5 Life-Changing Books That Inspired Leonardo DiCaprio’s Passion
You know him from his performances on the big screen for the past few decades — but there’s more to this suave actor than his career.
Academy Award-winning actor, producer and philanthropist Leonardo DiCaprio has built a legacy through his impressive character work and his investment within the Hollywood community. He’s also a passionate activist for the environment and often speaks out vocally about global warming.
Though he’s never married or had children, his big abode is full of… books!
Before beginning any on-screen gig, he always reads the text that inspired the scenes first. Of course, he also reads just for fun and inspiration, depending on the season.
Here are a few books you can steal from DiCaprio’s bookshelf:
The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway
When it came out in the mid-80s, The Garden of Eden was a best-seller, and happens to be the last book the iconic author Ernest Hemingway ever penned.
According to an interview with America Reads Spanish, DiCaprio raved about this masterpiece — alongside a few other Hemingway novels, including The Old Man and the Sea and A Farewell to Arms.
He likes them so much he would page through them in his second language. “One of my favorite authors is Ernest Hemingway… he is not Spanish but he was in love with the Spanish culture. Many things I learn from your country [Spain] are through his eyes,” he shared.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Unless you’re a megafan of F. Scott Fitzegerald (like me!), you probably haven’t read this legendary tale since high school. Maybe DiCaprio’s fascination with it could persuade you to give The Great Gatsby another go as an adult.
Especially since he had a starring role in the film, it makes sense that he would have added it to his own library.
In discussing the experience with Time, he shared he was attracted to the role of Gatsby because he liked “the idea of a man who came from absolutely nothing, who created himself solely from his own imagination. Gatsby’s one of those iconic characters because he can be interpreted in so many ways: a hopeless romantic, a completely obsessed wacko, or a dangerous gangster, clinging to wealth.”
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
This provocative book rings a little too true to home for some American households. So does the movie, which DiCaprio starred in alongside talented actress (and his good friend) Kate Winslet.
In an interview with GQ, he said Revolutionary Road was a classic for a reason: “The conversations that each character has in his or her head… While I’m sitting here kissing my wife and telling her how much I love her, and how everything is gonna be okay, there’s this inner voice that just detests her and detests my life and knows I’m lying about everything. That inner dialogue in the book was fabulous for all of us.”
This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein
DiCaprio had a conversation with Naomi Klein after reading her take on how climate change impacts everything — including our financial picture.
In an effort to argue that the more we invest in the planet, the more we build our stability, many people say This Changes Everything one of those books you can’t put down and that keeps you thinking for long after you turn the last page.
In an interview with Wired, DiCaprio revealed what he thought: “I once was talking to Naomi Klein, who to me is one of the most powerful voices in the climate movement. She wrote a book called This Changes Everything, and it’s about capitalism versus the environment. And look, everyone loves money, I love money — we live in the United States. This is a capitalist country. But ultimately we’ve locked ourselves, through capitalism, into an addiction to oil that’s incredibly hard to reverse.”
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann
DiCaprio produced The Eleventh Hour and the HBO special, Ice on Fire, Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight — both of which discuss environmental issues.
With the hope of provoking urgency and inspiring others to do the same, he developed these programs after reading this comprehensive book that doesn’t just talk about the bad stuff, but gives solutions on what to do.
More inspiring book recommendations: