Skill Level Appropriate for all
- I've been influenced a lot by a small number of books over the years. And I thought it would be interesting to tell you about some of those. So here is my top 10. They are quite a varied bunch of books. But if I describe each one briefly, then that might help you to decide whether it's one for you. If you just get one thing from a book, and you use that one thing for life, it's been worth reading. Reading is definitely a success habit. So here we go in no particular order.
Number one is The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck. Not an easy book to read. It's about the meaning of life, and it talks about laziness, and how we should take the more difficult path, the one less traveled, while everyone else is taking the easy path, which is ultimately less rewarding. The book covers things like the fact that all our brains are connected, all sorts of strange and interesting stuff. Second is a really funny and useful book called Influence by Robert Cialdini.
It's about real experiments that have been done to discover how some people persuade other people to do things. I use the ideas from this book every day. Third is an old favorite, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. It's mainly about goal-setting. But it also makes the point that everyone has fears, and it's braver to overcome your fears than it is to not have any because you're not doing anything difficult. Next is a sort of simpler Road Less Traveled, and it's The Celestine Prophesy by James Redfield.
This book blew me away when I first read it, even though I didn't love the plot or the writing style. But hidden in an exciting story about a lost manuscript are nine insights about the world. And these nine insights are fascinating, things like coincidences always happen for a reason. This book has really influenced my thinking, and I keep coming back to it, so thanks, James Redfield. Next is Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan, a story about a lady who accidentally ends up walking across Australia with a group of aboriginals.
It's about the fact that you are capable of much more than you realize, and how everyone has something to contribute. We all have a gift of some sort. A short, but amazing book. Where are we at? Number six is Getting Things Done by David Allen. And although this book only looks at one part of time management, which is systems, it does that one thing really well. If you like systems and lists, then this is the book for you.
Number seven is Don't Sweat the Small Stuff... And It's All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. Worth it for the title alone. It's a great book for seeing things in perspective. And it's full of great rules to live life by. In fact, it has 100, including choose being kind over being right, and imagine yourself at your own funeral. Number eight is The Inner Game of Tennis by Tim Gallwey. And it's about so much more than tennis.
It's about how to live your life, and how to be good at anything, not competing, not being obsessed with mastery, but living in the present and enjoying the good shots. This book will make you better at tennis, but also better at everything else in life. Number nine is a slightly academic book, but still a great one called Born to Win by Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward. It's about why people do what they do, how they interact, and what goes wrong.
It's the best book I've ever read on understanding people. It covers games-players, aggressive people, all sorts of behaviors. So you can learn about yourself and your own bad habits as well as how to get the best from other people. Finally, a really odd book. Beautifully presented with illustrations and sketch diagrams, it's Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie. This book is a description of how the author managed to avoid being sucked into the bureaucracy of working in a large company, which he calls the hairball, and how he resisted the accepted way of doing things, and managed to keep his originality and his spirit.
It's hilarious, but also inspiring. So that's my top 10. And finally, here are three quick thoughts about reading generally. Number one, always have a book in your car, and in your bag, and also on your phone or tablet. So if you have some downtime, you can read a bit. Number two, training courses and videos are a quick way to get the material from books. Often the trainer has read lots of books and pulled out the best bits for you.
So that's an efficient way to learn. And number three, definitely worth considering are audiobooks if you do a lot of driving. And also, podcasts, which are really just free mini audiobooks. So those are my top 10 books. They have changed my life. And I hope you read at least some of them. Happy reading.