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I’ve arranged the books in 11 different categories:
General Personal Development
Decision Making
Health & Fitness
Entrepreneurship & Business
7. Personal Finance
8. Creativity
9. Biographies
10. Productivity
11. Fiction
1. Best General Personal
Development Books
Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker — The best self-help piece that
is ever written. It’s actually an article that appeared in the Harvard
Business Review in 1999. And in 2008, it was published as a
paperback. A must-read for everyone.
How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie — An
all-time classic when it comes to personal development. This book is
an essential read for everyone—particularly for people getting out of
college. Carnegie writes about how you can increase your popularity,
persuade people, make friends, enable you to win new clients and
customers, become a better speaker and boost enthusiasm among
your colleagues.
The Greatest Salesman In The World by Og Mandino — While the
title sounds like a sales book, The Greatest Salesman In The World is
more a philosophy book. It is a book that also shows you how to
create a habit. Og Mandino writes that you have to reread every
scroll, three times a day, for a month. That will take you ten months to
complete this book.
Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers — Fear is
something that holds us back on a daily basis. And Susan Jeffer’s book
gives you practical tips on how you can manage fear. I say ‘manage’
because fear is something that will never go away. And that’s why I
like to read this book every year.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck — Life is
about solving problems and finding solutions. If you always look at
the risks and consequences of everything, you might play it safe, but
you’ll also never grow. Carol Dweck’s book is one of my favorite
books about developing the mindset you need to succeed in life.
HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Managing Yourself — The book’s
description starts with, “The path to your professional success starts
with a critical look in the mirror.” I can’t agree more. This collection
does not disappoint. Every piece will make you think more about
your mission, vision, strengths, weaknesses, and how you can
advance your career.
Laws Of Human Nature by Robert Greene — With his latest book,
Robert Greene, shows that living a successful life is not only about
power and status. How well we are at dealing with people is one of
the most important predictors of career success. Since everything we
do relies on others, we must get better at understanding others. And
what’s the best way to do that? By understanding yourself. And that’s
what Laws Of Human Nature helps you with. Great book for
improving your self-knowledge.
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2. Best Decision Making Books
Seeking Wisdom by Peter Bevelin — This is probably the best
summary I’ve read on practical and scientific thinking. Bevelin is an
excellent writer and he captures the wisdom from Charlie Munger in
a perfect way. The book respects the reader and doesn’t show off. It’s
a book that I already referred to several times after reading it. And
together with the Jordan Peterson and Pierre Hadot books, I plan to
re-read these books going forward.
Just like the title of Bevelin’s book, to me, life is about seeking
wisdom. It’s the only pursuit that we can perform as long as our brain
works. You can get physically impaired, lose your money, friends,
status, but you can never lose your thirst for knowledge.
Incerto by Nassim Nicholas Taleb — Technically, this is a series that
consists of five books. Until 2018, I had never read Taleb. Several of
my friends are big fans of his work. And when his latest book in the
series, Skin In The Game, came out this year, I felt compelled to read
it. In his latest book, he writes about how most decision-makers have
nothing to lose when things go wrong. Having skin in the game will
change everything. After all, it’s easy to make a decision or give
advice when you have nothing to lose.
I love his message and style. Taleb is someone who doesn’t care what
certain people think of him. And he’s not afraid to make bold
statements. He’s not only a good writer but the contents of his books
are also excellent. After I read Skin In The Game, I decided to read all
his books. That took me about a month and I’m glad I did. If you
haven’t read any of his books, check out which one appeals to you the
most. You can read them in any order you want.
The Most Important Thing by Howard Marks — This is actually a
book on investing. But you can apply Marks’ investing strategy to any
type of decision. His investment strategy is largely based on the fact
that humans are emotional beings. If we all made rational and
unemotional decisions, we would always have a perfect economy.
We’re emotional and it’s not in our nature to make rational decisions.
