Inspirational Books to Read for Students

Students are often in need of some inspiration. High school and even college can slowly break students down, even if they are in love with what they’re studying. Sometimes, it’s helpful to read something inspiring. Some of these inspirational books may show up on reading lists, while others may be something a student wants to seek out on their own. Either way, these inspirational books to read for students will help remind them of why they’re in school and inspire them to succeed.

Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is known for a number of award-winning novels, but his nonfiction piece Make Good Art is something different. Originally a commencement address for graduates of Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, the written version of his speech will encourage and inspire anyone to make art. It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, dancer, musician, artist, or none of the above—Gaiman’s words will inspire you to go out and make any kind of art. It’s also a great motivator if you are an artist but find yourself stuck and unable to create anything.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

This fictional story of a boy trapped in a lifeboat with a tiger in the middle of an ocean may seem like an odd book to be on a list of inspirational books to read for students. However, Martel’s novel is more than just inspiring, it’s entertaining and something even students who aren’t readers may want to pick up. If you’re not inspired after reading how Pi Patel survives for months in the ocean, then you may not be inspired by anything.

Whatever You Are, Be a Good One by Lisa Congdon

In her book, Congdon presents a parade of wise and inspirational figures through quotes. Whether it’s a quote from a famous scientist such as Marie Curie, wisdom from historical figures such as Harriet Tubman, or even thoughts from Stephen King and others, you’re sure to find at least a few of these quotes very inspirational. This book is great if you need a little bit of inspiration every day since all you have to do is open it to a random page and read the quote.

Catching a Miracle by Mark J. Spinicelli

Catching a Miracle follows Dr. Shelly White, a cancer survivor who believes she can cure the horrible disease. But Spinicelli’s story isn’t that simple—it’s not long before Dr. White is caught up in a whirlwind of events beyond her control. She finds herself working with an advertising executive in order to fight against the forces that never want cancer cured while trying to find a missing scientist. Spinicelli’s heroine will inspire readers with her determination and selflessness.

These are four great inspirational books to read for students, but there are many more out there. Whether you need something sort to read to rekindle your creative fires or a full-length novel that entertaining while also inspiring, you’ll find it among the books on this list and the many other inspirational novels out there.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey

This 1990 book is a classic and was widely recognized as one of the most inspirational works of all time. Expect a lot of self-realization and introspection because each word will resonate with the reader.

But the author doesn’t stop with just helping you become more self-aware. The fact that you are reading the book means that you’re making an effort to make a change in your life. There are a lot of practical tips in there that will help you take stock of your life and how you can have a more positive outlook. Remember that in life, when you sow good karma, you will also reap good karma.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

In a place where everything seems perfect, Jonas found himself face to face with The Giver, who happens to be the town’s repository of memories. As you turn the page, the seemingly perfect world begins to unravel. You pull at the string and you see this facade slowly crumbling down.

Raised to be free from pain and struggle, Jonas tries to deal with all these raw emotions that suddenly rush at him like an onslaught. In a society that puts more importance on structure and order rather than emotions, Jonas must decide for himself whether to stay in the safe confines of the illusion that the town has set for itself or stay true to himself.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

The book was first published in 1970 but got a reprint due to its popularity. It’s about a seagull who just can’t fit in with the flock. Whereas the other birds fight over food (as well they should in order to survive), our seagull hero just wants to perfect the art of flying.

But the other seagulls fear change and this non-conformist is trying to threaten their way of life. There’s no choice but for Jonathan Livingston but to leave the flock. He managed to find the secret for himself and made it his life’s mission to teach the other flocks of seagulls what he learned.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

For a brief context, there’s a tradition at Carnegie Mellon for professors to imagine their last lecture before finally retiring. When it was Randy Pausch’s turn, it became all too real for him considering that he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. If his last lecture was full of bitterness, the audience would have forgiven him. But he decided instead to focus on the positive aspects of life and motivate students on how they could make an imprint on the people that surround them and even beyond the four corners of the classroom.

