The 7 Best Self-Development Books That I've Read so far
Books are great and I love recommending them but I do want you to remember a couple of things:
Every single person has a different interpretation of everything they read based on their unique upbringing, beliefs and current circumstances. Which means that you should choose books that suit where you are and where you’d like to be. Also, it means that what I may have found incredibly insightful for you could be old news or the other way around. Let's all leave our judgemental hats at the door when we come into any self-development space.
Secondly, I’ve only been reading non-fiction for the last two years or so, which means I haven’t read some of the classics such as “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and many more (I have a very long list for 2020). So in the next 12 months, I will most definitely be able to add at least a few more to this list.
1. The One Thing - Gary Keller
This is my most recommended book of all times and one that I want to keep re-reading. Its premise is quite simple. Always ask yourself -what is the one thing you need to work to make everything else easier?
As a multipassionate entrepreneur, I often find my brain slightly scattered and wanting to work on a million projects at once but this book reminds me to do things one at a time and give it my full focus vs having multiple unfinished things and constantly feeling like I’m catching up.
2. Deep Work - Cal Newport
This productivity book is focused on the idea of being able to fully focus your attention in a world filled with constant distractions and interruptions. This one will help you both understand why you currently struggle to focus as well as help you with a strategy to turn it around.
Newport goes as far as calling “deep work” the superpower of the 21st century since it’s so hard to come across. I would really strongly recommend this to anyone and everyone!
3. Drive - Daniel Pink
I read this book when I was head of people in a startup and it had a huge impact on how we approached motivating our team member. Pink argues that human motivation is mostly intrinsic which is why a “carrot and stick” approach doesn’t work for most unless you’re looking for short term results. Instead, he claims all people seek autonomy, mastery and purpose.
Overall a fascinating take on human drive & what makes us tick, which might take you by surprise and can be particularly if you’re looking to hire someone in your team.
4. Mindset - The New Psychology of Success - Dr Carol Dweck
This book had been on my list for so long and boy, I wish I would have read it earlier! Dr. Dweck is the professor that initially came up with the concept of “fixed” vs “growth” mindset and this book goes very in-depth on what the two mean and how they show up in so many different aspects of our life.
I wouldn’t say it’s a particularly entertaining book, however, it’s full of gems that will make you question your own thoughts, the way you were brought up, the way you compliment others etc. Dr Dweck will help you understand not only why a growth mindset is a keystone of success, but also how to get there.
5. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck - Mark Manson
Let’s call this the anti-self help book. For someone who really enjoys a heavy dose of sarcasm & realism, it was right up my alley. Manson preaches caring less about things that don’t matter and taking actions vs overthinking. I’ll just leave you with this quote:
“You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a fuck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get fucked.”
6. How to Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie
For a book written in 1936, this is one of the most timeless non-fiction books I’ve ever come across. I believe a lot of people can be taken aback with it because the might take the advice given literally, such as always flattering people or always being positive.
I’d suggest reading between the lines on this one, which is all about understanding that humans are not logical beings - we’re all driven by our emotions, circumstances and timing, so our relationships with them, whether they’re clients, colleagues or partners, are affected that way.
7. Atomic Habits - James Clear
This book does a great job of laying down the framework of how habits are formed and shares insightful strategies for building good habits and breaking bad ones. Even though I was already familiar with research behind habit formation, reading through this book helped me approach habits I’m trying to adopt or break in my own life from different angles.
For extra effectiveness, before starting the book I would suggest choosing a couple of good habits you want to create and some you want to break which you can use as experiments. The book will walk you through a lot of practical strategies, as well as understanding how you might be holding yourself back.
There you have it - my favourite 7 self-development books so far. Watch out for my top 7 business books article which will be out in the next few weeks.
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