Books About Overcoming Adversity

books about overcoming adversity

Inspirational books about overcoming adversity. When life throws you a curveball, it can be difficult to stay positive and motivated.

But as many people have shown, with hard work and perseverance, it is possible to overcome even the most difficult obstacles.

In this blog, we will be looking at the best books about overcoming adversity. These books are true stories of people who have faced enormous challenges and triumphed over them.

Whether you are looking for inspiration or just want to learn about the incredible resilience of the human spirit, these books will inspire you.

Books About Overcoming Adversity

  1. “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand – This is a true story about Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who was taken prisoner by the Japanese during World War II. The book tells the story of his resilience and determination in the face of unimaginable hardships.
  2. “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl – This is a classic book about overcoming adversity. It is the true story of Viktor Frankl’s experiences as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Despite the horrors he faced, Frankl was able to find meaning in his suffering and emerge from the experience with a new sense of purpose.
  3. “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer – This true story follows the journey of William Kamkwamba, a young boy in Malawi who uses his ingenuity and determination to build a windmill to bring electricity to his village.
  4. “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed – In this memoir, Cheryl Strayed shares her journey of overcoming grief and adversity by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail alone.
  5. “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover – This best-selling memoir tells the story of Tara Westover, who grows up in a strict and abusive household in rural Idaho but eventually escapes and becomes the first person in her family to go to college.
  6. “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben – This non-fiction book explores the interconnectedness of trees and how they support each other to overcome adversity in the natural world.
  7. “Out of My Mind” by Sharon M. Draper – This novel follows the story of Melody, a young girl with cerebral palsy who struggles to be heard and understood in a world that doesn’t always make accommodations for her disability. She ultimately finds her voice and proves her intelligence and worth.
  8. “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates – In this powerful and thought-provoking book, Coates reflects on the struggles and challenges faced by black Americans and the importance of overcoming adversity to create change.
  9. “The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother” by James McBride – This memoir tells the story of James McBride’s mother, a white woman who married a black man and faced discrimination and adversity as a result. Through her resilience and determination, she raises a family and helps her children overcome their own struggles.

Best Books About People Who have Overcome Adversity

  1. “The Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes – In this memoir, Shonda Rhimes, the creator of hit TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” tells the story of how she overcame her fear of public speaking and her reluctance to say “yes” to new opportunities.
  2. “The Choice: Embrace the Possible” by Edith Eva Eger – This powerful memoir tells the story of Edith Eger, a Holocaust survivor who uses her experiences to help others overcome their own struggles and find meaning in their lives.
  3. “The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories” by Marina Keegan – This collection of essays and stories by a young writer who tragically passed away at the age of 22 explores themes of adversity, resilience, and hope.
  4. “The Girl with Seven Names” by Hyeonseo Lee – This memoir tells the story of Hyeonseo Lee, a North Korean woman who escapes to China and eventually makes her way to South Korea. Along the way, she faces many challenges and dangers but ultimately finds freedom and a new life.
  5. “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” by Aron Ralston – This gripping memoir tells the true story of Aron Ralston, who gets trapped by a boulder while hiking in Utah and must amputate his own arm to survive. His determination and will to live are truly inspiring.
  6. “Solitary” by Albert Woodfox – This memoir tells the story of Albert Woodfox, who spent more than four decades in solitary confinement in a Louisiana prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Despite the terrible conditions and injustice he faced, he never lost hope and fought for his freedom.
  7. “The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star” by Nikki Sixx – In this memoir, Nikki Sixx, the bassist for the band Mötley Crüe, shares his struggles with addiction and how he ultimately overcame his demons to turn his life around.
  8. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins – This thriller follows the story of Rachel, a woman who is struggling to overcome her alcoholism and past traumas. As she becomes embroiled in a missing person case, she must confront her own dark secrets and overcome her fears to find the truth.

