krakauer explores what it is about Everest that has inspired so many people, including himself, to forgo caution, disregard the advice of loved ones, and willingly put their lives in danger, endure misery, and spend so much money. The firsthand account of what transpired on the roof of the world by Krakauer is a unique accomplishment since it is written with lot clearer and reinforced by his unquestionable reporting.

#3 Tuesdays With Morrie

American author Mitch Albom’s memoir, Tuesdays with Morrie, details a number of visits he paid to his former sociology professor Morrie Schwartz as Schwartz slowed down and eventually passed away from ALS.

Perhaps it was a grandmother, teacher, or coworker. Someone more experienced, kind, and wise who helped you navigate it when you were young and in search of answers. Morrie Schwartz, his college lecturer from over two decades ago, was that person for Mitch Albom. The insights may have gone because, like Mitch, you lost sight of this mentor as you moved forward. Wouldn’t it be nice to talk to that individual once again and ask the deeper questions that are still bothering you?

#4 Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

One day Lori Gottlieb works as a therapist in Los Angeles, helping clients. Then, a disaster sends her world spiraling out of control. Enter Wendell, the eccentric but skilled therapist in whose clinic she finds herself out of the blue. He seems like he was cast by Therapist Central Casting with his cardigan, khakis, and balding head. He will, however, prove to be anything but that.

A self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen trying to threaten to end her life on her birthday if nothing changes, and a twenty-something who simply can not stop hooking up with the wrong guys are just a few of the patients Gottlieb explores as she delves into the inner workings of their lives.

#5 Girl Interrupted

Susanna Kaysen, then 18 years old, was placed in a taxi and taken to McLean Hospital in 1967 following an appointment with a psychiatrist she had never seen before. She spent most of the following two years at a mental facility that was equally renowned for its famous patients as it was for its cutting-edge approaches to caring for those who could afford its sanctuary, including Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles.

In addition to painting evocative portrayals of her fellow patients and their caregivers, Kaysen’s story includes terror and razor-edged vision. It is a brilliant portrayal of a “parallel universe” situated in the late 1960s’ constantly evolving environment. Girl, Interrupted is a clear-eyed, unwavering documentary that lends permanent and precise depth to our conceptions of sanity and insanity, mental illness, and healing.

#6 Educated By Tara Westover

The first time Tara Westover entered a classroom, she was 17 years old. She was raised by survivalists in the highlands of Idaho, where she stocked up on home-canned peaches and slept with her “head-for-the-hills bag” in case the world ended. She salvaged in her father’s junkyard in the winter and boiled herbs for her mother, a midwife, and healer, in the summer.

Tara has never seen a doctor or nurse because her father forbids going to hospitals. Herbalism was used to heal burns from explosions as well as gashings and concussions at home. The family was so cut off from society that no one was there to make sure the kids went to school or to step in when Tara’s older brother started acting violently. After that, Tara started to educate herself despite having no official schooling. She taught herself the necessary algebra and language to get into Brigham Young University, where she studied history and discovered crucial global events like the Holocaust and the civil rights struggle for the first time. She had a transformation as a result of her desire for knowledge, which took her to Harvard and Cambridge and over oceans and continents. Only then would she start to doubt whether she had gone too far and whether there was still a way back.

#7 Living With A Seal

Jesse Itzler, a businessman, is willing to try practically anything. Risk-taking and audacity are key to his life. Jesse hired a somewhat unusual trainer—a decorated Navy SEAL who is regarded as “the toughest guy on the planet”—to live with him for a month after feeling like he was drifting aimlessly.

Living With a Seal is comparable to a buddy film starring Rambo and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Jesse is as laid-back as they come. SEAL isn’t, really. The antics of Jesse and SEAL soon result in a wonderful friendship, and Jesse develops much more than just muscle. Living With a Seal ultimately demonstrates the advantages of venturing outside of your comfort zone while at times being amusing and motivational.

#8 Born A Crime

The autobiography of one man’s coming-of-age is set in the final years of apartheid and the turbulent years that followed democracy. Trevor Noah’s improbable journey from South Africa under apartheid to the desk of The Daily Show began with a crime: his birth. In an era when such a union was illegal, Trevor was birthed to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother. Living proof of his parents’ immorality, Trevor spent most of his early years indoors due to his mother’s drastic and frequently nonsensical methods to protect him from a government that may at any time kidnap him.