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3. Best Health & Fitness Books
Bigger, Leaner, Stronger by Michael Matthews — The only book you
need for improving your fitness. Matthews has written a complete
book that focusses on simplicity. We all hate complicated fitness and
eating regiments. Bigger, Leaner, Stronger is based on a few simple
methods and destroys many popular fitness myths.
Spark by John Ratey — Everyone knows that exercise is good for our
health. However, it can also transform your mind. This book is based
on scientific research and teaches us how to boost brain cells, protect
ourselves against mental illness and dementia, and ensure success in
exams and the workplace. A great read that inspires us to live an
active lifestyle.
The Story Of The Human Body by Daniel Lieberman — Books by
academics are usually not my favorite. But this book is easy to read.
And, it’s good to know more about that body of yours.
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4. Best Entrepreneurship &
Business Books
The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss — The modern
entrepreneur’s bible. This book changed my perspective on doing
business. Tim Ferriss has influenced thousands of people across the
world who have gone to start companies themselves. Ferriss is also an
angel investor or an advisor to Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, and Uber,
and other tech companies. This is a must-read for anyone who desires
financial freedom.
Zero To One by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters — Peter Thiel is
mostly known as the co-founder of PayPal and the first outside
investor to Facebook. Zero To One is a book that discusses the
motives behind entrepreneurship. It covers essential topics such as
history, human behavior, competition, creativity, and how new tech
companies change the world. Zero To One is a necessary read for
every entrepreneur or anyone who is interested in learning about the
rise of startups.
Purple Cow by Seth Godin — This is one of the best books on
marketing and Seth Godin is considered as one of the best marketing
minds in the world. The book’s message is simple: if you want to
stand out from the crowd, you have to be remarkable. Purple Cow is a
must-read for every business owner and marketer. I also encourage
you to read Godin’s personal blog. He posts a thought-provoking
article every single day. Now, that is remarkable.
Contagious by Jonah Berger — When you want to have massive
marketing success with a limited budget, read Contagious by Jonah
Berger. It is an excellent book with a thorough analysis of viral
campaigns, and why they catch on. Jonah Berger is a Marketing
professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
and uses scientific research to back up his findings. His writing style,
however, is far from academic and very enjoyable.
The Boron Letters by Gary Halbert — Gary Halbert was a successful
copywriter. And today, he’s still a legend in the marketing world. But
this collection of letters goes beyond marketing. Halbert uses his
copywriting skills to teach his son about direct response marketing,
life, health, and being successful. He wrote these letters while he was
serving time in federal prison.
Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath — The all-time classic
book on persuasion is Influence by Robert Cialdini. I highly
recommend reading that book. However, that book is very
theoretically and broad. If you specifically want to read more about
how you can persuade others of your ideas, Made to Stick is great.
Telling persuasive stories is one of your key responsibilities as an
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne — I
have to confess that I’ve been familiar with the concept of ‘blue
oceans’ and ‘red oceans’ in the marketing world for a few years.
However, I haven’t been applying it as much as I should. Too often,
we try to compete with other businesses in red oceans. Why do we do
it? Why do we always try to be better and not different? Blue Ocean
Strategy provides valuable answers that help you create unique
products that serve new markets.
Anything You Want by Derek Sivers — Almost all entrepreneurs I
know are lazy. I’m the biggest example of that. Why do you think I’m
so big on productivity? I don’t want to waste my time on unnecessary
things. Even though reading is one of the most necessary things for
me as an entrepreneur, I understand that you might not have time to
read all the books on my reading list. Maybe you have a 9–5 job, run
multiple businesses or have a house full of kids. These are all
legitimate reasons for lack of time.
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5. Best Writing Books
The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White — And
every job has some form of written communication. So you don’t
want to write in a way that people don’t understand. That’s why The
Elements of Style is such an important book. Especially now when
most communication is written. And this book teaches you how to
think and write clearly—so that people understand you. A valuable
skill. The Elements of Style is a must-read for everyone, not only
journalists or writers.