If You Only Read A Few Books This Year, Read These
About creativity, finding your purpose, decision-making, the Big Four and so much more.
My reading list is always growing instead of shrinking, even though I average reading a book per week. I wish it weren’t the case, but every day it seems like a stumble on another great read.
Reading is what inspires me most but also what teaches me the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life.
A few years ago, I came across the following quote by Matthew Dicks:
“Read more. It allows you to borrow someone else’s brain, and will make you more interesting at a dinner party.”
Admittedly, I’m not particularly interested in the second part as I don’t join many parties anyway.
The first part, however, still excites me every time I think of it.
Borrowing someone’s brain…I mean, isn’t that fantastic?!
Just think of all the people writing and publishing books.
Or of anyone who wrote a book years or even decades ago.
Now, I don’t say writers are in any way better or smarter than non-writers, but I believe most great minds in history left us with books and even today, the majority of successful people in any field, may it be sports, entrepreneurship, nutrition, cooking or whatsoever, are writing books.
I don’t know about you, but for me, the idea of borrowing someone’s brain sounds pretty sexy.
That’s probably why I’m reading so much.
I want to learn more and understand different perspectives, and reading is my favorite way to do so.
And as I believe I borrowed some of the most magnificent brains for the past years, here are my favorite books, including why they are relevant and when you might want to read them.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Most people know Elizabeth Gilbert for writing Eat, Pray, Love, but admittedly, I find Big Magic much more valuable, especially for people in creative careers.
Gilbert teaches how to be creative despite fears and uncertainty and where innovative ideas actually come from.
An absolute must-read for anyone who is holding herself back from pursuing her dreams and hesitating to take the next big leap in life.
“Creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that — merely by being here — you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.”
Finding Your Element by Ken Robinson
I love Ken Robinson. Especially his TED talk about creativity and our education systems.
In Finding Your Element, however, Robinson helps us to get a deeper understanding of who we are and of the life we could live.
The book is not only packed with inspiration that will empower you to go out and live your best life, but it also includes actionable tasks and ideas on how to find your passion, or element, as Robinson calls it.
The ideal read for anyone who is still on the path of finding his passion and calling in life.
“If you’re doing something that you love, by the end of the day you may be physically tired but spiritually energized.”
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
This is a fantastic piece that will convince you to speed up your decision-making process, no matter how important the decision seems to be.
Gladwell describes how most of our decisions are based on our gut feeling and what happens when we listen to our intuition instead of over-thinking and creating endless pro-contra lists.
A must-read for anyone who’d like to make quicker decisions and let go of overthinking, packed with fantastic storytelling and advice that you won’t forget too quickly.
“If we are to learn to improve the quality of the decisions we make, we need to accept the mysterious nature of our snap judgments.”
21 Lessons For The 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
This one is quite different from the rest of the list, but it’s worth being mentioned.
21 Lessons For The 21st Century summarizes today’s highlights in terms of politics, culture, and economics in a way everybody can relate and still make up their own opinion.
The book was published in 2018, and I actually believe it could be even more powerful to read it now as we faced a pandemic, and many of his assumptions might need to be questioned.
I’m not into politics, culture, or economics at all, but this piece is a fantastic way to get an overview of all the changes that might be relevant to all of us pretty soon.
“In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power.”
High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard
This book is the ultimate must-read for anyone who wants to level up her performance and life in general.
I read this masterpiece after having consumed hundreds of other books on personal growth and habits, and I still found so many valuable lessons to apply in my daily life.
I actually believe this is a personal growth bible at its best, delivering profound research plus actionable advice on how to elevate our lives. Big love!
“Be more intentional about who you want to become. Have vision beyond your current circumstances. Imagine your best future self, and start acting like that person today.”
What I Know For Sure by Oprah
I love Oprah, and I adore this book.
It’s basically a look into all the lessons Oprah learned throughout the past decades.
She openly shares all the struggles she faced and the lessons learned on her path to becoming one of the most influential people of today’s wold.
“What I know for sure is that every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and step out and dance — to live free of regret and filled with as much joy, fun, and laughter as you can stand.”
You Were Born Rich by Bob Proctor
Even though the title is provocative, this is one of my favorite books about the law of attraction and wealth.
It’s actually not only about making money and being rich but about designing a life you truly love.
Bob Proctor is one of the few people who are teaching universal laws for several decades, and this piece is a collection of anything you need to know to finally attract all the greatness you truly desire.
“When you succeed in convincing your subconscious mind that you are wealthy and that it feels good to be wealthy, your subconscious mind will automatically seek ways of making your “imaginary” feelings of wealth manifest themselves in material form.”
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
This one is a fantastic step-by-step guide on how to create a happier, more joyful life without much effort.
Rubin describes her own happiness project, which she practiced for 12 months and openly shares which strategies best worked for her and how you can apply them as well.
Most of the advice provided is so simple yet effective that you will be surprised.
“The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted.”
You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
I’ve heard about this book so many times until I finally decided to read it.
Admittedly, I didn’t expect much, I thought it would be usual mindset fluff.
How wrong I was!
Jen Sincero talks about topics like the law of attraction and manifestation in a way everybody can understand and apply the lessons.
An absolute recommendation for anyone who wants to make the universal laws work for them and finally attract all their biggest desires.
“You’ve gotten to where you are right now by doing whatever it is you’re doing, so if you’re less than impressed with your current situation, you clearly need to change things up.”
Keep Going by Austin Kleon
This one is a fantastic read for anyone who struggles to keep going and stay creative and productive when things get hard.
In my opinion, it’s a must-read for anyone doing any kind of work, not only creatives.
Austin Kleon provides ten concrete, actionable lessons on how to spark creativity and keep going during good times and bad, and admittedly, this book convinced me to read more about creativity in general.
“We have so little control over our lives. The only thing we can really control is what we spend our days on. What we work on and how hard we work on it.”
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
This one is pretty cliché, I know. But as long as it’s not required reading in any school in the world, it’s worth mentioning.
I’ve read all books of Tim Ferriss, but this is by far his best piece.
In my opinion, The 4-Hour Workweek is a bible for personal growth and business.
Ferriss teaches so many strategies on how to live better and build lasting, automated businesses. This sounds like too much to cover in a single book, but he truly delivers the value. Promise.
“Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is NOT laziness. This is hard for most to accept, because our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.”
The Four by Scott Galloway
Scott Galloway is a real genius in understanding and teaching how the most prominent companies of today’s world operate.
In The Four, he summarizes how Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple are changing our lives and economies across the globe.
But he also shows how even small businesses can learn from these companies’ failures as well as successes.
Even though it was published in 2017, it’s a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how today’s most significant companies operate and what we can expect from these businesses in the upcoming years or even decades.
“Failure and invention are inseparable twins. To invent you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment.”