Books on Books on Books:
On Writing Well, Tipping Point, 3rd Circle Theory, 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life, Jump, Body by Science, Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth Walks of Life, Coaching Yourself to Success, The Power Broker, The Shack, Crush It!, The Prophet, Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me), Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!, Where is God When It Hurts, Unbreakable Runner, Autobiography of a Yogi, Sell or Be Sold, Dune, The Diamond Age, The Happy Body, Anything You Want, Unlimited Power, Personal Power, The Giant Within, The Effective Executive, How Proust Can Change Your Life, Words That Work, Man’s Search for Meaning, As a Man Thinketh, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Secrets of Closing the Sale, Open, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Fifty Shades of Chicken, Show Your Work, Getting Everything You Can Out of What You’ve Got, Small Giants, Creativity Inc., The Power of Broke, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, OPM, Stone Soup, Start with Why, Daily Rituals, How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love, Future Crimes: Inside the Digital Underground and the Battle for Our Connected World, Models: Attract Women Through Honesty, Reasons and Persons, Mindfulness, The Power of Persuasion, The Art of Learning, The Architecture of Happiness, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Right Stuff, The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help, Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, Radical Acceptance, Levels of the Game, No More Mr. Nice Guy, The 80/20 Principle, Start With Why, Your God is Too Small, Amusing Grace, A Million Bucks by 30, The Secret, The Know it All, Ignite the Fire, The Black Swan, Benjamin Franklin, The Supple Leopard, Ready to Run, Deskbound, A Geography of Time, So You Want To Be Like Christ, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, Principles, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science Behind Exercise and the Brain, The Brain That changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, The Rational Optimist, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces The Shape Our Decisions, Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder, The Miracle of Mindfulness, A Short History of Nearly Everything, Thinking in Systems: A Primer, Think Like A Freak, I8, Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst, The Better Angels of Our Nature, Sapiens, Poor Charlie’s Almanac, The Lessons of History, The River Out of Eden, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Zorba the Greek, Fixing the Male Code, Getting Past No, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, The Richest Man in Babylon, and Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance.
This was, more or less, the list of books
I sent to a dear friend of mine after she asked me, “What are 5 books you want for Christmas: GO!”, to which she responded, “Oh, my phone must have autocorrected ‘5’ to ‘500’”.
Thanks for the books by the way!
One of my greatest pleasures these days is: Books on books on books.
I love reading. I read with a high lighter and every sentence, word, or message that means something to me is highlighted. I have curated a rather large list of messages into a document. It now contains hundreds of highlighted messages that I look back on or share with others quite often. There is so much to learn and books are a great place to absorb information.
I did not always enjoy reading so much, though. Up until a little more than a year ago, I thought I hated reading. I always admired those that read a lot, and there was a fair bit of envy since I have always wanted to have an addiction to learning. With the addictive tendencies us humans have all been conditioned to have, learning would be the most beneficial addiction to have. Much better than an addiction to drugs or Netflix.
But I never really could get into it. I would try over and over again. I would pick up these books that I had heard were incredible and it would take me YEARS to finish them. In fact, I just recently finished the Hunger Games series after picking them up before the first Mockingjay movie came out. I just could not stay interested.
Then I realized that it wasn’t really that I hated reading. It was that I was reading the wrong things. I had always assumed that I would enjoy sci-fi and fantasy books, because I loved playing video games of that genre, and during the early school years where we were required to read SOMETHING, I always picked fiction (Deltora’s Quest was amazing). However, books just are not my preferred medium for experiencing those genres, these days. In books and movies, you must experience the world through a pre-made script. You have no choice. No matter how many times you read or watch a story, the character is going to trip over that same stupid rock that cuts his run from the blood thirsty monster short every single time. But in the video game world, you could run, or you can shoot the monster in the face, or you can throw alternating punches to the eyes and scrotum of the monster until it has black eyes and blue balls. That possibilities are endless!
The books I realized that I enjoyed reading are the books that actually give you applicable tools to making your real world better. One of my favorite and most highly recommended books is Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss. I like books that provide me examples and research of things I can do to further my career or make me a better person. I have TONS of quotes recorded from this book.
More important than the sheer enjoyment I get out of reading now, is that rarely that CEOs, business owners, and leaders in general ever really get to where they are without reading and learning. Success has a few commonalities in almost every essence that it exists, and one of them is a thirst for knowledge and self-development. I’ve often mentioned that I want to change the world on my podcast and in the blog, but I could never be affective if I never pursued mentors to teach me. Mentors can be the authors of books, as well as people you work with and learn from. So much of what I have learned has come from books that I have found or been recommended.
But the learning alone has not allowed me to create incredibly enriching relationships with those around me. I have an urge to share everything that I am learning. Taking what I have learned and bringing it to those that not only have read less than me, but those that read way more than me. It has allowed me to create relationships with people that I can stand to learn a ton from. Creating connections that have served to improve my life with each word that is exchanged. It reminds me that I can change the world. I was not born into a rich family with a lot of power, but that does not mean that I am limited in communicating with people of high-esteem. Many well-read and successful people wish to share what they know, just like me, they just don’t want to share what they’ve learned in places where the information will not be put to good use. It’s a waste of time, and many people don’t want to listen anyway. These people want to leave their legacy. They want to continue to change the world. By being someone who is willing to make short-term sacrifices for the sake of creating a bright future for not only myself, but the world around me, I can be an excellent conduit for the legacy they wish to leave behind.
I want to be sure to mention that success is not measured in the books you read or the money you make. I do not just seek out people who are rich. In many cases, these people are not truly ‘successful’, because they are not happy with the life they are living, are very materialistic, or do not care to improve the world around them. There are no set criteria I look towards that make a person successful to me. I just sort of make myself vulnerable, and the people that are willing to open-up to me so that we can both grow better as individuals are the people that I try to associate with. That could be the president of the hospital close to me, or the homeless man on the corner that gives unconditionally even though his basic needs are not met.
The main idea of all of this is that you need to always be willing to learn. You don’t have to read all the books I am reading, or know successful people in order to achieve success. You just have to be curious. Curiosity is underrated. This whole notion of, “Curiosity killed the cat” is silly. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it is also responsible for every achievement humans can claim responsibility for. Curiosity is responsible for mending the cat’s broken leg, or the medicine that fixes the cat’s urinary infection. The answer to our questions can be so worth the risk, because we will die one day, and damn it, the world is going to be a better place when my death comes.
If ever you wonder why something is the way that it is, or why someone thinks the way they think, then ask. Pursue the answer. Even if the answer never makes itself clear to you, at least you will become more knowledgeable on the subject. There are a plethora or resources you can turn to in order to pursue more answers. TED Talks are always insightful. Curiosity.com encapsulates the overarching theme of this article. YouTube is a sea of informative videos and ideas. Or you can simply Google search things you are interested in learning more about, so long as you carefully pick your sources.
Be wary of drawing conclusions on things you don’t fully understand. You may make assumptions based on what you know, but you should understand that those assumptions could be wrong or misplaced. So often we hear one opinion on a new topic and we suddenly adopt that opinion as our own, having almost no data on the issue but assuming the source of exposure is telling us the whole truth. I see this happen all too often. From there we only seek information that supports our initial assumption, meaning we never truly learn about the subject, but merely increase the skew of our opinion. This is the origin of misguidance. An unwillingness to learn outside of our collection of thoughts. This leads to stunted self-development, not only of yourself, but of the offerings you have for the world.
We need to remain curious. We have to be hungry for knowledge. We can’t just go through the same motions every day and expect the world to become a better place around us. We have to do our part. We have to learn more, and give more. It all starts with a question.