As the year comes to a close, I hope you have been working on your personal development plan and can’t wait to transform yourself in 2020. One way to change your life is through self-education and the easiest way to achieve this is through reading.
Books can change the way you think and improve your life for the better. Here are some 20 books that can change your thinking in 2020 and prepare you to have a great year.
Having a fixed mindset, for example, can make you hesitant to accommodate change and opportunities to improve yourself since you think that you have what it takes.
If you are trapped in the thinking that being talented or smart is sufficient for success, you don’t accommodate room for improvement. This mindset can also make you take failure pretty badly since your mindset is that smart and talented people don’t fail and they don’t need any help.
On the other hand, having a growth mindset lets you take chances to improve yourself when they come up. You believe that every opportunity comes up as an opportunity to grow, not a chance to prove yourself. As a result, you take up these opportunities and look forward to learning.
A growth mindset encourages putting in the effort and hard work. It helps you build resilience since when faced by challenges, you don’t easily despair but take up the challenge as a chance to learn and become better.
This book will change the way you think since first, you will evaluate your current mindset. I thought I had a growth mindset overall and was surprised sometimes I had a fixed mindset such as when I thought smart and talented people didn’t have to work so hard since well, they were smart. I changed my thinking and started accommodating a growth mindset in this area.
Psychologist Angela Duckworth, after loads and loads of research, found out that there is one thing that separates those who succeed and those who don’t, and that is grit. According to this book, grit is a combination of passion and perseverance. Just like Carol Dweck discusses in mindset, Duckworth shows that talent is not sufficient and we all have to put in massive efforts to achieve what we want and become successful in our areas of interest.
This book will change the way you think since first, it will help you in goal setting. Angela Duckworth shows that to succeed, we first must pick one area that we are willing to work on so that all our efforts are directed to this area.
Secondly, she discusses that persistence, and time is what will bring success. If you work on a goal and abandon it after a short while, then you didn’t apply any grit. Grit takes commitment and persistently working on a goal, applying deliberate practice for the longest time, until you eventually succeed.
Psychologist Adam Grant brings in original thinking in different areas that contribute to our success. I have discussed this book in detail under Originals you can check it out here. I learned so many important lessons from this book.
Such include that sometimes we are so focused on chasing perfection that it stands in the way of our productivity and creativity. If we focus on producing more material, without necessarily focusing on one we think will be a masterpiece, we stand better chances to succeed than if we focus on one creation that we think should be perfect.
Another lesson is that while we view procrastination as a bad thing, and it is bad for productivity, sometimes procrastination can be good for creativity. The more we procrastinate on working on an idea that has been on our minds, the more we let it marinate and churn out a well-thought product.
This book will change the way you think since it has a counter-intuitive approach to many topics in our personal and professional lives. Such issues are groupthink, how much order of birth contributes to our success, whether we should quit our jobs and become entrepreneurs, among others. I recommend this book as one of your reads for 2020.
Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg takes up the difficult subject of women at the workplace. She shows that although it has been said for the longest time that women are denied opportunities at the workplace, which sometimes is true, women have to lean in to get what they want.
It may take a little more effort and sacrifice, but it is by leaning in that we can grab the opportunities that bring themselves.
The most important lesson I carried from this is that our spouses play an important role in our success. Choosing a spouse is one of the most important decisions we make in our lives and we should ensure that we do so wisely.
This book will change the way you think about dating and marriage. Whoever you choose to marry can make or break your life.
If you are in your twenties, whether you are twenty-one or twenty-nine, I recommend this book. The author discusses the challenges and misconceptions surrounding the twenties.
Being a clinical psychologist, she has helped many individuals in their twenties get their lives together and as she narrates the experiences of her clients, you can’t help but relate that this is happening to all twentysomethings globally.
This book will change the way you think of being twenty-something and explores different ways you can still transform your life in your twenties and improve the quality of your future.
Journalist Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite thinkers. In Outliers, Gladwell discusses how the outliers, such as Bill Gates, happened to have some opportunities that contributed to their success.
He explains that many of the outliers succeed because different forces work together and contribute to the success of these individuals.
