Reading is one of the easiest things you can do to grow and learn. A few minutes a day, whether in the morning, before bed, on a lunch break, or just leisurely on the weekends, makes a huge different in helping to strengthen your brain, especially if you choose the right books to push your life to the next level. I always joke with people that I have a PhD from Amazon University with the amount of books and knowledge that I have gained from reading.
And it doesn’t have to be the actual act of “reading”. There are plenty of cheap (FREE even) ebooks. There are audio books. There are free online classes. There are podcasts. There is literally no excuse for you not taking in information in today’s day and age.
Of all the content I consume, here are my top 10 recommended books.
Below is my list of my top 10 must reads for you and your life, as well as some honorable mentions and other book reviews below.
This one is at the top because this one is the one that got it all started for me. This book is the moment my life started turning around. I came home from work one day, pissed off at my life. To say I was down on my luck would have been an understatement. I had literally about $.75 cents to my name. I didn’t like my living situation. I didn’t like my job. I didn’t like my friends. My life was in shambles. I was in just a negative rut, I didn’t know what to do. As I walked into my apartment, my then-girlfriend (now wife) was watching Oprah on the couch as she did fairly religiously. As I walked in, someone was talking about a book that changed their life. I actually stopped and watched it with her. Person after person continued to talk about this book that allowed them to make more money, gain more happiness and live the life they always dreamed about. This book was The Secret by Rhonda Bynes. The next weekend, I went to the book store to buy it, but actually didn’t have enough money at the time to make the purchase (I told ya – I was at a low point). I went back a few weeks later when I had more money and it was on sale and bought it. I read it in one weekend. I have read that book at least 10 times over the years, as well as watched the video. The more and more I read it, the more and more I realize that some of their ideas are fairly far out there. But the basis of the book is what stuck with me: You control your life. The thoughts that go through your mind dictate your actions in life. My life has never been the same since.
The thing that fascinates me about this book is when it was written. Most of the books I read are in a current time frame. This one was released in 1960. And it is STILL relevant today. This book is all about mindset. The author was a former plastic surgeon and took notice over the years how someone could completely change how they feel about themselves and their life with a simple cosmetic surgery. He then started diving into the realm of psychology and produced a book that has changed lives all over. This book is actually a bit of a tough read in the original version, since print then isn’t what it is today, but the original version is the one I recommend. Chapter after chapter, the author delivers ways and strategies to increase your personal image, gain an attitude of happiness and live the life you have always dreamed about.
Tony Robbins is the most iconic self help guru out there today. Although he is fairly commercialized what he does, he is one of the most iconic gurus for a reason: His stuff works. He has quite a few books out, but I really resonated most with Awaken The Giant Within. The book is very structured, breaking up into big chunks with chapters into each chunk. Another thing I liked about this book is the fact that it is practical. One of the things I don’t like in a book is when they have great theories but they are just that; theories. Most people work best with a “GO DO THIS NOW” type of mentality. We don’t like to think. Set it up for us and tell me what I am suppose to do. And TR does just that. He lays out the strategy, and then gives you 7 days to shape your life. Breaking down emotional, physical, and other ways to live each and every day. He gives you tasks to do, and you go do them. I have read most of TR’s books, but this one is the only one in my top 10 for a reason.
This one just broke into my top ten, moving a book on finances off (see honorable mentions). This book is about the one thing that freezes most of us: FEAR. Fear is debilitating. Learning to live fearlessly will allow you to do anything and everything that you can imagine (hence – TheFearlessHustle). And although this book is about living without fear, it also has some great rules for life. Now – you are probably thinking the same thing I did when this book was first recommended to me: What the heck do I have in common with a former street hustler turned rap star? You are human. You have struggled. You have fear. Maybe not the same struggles and fear as 50 (is it 50, or should I spell it out, Fifty?). But you can relate in some form to what he is saying. Just put it into perspective in your life and see how to thrive. I also highly recommend the audible version of this. 50 cent has some of the dialogue and I think it resonates more when you actually hear his story from his mouth. Read my full review here.
