20 Books That Made a Profound Impact in 2016

Jennifer DeSimone
January 16, 2024

For many us, one book can change our lives in impactful and profound ways.

The Under30Experiences community recently shared the one book that had the most impact on their lives that they read this past year and why.

Here is the 2016 list of most impactful books read by our community this year.

Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill 


As someone who loves personal development books and thrives on "aha" moments, I really enjoyed how the book creatively layed out the barriers that come between people and them living their best lives. 

The premise of the book is that people lose focus in life because they don't follow their own journey, overly subscribed to patterns of the masses and fall victim to one of seven types of fears at any moment in their life. 

It made me realize how much fear blocked certain areas of my life, and to constantly assess, "why" I do what I do.

 -Tiffany Wright 

The Firelight Girls by Kaya McLaren


The story revolves around older women looking back on their youth and friendships and how "it's never too late," as they say. 

What I took away from it though was while it is indeed never too late, why not start now? One of my favorite passages was written in context to a romantic relationship, but I believe it applies to our relationships with a multitude of people/things/experiences and includes a powerful call to action: 'I think there's something between you and me that is a gift. 

There's already precious little time left for us to explore and enjoy it. So, please forgive me for being so forward, and please consider being bold'.

-Georgina Abella

War of Art by Steven Pressfield


This book it's SO good!

He Talks about how resistance affects our lives, self sabotaging our best efforts to become our best selfs in our work place and in life. 

I highly recommend it. 

-Luz Garcia

Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet by Jesse Itzle


Itlze hired a Navy SEAL to live with him for a month and train him physically and mentally.

The physical workouts in the book were a little too crazy for me, but there were some incredible quotes and life lessons. It’s also hilarious, if you can deal with all the F-bombs. 

My most memorable, impactful lessons: 'Every day do something that makes you uncomfortable' (got this as my phone background), 'I believe in life resumes. Do more. Create memories.', and 'When you think you're done, you're only 40 percent done.' 

-Ilya Zhest

The Art of Presence by Eckhart Tolle


So many solid lessons on how to navigate the world around you while staying centered and grounded.

It's a great followup to the Power of Now and A New Earth if you've read his previous books. 

This one is in lecture series form, so it's more easily digestible.

-Matt Wilson

 Daring Greatly by Brene Brown 


This book is absolutely life changing when it comes to finding the courage to show up as your best self.

She offers advice on how to not let 'perfect be the enemy of the good' (something I struggle with everyday) and encourages us to put our fear aside to share our uniques gifts with the world. I am going to read her next book, Rising Strong soon!

-Nissa Szabo

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp


The author begins by talking about her life, which had been full of many tragic and dark moments.

She wanted to explore the answer for how one could feel true joy and true closeness to God when life is full of hurt. She found the answer in a simple word: Eucharisteo

She then walks the reader through her complete and beautiful epiphany. 

This book changed my life. 

-Katherine Black

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann


 A quick read PACKED with value on how to best serve people.

The War of Art, The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz, and As a Man Thinketh by James Allen to, "learn about the power your thoughts have on your life to either help you thrive or self-sabotage!"

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki, "An awesome foundation for a successful financial mindset."

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz, "Simple effective and actionable negotiating tactics. 

-Eric Aguirre

The Ascent of Humanity by Charles Eisenstein


This book has the power to reshape how you view society, yourself, love, and what 'Ascension' really means. 

It's thick, and sometimes heavy, but nearly every page holds a valuable and eye-opening lesson.

-Miles Demars-Rote

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, Founder of Nike


The book that compelled me to write Knight a 4 page letter after reading it, and he wrote me back!

It documents the journey and immense struggles in going from 'a kid with a crazy idea' to multibillion dollar global empire. 

I identified with every part of it, and at a time when I was really struggling in my own entrepreneurial journey, this book came in and gave me hope again. 

-Rajiv Nathan

Dust of an Empire by Karl E. Meyer


Great history book that talks about different regions of the world and the problems and conflicts that are left over from the colonial/imperial period. O yeah. Influence and jazz. The book allows myself as an amateur historian understand why certain countries have flaws in governance and economic growth. A good thing to know when traveling.

-Dev Sim

Zero to One by Peter Thiel


Solid and in depth but easy reading for those who want to think about business and the future. Elon Musk - Tesla, SpaceX and the quest for a fantastic future. 

Great for inspiration, thinking huge and risk taking. For more adventure/outdoor based both AWOL on the Appalachian Trail and Born to Run were some favorites. 

-Jared O'Toole

The Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami


It is Murakami's latest novel.

He is generally known for weird, thought-provoking stories about life. 

I particularly liked this one because it focused on the meaning and importance of friendship and how people greatly affect each other's lives. 

-Alexandra Segal

The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett and Amanda Pressner


A true story, written by three friends who quit their jobs and traveled the world together for a year. 

It was given to me by a college friend who also loves traveling, but as I read it, all I could think of was the amazing friendship I've made with Taryn & Danielle (who I met in Bali on my first U30X trip). 

Both have since read the book and we each related to the characters in different ways, but all found that same parallel connection with our friendship. 

-Haleigh Castino

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff


The Alchemist was an easy read but thoughtful and poignant look at life.

And An Invisible Thread is a memoir about a young woman who befriends a young boy who is practically homeless (it's set in the 80s and she's a successful businesswoman and he's from the ghetto). 

Very poignant. 

-Cara Murphy

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling 



Also go see Fantastic Beasts...its super good. 

-Kelly Houston

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris 


Honestly, I'm not even finished with the book, but am already so inspired. This goes along with my desire to do something that our culture deems "abnormal" for work. 

I want to be passionate about the way I spend my days and I refuse to believe that I have to work myself to the bone in a job I don't care about for (hopefully) a retirement some day when I'm old. 

Everyone tells me "that's life" but I don't buy it. This book gives me hope and great advice for hopefully (someday in the near future) being able to ditch my 9-5!

-Jessica Thur

Carry On Warrior, The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Melton Doyle


As we get older we lose touch with our gifts, our passions, our loved ones, and even ourselves. 

We have one "brutiful" life to live and we must give ourselves permission to live in as authentically as possible with those we love - especially when its not perfect or when we don't have the answers.

-Jennifer DeSimone

Time to get add these to your Kindle reading list!

Jennifer DeSimone
Currently based in Austin, Jennifer is the Chief of Community for U30X. She has a passion for creating connections, community, and opportunities for more empathy. In her spare time you can find her on her yoga mat, whipping up something yummy in the kitchen, or reading a good book.


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