Top 3 Books to Read When Life Hasn’t Been Going Your Way

Since the COVID-19 became a pandemic, many people around the world have been forced to face the ugliness of adversity.

During these difficult times, the last thing most people want to be offered are book recommendations. I know this because as much as I love books, I hated reading because I found many books lost my interest after the first chapter or two.

However, there have been several books that have kept my attention past the first two chapters.  Three of these books have changed my perspectives on how to deal with the uncontrollable shit show of a curve ball that life can throw at us. And the best part of all is that they are all short and to the point.

Meditations was written by a Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius.
The Art of Living was written by a Greek slave, Epictetus.
The Obstacle is the Way was written by a modern day entrepreneur, Ryan Holiday.

Even though their lives are all different, the one thing they agreed on was the fact that you are never in control of circumstances but rather the way you handle them.

Knowing all the adversities I experienced over the last few years made me realize that no matter how much I wanted to be in control of my circumstances, it was never up to me. Therefore, it was just my time to be mentally tested over and over again until I accepted that fact.

It didn’t matter what I did to improve any of my situations, adversities just kept being thrown at me until I finally accepted that I was absolutely not in control.

With that said,  I now I feel most of the world is about to go through the same process and I feel these books will help to prepare for what may come.

14 thoughts on “Top 3 Books to Read When Life Hasn’t Been Going Your Way

  • Thanks for those recommendations, Jen,
    they will really help in this crazy time (not only covid, also the astrological alignments),
    and I will start listening to those as audiobooks right now.

    Just for your information – in case you wonder why no one likes your articles :
    I don’t see any like-button below them.

    more power to you!


    • Thanks! Haha the like button was removed after I switched to self hosting. I haven’t really fiddled with my website much lately. I will have to start writing again when I have the time. 🙂


      • You make me wonder: Because you wrote that it would be worth going for ad-revenue with a professional blog.
        As it looks to me I would be surprised if you would make a lot of money of your very personal blog,
        and don’t get me wrong – I do like yours, because it is personal.

        What I mean is that there are those gadget blogs out there promoting tons of stuff people instantly buy, including ads, affiliation-links and an own shop.
        Don’t you think that the ambition to really make money with ones blog is rather for those commertial people?
        (And I ask this, not wanting to be one of them – just for the research.)


  • Ok, I just found the time to listen to your first recommendation “The obstacle is the way” by Ryan Holiday.

    First I loved it, and thereafter I slowly got to dislike more and more bits, because examples of leaders are mentioned who suppressed others in order to accomplish their goals.
    I think this book is good to get out of a depression, but it is not good advice for parenting for example, because one would end up domineering a child into always burning their midnight-oil.

    I have been one who gave all for firms and was on the receiving end of having to work overtime for 1,2 or 3 days without sleep. This did not make me successful but wear me out in the long run.
    Now I turned around my approach and only do what feels right for me – in fact the exact opposite of what the adrenalin-junky suggests.

    Once you did push yourself for decades it is really difficult to find ones inner voice again, so I would not recommend this book to anyone – it even can backfire on a depressed person with a tendency to submissiveness, because they might end up doing what I did – wearing themselves down to support a greater cause, but be left behind in the process.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry that this book didn’t work out for you. I enjoy reading Ryan Holiday’s books because he’s optimistic and idealistic by seeing the good in every situation, which is the stoic mentality.
      You’re a pretty deep thinker so I think you would benefit from reading Robert Greene’s books The 48 Laws of Power and/or The Laws of Human Nature.
      Robert is actually Ryan’s mentor and is more of a realist. He tells it how it is and doesn’t sugar coat anything. The stories he shares sound a lot like what you’ve been through.

      Liked by 1 person

        • That book was written by someone who was a victim of machiavellianism, not someone who is trying to convince others to become one. I think that’s where most people fail to understand the true nature of why this book was written, even the one who criticized his book.
          They say like attracts like, therefore if you are looking to find ways to see the destructive side of everything you read, you’re going to get it. I would recommend searching up why Robert wrote the book before criticizing him based on someone else’s biased opinion.


          • I just read more about him and he said that “he is not evil, just a realist” and that “he had to release some anger but is done with it now”. Both doesn’t convince me, because the effect he has on humankind is that a bunch of people now follow him, trying to copy his uneathical approach (just read youtube-comments below his audiobooks).
            I also covered more arguments in my other comment which you seem not have aproved (yet).