Trevor and his mother embarked on a magnificent trip after being finally freed by the end of South Africa’s oppressive white rule, living openly and freely, and seizing the chances gained via a centuries-long struggle.

#9 American Sniper

United States Navy SEAL Chris Kyle collaborated with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice to write the autobiographical creative nonfiction book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. Chris Kyle, a U.S. Navy SEAL, had the most sniper kills in a career in American military history from 1999 to 2009. More than 150 of Kyle’s kills have been officially verified by the Pentagon (the previous American record was 109), but it has declined to validate the astounding overall figure for this book. The Iraqi militants so despised Kyle that they dubbed him “the devil” and set a bounty on his head. From rooftops and covert locations, Kyle shielded his fellow SEALs, Marines, and U.S. Army personnel, earning them legendary status in the process. One of the best combat memoirs ever written, Kyle’s superb description of his remarkable battlefield experiences is gripping and unforgettable.

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#10 The Wolf of Wall Street

Jordan Belfort’s memoir, The Wolf of Wall Street, was initially released in September 2007 by Bantam Books. It was later made into a 2013 movie with the same name. 2009’s Catching the Wolf of Wall Street resumed Belfort’s autobiographical narrative.

One of the most notorious figures in American finance during the 1990s was Jordan Belfort, the former boss of the infamous investment firm Stratton Oakmont. A brilliant and cunning stock-chopper, Belfort took his merry gang on a wild ride out of the canyons of Wall Street and into a sizable office on Long Island. Belfort now tells a story of greed, power, and excess that no one could have imagined in his astonishing and entertaining tell-all autobiography.

#11 Books Like Shoe Dog

For the first time ever, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight tell the inner story of the company’s beginnings as an adventurous start-up and how it developed into one of the most recognizable, game-changing, and successful brands in the world in this candid and compelling biography.

After graduating from business school in 1962, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and started a business with the straightforward goal of importing high-end, reasonably priced athletic shoes from Japan. Knight made $8,000 his first year by selling the shoes out of the trunk of his lime green Plymouth Valiant. Nike now has annual sales of almost $30 billion. In an era of startups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all companies, and the swoosh has developed into a revolutionary, global icon, one of the most pervasive and well-known symbols in existence right now.

#12 Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy is an impassioned and intimate examination of a white working-class American culture in crisis. Although the dissolution of this group has been reported on increasingly frequently and with increasing worry over the past forty years, it has never previously been described as searingly from the inside. In his real account, J. D. Vance describes what it’s like to be born with a social, geographic, and class decline hanging over your head.

Hopefully, the Vance family’s journey starts in wartime America. The grandparents of J. D. relocated to Ohio from the Appalachian region of Kentucky because they were “dirt poor and in love” and wanted to get away from the abject poverty they were surrounded by. One of their grandchildren would later earn a Yale Law School degree, which is a traditional indicator of success in attaining generational upward mobility. They raised a middle-class family. But as the Hillbilly Elegy family saga unfolds, we discover that J.D.’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most importantly, his mother struggled greatly with the requirements of their new middle-class life, never truly escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma that is so typical of their region of America. Vance demonstrates with piercing honesty how he still battles the ghosts of his turbulent familial past.

#13 All Creatures Great And Small

Explore the enchanting, memorable world of James Herriot, the world’s greatest renowned veterinarian, and his menagerie of uplifting, hilarious, and heartbreaking animal patients. Generations of readers have been enthralled by Herriot’s fascinating tales, a profound passion for life, and remarkable storytelling powers for almost four decades. Herriot traveled the isolated, magnificent Yorkshire Dales for decades, treating every patient, from the smallest to the largest, and watching animals and humans equally with his sharp, caring eye.

We follow the young Herriot as he eats up his calling and realises that the facts of veterinary practise in rural Yorkshire are significantly different from the antiseptic atmosphere of veterinary school in All Creatures Great and Small. Some visits are heartbreakingly difficult, such as one to an elderly man in the village someone whose ill dog is his only friend and companion; others are lighthearted and amusing, such as Herriot’s ability to visit the overfed and pampered Pekinese Tricki Woo, who throws parties and has his own stationery; and still, others are truly inspiring and insightful, such as Herriot’s remembrances of poor farmers who will scrape together their meager earnings to get the proper care.

