10 Books I Wish I Read in High School

7 min read

Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.—Plato

I titled this blog post 10 Books I Wish I Read in High School when it really should’ve been, 10 Books I Wish I Read for High School Required Reading.

Who remembers the accelerated reading programs in middle school? Personally, I grew up around books, Highlights and National Geographic because I loved reading that much.

Let me tell you, knowing what I know now, I really believe I’d be a different and stronger person had I read more books.
10 Books I Wish I Read in High School | She Sweats Diamonds

I would’ve been able to handle bullying a bit better, willing to try new things often and be comfortable in my own skin because I’d be more confident in who I am as a person. On top of that, I’d be a better leader had read the books I’m recommending below.

Because part of the battle of life is finding yourself, I believe the books below would help with a lot of issues we as adults face.

Heck, it’d help with issues teens still face today such as peer pressure, emotional issues, bullying, etc. I’m not saying it’ll solve any or all of these problems completely, but I know it would help and the world would be a bit of a better place.

For some #MondayMotivation, I wanted to share ten books I wish I read in high school required reading. Whether you’re an adult or a teenager, if you’re looking to gain confidence in yourself, learn how to handle your emotions, better your finances and/or improve your life overall, start your lifestyle changes with this reading list.

Now, some of these books did NOT exist when I was in high school, but these resources are something I wish I had known about as a teenager. So teens, if you’re reading this, this list is very up to date for you!

In no particular order:

Loveability: Knowing How to Love and Be Loved by Robert Holden 

Why I wish I read this book in high school: I wish I read this book for three reasons: 1) I would’ve been able to handle bullying. Well, more so my middle-school self would’ve handled bullying better. 2) At this point in my life, I based my value on boys and their opinions of me. Had I read this book, I would’ve learned that desiring to receive love from someone else comes second. Loving myself comes first. Through loving myself first, I wouldn’t have let others’ opinions of me define my self-worth nor slow me down. 3) I would learn to lead every area of my life with love. Leading with love would’ve strengthened my communication and relationships with family and friends. My productivity in school and community service would’ve increased. Why? I would’ve gave my time because I loved and not for the sake of my college resume.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Why I wish I read this book in high school: For the cost of a Starbucks coffee, this book has changed my life completely!!! I had it on repeat in my car for six months in 2016 because every time I read it, I would learn something new. If I had read this while I was a sophomore in high school, I would’ve understood the importance of self-talk, the mindset, how powerful the sub-conscious mind can really be and how thoughts really become things. Definitely would’ve upped my game in drill team and came in handy with when I was trying out acting. I would’ve learned to REALLY believe in my dreams and potential. If a high schooler gets a hold of this book, understands the concepts and applies them, there’s no telling how high s/he will soar!

I’ve used these teachings in my daily action steps and honestly don’t know how I lived life before this book. Written 80 years ago this year and the content of this book is still very relevant today. If it says anything, this book is pretty much a LIFE requirement.

Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg 

Why I wish I read this book in high school: If you’re looking to break a habit, you have to know how habits work. Whether it’s a good or bad habit, Duhigg does a great job on teaching the makeup and creation of a habit (3-step loops: cue, routine and reward). If I had read this book, I would’ve understood how to undo habits such as procrastination. On top of that, I would’ve created positive habits in my early adult years. This book would’ve helped my 110lb-almost-solid-muscle self stay on the health train and maintain it for the next decade.

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Why I wish I read this book in high school: Remember the Xanga years? I started an account with them right out of high school. If this book existed while I was in high school, I would’ve blogged more consistently during my first year in college. And I would’ve kept going. Even if I didn’t know my “why” at the time, I would’ve kept seeking out the purpose of my blog. I would’ve also taken writing more seriously. Who knows where I’d be today!

Jesus CEO by Laurie Beth Jones

Why I wish I read this book in high school: Whether you believe in Jesus or not, this book is quite possibly THE best leadership book I’ve ever read. As readers, we get a glimpse of Jesus’ leadership style and learn that his ways of leading are still applicable today. This book was published in the early 90’s so I totally laughed at some of the things she mentioned like cassette tapes, lol!

I came to know Jesus Christ during my junior year in high school. As a baby Christian, had I read this book during my early walk, I feel like I would’ve understood more about Him through His leadership style.

If you consider yourself a leader and want to get better at being one, trust me when I say, “READ. THIS. BOOK!” I’ve learned so much and this is definitely the kind of book I’ll be reading, studying and applying action steps repeatedly for years to come.

The Power of Your Words by Robert Morris

Why I wish I read this book in high school: If you’re a believer and you have not read this book, as a sister in Christ, I’m not “encouraging” you to read this book. I’m telling you. You BETTER read this book. You know the whole, “death and life are in the power of the tongue” thing? Yeah. It’s true. This would’ve helped me in my early walk as a Christian and guided me to live a better life as Jesus’ ambassador. Trust me when I say to PLEASE read this short book. You can definitely read this in a week even if you’re busy. I turned it into a Bible study over a period of about a month with some friends and will definitely be re-reading it on my own soon.

You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth

Why I wish I read this book in high school: I just finished this book a few months ago and let me tell you, it’s AMAZING!!! Holley makes you think by asking questions you might not have thought of before. You learn more about yourself and the crazy fun part is, you begin to see who you REALLY are. After reading it, my self confidence has grown and I feel so good about who I am and who I’m becoming. Again, would’ve helped me as a young Christian. It’s geared towards women, but I can see men benefiting from this book! This is a book I’ll have to re-read, especially the physical version since Gerth leaves space in her book to write down stuff.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Why I wish I read this book in high school: This book caught my eye on a Walmart bookshelf YEARS ago. I picked it up and let me tell you, for a short read, Pausch made me laugh, cry and feel every emotion in between. My parents did a great job teaching me the importance of education. However, it was Pausch who taught me about dreaming, life and HOW to live it. I wish it existed when I was in high school. After all these years, I still can’t bring myself to watch his actual lecture on YouTube because I know I’ll bawl like a baby. I still consider his book to be one of the best books I’ve ever read about how to live a meaningful life. Have you watched his lecture or read his book?

Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey  

Why I wish I read this book in high school:  This book is definitely a no-brainer to include on this list. As a math hater, Total Money Makeover is one of many books I wish I read in high school. We know algebra (well, some of us do) yet don’t know how to save, spend or invest our money. Hmmm…

If you’re looking to get into financial shape and you’re new at it, I promise this is the book for you! Educate yourself on the basics and I promise you’ll pay off the majority of your debts quickly like I did. Don’t blame your parents because they can’t teach you what they don’t know. Remember, transformations aren’t just for health. Finances tie in with your health (more on this later). If you’ve read this book, how has it changed your financial game?

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

Why I wish I read this book in high school: Compound Effect is one of many books I wish I read in high school as required reading. Too bad it didn’t exist then. If it had, I would’ve learned that the decisions I make today affects the results of my life tomorrow. To ensure I was on the path to success, I would’ve mapped out my life, planned every move and executed. Man, this book would’ve been a game-changer for me! Have you ever thought where you’d be if you were more thoughtful about the decisions you made?

Have you read any of these books? How have they changed your life?

Do you have any books you wish you read in high school? Even if the book hasn’t been published yet, let me know in the comments!


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