One of the lessons I’ve learned over time is that when enough people ask me about something, I need to write about it.
I had coffee with a friend yesterday and we were talking about continuing to grow. We both get so bogged down with business and family (a good thing!), that we forget we need to grow personally.
“Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development.” ~JIM ROHN
Yes, you need to continue learning and growing as a parent and as a business owner, but you also need to grow as a person.
Caveat #1: Not all of the books on this list are “personal development” books. They’re disguised as something else, but they’re here because they literally changed my life in a positive way.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Greatness then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle
Caveat #2: Reading these books or using these tools won’t change a single thing in your life. You are not your books. You are not your podcasts. You are not the courses you buy. You are what you do. Even if you only check out one thing on this list and take action on it, you’ll be infinitely farther ahead than somebody who checks them all out and does nothing.
Don’t read any of the books on this list until you’ve downloaded Headspace (free) and done their 10-day free trial.
Meditation, for me, was a game-changer. Slowing down my mind and forcing it to focus. The best way I’ve found to explain it to others is that meditation makes me about 10% more calm and happy.
In studies of top performers, over 80% have some form of daily meditation. This isn’t a coincidence.
Please remember this as you get started:
It is nearly impossible to meditate “successfully” in the way you’d think of it.
You imagine, getting started, that a successful session is being able to totally empty your mind for ten full minutes.
But that’s inaccurate.
The “work” of meditation is every time you get distracted and refocus yourself. It’s is noticing the distraction and being able to refocus.
Thus, the goal is not to “stay” focused, but to observe your thoughts.
Headspace explains this way better with amazing analogies and cool videos. Go download it now.
Once you’ve done that, come back here and buy the next book on this list.
Five Minute Journal
The five minute journal (also an app, but I like the book version better), is a beautifully designed way to start your day (3 minutes) and end it (2 minutes).
In lieu of me explaining it all, here’s a helpful image. If meditation made me 10% more calm and happy, the Five Minute Journal doubled that.
The Obstacle is the Way
by Ryan Holiday
Being able to turn your obstacles into opportunities is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Holiday’s book is the roadmap for making that happen.
I have two phrases from this book tattooed on the inside of my forearms. No piece of writing (with the exception of the Bible), has impacted me more strongly than this.
It’s also the reason that I raised money to provide a classroom copy to every single high school freshman at my school.
by Greg McKeown
Focusing only on the essential is one of the ways that I get more done. It’s not about working or working hard, but deciding what the most important work is to be done. If you’re reading this, you can also get my entire productivity course for free by clicking here. (SHH! Don’t tell anybody.)
See the book “Minimalism” below for more on this idea.
The Miracle Morning
by Hal Elrod
Elrod was the first guest on my podcast for a reason. Over time, I replaced the morning routine that Hal teaches in this book with Headspace and The 5-Minute Journal (above), but if you need more of a reason to do both of those things (above and beyond it being on this list), read the Elrod’s book.
by Jairek Robbins
The book is a very fast read, which is great compared to the epic tomes put out by Jairek’s father, Tony Robbins. It’s probably the most “personal development” type of book on this list, but the “emotional stacking” exercise contained within is something that I’ve used on a regular basis for two years since I first read it.
Tools of Titans
by Tim Ferriss
Dubbed the “kettlebook” based on it’s size (similar to a kettlebell), but Ferris packs over 300 hours of knowledge in here. It’s a fast “choose your own adventure” style read. No matter what you want to learn, this book is important.
The 10X Rule
by Grant Cardone
Cardone is a saleman. Plan and simple. He repetitive and over the top.
However, the book makes a great point. The best way to achieve a goal is to imagine that it’s going to take 10 times more effort than you originally though. So, by taking 10 times the action you were planning to take, you can accomplish whatever you set out to do.
by Joshua Fields Milburn
Having less “things” and focusing more on the most important aspects of my life has changed me as a father, husband, Christian, businessman, and teacher.
This book is a treatise on the stark advantages of living with less.
There’s also a documentary that’s on Netflix of the same name that I’d recommend.
I also wanted to add this to the end: I think that most people who want to develop personally could stand to read books other than personal development or business books.
In a world where we think we need to read ALL OF THE BOOKS (or buy them and never read them, am i rite?), business-minded folks like us would do way better to read something more creative.
I’m specifically leaving out the description here because I think it’s worth checking out each of the links below.
If you aren’t a sci-fi or fantasy leaning dork like myself, just click on #3.