Bonus Titles:

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  2. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
  3. The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
  4. Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
  5. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  6. The Power of Broke by Daymond John
  7. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
  8. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
  9. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
  10.  The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale


  • comment-avatar
    Robinson February 10, 2019 (2:00 pm)

    Read THE LAST LECTURE By Randy Pausch. It will empower you and realize your dream! I’ve been a student once, and this book was inspired me to fulfill my dream!

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    Copper March 31, 2019 (8:02 am)

    Have you ever thought of succeeding? Well, I suggest you add WINNING By Jack Welch in your reading list.

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    Bryan April 9, 2019 (11:03 am)

    THE SECRET By Rhonda Byrne, that’s one book that a student need to read. Add this book to your awesome list. Cheers!

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    Jun April 13, 2019 (2:05 pm)

    Can’t believe you don’t have MY BELOVED WORLD By Sonia Sotomayor in your list. This book can make wonders and inspire students to succeed.

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    Roger April 22, 2019 (12:55 pm)

    Students like me could get alot of inspiration with THE HAPPINESS PROJECT By Gretchen Rubin. Great post by the way!

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    Pete April 26, 2019 (1:57 pm)

    Wow! I didn’t know there was a book Catching a Miracle by Mark J. Spinicelli. That will be part of my list!

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    John Dow August 6, 2019 (1:46 pm)

    You can add “The Willpower Instinct” by Kelly McGonigal, One of the great inspirational books to read.

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    Ray Cunningham September 9, 2019 (2:48 pm)

    How you can missed the “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes, one of the great inspirational books to read.

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    Judith Larsen September 13, 2019 (5:23 pm)

    “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, Please add!

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    Richard October 22, 2019 (1:33 pm)

    How about THE SUCCESS PRINCIPLES: HOW TO GET FROM WHERE YOU ARE TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE. I know the title is long but it’s worth the read.

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    Brenda October 24, 2019 (1:20 pm)

    I recently read THINKING, FAST AND SLOW By Daniel Kahneman. I have learned a lot from this book. A great piece to add to your list.

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    Linda October 25, 2019 (3:23 pm)

    I used to be uninspired until I read the book called “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferris. Now I am able to do what I have in mind.

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    Jerry October 27, 2019 (8:58 am)

    Your list deserves another great title. “You Do You” by Sarah Knight is one of my favorites. It really gets me going each day.

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    Candace October 29, 2019 (6:48 am)

    I used to feel down every time before I read “You Can Win” by Shiv Khera. It taught me a lot about self-growth. It’s my go-to book for motivation.

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    Nicole October 31, 2019 (5:46 am)

    As a student, it’s always nice coming across a great list like this. I suggest adding “In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About it” by Lauren Graham. Thank you!

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    Frank November 3, 2019 (3:18 pm)

    Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman is a title you should add to your list. It has helped me push my way out of difficult times.

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    Lanelle November 5, 2019 (3:43 am)

    You must have read “Looking for Alaska” by John Green. If not, kindly add this to your list. I would love to have it here. Thanks!

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    Clay Eustice December 9, 2019 (6:04 pm)

    Ever since I read ‘Principles: Life And Work’ by Ray Dalio, I have been able to make more sound and calculated decisions as I go on with my daily activities as a student.

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    Benjamin December 10, 2019 (3:43 am)

    I highly recommend ‘Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything’ by Joshua Foer. It takes memorization to the next level.

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    Hunter Bell December 10, 2019 (5:56 am)

    I used to have self-doubt in almost everything I do. That’s when I picked up “Everything Is Figureoutable” by Marie Forleo that I realized, I can do anything if I just put my mind to it. A great read for those who want to rise up but don’t know where to start.

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    Elizabeth Harris December 12, 2019 (6:55 am)

    Keeping myself motivated used to be a struggle. Books like “Fear Is My Homeboy: How To Slay Doubt, Boss Up, And Succeed On Your Own Terms” By Judi Holler is my outlet when I just don’t feel like doing something.