Writing a book is a unique feat for a number of reasons; not only does it require months of laborious work and strategy but it also must reflect a true area of passion and interest from the author. After all, the sheer amount of research required to create a 200-300 page creation is undeniable. This is especially challenging when the author is young; paired with college classes, extracurriculars, and while still coming into one’s own, writing a book can be one of the most defining yet intensive projects a young person can take on. I’ve now written two books, both of which during college classes, and know firsthand how challenging the project can be – but ultimately, how rewarding it becomes.

What propelled me is similar to the motivations of other young authors. They know that the topic they choose and work they produce is worth being written – and they go the extra mile to produce something all their own, figuring, ‘the time is now.’ Here’s a list of five authors who have personally inspired me. While navigating their own youthful journeys, they gave themselves to the creations of these books to share messages worth being written.

1.Brandon LaBella

William & Mary graduate Brandon LaBella recently published The Journey to Failing Freely. In it, shares his steadfast mantra that the journey to living your best life is inextricably tied to failing freely, or not being afraid to fail. He contemplates BIG questions such as, “How Can I Find My Purpose?” and “How Can I Remove Myself from Society’s Leash?,” and finds that the heart of these universal concerns come back to the level of comfort we’ve grown accustomed to. Comfort, after all, is complacency – and avoiding situations in which failure is possible. Encouraging failure, he argues, is how we find fulfillment.

2.Jaclyn DiGregorio

Jaclyn DiGregorio’s passions are intuitive eating and healthy living. After struggling with eating disorders for years, she overcame her challenges by creating a way to have a healthy relationships with food, including reduced portion sizes and and a healthier eating mentality. She calls it ‘the Cusp Method’, which is also the name of her book. She walks the line between today’s challenges of eating well with the long-term benefits of being health conscious in a way that’s inviting and kind to readers: not lecturing, but empowering them in health and wellness.

3.Alex Heintze

In his debut book The Generation Z Entrepreneur, Alex Heintze shares the stories of successful entrepreneurs from Henry Ford to Jeff Bezos in order to encourage readers to adopt entrepreneurial mindsets. It differs from other entrepreneurial books that encourage young people to dropout of college or go all in on their startups; rather, it offers a new way of looking at the world and their own capacities. Informed by his Georgetown undergraduate education, an internship at a venture capital firm, and considerable research, Alex’s writing and research is as educational as it is enlightening.

4.Jordan Gross

Jordan GrossGETTING COMFY: Your Morning Guide to Daily Happiness is just how it sounds: a morning guide to daily happiness. Written to be enjoyed first thing in the morning, the book delves into ways to get ‘comfier’ in our skin as we attack the day ahead. Its five-step voyage reminds readers of their goals, worth, and place in the world, and does so with an optimistic, lighthearted tone. Even better, readers report that the five steps are easy to implement, and can make the world of a difference for those who are ridden with anxiety about the day.

5.Esra Ozturk

Oftentimes, books are influenced by an author’s most pivotal life moments. For Esra Ozturk, it was a tragedy that she missed by nothing more than a coincidence: a flicker of luck. Just two years ago, at age 18, she missed a terrorist attack in customs at the Istanbul Artauk Airport by just 10 minutes, due to a last minute flight change. The attack horrifically killed 40 and injured hundreds. This life-changing incident spurred her to contemplate her own purpose and place in the world. Now, she’s sharing what she’s learned, coupled with the stories and wisdom of other phenomenal women, to young female readers who too are hoping to find their purpose in her bestselling book Push to Purpose.

What drew me to these books was not just the great investment these young authors took to write them, but also how inspirational the stories are. They were compelled by their own life experiences and unique frames of references to write something to offer the world, and they all did so beautifully. They did so FOR others. Whether by offering tactical advice to start a day with more joy or sharing healthy strategies to improve a relationship with food, these authors are forging the way for their readers to live a happier and more inspired life.


  • Haley Hoffman Smith

    Speaker & Author of Her Big Idea

    Haley Hoffman Smith is the author of Her Big Idea, a book on ideation and women's empowerment which debuted as a Top 3 Bestseller. She has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and the Washington Examiner, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown in May 2018. She is the founder of the Her Big Idea Fund in partnership with Brown's Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, which awards grants to women who apply with BIG ideas, and Her Big Lash, a cosmetics company.

    At Brown, she was the President of Women’s Entrepreneurship and started the first-ever women’s entrepreneurship incubator. She speaks on topics such as women's empowerment, innovation, social impact, and personal branding regularly across companies and college campuses, most recently at Harvard, TEDx, SoGal Ventures, University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and more.