The Best Bucket List Books for Doing More in Life

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 04/01/23 •  10 min read

What’s your perfect day?

That’s the first question I ask new subscribers to the Location Rebel email ist.

perfect day email

That’s not just fluff. It’s there for a reason. I want you to think about what you really want in life. And a lot of people do. They answer with bucket list stuff like living by the ocean, traveling a few months a year, and learning new languages.

I love these answers because I love a good bucket list. I’ve been working on mine for going on two decades now.

It’s led to this site and other projects like Breaking Eighty.

Because of my bucket list, I’ve traveled the world and done some amazing things…

Pebble Beach Hole 18

…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.

So the big question is…what’s on your bucket list? If you’re feeling stuck, here’s how to start.

How to Make a Bucket List

A lot of people get stuck coming up with bucket list ideas.

So I made a video about it.

Watch below or read how to create a bucket list for some tips.

Another place to turn to for some bucket list inspiration?


There are a ton of books out there about people who had done amazing things on their own bucket lists. And there are plenty of books that help you figure out what you want from your life (and bucket list).

So if you’re feeling stuck, grab your library card and check out this list.

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.

Use these to open your mind and see the potential out there. And then start creating your bucket list.

Let’s do this.

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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.

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.

So if you want a summer bucket list or are building an NYC bucket list, this book is a great place to start.

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.

Bucket list brag: Playing a few rounds of golf at St. Andrews.

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 my selection of the best golf books.

101 Things to Do Before You Die by Richard Horne

Beyond creating a list, Horne, a UK-based author, gives you an operating system. He advocates using it to create a list of things you want to do and track progress 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: Liz did get to go swimming with sharks on a family trip to St. Thomas. But, Liz + shark tank + her parents forgetting(?!?!?!) to take a picture of her 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 to add to your bucket list, this is the book for you. This book covers 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.

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!

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 into some of your bucket list items. Some examples include confronting a past embarrassment or conquering your biggest fear.

I like the concept because 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 our journeys.

Check out the book here.

I Will Teach You to Be Rich Journal by Ramit Sethi

Yes, technically, this book is about money. But I also think a big part of what Ramit calls ‘your rich life’ is digging deeper into the things you really want to do and matter most to you.

A lot of people think some of these things are bucket list items but the reality? With some smart planning and saving, you can do way more things than you ever thought possible.

My bucket list in 2003 is my life now. It can happen.

Check out the book here.

Honorable Mentions:

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

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 the odds or give their all to do something amazing. But bucket list items don’t have to be these all-encompassing life goals. They can be going to a concert, learning to cook, or asking someone out on a date.

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

Everyone loves Julia Child. 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

A lot of people have sports-related items on their bucket lists. For a long time, one of mine was going to The Masters (I did it). But for others, it’s going to a game in every MLB stadium, hitting an NFL playoff game, or watching the Tour de France.

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

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

This post was updated for accuracy in April 2023.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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7 comments on "The Best Bucket List Books for Doing More in Life"

  1. An inspiring read, thank you. Readers may be interested in a website that allows you to make and share your bucket list, including plenty of ideas. It’s called PopClogs (as in things to do before you pop your clogs, or kick the bucket):

    1. Liz Froment says:

      Thanks for the share, Roberto!

  2. Lou says:

    Great suggestion list.

    While not a book, the Day Zero Project ( helped me with creating and ticking off 101 things to do in 1001 days.

    1. Liz Froment says:

      Thanks, Lou! You can get inspiration from anywhere. 🙂 Thanks for sharing and awesome to see you got so much done!

  3. Saurabh says:


    Nice article.

    Don’t know if I should share it here but around a year ago, I got into meditation and spirituality and since then everything seems stale and bland. Everything is good enough, but nothing is that good.

    Since then, my goal has been to work my ass off and eventaully earn the freedom that would allow me to explore more about that aspect of my life.

    I guess, sometimes, just one wish in the bucket is enough to keep it brimming!

    1. Liz Froment says:

      I love that story and the takeaway, sometimes it is just one thing in the bucket that can change everything!

      1. Saurabh says:

        This is the first time I shared it publically. A lot of people misinterpret it as nihilism. Thanks for getting it right. :p

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