Introducing some of my favourite reads from the last 2 years, let’s explore how and why these books stand out from the rest, and how they can help you drive lasting change:
1. Mindset, Carol Dweck
It’s difficult to introduce any topic on personal disruption and change without mindset. Psychologist Carol Dweck‘s Mindset was a big game changer in the way we view learning. Exploring the two types of mindsets; a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, Dweck explains how people with a growth mindset believe their abilities can be improved through dedicated work and effort. In contrast, those with a fixed mindset believe that their talents and abilities are set and can not be changed or enhanced.
Why this is Relevant? Mindset is the neurological pathway to success, underpinning principles and values through how we carry out our lives. Nurturing self-worth and confidence, a positive, growth mindset is vital in translating objectives into action, and is a big contributor to a state of flow and managing the trough of despair.
2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey
Dr Covey’s classic ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People‘ explores seven habits to success. Effective people focus their lives on ‘character ethics’ such as integrity, humility, fidelity, temperance and courage in alignment to a principle centred life. Categorised as private victories or public victories, private victories take precedence over public victories and are:
- Be Proactive: Be response-able and focus on expanding things within your Circle of Influence.
- Begin With the End in Mind: Things are created twice, both mentally and then physically. Centre your life around principles and end goals you want for yourself.
- Put First Things First: Is the physical creation of your goals. Prioritise and carry out what needs to be done in alignment to your principle centred objectives.
- Think Win-Win: See life as a positive sum gain of co-operation, approach conflict with integrity, maturity and an abundance mentality.
- Seek to Understand, Then Be Understood: Become a better listen before you seek to be understood. Do this through evaluating, probing, advising and interpreting.
- Synergise: Two heads are better than one – teamwork, cooperation and open mindedness fuels better problem solving.
- Sharpen the Saw: Seek constant emotional, intellectual, physical, spiritual renewal and improvement of yourself.
Why this is important: “(With the) Dizzying rate of change in technology and increasing competition driven by globalisation of markets means we must not only be educated but constantly re-educate and reinvent ourselves. We must continually develop our minds and continually sharpen and invest in our competencies to avoid becoming obsolete.” – Stephen Covey
3. The Lean Start Up, Eric Ries
Eric Ries‘ ‘The Lean Startup’ is a cornerstone must for anyone looking to increase knowledge or pursue a start up business. The book places emphasis on running experiments and testing assumptions in order to prove/disprove predetermined hypothesis. Batching work or change into smaller units means that whether it’s a new product or change in life, we can test things cheaply, quickly and move on from things that aren’t working.
Top Learnings: Validating ideas should come quickly, through the establishment of a minimum viable product in finding product market fit. Improvement is made through a constant build-measure-learn feedback loop, with feedback leading to pivot or persevere decision making. Oh and metrics are key.
4. The 4 Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss
Undoubtedly, my perspective drastically shifted after reading Tim Ferriss‘ ‘The 4 Hour Work Week‘. With a well researched title and humorous writing style, Ferriss’ precursor to Tools of Titans smashes the standard that we have to work hard our entire lives, doing unfulfilling work to ultimately retire. He highlights that by retirement, most of us are not financially or physically equipped to enjoy the remainder of our lives.
Capturing the concept of ‘mini retirements’, Ferriss a self proclaimed serial growth hacker at life encapsulates a four hour work week through ‘DEAL’ – definition, elimination, automation and liberation. This book provides countless tools, systems and hacks to employ in life- whether your a prospecting entrepreneur, freelancer or working within a large organisation.
Key nuggets: There were so many direct step-by-step pearls of wisdom from this book; including:
- Detailed exploration and examples of each of DEAL
- How to get your boss to let you work remotely (conversation guide)
- How to plan and execute your mini retirements throughout the year
5. The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, Vishen Lakhiani
Lakhiani shares his own struggles and experiences in transcending the culturescape and questioning models of reality; the standards and perceptions in which you live and interpret life. The book helps challenges us to re-write ‘brules’ (bullsh*t rules), allowing an openness towards new consciousness, and the ability to engineer a blissful life for ourselves.
How this can help you?
Vishen provides a unique perspective on how to review the way we live life and to challenge how we interact in the world as depicted by the layers of:
His 6-phase mediation is something I employ as part of my meditation routine on a daily basis.
6. The Obstacle is the Way, Ryan Holiday
Inspired by Marcus Aurelius and Stoicism, Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way is a modern take on the ancient philosophy. Perception drives power which enables to overcome challenges in life through managing emotions and ability to see things from a different perspective.
The middle section of the book hones in on action – the process of doing things right; starting from the smallest win or achievement. Learning through iterations and feedback reinforces action and progress which then leads to the last section regarding will. Will is the desire to align actions towards desired goals; accepting that things may not always go our way, but to accept them and continue going.
Major Takeout: See things for what they are. Do what we can and endure and bear what we must. What blocked the path is now the path, what once impeded action advances action. The obstacle is the way.
7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson
A New York Best seller, Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck provides an unconventional approach to life and self-mastery. We should only give a f*ck and care about what we truly value – not what society tells us we should.
Negativity and pain exists to serve a purpose; to teach us something. Just like a child learns not to touch a hot stove by getting hurt, pain is used to allow us to accept the present and reinvent the process of doing things.
Our emotions are not always right but we have a choice to chose our response. Motivation is a continuum that exists in between both sides of action and certainty is the enemy of growth.
My highlight: Growth is an iterative process. Things don’t move from wrong to right, but from wrong to slightly less wrong. We are constantly in the process of approaching truth and perfection without actually ever reaching it . We shouldn’t seek to find the ultimate “right” answer for ourselves, rather we should chip away at the ways that we’re wrong today so that we can be less wrong tomorrow.
What are your top reads? Please leave any feedback or comments below!