What life lessons have you learned from a fiction book?

What life lessons have you learned from a fiction book?

If you could recommend only one fiction book to read, what would it be and why? I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on this.

I’m a nonfiction reader. I have read only a few fiction books. Not because I don’t like fiction, is just that sometimes is hard to pick up a fiction book which may also give you a good life lesson.

I’m still planning to read Fahrenheit 451, years have passed since this book is still on my reading list. I can’t even figure out what was the reason for my procrastination.

I confess that I didn’t know much about Stephen King, I still didn’t read none of his novels except a non-fiction book he wrote On Writing which I found to be a great book.

But this doesn’t mean that novels can’t teach you a life lesson, I realized there’s a lot to be learned from novels. Here’s what I myself have learned.

Hunger by Knut HamsunThis is a story of an intellectual man which has nothing, a beggar, a writer who struggles  to survive. What was the most interesting in this lecture is the way narrator changes moods. He starts with optimism then he has moments in which he is without hope. He is angry, then suddenly he is depressed. When things seem to be just fine, they suddenly go worse.

The question that arises from this is Who do we need blame for our internal affairs? What to do when the only thing that you have is your internal dialogue with yourself switching from one mind state to another.

This book teaches you a survival lesson. The only one who survives is the one who is able to adapt to circumstances. But he must stay positive, even in those times when is mostly impossible. And this isn’t easy.

Some people often expect someone else to give them something , they believe they deserve it. The truth is that no one owns you nothing, the odds are all against you. The life itself is just a process, it doesn’t have a purpose unless you give it.

Here is one my favorite quote from this book:

The poor intelligent man is  a far nicer observer than the rich intelligent man. The poor man looks about him every step he takes, listen suspiciously to every word he hears from the people he meets, every step he takes affords in this way a task for his thoughts and feelings – an occupation. He is quick of hearing, and sensitive; he is an experienced man , his soul bears the sears of the fire …

Candide by VoltaireAll is not for the best. You must:

  • take responsibility of your actions
  • be content with what you have
  • cultivate yourself and opt for the solvable
  • grow and live to understand , not to impress.
  • let go the troubles of the whole world  and take care of your own. The world will take care of itself.


Animal Farm by George Orwell

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. – George Orwell

The social tendency to maintain the status quo. You’ll find some people content in tolerating what’s normal and conventional without questioning themselves. What the hell am I doing here?  But you don’t have to accept the circumstances in which you find yourself. Never limit yourself with the acceptance of how you think now. Broaden your vocabulary, cultivate yourself and make changes. You don’t have to be the average of the 5 people you are spending time with if they aren’t worth to make you be a better person.

Stand by and don’t be afraid to say what’s  wrong or right. You don’t have to accept someone’s else decision just because that thing has been said to be that way. You have the right to question the validity of this or that. Commandments are not rules, you have the right to say no, avoid dogma. It doesn’t matter where you are and who is telling you to do what.Respect yourself.  Question the validity first. Build your own opinion.

Too much power serving own interests is dangerous. Take for example the abuse of power in a corporate world. Shareholders making decisions to appease own interest. Company X decides to adopt a new policy just because the idea seems good to them but not for their workers.

Moby Dick by Herman MelvilleThis was a great book to read. A captain,  with high expectations,  obsessed with his goal, ready to sacrifice all crew to kill the white whale. The result: All crew members killed, only Ismael the narrator of the story survives.

Here’s a life lesson:

  • Lower your expectations and you will live a happier life.
  • Let go your ambition or your life may end prematurely in a constant source of dissatisfaction.
  • Embrace the joy of the present moment and learn how to let go.
  • Don’t be obsessed with your goal to the point of not having enough time to do more important things in your life.

Back to my first words:

If you could recommend only one fiction book to read, what would it be and why? I would also like to hear your opinion on reading novels, how they widen your wisdom?

Wish you a good reading!

Constantin Minov

A Hardcore reader | Thinker | Explorer | Problem solver | Communicator | Analyst | Organizer | Minimalist