I am a firm believer in self-development and I am constantly seeking ways to grow. One of my favorite ways to learn and initiate changes in my life is reading. I read a lot, and while not every book I come across is great, I come across some life-changing books. I view reading as a way of learning from great men and women who I may never have the opportunity to hear from in person.
I don’t want to be overly dramatic by saying these 5 books have changed my life, but sure enough, there is a lesson or two that I have learned from them that have created some form of impact in my life. Here is my list of impactful books and the lesson I borrowed from them.
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Quiet- The Power Of Introverts in a World That Cannot Stop Talking – Susan Cain
Most times, when I tell people that I am an introvert, they don’t believe me. This is because I am very opinionated, vocal, have no problem at all addressing groups of people (I lecture in colleges and conduct training sessions). What those people don’t know is that when I am not standing in front of groups, I am curled up in my house reading, cooking, sleeping, watching something interesting or being inside my head over-thinking stuff. For the longest time, I didn’t know I was an introvert too. I tried keeping up with social events, which would bore me within the first half-hour. I would then wonder what’s wrong with me and why I couldn’t enjoy hanging out with people for much longer.
When I read Susan Cain’s book, I was enjoying a year of self-discovery in solitude. This book has a very well researched stance on introversion. It explains so much about characteristics of introverts, why they behave the way they do, and most importantly, emphasizes that it is alright to be an introvert. Struggling with our personality is something many of us go through, especially in our younger years (late teens and early twenties). After reading this book, I accepted my introversion and I am no longer apologetic for being the way I am. I will comfortably excuse myself from a social event and go home when I feel that my energy is drained and I need some time alone to recharge.
I highly recommend this book for both introverts and extroverts. For introverts, it will help you understand your personality better and be at peace with it. For extroverts, it will help you understand the introverts in your life. You could be dating an introvert, married to one, have an introverted child, or friends and coworkers. This book makes the list of some of my all-time favorite books.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People- Stephen Covey
This is one of those books that are very difficult to read, I must admit; it took me more than a year to complete. After that, I still refer to this book from time to time. Of the many lessons I have learned from it, the one that stuck is about prioritizing what you do, and knowing the difference between what is urgent and what is important. Living this lesson every day is a challenge, but it has helped me overcome some issues such as procrastination, time management, personal management and focusing on the important things in my life. This book also taught me about being proactive and taking the initiative in my life. Proactivity, as introduced by Covey, shows the importance of focusing your efforts on things that you can control, and letting go of the things you can’t control. I highly recommend this book for everyone who feels that they need to have a firmer grip on their lives.
Today Matters- John Maxwell
This is among the least known books by John Maxwell, yet it was the most impactful to me. Here, he discusses how what you do today impacts your life. He emphasizes making priorities and committing to them. The lesson that stuck with me is about attitude. Have you ever heard of the phrase, “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?” – by Captain Jack Sparrow? (Yes, I quote Pirates of the Caribbean). Jack Sparrow has a point which John Maxwell emphasizes in this book that if you change your attitude, and your thinking, everything around you changes. Here is my favorite quote from this book on this topic,
“Possessing a great attitude is like having a secret weapon”- John Maxwell, Today Matters.
4. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
This book is a classic. Its advice is so old but timeless. It applies today as the day it was written. Don’t be misled by the title, this book is not about winning you friends. It is about improving your people skills. If you are in a managerial/ leadership position, I highly recommend reading this book. Unfortunately, most people in managerial positions think that to be respected by their subordinates, they have to be tough, mean, unapproachable, and without defects. I agree with Dale Carnegie when he says,
“If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive”.
This means that if you want good relations with others you should appreciate them, don’t condemn them all the time. You can earn respect without tramping on others and this will help you earn long-lasting relationships.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Mason
As I write this blog post, I am still reading this book, and here I am recommending it. When I told a good friend the title of my current read, he laughed and said; “Sarah, this is you, you think you can actually stop caring about stuff?” This book is not about saying ‘screw the world’, but the title sure does catch your attention (takes note for future book title). It is close to Richard Carlson’s book; Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.
This book is about choosing what to care about and what not to care about. It is about deciding what to sweat over. So far, the lesson I have carried in this book has to do with how most of us feel inadequate in life because we have not achieved our purpose. This is mostly because everything you read and listen to tells you how you have a special purpose in life, and you won’t have lived until you achieve that. So if you have not figured it out you are stressing yourself out and feeling inadequate.
Here is some news flash! No one has completely figured it out, and we are all struggling with one thing or another. We are all on a journey and no one has got there. Don’t get me wrong, this does not mean you stop being ambitious and watch Netflix all week, it means don’t be so hard on yourself. Choose what to care about, don’t sweat the small stuff.
At the top of my head, I can say these are life-changing books that I highly recommend. Are there some life-changing books you can recommend?. Feel free to share in the comment section below.
You can read the key lessons from any of these books in 15 minutes or less on Blinklist. Check out how on Blinkist.