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101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think: A Book Review

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

"Many of the world's 'best' people understood that to change their lives, they had to change their minds."

- Brianna Wiest

101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think book.



3.52 stars on The Storygraph

My Rating

5 stars


Nonfiction, essays, philosophy, self-help


Informative, reflective




No content warnings available on The Storygraph


Over the past few years, Brianna Wiest has gained renown for her deeply moving, philosophical writing. This new compilation of her published work features pieces on why you should pursue purpose over passion, embrace negative thinking, see the wisdom in daily routine, and become aware of the cognitive biases that are creating the way you see your life. Some of these pieces have never been seen; others have been read by millions of people around the world. Regardless, each will leave you thinking: this idea changed my life. (Storygraph)

My Review

I knew from the moment this book landed on my tumblr feed several years ago I would love it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find it anywhere online or in store at Indigo, and I did not want to buy it from Amazon or anything. So, I waited. I waited until #BookTok made it popular and it was in stores and on the shelves once again.

"It's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking rather than think your way into a new way of acting."

- Brianna Wiest

It took me about 15 days to get through this book. I wanted to take my time with it and really reflect on what I was reading. I've also taken up annotating, so I had plenty of sticky notes and flags to mark down anything that caught my interest.

Inside cover of book with sticky notes.

My Annotation Guide

I used pink to mark things that I loved, orange for anything that hit me hard or "hit me in the feels," yellow for anything that had me thinking deeply, green for things I didn't know, and blue for quotes.

A Realization

One thing I loved most about this book is that it gave me a new perspective. For the first time I could see how far I've come because some of the concepts and mindsets Wiest wrote about, I had already implemented into my life. For example, living with less. Being aware of the things you own and the feeling each one gives you. I've practiced minimalism and used the KonMari method for a few years now.

Everything in your life does one of three things: shows you to yourself, heals a part of yourself, or lets you enjoy a part of yourself.

- Brianna Wiest

More Learning

I also learned how to separate myself from others and gain perspective - especially when it comes to dealing with negative people. I've come to learn that it wasn't me, but them and I don't need toxic, negative people in my life. I don't need to get so caught up in the way I look or what other people think of me (sometimes I still do), I can just be me.

One last thing I learned, or at least that I will describe in this post, is how to separate my thoughts and feelings from myself. I have learned to take a step back and examine what I'm really thinking and feeling so that they can no longer control me. Instead, I can control them. And this has made quite a difference in my life. Being autistic, I can sometimes feel things so deeply, but have no control of them, let alone any understanding. Learning that the things and I think and feel can be separate from myself was the first step towards a very impactful journey.

Inside page of book.

Journal Prompts

There are so many wonderful questions and ideas in this book that I just had to transfer some of them into proper journal prompts.

From 101 Essays by Brianna Wiest

  1. A list of things that turned out to be right for you and what similar feeling accompanied each of them.

  2. The way you will quantify this year. How many books you want to say you've read, how many projects you've completed, how many connections with friends and family you fostered or rekindled, how you spent your days.

  3. How will you remember this time in your life 20 years from now?

  4. A list of things you've done for yourself recently.

  5. What does your life look like to other people?

  6. What would you say if you could tell every single person in the world just one thing?

  7. What and who is worth suffering for?

  8. What are the most important things you've learned about life so far and how have you come to learn them?

  9. Place yourself. Make a chart with three columns and on the left write everything you feel you've accomplished in your life and in the middle write down what your daily life entails and then on the right put what those consistent habits will lead to/what you hope to do in the future.

  10. To what in your life do you feel a subtle, unexplainable "nudge?"

  11. If I had the love I wanted, what would today look like?

  12. What does the day-to-day of your best life look like?

My Journal Ideas

And here are my ideas that I put together as I read through the book.

  1. Write about someone falling in love with you.

  2. When caught in deep emotions, ask yourself what is the true origin of this feeling?

  3. Who are you when you daydream? As in, who do you imagine yourself to be?

We're all stars that think they're dying until we realize we're collapsing into supernovas - to become more beautiful than ever before.

- C. Joybell C.

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