You'll find no shortage of recommendations on literature for who-knows-how-many topics.
I'm concerned with one thing, though – success. YOUR success as a man trying to be his best self. For that reason gents, I've put together a quick list of books that changed my life.
These aren't just books that tell you to do well and understand the world around you, they explain HOW in terms anybody can understand – that's why I love them.
ALL these books are available on Audible. I don’t read – I listen to Audible audiobooks. They’ve got the largest selection on the planet: bestsellers, motivation, mysteries, thrillers, memoirs, and more. You can listen on any device, anytime, anywhere.
- How Will You Measure Your Life?
- On Writing
- The Power Of Moments
- The 50th Law
- Change Everything
- The Road Less Stupid
- Ego Is The Enemy
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich
1. How Will You Measure Your Life? – Clayton Christensen
This book is all about self-reflection. It's about questioning everything we do, every moment of every day.
Why are you at that company or in that relationship? Is your dream, in fact, YOUR dream or someone else's? Do you have a clear picture of your goals? These are things that Christensen encourages you to ask yourself.
What I love the most about it is that despite his religious views, I never felt like I was being preached to. These factors all culminate in a fantastic read.
2. On Writing – Stephen King
Funny enough: I've never read Stephen King's horror stories. What I DID read was his manifesto for writing, and I was inspired.
I took a lot away from it, but what King stresses the most is establishing the discipline necessary to simply sit down and DO THE WORK. It's all about setting clear goals for a task and fostering a razor-sharp focus until the task is done.
With a blog that's published over 1,000 articles, you can bet this was essential.
3. The Power Of Moments – Chip & Dan Heath
True to the title, this book goes in-depth on why we remember certain things and forget others. You probably don't remember the coffee you had at Starbucks a week ago, but you sure remember your first kiss, or the date of your anniversary (hopefully).
It seems obvious, but WHY does that happen? On top of that, the authors explain precisely how to build to those moments – how to make unforgettable memories with your family and your colleagues.
That, gentlemen, is priceless.
4. The 50th Law – 50 Cent & Robert Greene
If you're a student of history, then you know that physical force is a primary motivator throughout our time on this planet.
If you look at what Putin is doing today, and you see how much he is able to get away with, you know that intimidation and violence play a key role. I'm not saying you should go out and scare everybody, but it is a fascinating read analyzing a driving force throughout history.
5. Change Anything – Kerry Patterson
I love this book because it's very academic and research-based. We're talking hard facts about the human psyche.
I love this book because it taught me how change is possible.
The prevailing theme and point of it is to teach you how to effect change in your life. It had a particularly profound impact on me because it taught me not to have lofty, unrealistic goals for change from the get-go. Instead, it taught me how to put systems in place all around me to help me forge that larger transition.
6. Grit – Angela Duckworth
Have you guys ever see that old John Wayne movie, True Grit?
This isn't about that!
Duckworth spends this riveting read explaining that success doesn't come down to raw talent alone – it comes down to work, hard work. It might sound cliché, but it's no less true. When it comes to the top books to read, I love this one because it expands that old theme into words we can all understand.
The difference between people that ultimately fail and those that succeed is how well the latter group overcomes constant failure. It's all about putting in the time and reps into your craft to make sh*t happen.
7. The Road Less Stupid – Keith J. Cunningham
I'm adding this to my list of top books to read because it's a unique take on decision-making. It's not about making the right decisions necessarily, but it's about avoiding the stupid ones.
Keith Cunningham is a man who's led a life of considerable success, making his insight particularly valuable. Throughout it all, he teaches you about how to take the time and THINK before you take action.
The central theme here is about how to AVOID stupid mistakes.
8. Ego Is The Enemy – Ryan Holiday
You wanted to read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and you wanted to get into Plato, but you just can't digest it.
That's where Holiday comes in.
What I love about this book is that he takes all the major Stoic philosophers and breaks them down for us to understand in the simplest way possible. At the end of it all, the message is simple: You are not infallible.
9. Essentialism – Greg McKeown
Out of all my top books to read, this is the most … re-readable!
I go back and listen to Essentialism once every two months. Why? Because no matter what stage I'm at, it helps remind me how to get my life back in order and win it back.
This is a great read regardless of where you are in life.
Not by adding, but by taking away what doesn't work.
Cut out the nonessentials, gentlemen.
10. I Will Teach You To Be Rich – Ramit Sethi
There are hundreds of manuals out there that claim they can make you a millionaire by cutting out the little things you love – like that gourmet ground coffee you love to buy.
Instead of cutting out those little indulgences, Sethi teaches you to focus on the big wins. An example of this is refinancing your home to save tens of thousands of dollars when your credit improves.
Gents, knowledge is power. The knowledge that helps you get where you want in life is worth the money you'll spend acquiring it.
I guarantee you that if you read these books, you'll have the mental tools you need to be the man you know yourself to be.