I am thankful for my two degrees in marketing and finance, but the moment I started reading books in my personal time, my life improved drastically.
I love reading and I try to read one book a month and listen to 2-3 audiobooks a month. It develops my mind, helps me to think bigger, and process life better. I wrote about the many benefits of reading in an earlier blog titled, Why Not Read More. Anyway, I tried to just pick 10, but these 11 books changed my life. I will try to include them in the order I read them.
Rich Dad Poor Dad
I read several books by Robert Kiyosaki including Cashflow Quadrant, Before You Quit Your Job, and a few others. In my early 20s he was one of my favorite authors. Rich Dad Poor Dad was such an important book for me at the time because it changed my mindset around money and building wealth.
But if I read the book today, it would not be as impactful. Although it’s every motivational, it lacks a lot of details. In fact, I followed a lot of the principles in the book and things did not work out so well. Robert Kiyosaki is a master marketer and businessman and I’m sure you get the advertisements for the Rich Dad Education.
This was a life changing book for me at the time, but I would not recommend it now.
Man’s Search for Meaning
The author Viktor Frankl details his experiences in an Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, while at the same time sharing his perspective on living a meaningful life.
I can’t remember the year I read it, but it was during a time where I was trying to figure out the direction of my life and it helped me put things in perspective. Frankly saw his parents, brother, and pregnant wife killed and still managed to stay sane and remain optimistic.
Some of my biggest takeaways include:
–We can’t avoid suffering but we can choose to cope with it
–He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how
–You can get used to anything
–There is meaning in suffering
Just writing about Man’s Search for Meaning makes me want to read it right now. If you could only read one book on the list, it should be this.
Think and Grow Rich – A Black Choice
I read the original Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill after I read this one. And it is a classic and almost made my list. The author Dennis Kimbro combined aspects of Hill’s book with his own research and knowledge relating to Black Americans.
When I read Think and Grow Rich – A Black Choice, I was just getting into reading. So of course I was motivated to read a book by a black man. I met the author Dennis Kimbro at a black entrepreneurs conference many years ago and that motivated me to buy the book.
This is a good success guide for black Americans. It discusses having a concrete plan for acquiring wealth, being passionate about what you do, and it details how race and poverty affect the achievements of blacks.
This book was life changing for me at the time, but I would not recommend it now. I just think it’s outdated and repetitive. After reading so many books since then, I need a lot more depth in my reading.
48 Laws of Power
I try to read 48 Laws of Power at the beginning of every year. It is the best guides to understanding people’s true intentions both in business and in life.
It is very honest about the dark side of human nature. I believe it’s important to see the flaws in others and it will force you to examine the flaws in you. I first read this book in my mid 20s and the lessons I learn reading it now are much different then the ones I learned reading back then.
This is a must read that you should revisit every few years. This book debunks the ideals of fairness and equality, but instead focuses on reality.
4-Hour Work Week
This 4-Hour Work Week single-handedly changed the way I approach business and time. I mean who in the hell works only 4 hours a week? Well the author Tim Ferris is a person that wants you to think different, question everything, do you, and live a fulfilled life. And that’s right up my alley!
I was a realtor and running a homecare business when I read this book. I remember trying to implement everything right away and the results were a mixed bag. Although I never quite got to a 4-hour work week, I got it down to a few hours a day.
Some of the biggest lessons I learned from reading the book:
–We are so bombarded with information that we miss the important events occurring all around us
–You can work, live & travel anywhere if you set it up right
–Delegate smaller tasks to others and outsource menial tasks
–Make your income automatic
–Start living your ideal lifestyle today and stop slaving over a 9 to 5
I am still applying a lot of the tips and tactics of this book in my life today. I want complete freedom and if you feel the same, I highly encourage you to read this one.
If you can’t tell by now, I am a fan of non fiction books. Well The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is not one of them. The author tells the story about Santiago, a shepherd boy who travels the world in search of his “Personal Legend.”
What he discovers during the journey are some of the most powerful lessons you can learn in life. I don’t want to ruin the story for you but I’ll give you a few of the gems.
–Live in the present
–Listen to your heart and follow your dreams
–Focus on your own journey
This book is masterpiece on every level. I am a dreamer and this book helped me see things clearer about following my dreams. I strongly recommend this one as it’s my favorite non fiction book of all-time.
The Power of Now
I can’t remember the exact year I read The Power of Now, but I do have the hard cover, and I stopped buying those many years ago. This book is powerful and timeless. The main focus from the author Eckhart Tolle is living in the moment.
Some of my favorites points from the point are:
–Embrace the present
–Don’t complain, adapt
–Negativity reflects a resistance to the present moment
At the time I read this, I didn’t know what living in the present meant, so it really changed my life. With that said, I would not recommend this one and would suggest you read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle instead. It is the same concept with more depth.
Miseducation of the Negro
I listed to this audiobook in 2017 and I was mad afterwards. This should be required reading for every African American in grade school. The author Dr. Carter G. Woodson wrote the book in 1933 and lays out the blueprint for why blacks need to “do for themselves”, regardless of what they were taught.
The Miseducation of the Negro is so impactful to me that I want to write a separate blog about it and I will share more information about it then. Pick this up today as I already have a copy ready for my kids.
The Four Agreements
I was one of those kids who followed the rules although a lot of things did not make sense to me. The Four Agreements by author Don Miguel Ruiz opened my eyes to what holds us back from feeling free. It helped me to stop judging, criticizing and blaming myself.
The Four Agreements are:
1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.
This is the best book I’ve read about achieving personal freedom. I definitely recommend this one as I prepare myself to read it again.
This book is the blueprint for building your self-confidence. Bhagavad Gita by Stephen Mitchell is considered a spiritual dictionary and provides answers to all life’s problems.
This book was recommended to me by a bartender and I finished it in less than a week. This book changed my life because I learned that in order to live a fulfilled life, building self-confidence has to be my number one priority.
This book has so many lessons:
–Trust in the self
–Anger causes delusion
–We get so attached to material things that we often forget that we won’t be taking them with us to the grave.
This is a must read at least twice.
The Autobiography of Malcom X
I was naive about Malcolm X growing up as a kid. Most of my education and the Church focused more on Martin Luther King. I knew a little, but very ignorant about the true history of African Americans. For so long, my mentality was to forget the past and focus on the future. But now I understand that history isn’t what happened, but a story of what happened. And we must know and understand it to grow.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley helped me to discover my identity as a black man in this country. The story of Malcolm Little is mandatory reading for all.