10 Books That Inspired me to Change my Life

After two rough drafts of this exercise today I’ve realized that I don’t enjoy making lists. For some reason, my mind feels the need to explain things in great amounts of detail rather than short summaries. So instead of going crazy and overthinking this entire post, I’ve decided to make a list of the top 10 books that inspired exponential change and rapid growth in my life.

“The man who does not read good books have no advantage over the man who does not read” – Mark Twain

Books have helped educate me on becoming better in the critical areas of my life; son, brother, lover, communicator, employee, and overall contributor to humanity. I say this because we all have a past. For me, I lost a lot of confidence when I made a big mistake months ago now. I’ve since made a substantial change in my daily routine and activities. I realize now how lucky I am to be alive and how much greatness I have to contribute back to society. When I came to the realization of the skills, knowledge, and capability I had is when I changed my habits. I woke up and said I no longer want to be apart of the 99%. I want to be apart of the 1% that values giving over receiving. I desire to lead by example and be remembered for what I did right not what I did wrong. It’s easy to be negative, complain, and talk about what is wrong in your life or the world around you. I’ve committed myself to no longer blaming anyone else in my life for downfalls except myself. To no longer thinking about what is wrong in my life and focusing on what is right. I’ve taken action to change the course of my life and want to share what I’ve learned with you.

Here are 10 books that I’ve read this year that changed my perspective on life and redirected my future. They have all been read in the past 3 months. Check out the links for details and more.

1) “Start with Why”, by Simon Sinek

Why? I consider this the most simple yet powerful question known to man. The ability to ask yourself why and understand the importance of your purpose. Simon Sinek does an incredible job of explaining his message of “how great leaders inspire everyone to take action”. I received this book from a previous employer in the midst of an early twenties career change. I picked it up and finished it within a week.  It changed my life. I began asking myself difficult questions and working to answer them to help determine my purpose in life. My why. This question can change the course of your life, career, family and more. Become crystal clear on your why. Why do you want that job? Why do you need to go on vacation? Why do you want that promotion? Why do you want more money? Why did you choose this career? If you keep digging around your ‘why’ you’ll surely find your ‘how’ and your ‘what’ right around the corner. Check out a review I did of his book in more detail here.

“And it’s those who start with why, that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.” – Simon Sinek

2) “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

It is rare to not come across this book high on the list of some of the worlds most successful people. I’m glad to be apart of that list and believe that it is one of the most inspirational books today. It has inspired me to change how I dealt with other people. I now make a conscious and consistent effort (even when I’m not feeling it) to be as genuinely interested in the lives of other people as possible. Here is what I’ve personally used this book for:

  • Sincerity and appreciation
  • Smiling, even when I’m not feeling it
  • Remembering and using other people’s names. Everyone loves this.
  • Genuinely listening to others and understanding their story.
  • Admitting when I am wrong.

For a more complete list of what this book can inspire in you, check out this simple summary on Wikipedia.

“Let us praise even the slightest improvement. That inspires the other person to keep on improving” – Dale Carnegie

3) “How Successful People Think” by John C. Maxwell

This book comes everywhere with me. I have the print copy and am in the middle of a second reading. It is remarkable how much a second reading can deepen your understanding of a book. The second reading for me is the application of the material. First is understanding, then the application. This time I’m annotating the book and asking myself questions of each of the different thinking styles. If you haven’t read this one yet I can promise it will be worth it. Here are John C. Maxwells’ “Final Thoughts” towards the end that may inspire you to give it a chance:

  • Everything begins with a thought
  • What we think determines who we are. Who we are, determines what we do
  • Our thoughts determine our destiny. Our destiny determines our legacy
  • People who go to the top think differently than others
  • We can change the way we think

You will not regret reading this short but incredibly insightful book. Mine never leaves my side.

Successful people…focus on the rewards of success: Learning from their mistakes and thinking about how they can improve themselves and their situations.” – John C. Maxwell

4) “How to Read a Book” by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren

Go read this book. I don’t even want to summarize it. The title explains it all. If you think you know how to read, you’re wrong. If you haven’t read this book you are wrong. It may be the single book that has given me the ability to learn and understand things I read better than ever before. This includes articles, magazines, books, periodicals, news, social media, and more. If you are looking to start a new habit of reading, look no further and start here. It is a simple book that will have a profound impact on your ability to understand the meaning of books at a deeper level.