            Long story short: To excuse someone promoting something out of a victim awareness is like excusing Goebbels for propagating Nazi-philosophies because he was a victim of having been a cripple and now changing from the victim side to become a perpetrator.
            So if you quote the law of attraction to me you it seems inconsistent of you blaming me for “finding ways to see the destructie side of EVERYTHING I read” whilst at the same time excusing those who dish it out to the world it in the first place.
            I see no way that this book does make the world better in any way – maybe it gave you a quick rush of excitement of power which makes you defensive about it, but I would dare to bet with you that you won’t see it as black and white in a decade anymore.

            I don’t look for the destructive in everything, in fact I also meanwhile to get into your other recommendations: “The meditations of Marcus Aurelius” and have nothing bad to say about that so far at all. I only waited with my criticism because I haven’t finished it yet.

            Funny is that my criticism usually is meant constructively but does seem to offend more than it does good so I will re-evaluate whether it probably is better to let people run against walls of misunderstandings in the future without trying to take the blow of disappointment from them. Ironically the way you just did interpret my bias seems to apply to your focus on the destructive side of my feedback which did start of with constructive intentions.


            • You are entitled to feel however you want. If you feel that your criticism was constructive, ok. If you feel my reply was destructive, ok. I was just recommending these books to help people because they have helped me. And they’ve also helped me to keep an open mind.

              If you don’t like what I post and if there’s anything that I write that triggers you in a negative way, then you are more than welcome to unfollow me again.


              • I won’t unfollow you, because after having had the experience of unfollowing literally everyone
                I decided not to follow anyone anymore in order not to to create further disappointments.

                As someone who got frustrated about the many spam-followers who never write a comment
                I thought you would apprecciate that someone spent hours taking your advice seriously
                – even if it turned out that I only agreed with half of it.
                I will reconsider my assumptions and attitude.


                • … and to prevent further misunderstandings: I meant “I don’t want to disappoint OTHERS anymore”.
                  Anyway, to bring this unfortunate discussion to a more positive closure: Here a vid about law 12 of the 48:


                • There are many of my posts that have comments from other bloggers. But I lost all my followers after I made the mistake of migrating them to a self hosted site and I made this post after I migrated them so I’m sure most have not seen this post. So now I have to re-earn my following, which is fine. I’m not in any rush.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • I actually deleted recently all my followers purposely, because they all seemed spam – not reacting to multiple questions whether they are active.
                    I actually felt kind of good afterwards, like an aura-cleaning and I can reassure you that you didn’t loose much because 80% probably were inactive anyway.
                    Now I stopped notification of likes as well as follows so that I am not concerned about fake-followers anymore whom I wasted much time on in the past, visiting their blogs which turned out to be useless money-schemes often.
                    It’s strange how this following thing goes anyway, because in the past I spend a lot of time creating elaborate menus for people to see many of my posts sorted by subjects,
                    but now that I took my entire menustructure out and on top of that even don’t display my archive anymore I still get one new follower each day since 2-3 weeks. The wordpress-algorithm seems to push posts onto followers of followers or somehow in a similar fashion facebook or youtube does.

                    There were many considerations whether to change my site to a total different one (probably made even with Drupal because of its possibility to function as a portal), but I took the solution you just came out of – the wordpress basic with a domain which is just about ok for my endeavour but not totally satisfying because I have to work around a lot of features I miss.

                    I guess it all depends on ones willingness to fiddle around with the website – at the moment I can’t be bothered anymore about it and focus on the content only. If everything then turns out to be ok, I might just leave it as it is.
                    In the long run I sense that I will move out of blogging and comunicating with other blogs anyway – only leave all I collected within the last years in form of a course as an archive and then slowly reduce my involvment with the internet.

                    It seems to be a sign that misunderstandings like those in our chat now seem to accumulate. Also funny and sarcastic remarks, which made people laugh in the past, seem not to work anymore online, less even flirtateous ones – I assume due to my older age now. I guess that is a sign of some kind of shift I have to honor.


                  • One more after having slept over it: I realised what went wrong in our discussion:
                    I think I did understandably offend a bunch of people when I told them that I unsbuscribed.
                    (This was a complicated process for me to shed myself from everything around in order to find myself, but I should have gone silently without telling anyone.)
                    So once more: This was NEVER personal about you – Vice versa: I like you as a person and apprecciate your honest style and how you work on yourself to always find the best side within you (despite having some strong inner turmoils going on at times – you manage to contain them pretty well).
                    I simply did not want to escape into your world anymore instead of living mine.

                    In fact you did inspire me greatly with your recommendation of the Art of living by Epictetus:
                    So thanks once more and keep doing what you do – I wish you all the best on your path!


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