From historical figures like Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to contemporary giants like Bill Gates, Mark Cuban and Warren Buffet we can draw a direct connecting thread. All of them read with a voracious appetite. And they do so (or did) intentionally. With a clear directive. On a mission – a mission for personal growth. A mission which, for them had, the convenient side effect of wild, unbelievable, historic success.
Reading for personal and professional growth is not a groundbreaking idea. Self-improvement is a $9.9 billion industry. And therein lies the problem…
With more extant volumes of self-help and personal development tomes crowding home bookshelves and dormant eReaders than any one person could ever consume in a lifetime (or even several lifetimes), how are you supposed to know where to start? How are you supposed to know what to read?
Which books will help you grow and which will simply devour your time? The only way to find out is to crack open a cover and get to reading! Or, you could save several hundred precious hours of your life by letting someone else dive in first to separate the good from the bad.
Which is exactly what we have done. Just for you.
So, let’s do some reading! Today, we are going to talk about six of our favorite books which will be sure to give you a big boost in your quest for personal development and success.
What better place to start our literary quest for success than with a book that explores where successful people come from? In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell, an award-winning author who has spent over two decades writing for the New Yorker, engages in a study to discover what separates high-achieving individuals in various fields from, well, everyone else.
Moving from software engineers and Canadian junior hockey champions to some of the most powerful lawyers in New York, Gladwell explores the specific economic, sociological, and cultural circumstances which contributed to their exceptional success.
In Outliers, Gladwell approaches an interesting and rather startling hypothesis: individual merit plays only a small roll in success. According to Gladwell, luck, circumstances, timing, culture, and even a person’s birthdate are all part of the complex and nondeterministic roadmap that leads towards success.
Outliers also happens to be the book from which the well-known 10,000-hours theory originates.
Whether you agree with Gladwell premise or not, Outliers is a fascinating read. It may even help you identify some of the unique factors which could contribute to your success.
Yup, we went there. Just like everyone else who has ever put a list like this together.
Dale Carnegie’s 1936 work, How To Win Friends And Influence People, has sold over 15 million copies for very good reason. Carnegie believed that only 15 percent of financial success could be attributed to professional knowledge. Instead, he ascribed financial success primarily to, “the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.”
In How To Win Friends And Influence People, Carnegie goes about teaching you how to accomplish just that. Carnegie details the six ways to make people like you, the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment, and the twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking.
Thousands of individuals have applied the timeless advice found in How To Win Friends And Influence People to their own professional and personal lives to great effect. Even Warren Buffet has been quoted as saying, “it changed my life.”
20, 30 years ago when people talked about “the power of positive thinking” it was almost universally interpreted as hippy-dippy nonsense. Do you know what really contributed to success? Work ethic. Stoicism. Suit wearingness. Good hair. Attending a prestigious 4-year university. Climbing the ladder. Functional alcoholism. You know, all that 1960s stuff.
These days, we know a little better. Studies have shown that positive thinking can have a genuine, powerful, and most importantly, tangible impact on your life. Heck, positive thinking can actually produce measurable physiological effects on your body. Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude was written long before any of this biological information was widely understood, but the techniques used in it are effective and timeless. The book clearly outlines 17 Principle of Success while constantly calling for self-examination. It then covers easy to execute strategies for putting these principles into effect in your own life. Definitely worth checking out!
Now, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy (THGTG) may not exactly be what you thought you needed to read before you visited this list, but…, just trust us on this one. Anyone who is dialed into seriousness 100 percent of the time is eventually going to drive themselves insane. Levity is important, fun is important, and humor is really, really important. THGTG has all of that and much more. It’s almost impossible to go more than 20-30 minutes reading THGTG without quite literally laughing out loud.
In addition to being endlessly fun and funny, The Guide also holds powerful moments of poignancy and meaning. Adams has a playful way with words and the ability to defy expectations and surprise you in the space of a single sentence. That is something we could all learn from. No matter where you are in life, or how successful you currently are, you can always improve your writing skills.
While reading the Guide, you will also learn to mix a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, tame the Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts of Trall, discover the incredible capability of the Infinite Improbability Drive, and face the true soul-scarring horrors of Vogon poetry. All very important information.
How you handle trials, adversity, and failure defines who you are as a person.
Are you someone who rises to the occasion? Are you the type to see a challenge as an opportunity? Do you view obstacles as precious character building lessons which can make you stronger, smarter, and tougher?
The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday can help you become precisely this type of person. Drawing inspiration from the Ancient Greek philosophy of stoicism, Holiday teaches you to focus on the things you can control while letting go of everything else. When you combine this outlook with perseverance and resilience, even the most daunting obstacles will begin to seem trivial.
If you feel lost, frustrated, stuck or overwhelmed, the way forward may be hidden within the source of your trouble. That is one of the primary lessons to be drawn from The Obstacle Is The Way.
In Tools Of Titans, renowned author of The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Farris, has complied life-lessons, tools, tactics, and ideas from in-depth, interviews he performed with over 200 of the world’s highest performing individuals. The interview subjects range from iconic celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger to Olympic athletes, SpecOps commander, groundbreaking scientists, and titans of business. Farris dives deep and explores these secrets of success behind these incredible people. Farris is an expert interviewer who coaxes incredible words of personal wisdom from his guests.
Regardless of which industry you work in, you will unearth a wealth of lessons from Tools Of Titans which can apply directly to your life.
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