I love pretty much everything that Tim Ferris has put out, but his 4-hour book is the only one on my top ten list. His other books are great, highly recommended, but this one resonates with me the most so that is why it is the only one on my top 10. Ferris has 2 beliefs that I dig: I am my own experiment (test for yourself) and what is the most I can do on the littlest effort (max results for min effort). These themes carry throughout all of his books and his blog as well. The Four Hour Work Week is no different. A lot of people don’t like this book saying that it is impossible. And yes – working 4 hours a week may be a reach, but take a big step back and look at this book in a way to 1) test for yourself and 2) littlest effect for max results. That is what this book is about. How to make the most out of your time to maximize profits while NOT working, and you get there by taking action and testing it out. Although this book has some far out ideas, it also has some very practical ways to change your life.
Gary V is another guy I follow online and will pretty much buy whatever he puts out. Similar to Ferris, I have read all of this books, watch most of his keynotes and also follow him online. His book Crush It is one of the reasons I started writing on a daily basis. This is a short, powerful read on how to take what you love and make a business out of it. He doesn’t write fluff. I have never read a book so straight forward. If you want to make it work, put in the hustle. If not – you don’t want it. All of Vaynerchuck’s stuff is like this, even his presentations (STOP WATCH FUCKING LOST!). He is a no BS guy, and he will show you step by step how to leverage current technology and launch your business off of your passion.
Here is another book that is well beyond its time. Originally written in 1936, this book has been revised for modern days numerous times, but the original themes are still present. Most people that influence and winning only are involved in business & sales. But if you ever talk to people, you need to read this book. Don’t think of it as “winning” friends, but knowing how to be a friend. The items that Carnegie talks about are practical and usable in your every day life. At it’s core, it is about taking out the “ME” in talking and adding more “YOU” when you talk. This simple gesture will have people eating out of your hands. Talk about building better relationships. Although it is tough to do! People inherently like talking about themselves, which is all the more reason to learn how to harness that power to your advantage.
Most of the books in my top 10 are broad enough to touch everyone. Financial books are tough because everyone is at different ends of the financial spectrum. Some have a ton of money but aren’t happy. Others have no money and are happy. Some have no money and are miserable and some yet have a ton of money and are happy. And then there are still those in between. This book, although it is finance driven, has a bigger message to it: HABITS. If you have poor habits (poor dad) you are never going to get to where you want to be. If you have good habits (rich dad) you will succeed. You need to create the habits to where you won’t to go or it won’t last. Now – in regards to money, this book is also excellent in that front. It shows how cash flow works, and how to make the most of the cash flow (a little bit like Tim Ferris – most bang for the buck). All in all, if you are looking for a good read on a subject everyone can related to in some capacity, this is a good one.
Richard Bandler is the founding father of NLP. NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming which basically means the words we speak effect our thoughts and our thoughts effect our mind and our mind effects our life. NLP is what Tony Robbin bases his self help info on as well. NLP (although doesn’t state it) is what The Secret is all about. NLP is what turned my life around. It is a very powerful technique that also works well in many aspects of life. There are many books out there on the subject, from simple to complex. The reason this one specifically is here is because of the nature of the book. This book is about Fitzpatrick and his interactions with Bandler. Generic conversations & interviews that provide more real world situations and how NLP can help. There are more books that go more in depth, even ones that have better examples. But this literally reads like you are listening to two people converse about a subject that could change your life. It is very powerful and is highly suggested.
Last but not least! This book is part of the No BS series by Dan Kennedy. Dan Kennedy is a marketing genius. This is another one of those books that mostly applies to entrepreneurs, but you are an entrepreneur, did you know that? You are the owner of your life (see what I did there). This book is all about productivity and getting things done. Although some of the items won’t apply to you, you can relate to a majority of them in some way or another. One of the biggest themes in the book is the idea of time = money. Thinking deeper on the topic, think of your time as a needed return on investment. What are you doing, and what return is going to yield here. The more return in the shortest amount of time is better (similar to Rich Dad Poor Dad and Four Hour Work Week). This applies mainly to entrepreneurs as the book is written for. But think of something simple as cooking dinner. If you can make a 5 course, 5 star meal in 5 minutes, you would do that because you get the most yield in the least amount of time. But you don’t. What can you cook that is mid range in time, and produces the best. Think of time management in that sense, this book can relate to your life.
Do you have any book recommendations for me? I’d love to hear them!! Use the Contact Us page and let me know what you think!