Calling this book the story of success, Malcolm Gladwell shows that the idea of self-made-man is a myth and that there are a series of opportunities, luck, and other external factors that are out of our control that contributes to success.
This book will change the way you think about certain events and certain people, and open your eyes to how forces of nature sometimes play together to contribute to the growth of outliers.
For example, if crime reduces in a city, it’s easy to say that this has to do with a boosting economy and the hard work of law enforcement, right? No one would think it had to do with a drug-addicted woman that was seeking abortion more than 20 years ago, right?
This book will change the way you think and show you that there is a hidden side of everything. It shows that experts are not always right, incentives don’t work as straight as we think, and information can be abused among other issues.
If you want to have several “wow! I didn’t think of that!” moments, then consider adding this book to your 2020 reading list.
Psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk discusses how our past traumas affect our current life. if you have undergone some trauma such as abuse, war, among others. We not realize, but all that we go through is stored somewhere in our mind and body, and is likely to pop up once in a while.
As I write this, I am still reading this book but so far, I think it is good enough to recommend it. It teaches us how we need to address our past traumas to be better functioning in the future. Check it out.
John Maxwell addresses how working on personal change can be impactful on our lives. You will be surprised by how much a little change in attitude, perception, priorities, and commitment can change the quality of your life in work, career, relationships, family and overall life.
Today matters discuss little things to do today and watch them take an impact on your life. You can take control of your finances, your relationships, and your health simply by making a choice to do small things today, which have some ripple effects for the rest of your life.
This book will change the way you think. While we think success is a result of huge and dramatic changes, it is all about the little things we do every day.
Read a summarized version of any of these books on Blinkist
This is an intentional practice that can be applied and help in learning anything. It involves some elements such as well-defined goals, focus, feedback and getting out of the comfort zone.
This book will change the way you think since we tend to think that people that are experts in certain areas are talented or smart. Apparently not.
With deliberate practice, anyone can learn anything. Of course some other characterizes play a part in how well we learn such as age and physical attributes.
However, knowing this can make you dive into improving yourself by learning more skills and whatever you set your mind to. The book discusses how a Hungarian psychologist made chess masters from his children. Mind-blowing! You can choose an area and develop expertise in this area from yourself or your kids!
How long do you feel sad after unfortunate events? Daniel Goleman helps you realize how much our emotions influence the quality of our lives. Even better, he proposes great ways to help us be in charge of our emotions.
As a result, we can create full lives where we are less anxious and worried, less angry and sad. We can learn how to be angry and not say or do things we regret later.
Even better, Goleman shows how taking charge of our emotions can help us develop awesome relationships with those that we care about. How will this book change the way you think?
If you thought that intelligence is all that counts, that if you have a high IQ you have it all and if you don’t then you are doomed, this will change your perspective. You will realize that emotional intelligence sometimes can matter more than IQ.
Tim Ferries has a whole new school of thought. He introduces what we call the New Rich. This kind of rich does not involve accumulating money in the bank and living with hypertension. Instead, it shows how we can make money and still live a rewarding life.
Millions are of no use to you if you cannot enjoy them. The new rich work hard, earn and don’t spend all year round working. They create time to enjoy their money. They have a four-hour workweek.
By optimizing their productivity, they can dedicate a number of hours in their week to working, manage to take a lot of downtime and even throw in holidays here and there.
This book will change how you think since it will show you that with the right kind of prioritizing and utilizing your day, you can save up so much time and still do optimal work.
Susan Cain, an introvert, dives into how our current world is a difficult place for extroverts. Open offices are becoming more popular, schools are popularizing working in groups now more than ever, and it is difficult for introverts to thrive.
All the same, there are ways introverts can be heard, amid quietly. This book came into my life just when I needed it. being an introvert, I had a tough time fitting in and yet for the longest time, I didn’t think this had to do with my introversion.
I tried so hard to fit in crowds, clubs, and social events and I always felt so exhausted after. Imagine how this changed my thinking by knowing that I am an introvert, and it is ok to be one. After I read it, I dove into researching more about introversion and got more comfortable in my own skin.
