Israeli books

Delve into inspiring and engaging reads that could change your life. Image by Yuganov Konstantin via Shutterstock.com

(ISRAEL21c) Now that winter is coming, there’s nothing like spending the evening curled up on the couch with a really good book. Or, even better, a book that will change your life. Don’t we all need that these days?

This is why we’ve collected 11 Israeli books that will do just that and give you fresh perspective on the widest range possible of fields – from the history of mankind and the perfect cookie to the importance of chutzpah and staying resilient. Enjoy!

     1. SAPIENS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMANKIND by Yuval Noah Harari

There’s really no need to introduce this international bestseller, but we’ll do it anyhow. In 2011, history professor Yuval Noah Harari published his game-changing book tracing the evolution of mankind, the concepts that shaped our world, the myths that brought us together and the challenges that we’ve overcome to be what we are today. Top fans include Barack Obama and Bill Gates, so you’re bound to be blown away in the very best of company.

  1. AMAZING DECISIONS: THE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO IMPROVING BUSINESS DEALS AND FAMILY MEALS by Dan Ariely

Brought to you by the bestselling author of Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely’s latest endeavor is a graphic novel. Once again addressing that ever-critical and ever-confusing field of decision-making, Ariely teamed up with illustrator Matt R. Trower to look into the matter of making cognizant and improved decisions at home and in the office, based on his years of research in neuroscience, behavioral economics and psychology. A book that is both fun and enlightening.

  1. HAPPIER: LEARN THE SECRETS TO DAILY JOY AND LASTING FULFILLMENT by Tal Ben-Shahar

Happiness is not an elusive state. We can all teach ourselves to be happier, argues Prof. Tal Ben-Shahar. And he sure knows what he’s talking about, being the mastermind behind Harvard University’s most popular class and writing international bestsellers on the topic. Drawing on positive psychology, Happier provides readers with a set of principles to put more joy in daily life.

  1. CHUTZPAH: WHY ISRAEL IS A HUB OF INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP by Inbal Arieli

You often hear that having a business is like having another child, but rarely do you come across the idea that growing up is very much like growing a business. This is the argument Israeli high-tech veteran Inbal Arieli makes in Chutzpah, pointing out the parallel lines between a typical Israeli upbringing and the way in which a startup is shaped. Both have a lot to do with discovery, validation, efficiency and renewal. This similarity, she notes, is what stands at the core of Israel’s super-successful startup eco-system.

  1. ONCE UPON A POTTY by Alona Frankel

Speaking of offspring, this Israeli book sure is a life changer. First published in 1975, it has already aided generations of parents in the complex and often frustrating process of potty-training. Alona Frankel’s masterpiece tells the story of Joshua (or Naftali, if you’re reading the Hebrew version), who slowly but surely learns about bodily functions until he manages to use the potty successfully. Over the years, a female character called Prudence (Ziona in Hebrew) emerged, making this an absolute must in every household with children.

  1. START-UP NATION: THE STORY OF ISRAEL’S ECONOMIC MIRACLE by Dan Senor and Saul Singer

An oldie but a goodie, Start-Up Nation is the book when it comes to understanding Israel’s massive high-tech miracle. Arguing that adversity is what brought Israelis to think out of the box, take a chance and succeed, it is most certainly inspirational on the national level but is also very thought-provoking on a personal one, particularly in these difficult times. And it’s beautifully written.

  1. ISRESILIENCE: WHAT ISRAELIS CAN TEACH THE WORLD by Michael Dickson and Dr. Naomi L. Baum

In Israel, resilience is a super-important quality. From the threat of war and the state of the economy to the horrific rollercoasters otherwise known as the country’s roads, everything requires taking a deep breath and making it through. ISRESILIENCE is an inspiring book that offers a glimpse into the resilience and wonderful achievements of Israeli individuals who have overcome adversity and made it to the top. Some of the people featured are household names and others are relatively unknown, and yet all make us feel so much better facing an uncertain future.

  1. OTTOLENGHI: THE COOKBOOK by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

If you’d like to make a change to your life, the kitchen is a good place to start. And there’s probably no better guide than this eponymous book by the Jerusalemite chefs who put vibrant, exciting and delicious Middle Eastern food on plates across the world. Granted, their recipes usually include about a thousand ingredients and multiple steps, but it’s totally worth it. Just try their roast endive or white chocolate, oats and cranberry cookie recipes to get a whole new perspective on life.

  1. THE ROAD TO RESILIENCE: FROM CHAOS TO CELEBRATION by Sherri Mandell

Sherri Mandell’s 13-year-old son Koby was killed in a terror attack in 2001, leading her and her husband, Rabbi Seth Mandell, to set up the Koby Mandell Foundation offering support programs to families who have lost their loved ones. She’s also a pastoral counselor who runs healing groups for mothers, and has poured her knowledge, expertise and personal experience into a book that examines how it is possible to grow from grief. Thoughtful and compassionate, it is an eye-opener that can help in many difficult situations.

  1. ECO BIBLE by Yonatan Neril and Leo Dee

Feeling blue about the state of the planet? Ever wondered what the Bible said about being green? Volume 1 of Eco Bible, an ecological commentary on Genesis and Exodus, sheds new light on the well-known stories, links them to the burning issues of today and explores issues such as clean air, biodiversity and health. A Volume 2 delving into Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy is to be published next year, further aiding us in finding roots in this life-changing cause.

  1. ANGELS & TAHINA: 18 LESSONS FROM HIKING THE ISRAEL TRAIL by Tzippi Moss 

Covid-19 has put a serious damper on making it to faraway gorgeous destinations in which we can take a deep breath, recharge and reevaluate our lives. But as Tzippi Moss shows in her new book, you don’t have to go that far away to appreciate all that nature can do for you – you just have to go, and go, and go, as she, her husband and her son did when they crisscrossed Israel to raise money and awareness for ALS research, reflecting on life and gathering new lessons on the way.