I love reading books. They inspire me, motivate me, challenge me, you name it. Below are some books that left a mark on me. If you’re looking for an interesting read, you could do much worse than any of the books listed below.
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Lynchpin by Seth Godin
I fell in love with Lynchpin almost immediately. I admit I’m a big fan of Seth Godin, so there wasn’t much resistance. In Lynchpin, Seth encourages you to find a way to do work that matters. Create art. And we’re not just talking about paint brushes and fountain pens. Art, in this sense, means anything you can create that is designed to change someone.
Stop being a cog in the machine. Stop doing work that someone else can learn to do simply by reading a manual. Do those things that no one else can do. And anything that comes from your head, that’s creative, is by definition something no one else can do. Make and ship your art, whether that art is designing impactful presentation slides, charming restaurant customers, or inspiring kids to think creatively. We are all artists. Seth delivers this message with incredible strength. Highly recommended.
Think and Grow Rich By Napoleon Hill
One of the best-selling books of all time (yes, really). The most remarkable part of this book is the access that Mr. Hill had to the most successful business people in American history, from Thomas Edison, to John D. Rockefeller, to Andrew Carnegie, and on and on. Mr. Hill spent twenty five years studying what made each of these people successful and distilling his findings into the fundamental principles of success.
One of my favorite excerpts is this one, in which Mr. Hill describes one of the thirty reasons for failure: “Guessing instead of thinking. Most people are too indifferent or lazy to acquire facts with which to think accurately. They prefer to act on ‘opinions’ created by guesswork or snap-judgments.” This book has sold between 50 and 100 million copies, and I’m sure it has inspired more than a handful of incredible success stories.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
I read Essentialism when I was on a kick of studying simplicity. The world, at times, seems needlessly complex. That makes sense, because complexity is glorified. Only the smartest, most talented people can navigate nimbly through across complex landscapes. But Greg McKeown frees us from this confusion.
It takes courage to say “no”, to focus on only the essential tasks or responsibilities that will create the most value. We think we are making ourselves more attractive, growing our brand, by taking on more and more commitments. But then we lose our focus, and the quality of our work suffers. Previously unknown levels of success can be unlocked by identifying, and executing on, the most critical task. Mr. McKeown is a terrific guide for this journey.