“Not to engage in the pursuit of ideas is to live like ants instead of like men” – Mortimer Adler

5) “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey

I have these 7 habits highlighted on the vision board in my office. For anyone who has NOT yet read this book, it is vitally important to understand that these habits are divided into two sections: independent and interdependent, and a third called ‘sharpening the saw’. As Covey explains, personal victory comes before public victory. For us to serve others, we must be capable of best serving ourselves. So work on yourself; Be proactive, begin with the end in mind, and put first things first. Once you have a foundation of yourself you can begin incorporating some other disciplines impacting the lives of others. This is another timeless book that has changed the lives of many successors over the years.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen Covey

6) “The Art of Exceptional Living” by Jim Rohn

“OF COURSE” this book is on my list. I have Jim Rohn’s words echoing in my ears each and every day. If you want to change your life, design your future and pursue your dreams this is a must read/listen. His recordings are powerful and will help you reassess your life and establish clarity through disciplining your life, changing your habits, setting goals and more.

“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better” – Jim Rohn

7) “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg

Life is all habit. The book incorporates an extensive amount of research and science backed studies to explain how habits run our lives. At the core of every habit is something called the ‘the habit loop, explains MIT Researchers. It consists of a cue, a routine, and a reward. He explains many scenarios proving this research correct and will certainly get you thinking about your daily routine and habits that you have now and are probably unaware of. Any habit can change as Duhigg explains here. This process starts by identifying the routine of your habit, finding your rewards and experimenting with new ones, isolating the cue of your habit and having a plan when that cue occurs. Trust him over me, but it will work.

“More than 40% of the actions people perform each day, aren’t actual decisions, but habits” – The Power of Habit

8) “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy

What is 1×1? 2. What is 2×2? 4. What is 10×10? 100. The message I received from the compound effect is this. Similar to interest compounding daily, weekly, monthly or annually, our habits and disciplines do the same. If we treat our bodies poorly, the health risks will compound over time leading to the negative results. Instead, if we exercise daily and eat healthily, the health benefits will compound over time leading to longevity and a better quality life. It is important to know that the Compound Effect works both ways. It is a great extension from “The Art of Exceptional Living” by Jim Rohn to help set goals and design your life. To assess your surroundings and who is affecting your life. You are one discipline or decision away from a different life. Take control of future and change your life.

Check out Darren Daily for his daily mentoring emails which will keep you inspired and focused on your purpose each day!

“The accomplishment of any goal is the progressive accumulation, or compound effect, of small steps taken consistently over time” – Darren Hardy

9) “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins

Here is my review of her book I did recently. Mel Robbins does an incredible job with her audio book on this one. A very personal, comforting tone throughout. She explains how decisions are made within five seconds and how this rule or ‘tool’ as she refers has changed her life and the lives of many others. Take a look and if you struggle with decision making or simply getting out bed in the morning, her tool will help you make those critical decisions to changing your life. One small 5-second decision at a time.

“If you only ever did the things you don’t to do, you’d have everything you’ve ever wanted” – Mel Robbins

10) “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson

Well, this book takes a different approach opposed to most of the books above. This book says f*ck positivity, and stop giving a f*ck. Stop thinking that you need motivation and positive thinking to lead a successful life. This is not the case. Mark explains how so many of us focus so much on being happy, that we give too many f*cks about being happy, only to never end up happy. Maybe that is true? Regardless this book sheds some great insight into reality and for someone going through extensive personal development was a great wake up call to stop giving a f*ck. In reality, it is true. We need to stop creating fear while worrying about what other people may say or do. We spend so much of our time over-thinking our lives that we never end of taking action. I decided that I was going to stop giving a f*ck about that and live my life. This blog is a start, right?

“To not give a fuck is to stare down life’s most terrifying and difficult challenges and still take action” – Mark Manson

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