#14 The Autobiography Of Malcolm X

Malcolm X rose to prominence as one of the twentieth century’s most important figures through a lifetime of passion and hardship. He describes his transformation from hoodlum to Muslim cleric in this captivating narrative of his voyage from a prison cell to Mecca. The guy dubbed “the angriest Black man in America” describes how his conversion to real Islam helped him confront his fury and recognize the oneness of all humans.

An acknowledged modern American classic, “The New York Times praised “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” as “extraordinary.” A wonderful, heartbreaking, and significant book.” This thrilling story changed Malcolm X’s life into his legacy, and it is still outstanding and significant. The power of his words, and the power of his beliefs, continue to ring true more than a generation later.

#15 Braiding Sweetgrass

Robin Wall Kimmerer has been educated as a botanist to use scientific methods to raise questions about nature. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she believes that plants and animals are our earliest teachers. Kimmerer weaves these knowledge lenses together in Braiding Sweetgrass to demonstrate how the awakening of a broader ecological consciousness necessitates the recognition and celebration of our reciprocal link with the rest of the living world. We can only grasp the earth’s generosity and learn to contribute our own gifts when we can understand the languages of other beings.

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#16 Orange Is The New Black

Piper Kerman, with her work, live-in boyfriend, and loving family, bears little resemblance to the rebellious young woman who became involved with drug runners and sent a bag of drug money to Europe over a decade ago. But her wild past catches up with her when she least expects it; convicted and sentenced to fifteen months in an infamous women’s jail in Connecticut, Piper becomes inmate #11187-424. She learns to navigate this bizarre world with its arbitrary rules and regulations, it’s unpredictable, even hazardous interactions, from her first strip search until her last release. She encounters women from many walks of life who surprise her with kind gestures, harsh realities, and simple acts of compassion.

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#17 They Cage The Animals At Night

Burch was abandoned at an orphanage and never spent enough time in a single foster home to develop any friendships. This is the account of how he matured and developed the bravery to pursue love.

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#18 Spilled Milk

A beaten child named Brooke Nolan calls the police anonymously to report the increasing violence in her family. It’s a glass of spilled milk at the dinner table that causes her to talk about the cruelty she’s been hiding when social services put her safety in danger and force her to preserve her father’s secret. Brooke faces a dysfunctional system that tries to maintain her father in the house in her pursuit of safety and justice. She risks losing the support of her family and learns that some people just do not want to be saved when the jury and a potential love interest gather to motivate her to fight. The book Spilled Milk features a stunning narrative, success, and tenacity.

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#19 Wings Of Fire

The son of a poorly educated boat owner in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam had an exceptional career as a defense scientist that culminated in receiving the highest civilian honor in India, the Bharat Ratna. In his role as director of the nation’s defense R&D program, Kalam showed the enormous potential for dynamism and creativity present in what appeared to be dormant research institutions. This is the tale of Kalam’s ascent from obscurity, his difficulties on the personal and professional fronts, and the development of the Agni, Prithvi, Akash, Trishul, and Nag missiles, which have made India a missile power of note in the world stage. This is a story about internal and international politics as well as science, and it is also the story of independent India’s quest for scientific self-sufficiency and defense autonomy.

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#20 Books Like Cant Hurt Me

Childhood for David Goggins was a nightmare filled with deprivation, discrimination, and physical abuse. However, Goggins changed himself from a hopeless, obese young man into one of the best endurance athletes in the world via self-control, mental fortitude, and hard training. He was the only man in history to successfully complete the rigorous training required to become a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller. He then broke records in a number of endurance competitions, earning him the title of “The Fittest (Real) Man in America” from Outside magazine.

He discusses his incredible life experience in Can’t Hurt Me and demonstrates that most people only use 40% of their potential. This is what Goggins refers to as The 40% Rule, and his life narrative shows how anyone can use it to overcome sorrow, face fear, and realize their full potential.