21 Best Bucket List Books for Doing More in Life

By Liz Froment •  Updated: 11/01/21 •  12 min read

At Location Rebel, we’re all about advocating for creating your own lifestyle.

In fact, the first thing we do in the very first email people get from us is to reply back and describe your perfect day.

perfect day email

That’s not just fluff. It’s there for a reason. We want people to start thinking about the things that they want to do. What their dream day would be.

A lot of people answer with things on their own bucket list: living by the ocean, learning a new language, traveling to a new country.

I love these answers because I love a good bucket list (almost as much as I love books).

Sean is a huge advocate of them too. He’s been banging away on his bucket list for a while and the creation of it helped bring this site to life.

Pebble Beach Hole 18

He wanted to start doing the things on his bucket list like playing golf at Pebble Beach.

Maldives Shangri-La Water Villa

Our “Water Villa”

Or staying in an overwater bungalow in the Maldives.

Because let’s face it, checking items off a bucket list is a lot better than just talking about them.

Don’t you agree?

When it comes to this, a lot of people get stuck with how to create a bucket list. I should know…I had this problem too.

I was nervous about what should be on my bucket list (or what would make me look cool) versus what I actually wanted to do.

My mind went blank and I needed ideas.

So you know where I turned? Books.

I looked online for books. I trudged over to my local bookstore and found a pile of books. I read the books of people who had done amazing things on their own bucket lists.

These books highlighted all sorts places and things I hadn’t even thought of. I used them to help me break through my own feelings of overwhelm. Yes, I was overwhelmed at the thought of creating a bucket list. (Welcome to the world of an over-thinker!)

But, at the end of the day, books helped me move forward into creating a bucket list. And hopefully, it can help you too.

Bucket List Books: The Ultimate List

That’s what this post is going to do. We’re going to highlight all sorts of books that you can use for your own bucket list inspiration.

Now, that’s not to say that everything in these books is for you, but consider them inspiration. Use them to open your mind and see all the potential out there. And then, start creating.

Ok nerds, grab your library card and let’s go!

Books About Creating Bucket Lists

bucket list books creating bucket lists

One of the easiest ways to get started building a bucket list is to start reading books about bucket lists. Yup, I know, brilliant, right?

These books are chock full of ideas to help you get started. Copy them, throw them out, tweak and twist them, it doesn’t matter. When something in one of these books speaks to you, add it to your list.

1,000 Places to See Before You Die: Revised Second Edition by Patricia Schultz

This is basically the big daddy of bucket list books. It’s got a massive list of places you won’t have even heard of but by the end, you’ll want to visit.

There’s nothing wrong with that, right? There’s basically a page dedicated to each place with a description and some other bits of info that can help you get there, stay there, and other sites in the region.

The publishers have spun this book into a huge series with other authors. You can also see her places in the United States to visit before you die and even places to eat before you die.

Bucket list brag from this book: I spent a windswept day (after taking two trains and a bus) at the home of golf, St. Andrews. And a bigger fun fact, I visited it before our favorite resident golf maniac did (but he took a nicer picture, so we’ll use his).

The Old Course Hotel at St. Andrews at Sunrise.

Sunrise on the most famous golf course in the world last October: St. Andrews.

Check out the book here. And if you do happen to be a golf fan, check out Sean’s selection of the best golf books on the market.

101 Things to Do Before You Die by Richard Horne

Beyond creating a list Horne, a UK based author, gives you a handy dandy operating system in his book. He advocates using it to not only create a list of things you want to do but also to track your progress on them as you go.

This is a cool concept. Usually, something that’s really hard will sit on your list reminding you about how you haven’t done it yet. With this method, you can be happy in the knowledge that you’re actively working your way towards checking off those monster tasks.

Bucket list brag from this book: Swimming with sharks. Oh yea, Liz + shark tank + my parents forgetting(?!?!?!) to take a picture of me bobbing like bait in the freaking tank = no photo proof. Boo.

Coral World Bucket List

No shark tank photo but here’s one of me walking on the sea floor, everything is a-ok!

Check out the book here.

2001 Things to Do Before You Die by Dane Sherwood

If you want a massive list of stuff to add to your bucket list, this is the book for you. Sometimes it can be hard to come up with anything and this will cover two big groups:

  1. Stuff you never even remotely thought of
  2. Stuff you’ve already done and you can check off your list to make you feel like a winner

Most of the ideas in this book are pretty basic so if you don’t want to start out with a blank page and an overwhelming feeling of dread, it might be the choice for you.

Bucket list brag from this book: Take lessons in something new. I embraced my French-Canadian heritage (yes, that’s where Froment comes from) and learned curling. I’m holding out hope that I will someday make the US Olympic team.

bucket list curling

I’m a natural on the ice.

Check out the book here.

