I'm really picky about my book recommendations and what I recommend to others. That said, each of the books below has significantly changed the way I think - for better or for worse!
Here is a more complete list of what I've read/am reading at any moment: https://www.goodreads.com/melissadooo.
The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka
Gregor Samsa's character has had a profound impact on how I think about my life. My strongest takeaway from this altogether depressing novella is that structuring your life around what others want from you, as opposed to thinking about what you want for yourself, is the surest way to depression and loneliness.
Just Kids, by Patti Smith
"Passion" is a buzzword that people around me have been throwing around my whole life. This book was the first time I began to understand what passion looks and feels like in another individual. Patti Smith recounts her early days as an artist in New York, and reading her book took me on an intimate journey through the life of someone who has dedicated her entire life to perfecting her craft.
Made in America, by Sam Walton
Understanding the rise and continued success of the biggest brand I grew up with is key to understanding how to build a lasting and successful organization. To me, Sam Walton and the founding story of Walmart embody the ideal of American capitalism: work hard everyday doing what you love, do that honestly and with a singular focus on the customer, and you'll find success no matter what your competitors are up to.
The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
I keep coming back to this book because there's simply no better story that captures the epic highs and disgusting lows of human beings: love, glory, determination, revenge, greed, overzealousness...