Originally, I answered this question on Quora: “What are some motivational books to help you through depressiom and an existential crisis?”
I have already written about the following (just click to read about them):
However, in terms of a book about depression that addresses the element of existential crisis, the best I have read is “The Conquest of Happiness” by Bertrand Russell. This book is a thin volume written in 1932 by famous philosopher Bertrand Russell, but it was written with the intention that it would be accessible to any reader.
It is quite easy to read, and, although parts of it are somewhat painfully dated, the main ideas of the book and the wisdom and advice contained in it are useful and sound.
The painfully dated part: Early in the book, he makes remarks about African Americans being more happy go lucky than white Americans. Although his remarks are definitely racist, they were not meant to put down African Americans — the opposite, actually. It is still not right and it is offensive, but if we take the book in its historical context, perhaps we can consider overlooking his insensitivity.
I wish they would rewrite it without the offending passage because it is not necessary to the book, and it is otherwise a very helpful little book.