My recommended reading list: everyone should read
In a world filled with push notifications and constant contact with others, it can be hard to find the time to do things you know you should be doing.
Reading can be especially difficult. It takes time to sit down and not only read the book (or listen if Audible is more your thing), but then to really understand it on a deep level.
To make things easier, I’ve compiled a list of the nine most influential books I’ve read over the last few years. These are books that have not only given me immediate, actionable advice, but also laid the groundwork for better ways of understanding the world.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a book that lays out, as the title suggests, seven habits that highly effective people utilize day in and day out. As a brief snapshot, these habits include: be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first, think win-win, seek first to understand, then to be understood, synergize, and sharpen the saw. While many of these may seem common sense, often times they are ignored in the chaos of everyday life, and remembering them can make all the difference to become a more effective person.
Featured quote: “Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose.”
The War of Art is a must-read for any kind of creative individual, especially those whose vocation is in a creative industry. This book tackles the struggle that every creative goes through to varying degrees when they work. It teaches us that the only way to get your work done is to sit in front of your medium of choice and go head on into it. There is no use “waiting for inspiration”, as this is an unprofessional way to handle your craft. Pressfield teaches tactics to battle your ego when creating, which can lead to an increase in productivity for yourself.
Featured quote: “Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the surer we can be that we have to do it.”
The Daily Stoic is a book of 366 meditations and lessons from the stoic philosophy, which are designed to have very practical and relevant teachings for your everyday life. Unlike the stereotypical idea of philosophy as an idle, thought-heavy practice, stoicism is for the person who goes out into the world every day and learns from life hands on. The Daily Stoic offers many humbling, ego-cracking lessons that let creatives, entrepreneurs, and any individual alike lead a more productive and fulfilling life. These lessons are designed to teach perseverance, wisdom, and the art of living.
Featured quote: “You shouldn’t give circumstances the power to arouse anger, for they don’t care at all.”
The 48 Laws of Power is a book packed with historically-backed principles and lessons about power. Robert Greene goes in depth to list 48 laws of power observed over hundreds of years that still have relevance to this day. This book is especially useful for people in creative industries filled with power-hungry people eager to get to the top and serves as a practical guide of both what to look out for, as well as power maneuvers you can implement to get a leg up on the competition.
Featured quote: “Never waste valuable time, or mental peace of mind, on the affairs of others—that is too high a price to pay.”
A crucial book for those trying to be in the top percentile of their craft, Mastery gives insight into how to find your calling, then how to hone in an achieve total mastery. This book does not offer a kind, gentle view of how we can better our craft. Instead, it is filled with brutally honest stories of countless people who have gone decades of their lives failing one time after another but then achieving mastery after years of deliberate, consistent practice. Greene does a great job of not only providing historical examples to back his points on the steps to achieve mastery but also lists actionable ways to go down the path of mastery yourself.
Featured quote: “Think of it this way: There are two kinds of failure. The first comes from never trying out your ideas because you are afraid, or because you are waiting for the perfect time. This kind of failure you can never learn from and such timidity will destroy you. The second kind comes from a bold and venturesome spirit. If you fail in this way, the hit that you take to your reputation is greatly outweighed by what you learn. Repeated failure will toughen your spirit and show you with absolute clarity how things must be done.”
Tools of Titans is a culmination of hours of interviews author Tim Ferriss has conducted over the past years, with some additional insights from his own experiences as well. If you are not familiar with Tim Ferriss, he can be characterized as an entrepreneur, author, and human self-experiment. Detailed in the book is, as the sub-title suggests, “tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers”, and it provides just that. If you are looking for a one-stop shop for various ways to better yourself, look no further than this book.
Featured quote: “Give vulnerability a shot. Give discomfort its due. Because I think he or she who is willing to be the most uncomfortable is not only the bravest but rises the fastest.”
This book provides a unique look at the tactics successful marketers implement to create stories that people, and ultimately customers, believe and spread the word about. You will come to find out that the title is a play on words itself, but does an effective job of exemplifying the concept that marketers are really just great storytellers, and the ability to create enticing stories will give you a competitive advantage in comparison to those who are just following in the footsteps of other great story-tellers.
Featured quote: “If consumers have everything they need, there’s nothing left to buy except stuff that they want. And the reason they buy stuff they want is that of the way it makes them feel.”
A classic in and of itself, How To Win Friends and Influence People is a timeless book that details the best way to treat people to build effective, fulfilling relationships that will not only better your personal life, but your career as well.
Featured quote: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
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