On the occasion of the International Youth Day on August 12, here is a list of ten books any Arab youth should read:

1- Talk like TED by Carmine Gallo:

Carmine Gallo, Talk Like TED cover (amazon.com)

A great book with advice on how to be good a public speaker, attract attention and deliver your message to your audience. This is suitable for students and workers. Reading this at a young age may allow you to establish ideal foundations and guidelines for your presentations and public speaking events at an early stage in life. And so you won’t have to stress about these things once you get a high position job.

2- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho:

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist cover (amazon.com)

A great book about following your heart and listening to the voice within to guide you towards your dreams and goals. Most young people in our society are driven by rational decisions and are guided by their parents to have calculated risk. Sometimes you need to just let go of these constraints and follow your gut instinct.

3- Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky:

Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment cover (wikipedia.org)

A great book that delivers important ethical messages. Sometimes hunger is not the worst of human feelings, but guilt is. This book is filled with strong moral messages that anyone can learn from.  Reading this at an early stage allows readers to grow up with the righteous judgements and decisions in their adult life.

4- Returning to Haifa by Ghassan Kanafani (غسان كنفاني- عائد إلى حيفا):

Ghassan Kanafani, Returning to Haifa Arabic cover (goodreads.com)

A great book by a great Arab author. Return to Haifa tackles important topics like homeland, family relations and man made concepts that shaped generations over the years. as a young Arab, you will hear a lot about wars and politics, but this book will also allow you to see the humane story of some events that took place.

5- Ten Ways to Change the World in Your 20’s by Libuse Binder:

Libuse Binder, Ten Ways to Change the World in Your 20’s cover (amazon.com)

A great book with good examples and solid ideas of how a young person can be an active member on the planet. The books lists websites and real NGOs and offices for a person to join and work with in order to help others. Very relevant and useful for young people striving for growth and change.

6- The Prophet by Gibran Khalil Gibran (النبي – جبران خليل جبران):  

Gibran Khalil Gibran, The Prophet English cover (abebooks.com)

a great book to learn more about human relations that can guide a person in dealing with family, friends, spouses, children and with oneself. Naturally, reading this will allow you to absorb some of Khalil Gibran’s timeless wisdom. We all can use a bit of that.

7- In the Name of Identity by Amin Maalouf (امين معلوف- الهويات القاتلة):

Amin Maalouf, In the Name of Identity English cover (amazon.com)

a great book that every young person must read. We tend to judge others and label them based on background, nationality, ethnicity and other factors. But Amin Maalouf tells us that these are all man-made concepts. What matters is the human within. This book will allow you to think outside the box and break unnecessary walls and barriers.

8- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg:

Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit cover, (goodreads.com)

A great book about establishing positive habits while eliminating the negative ones from daily routine. This will eventually enhance our lives and allow us to benefit more from our time. I think all young people can benefit from these life skills at an early age. Mastering them will actually allow you to become a more successful adult.

9- The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald:

F.Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby cover (wikipedia.org)

A timeless classic. Full of glamour but with a sad ending. This book is all about following dreams and most importantly choosing the right crowds. Young people tend to follow crowds and the spotlight. However, sometimes we need time to realise that quality of people tops quantity.

10- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell:

Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers cover (amazon.com)

A great book that tackles different factors of success and why some people seem to achieve more than others in school or the workplace. You might think why your classmates and peers perform better than you. Malcolm Gladwell says that practice makes perfect, you can be the top achiever if you spend more time in a specific activity or skill.

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Images courtesy indicated in captions.