“You are the same today you’ll be in five years except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read.” That was the constant call to action by one of my early mentors, the late Charlie Tremendous Jones. His words have served me well.
And, on my last blog “Tough Minded Optimists” I promised I would share with you my prime reading list. These are the books that have impacted my life, energized it in a positive way and provide a foundation for dealing with today’s challenges.
1. The 100 Best Business Books of All Time – Covert & Sattersten. This just came out (2009), but it has wonderful summaries of each book. And, they are the best from leadership to creativity to entrepreneurship to YOU! This book is not only a guide to great reading, it is a treasure on its own.
2. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living – Dale Carnegie. Even though How to Win Friends and Influence People is more famous (and very good) this one is even better. While some of the language feels out dated, almost every self-help book or movement in recent years is based on one or more of this book’s timeless truths.
3. Learned Optimism – Martin Seligman. A classic of research-based truth on how successful people take control of their lives and achieve their desired outcomes. No hype here, just scientifically support wisdom and pragmatic advice.
4. Tribes – Seth Godin. He delivers modern magic – from Unleashing the Idea Virus to Purple Cow and now this book, Seth tells it like it is and how you can make it be. This book will empower today’s leaders and entrepreneurs.
5. Please Understand Me and Please Understand Me II – David Kiersey. If you really want to know who you are and why you do what you do, Kiersey’s books will teach you. And, you’ll learn to understand and accept all those crazy people who aren’t like you that you have to deal with.
6. Talent is Overrated – Geoff Colvin. You can become world-class in almost any endeavor you choose – just invest time on the task. Build any skill to the highest level with “deliberate practice.” This is the real deal – researched, applied and inspiring. There really are no limits except those we self-impose.
7. The Brain that Changes Itself – Norman Doidge. This is the neurological confirmation of Colvin’s “deliberate practice.” The modern science of brain plasticity shows us how and why our thoughts (how we think) actually change what we can do. Scientific truth with inspiring real life stories.
8. A Whack on the Side of the Head – Roger von Oech. Yes, everyone of us can be more creative – loosen up, open up and take it up. This classic book (updated in 2008) is both powerful and fun. Enjoy the ride.
9. What the Bleep Do We Know – Arntz, Chasse & Vicente. This will blow your mind, expand your awareness and amplify your possibilities. Modern science is providing new ways to look at old things. And usually they aren’t as they appear. If you like cosmology, read Our Cosmic Habitat by Martin Rees. I’ve read it four times and will visit it again.
10. SHIFT: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times – Keller, Jenks & Papasan. Okay, so this is a bit self-serving. But, this is about more than real estate. It’s about the art of proactive adjustment and creative adaptation. The book is written in the self-talk of a free enterprise warrior – the language itself will lift you and energize you. The final chapter (“The Gift of Shift”) is classic – read it every day for a month and change your life.
These are just ten of my personal favorites. And, I haven’t even gotten into the spiritual writings – another blog for that. Let me know which books are guiding you – bringing you the light, the courage and the power (wisdom, will and skill). Ever upward!