This book will change the way you think and behave as an introvert. It will also help extroverts understand introverts better and try to create more suitable environments for them.
Psychologist Daniel Kahneman has piled a lifetime of research into this masterpiece. He shows how our thoughts come in two forms; system 1 and system 2. System 1 is the fast instinctive and emotional thoughts, often the first thought that comes to mind. System 2, on the other hand, tends to be more logical and deliberate.
Kahneman uses these two systems to explain our emotional and logical thoughts and how they influence the decisions that we make. An example is when he talks about our attachment to things.
Our system 1 will likely respond that we have spent time, money, or emotions on something and are therefore attached to it, or someone, such that it is not easy for us to let it go.
On the other hand, logical thinking will help us evaluate the situation or item and reason if it is being beneficial in our life and make a sober decision. This book will change the way you think about your decisions and make you take a minute to evaluate your thoughts before you make a decision.
Listen to the summarized version of this awesome book here
How do people who have never worked out a day in their lives become marathoners? It all has to do with habits. This book will change the way you think about addictions, discipline to get work done, and changing systems at work and simply how habits have the power to change the quality of your life.
Stephen Covey explores how as opposed to being victims of the circumstances in our lives, we should be more proactive. Taking charge helps us become effective in directing how our days turn about as opposed to sitting and complaining about everything.
Covey further advises on topics such as procrastination, personal management, prioritizing and even taking care of our health.
The seventh habit, which he terms as sharpening the saw, is about how we cannot focus on chopping a tree, in this case improving the quality of our lives, if we have not sharpened the saw.
Sharpening involves taking care of our health, the physical, emotional and spiritual. This book will change your thinking as it shows that just by being a person led by the right principles, you can take charge of our lives.
We live in a very distracted world. We have internet and emails, TV, smartphones, social media and all the other kinds of distractions you can think about it. If we don’t take care, we may never do anything at all.
Cal Newport shows us that there is deep work and shallow work. The latter is when we spend our days responding to emails, scrolling social media, making presentations and the like. This work may be count as a part of the work you do, but how important is it?
Deep work, on the other hand, is the work that counts. It is the work that propels your career and makes massive changes in your life. However, do you have time to do it? He proposes methods we can use to focus on deep, rare and important work to achieve the change we want.
This book will change the way you think as you realize that you have been working on shallow work for the longest time and probably don’t have much of deep work to write home about.
As I write this, I am still reading sapiens. I started off with the audiobook and then thought it was so good that I had to buy a paperback. I sometimes use audiobooks to vet which books to buy and which ones I will be good with from just listening.
Sapiens will change the way you think about, well, everything! From the origin of humans to industrialization, Yuval Noah Harari discusses how we, the sapiens, rule the world simply because we are the only species that can have our own imagination hence the creation of religion, corporations, money among others. This book will blow your mind!
He discusses how sometimes we are miserable simply because we choose to care for all the wrong things. He introduces the law of avoidance showing that the more something threatens our identity, the more we avoid it.
Knowing this, we should know that the more something threatens us, the more we should do it. It is such things that change lives. He also shows how smart people are always holding back as a result of their overthinking. Here is another thought.
Did your parents always tell you how special you are? While this could have been great for your confidence, it may have led to entitlement. Feeling as if the world owes you something? Read this book and find out.
A friend and I were recently discussing that despite this book having been written more than 100 years ago, it is still applicable in today’s life. Napoleon hill studied some of the most successful people such as Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford and wrote this book as a summary of the habits of the rich.
This book shows how thoughts become things and it is by taking control of our thoughts that we reclaim our lives. He also shows that desire is the first step towards getting what we want. I recommend that you add this classic onto your reading list for 2020 and enjoy the thought-provoking approaches it suggests. Alternatively, you can read or listen to the summary of the book here.
You can get a summary of all these books on Blinkist. Blinkist creates a summary of the key ideas from the books and presents them to you in about 15 minutes. This can help you decide which books you would like to read and which ones to pass. It also saves you a great deal of reading time. You can use this link to sign up on Blinkist to access the book summaries.
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