Reading is one of life’s greatest gifts. By reading we can do the impossible — we get a firsthand look into the minds of others. Between the pages of a book — you can live a thousand lifetimes, you can travel the world, you can meet people you never met before. Reading allows you to think someone’s thoughts, see their perspective, and the knowledge and enlightenment you gain in the end is unlike anything else.
So below, I’ve compiled a list of books that have enlightened me and those I haven’t gotten a chance to read just yet. With the hope that you can enrich your experiences in ways that I have and haven’t been able to.
Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate
By Shane Snow
You can make incremental progress by playing by the rules. But to create breakthrough change, you have to break the rules. Because new ideas emerge when you question the assumptions upon which a problem is based — this is called Lateral Thinking. Throughout history, we’ve been fed a dated narrative on how to achieve success: the typical “work hard, stay in school”. Or in modern times “Work 100 hours a week, believe you can do it, visualize, push yourself harder than anyone else.” That’s the hard way to do it, and although the hard way may get the job done, is it the best way? In his research, shane snow realized that overachievers throughout history, rarely adhered to those principles, instead they took unconventional approaches — Smart Cuts: a way of working smarter and achieving more, without creating any negative after-effects. They’re not at all like short cuts or cheating which create rapid short-term gains. Smart cuts create sustainable success quickly. Snow shows us how smart cuts can be harnessed by anyone who seeks an edge at work, at the gym, in the arts or education, from social enterprise to personal development, from big companies to small startups.
Start with Why
By Simon Sinek
Start With Why is not your average book on purpose. Simon Sinek, once credited with having the #1 Ted Talk of All Time, offers a valuable perspective on undertaking anything that involves moving people to action: whether it be starting a social movement, building a company that stands the winds of time, designing a product, and even effective communication. His Thesis? The best people to ever do all of those things and more — from MLk to Steve Jobs — all started with Why, which is something most people don’t do. Most people focus all their energies on what’s happening at the surface, but those who change the world do so by letting their beliefs guide them through. Sinek tells us how we can uncover our own beliefs and use them to accomplish our goals, how to turn our beliefs into a product, a movement, or a company, whatever suits your fancy.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
By Dale Carnegie
In the midst of The Great Depression, Dale Carnegie discovered something piquing: those who were able to thrive in the best of times and the worst of times had one thing in common — they had a firm understanding and mastery of human relations. In this timeless classic, Carnegie teaches us what they should’ve been teaching us in school, how to deal with people effectively and why that can transform your life. What’s unique about this book is that there are no gimmicks, the premise of the book is simple: As humans, we are a social species and much of our lives is guided by our ability to understand and relate to others. Given that, one of the most valuable things to do as a person, is to study and master that aspect of our lives. And the only way to do so is by genuinely loving others and wishing them well. Carnegie shows us specifically how we can do that and the key things to look for on the way.
The 50th Law
By 50 Cent and Robert Greene
A rapper from the streets and an author/historian? Seems like an unlikely mix doesn’t it? But when you take a step back and consider the message of the book, it all comes back full circle. The reality that this book reminds us of is simple: The world has become as grimy and dangerous as the streets of Southside Queens — A Global Competitive Environment in which everyone is a ruthless hustler out for him or herself. Given this, how do you stay sharp? The number one thing that will stand in your way will be fear. And fear creates its own self-fulfilling dynamic — as people give into it, they lose energy and momentum. The 50th Law is a treatment on how fear can deter your potential and how to embrace it, and subsequently embrace success. Fear stops us from taking risks, from being ourselves, it causes us to lose our grip on reality. But if you can recognize fear and understand that you shouldn’t run from it, the world is yours.
48 Laws of Power
By Robert Greene
Robert Greene, a historian by hobby, entered a career that didn’t really suit him as a way to make a living. But instead of moping along like most people, he decided he wanted out. And thus initiated a period of wandering: he traveled the world and found work wherever he could. In the end, he worked about 50 odd jobs in every conceivable place — from construction in greece, tour guide in Dublin, Hotel Clerk in Paris, to director’s assistant in hollywood (#YouNameIt). Throughout his studies of history and experiences with people, he noticed all the historical stories of warriors, kings, and queens, from Julius Caesar to Macchiavelli were happening right before his eyes. People want power, and they want to conceal this want — so the play games. The 48 Laws of power are the cheat codes to that game: the rules that you must understand in order to best navigate human relations to attain power. And even if you’re not as cold and heartless, the book is still a good read, because it exposes the harsh realities of the world we live in, how people think, their hidden motives, and how they try to impose themselves to achieve their goals.
Other Books I’ve Read & Loved, But Haven’t Reviewed:
- Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill
- Until the Brighter Tomorrow by Valerie Rainford
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
- The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene
- Letters to a Young Brother by Hill Harper
- The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore
Most of the books I’m interested in are usually related to success in one way or another. I like to read about individuals who have been able to achieve the impossible, because I’m fascinated by how they chose to see the world and use their mind to its fullest potential. In these stories, although anecdotal, I think there are many valuable lessons to be learned. With that, here are a few of the books that are on my radar.
- The Immortal Game: A History of Chess by David Shenk
- Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova
- The Essays of Warren Buffet by Warren Buffet
- Mastery by Robert Greene
- Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
- Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon
- The Storytelling Animal by Jonathan Gottschall
- Telling True Stories by Wendy Call and Mark Kramer
- Trust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
- The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
- Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham
- The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb
- Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Phillip fisher
- The Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises by Tim Geithner
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
- Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
- Zero to One by Peter Thiel
- The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
- Merchant Princes: An Intimate History of Jewish Families Who Built Great Department Stores by Leon A. Harris
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport
- Give and Take by Adam Grant
- StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
- Friend and Foe by Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
- Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch
- The Outsiders by William Thorndike Jr.
- Clash of Cultures by John Bogle
- Business adventures: 12 Classic Takes from the World of Wall Street by John Brooks
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
- Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod