It’s no secret that the most successful people of all time read. A lot. I’ve recently found myself wanting to read lots of books (thanks to recommendations from Akash Thakkar, who is a very smart dude you all should follow).
Now, when I talk about books, I sadly don’t mean fiction books such as Harry Potter (even though Harry Potter is awesome, let’s go Gryffindor!). I’m talking about nonfiction books, books about self-care, mindfulness, productivity, money, etc etc. 85% of successful people read at least 2 non-fiction books a month.
This summer, I’ve read a couple books that I would love to recommend to each of you.
Spoiler alert- all of these books are amazing, mind-opening, and life-changing. Reading and learning these books has given me a greater sense of focus, and now I am more productive, organized, and generally happier having read them. I hope you’ll enjoy these books as much as I have.
So everyone knows that I really enjoy speaking at events. TED Talks teaches us how we can level up our speaking game, covering everything from visual aids to wardrobe, to overall delivery, basically everything you would incorporate into a talk. I haven’t spoken at a TED event (not yet anyway), but this book inspired me to get much better at public speaking so that maybe one day, I can speak at a TED event. The book also illustrates the importance of learning to speak in public, which resonates with my belief that everyone should learn how to present publicly. Most importantly, TED Talks emphasizes that YOU have a story to tell, and that YOUR story is important, which is very empowering! It also includes a list of wonderful TED talks to check out.
I picked up this book because I wanted to improve my mentality while under pressure. Sometimes, I get nervous in situations such as giving talks, teaching, or playing Smash, so much so that I go on autopilot and just goof up. The Inner Game of Tennis teaches us that the reason this happens is because our ego gets in the way, and that side of us fears failure, or wants to impress others. There is another side to us that knows what to do when we present or play sports, but it gets beaten out by our egos (our ego generally wants to show off, or thinks only about the result and not the current situation), and then we screw up at whatever it is we’re doing. This book teaches that it’s important to trust that instinctual self, and to not let our ego get in the way. I believe that this book can help anyone in their day-to-day lives simply maintain focus, which is something we all can use.
Somewhat related to the ideas presented in The Inner Game of Tennis, Ego Is The Enemy illustrates the dangers of letting our egos consume us. Author Ryan Holiday tells us cautionary tales of famous historical figures such as Howard Hughes and John DeLorean, whose egos ultimately led to their demise. But in contrast, Holiday also provides us with positive examples of mentally strong people who never lost sight of their goals, such as William Tecumseh Sherman (an accomplished Civil War general who helped win the war), and Katharine Graham (one of the first female CEOs who ran and saved the Washington Post following the suicide of her husband, the paper’s previous CEO). Throughout the book, Holiday reminds us that no matter how successful we become, we can’t let that success go to our heads. We must always check ourselves, challenge ourselves, and keep working towards improvement.
In life, we’re always faced with challenges. We can either dread these challenges, or take them head-on and conquer them. I personally love the format of this book- author Ryan Holiday presents inspiring stories of successful people who overcame adversity in small, bite-sized chunks. It’s easy to sit and read a chapter or two any time. This book teaches us that we don’t have to suffer, but that we can assess our current struggles and take fast action (making sound decisions) to resolve them. As someone who has struggled for a great period of her life (and is still struggling in some respects), this book is one that I feel connected with. I can see myself constantly going back to read it, and while writing this little blurb, I really want to do it. If you want to be successful at anything in life, it’s important to accept the fact that you will struggle. And that’s okay, because as long as you take action, you can handle it!
This book focuses on productivity, and how you can become more productive. Now, there’s lots of tips and videos online about maximizing your productivity, but I feel that The Now Habit takes it one step further by establishing two basic principles. First of all, don’t schedule your work, schedule meetings/commuting/social obligations/exercise first. Then the time in between all those other obligations is where you schedule your work. Second, it’s important to be able to enjoy your time off and not feel guilty about it. We think we just have to work work work, but the truth is that we really just can’t manage our schedules and prioritize. Then in turn, that inability to prioritize leads to us procrastinating, so we’re stuck in a vicious cycle where we feel like we have so much to do, but we don’t do anything. Reading The Now Habit will definitely change that for you, and will teach you to be both more productive AND enjoy your time off.
Thanks for reading this post! As always, feel free to discuss YOUR favorite books with me on Twitter. Stay tuned for more blog posts, and even a new video which should be out within the next few weeks!