The Big Bucket List Book: 133 Experiences of a Lifetime by Gin Sander

If there’s one thing I’ve come to embrace it’s this: life is all about experiences. Remember that phrase, ‘whoever has the most stuff wins’? Well, actually, I think that’s kinda bs.

I have lots of stuff, and at the end of the day, most of it doesn’t really matter. But the experiences I’ve had so far in life have meant so much more than any pile of things ever could. Keep that in mind as you make your own list!

Bucket list brag from this book: Enjoy a polo match in the summer sun. I’ve actually enjoyed a number of polo matches, complete with tailgate and divot stomping, at the Newport Polo Grounds. It’s a great time.

bucket list newport polo

Polo is a lot of fun to watch, highly recommended.

Check out the book here.

Make Your Own Bucket List: How To Design Yours Before You Kick It by Andrew Gall

This bucket list book takes a slightly different approach from a lot of the others in that it asks you to dig deep on some of your bucket list items. Some examples include confront a past embarrassment or conquer your biggest fear.

I like the concept because a lot of the time, bucket lists are about growth. In doing the things on our bucket lists we’re challenging ourselves, we’re changing or exposing ourselves to new things all important parts of the journey.

Bucket list brag from this book: Accomplish something photographically. I took a photo of West Quoddy Lighthouse, the first place the US sees the sun on New Year’s Day and it’s been featured in Yankee Magazine.

bucket list photography

If you’re a New Englander, Yankee Magazine is a big deal!

Check out the book here.

Honorable Mentions:

Want to keep digging into these types of bucket list books? Check these out:

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Books About People Living Their Bucket Lists

bucket list books living the bucket list life

If you can’t find inspiration from big books of lists, the next place to look for it is through the people who are doing amazing things in the world.

I’m always super inspired by people who overcome odds or give their all to do something amazing like Olympians. But I also love the fact that bucket list items don’t have to be these all-encompassing life goals, they can be going to a baseball game or cooking or asking someone out on a date.

Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell

I love Julia Child. I remember watching her as a kid on the local PBS station in Boston. She was funny, she was so tall, she had a hilarious voice, and she loved to cook. Her joy oozed through the screen.

So, it’s not surprising that this icon of cooking would go on to inspire millions of people around the world. In this book, Powell embarks on a bucket list of French cooking, Julia Child style. She wants to cook every single one of the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Check out the book here.

Going Yard: The Ultimate Guide For Major League Baseball Stadium Road Trips by Stan Fridstein

This one jumped out at me because it’s on my bucket list too. I’m a (some might say obsessive) Red Sox fan and have loved baseball for as long as I can remember.

So I’d love to catch a game in every single stadium in the MLB. So far, I’ve got a few big ones off my list but am oh about 24 short, thankfully, I have plenty of time. This book highlights a father and son guide based on everything they learned from their own bucket list trip.

Check out the book here.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

Now you probably know Bill Bryson from some of his really famous travel books. But my first introduction to him was through this one, where he decides to walk the entire Appalachian Trail with an old college buddy.

You’ll get the perfect mix of history and hilarity in this book as Bryson works his magic recreating his journey and all the ups and downs that went with it.

Check out the book here.

Date: The Diary of One Man’s Ultimate Dating Challenge by Dave Cornthwaite

Full disclosure: I know Dave. Beyond Sean, he’s one of the first people who inspired me to pursue a location-independent lifestyle. You can read more about him and his adventures here.

This book shows that bucket lists don’t have to be all about grand travels around the world. In fact, it can hit a lot closer to home. Dave decides to go on 100 dates in 100 days just to see what happens (spoiler: you’ll want to see what happens).

Check out the book here.

Paper Tiger: An Obsessed Golfer’s Quest to Play with the Pros by Tom Coyne

What happens when an out-of-shape and thoroughly average golfer decides to see if he can play with the pros? Talk about an ultimate bucket list item!

In this book, Coyne tracks his path to hitting that dream bucket list moment. He goes through new gear, special diets, rigorous training, and even psychologists he had to deal with in order to actually make it to a professional golf tournament.

Check out the book here.

Honorable Mentions

Ok once you’ve dug into people checking off their bucket lists left and right you probably want to check out a few more that can help change your mindset. Here they are:

Ready to Create Your Own Bucket List?

Hopefully, these bucket list books are going to help you get started. From there, well, it’s up to you and your imagination.

Remember, when it comes to bucket lists, there is no right or wrong. You can cross things off your list and add things to them. The key is to have fun.

And who knows, if you’re bucket list is epic, we might be reading about your adventures one day. I’ll be sure to add it to my list!

Have any books that have inspired your bucket list? Something we’ve got to read? Let us know in the comments!

Liz Froment

Liz Froment is a full-time freelance writer and the one who keeps Location Rebel running like a well-oiled machine. If she's not writing something informative or witty for her clients, she can most likely be found reading a good book.
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