Non-fiction Books About Overcoming Adversity

  1. “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom – In this memoir, Mitch Albom shares his experiences with his former college sociology professor, Morrie Schwartz, who is dying of ALS. Through their weekly conversations, Albom learns valuable lessons about facing adversity and finding meaning in life.
  2. “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy – In this post-apocalyptic novel, a father and son must overcome countless obstacles and challenges as they journey through a desolate and dangerous landscape. Through their bond and determination, they find hope and meaning in their struggles.
  3. “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd – This coming-of-age novel tells the story of Lily, a young girl who is struggling to overcome the trauma of her mother’s death and the abuse of her father. With the help of three beekeeping sisters, she learns to heal and find her true identity.
  4. “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah – This historical novel set in World War II tells the story of two sisters who are separated by the war and must overcome incredible adversity to survive and reunite.
  5. “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls – This moving memoir tells the story of Walls and her siblings growing up in a chaotic and abusive household. Despite their difficult upbringing, they ultimately overcome their struggles and go on to lead successful lives.
  6. “The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl” by Timothy Egan – This non-fiction book tells the story of the Dust Bowl, a devastating environmental disaster in the 1930s, and the people who faced incredible hardships but ultimately persevered and survived.
  7. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho – This classic novel follows the journey of a young shepherd boy named Santiago who dreams of finding treasure. Along the way, he learns about the importance of following your heart and overcoming obstacles to achieve your dreams.
  8. “The Story of My Life” by Helen Keller – In this inspiring memoir, Helen Keller shares her experiences as a deaf-blind woman and the challenges she faced in learning to communicate and understand the world. Through her determination and the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, she overcomes her limitations and becomes a successful author and activist.

True Story Books About Overcoming Adversity

  1. “A Long Way Home” by Saroo Brierley – This memoir tells the true story of Saroo Brierley, who was lost in India as a young boy and ended up being adopted by an Australian family. As an adult, he uses Google Earth to search for his birth family and eventually reunites with them.
  2. “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel James Brown – This true story follows the journey of the University of Washington rowing team as they overcome adversity to compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
  3. “The Right Stuff” by Tom Wolfe – This classic book tells the story of the early days of the American space program and the brave pilots who overcame incredible odds to become astronauts.
  4. “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” by Malala Yousafzai – This memoir tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who fought for the right to education and was shot by the Taliban. She survived and went on to become a global advocate for girls’ education and the youngest Nobel laureate in history.
  5. “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger – This classic novel follows the story of Holden Caulfield, a teenage boy who is kicked out of his prep school and struggles to find meaning and connection in a world that seems phony and alienating.
  6. “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker – This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel tells the story of Celie, a young black girl who grows up in the rural South in the early 1900s. Despite the many hardships and injustices she faces, she ultimately finds her voice and learns to love and forgive.

Classic Books About Overcoming Adversity

  1. “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen – In this classic novel, the Bennett sisters must overcome societal pressures and personal challenges to find love and happiness.
  2. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee – This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel tells the story of Scout Finch, a young girl growing up in the segregated South. Through her experiences, she learns about the injustice and prejudice in her community and how to overcome it.
  3. “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom – This classic memoir tells the story of Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch Christian who hid Jews from the Nazis during World War II and was eventually captured and sent to a concentration camp. Despite the horrors she faced, she found hope and forgiveness in her faith.
  4. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald – This classic novel follows the story of Jay Gatsby, a wealthy and mysterious man who is trying to win back his lost love, Daisy Buchanan. Despite his wealth and charm, he faces many challenges and obstacles on his journey.
  5. “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville – This epic novel tells the story of Captain Ahab, who is obsessed with hunting the white whale that took his leg. Despite the many dangers and challenges he faces, he never gives up his pursuit.
  6. “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley – This classic novel tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a monstrous creature but ultimately rejects and abandons it. The creature must overcome its own isolation and adversity to find acceptance and revenge.
  7. “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë – In this classic novel, Catherine and Heathcliff must overcome their own troubled pasts and the obstacles of their social class to find true love.
  8. “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck – This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel tells the story of the Joad family, who are forced to leave their home during the Great Depression and face many challenges on their journey to California. Despite their hardships, they never lose hope and find strength in their bonds as a family.
  9. “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë – In this classic novel, the titular character must overcome her own poverty and lack of social status to find love and independence.
  10. “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy – This epic novel follows the lives of several aristocratic families in Russia during the Napoleonic Wars. Through the many challenges and hardships they face, they learn about love, loyalty, and forgiveness.
  11. “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde – In this novel, Dorian Gray is a young man who is given a magical painting that allows him to retain his youthful appearance while his soul becomes increasingly corrupted. Despite his attempts to escape the consequences of his actions, he eventually must face the consequences of his choices.


There are many great books about overcoming adversity that can provide inspiration, guidance, and support to those who are facing challenges in their lives.

These books range from true stories of people who have overcome incredible obstacles, to classic works of literature that explore the human spirit and its ability to persevere.

Whether you’re looking for non-fiction accounts of real-life struggles and triumphs, or fictional stories that offer lessons about perseverance and resilience, there are many books to choose from.

Some of the best books about overcoming adversity include “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand, “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls, and “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl.

These and other books offer valuable insights and lessons about the power of the human spirit to overcome even the most difficult of challenges.

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