Anyone who hangs out with me long enough will realize that at my core, I am a die-hard bookworm. On warm summer days and breezy winter nights alike, one of my all time favorite pass times is curling up on the couch under a soft blanket with one of my favorite books. I won’t belabor this point as I have talked about it before, but I believe books are one of the most valuable things a person can own. Often written by the world’s leading experts on various topics, they give us a glimpse into things unknown. They allow us to enter worlds we could scarcely imagine. They teach, empower, inspire, and spur us onto accomplishing all that life would have us experience. Below I have compiled a list of 10 books that continue to shape how I live my life to this day. How we use our time is how we spend our lives, and as such, I do not take book recommendations lightly. I hope that the texts listed can do as much in your life as they have for mine. And maybe one day you’ll pass them on to someone else, seeing the extreme value they each contain within.
1. Pursue the Intentional Life by Jean Flemming
I think that many in our generation truly have lost sight of the future, living each day as if it were its own entity, ignoring that the future in light of today’s pleasures. Of course, I am guilty of this myself! We all are to some extent! When Jean Flemming turned 50, she began to look back on her life and realized that although she was most likely at least halfway through her time on Earth, she still had a lot of life to live. Inspired by that truth, she began compiling different life lessons she wished to live by for the remainder of her days, and seeing the extreme value these lessons would hold for future generations, she wrote them down here. This is a book I hope to reread every year for the rest of my life, constantly regrounding myself in what matters most.
2. 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam
Both a title and incredible revelation. Did you know that every single person on the planet has 168 hours each week? From Opera to Santa, we have a finite amount of time to do with as we will. And when you break down the numbers, it’s shocking just how much time we waste during the average day. Think on it. If you work 40 hours a week and sleep 8 hours a night, that still leaves around 72 HOURS. Well, here is your chance to reclaim your schedule as your own. Because of this book I started a journey to become truly intentional with how I used the precious hours of my days.
3. The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.
Shortly after realizing that I wasn’t using my time very well, I discovered that it took a significant amount of willpower to disrupt the habits that were sucking so much time out of my life. And unfortunately, it was willpower that at the time I simply did not possess! So, I went searching and stumbled upon this amazingly well-written, practical text on how one can not only understand WHY they are struggling to do what’s undesirable but just as importantly, it shows what can be done to increase your willpower reserve on a daily basis. (NOTE: As I have recently begun rereading this book, I would highly recommend that if you dive in, you take it very slowly, and as you end each chapter, actually take the time each day to do what it tells you! I have found an incredible increase in my willpower over only these past two weeks and I credit that entirely to the things found here.)
4. Getting Things Done by David Allen
I knew I needed to use time better, and I was developing the willpower to do it, but the question still remained: What should I do first? Well, lucky for me, David Allen wrote an incredible book on how just about anybody can organize their life to maximize the time they have in each day. With the incredible system outlined here, you can not only whip all your pesky to-dos into shape, but you quickly see your days’ tasks completed. (In conjunction to Allen’s method, I would recommend a program called Trello. It’s available on pretty much any device. I have previously written a blog post talking about how I use the two in conjunction.)
5. Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey
If you don’t understand money, you are destined for a life of stress. There’s not really a way around it. As such, Dave Ramsey’s simple approach to saving money and building a solid portfolio is a great way to begin.
6. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Coming out of college, I wasn’t an incredibly motivated person. I had little direction, no plans for my future, and I was in desperate need of something to give me a shove. This was one of the first books I found that had lessons perfectly suited to give me a giant push into life. In here Covey covers how anyone can go from being a dependent person to independent to interdependent, finally working as individuals in this world towards a positive, lasting change.
7. Lincoln Speaks to Leaders by Gene Griessman, P. M. Rose, and P. Williams
When I first came up this book, it was incredibly intriguing to me for two major reasons. First, I actually found it one day while digging in a pile of old books from my sister’s college days. Intrigued, I opened it up! Second, the idea for this text came about in the most peculiar of ways: Pat Williams heard Lincoln impersonator Gene Griessman at a conference, and that day they partnered up on the project. A scholar of Abraham Lincoln, Griessman has filled twenty chapters in the words and phrasing Abraham used so long ago. It’s a great read jampacked with wisdom.
8. Talent is Never Enough by John C. Maxwell
“The heights of great men, reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight. But they while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night” (Lincoln Speaks to Leaders, 84). In life, talent can only get each person so far. Whether that be a piano prodigy or a pencil artist, talent is merely the gateway that opens the door to a journey of improvement. Maxwell teaches how to take talent already possessed and use it as a stepping stone towards ever continuous progress.
9. Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith
My final two slots go to two business books that I think EVERY business owner should own no matter what they sell. First, Selling the Invisible. Jam-packed with concise chapters, each it offers new insight into how the modern day marketer should be both presenting their product, and then also adjusting their businesses to sell those products most efficiently.
10. The E Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber
Last, but never least, this text came along in my life at one of those hard times when my business was on the verge of collapse. Where I saw the work piling before me and wondered if it was even worth the effort. In a world where over 90% of businesses fail with the first five years, Gerber outlines how you can not only set up a business to make it last, but also how you can create a business that offers its owner freedom, not captivity. It is a must read to anyone who wants to own a business of any kind!
Got any books you would add to the list? I’d love to hear ’em! Comment below!