If you frequent lots of success-oriented websites or blogs, I’m sorry for what I’m about to say. I’m sure you’ve heard it tons of times before, but…
You must read to succeed.
In fact, most CEOs read about 4 books every month according to this article by Inc. I’m not saying you’ve got to be blazing through one book a week like the world’s top earners. I’m also not insinuating that your only goal is to make a top-earner income.
But success, however you describe it, is a road better traveled with company. And what better company to keep than those who have succeeded before you?
Normal People do Extraordinary Things
Books connect you to those who have made mistakes, felt your pains, experienced your triumphs, and found success. They close the gap between “unattainable” goals and the normal people that achieved them. But you have to read all sorts of books to enrich your life. Everyone’s path is different, and a varied library brings you closer to finding your own.
Here’s a kicker many people don’t realize about building a personal library:
You have to focus on “sections” like a real library. Need motivation and inspiration? Try some memoirs and personal accounts written by people who have created fulfilling lives.
In other cases, you may want something more mechanical. Maybe a process for getting work done? How about a way to refine your skills in whatever field you’re in? You’ve got quite a few choices there.
But you can’t build success on one type of book alone.
You’ve got to keep a good mix if you want to get the benefits of a true-blue library. You’ve got plenty of choices starting at the baseline:
- personal development
- philosophy (often overlooked but important)
- and of course some fiction to feed your creative brain.
Then you’ve got your personal taste which might mean art books, travel, history… the list goes on.
But it’s important that you start with books that will improve your life from a baseline level. These are books that focus on your character and heart. They change your perception, inspire you, and open your mind to new possibilities.
Since You Define Your Version of Success,
Here are some General Books to Start Your Library.
Because books can get so granular, I’ve compiled a list that anyone can enjoy.
They’re picked from my own vast library of personal favorites. You could apply them to any career, any passion, any life. Each of these books is a different category, like I mentioned above. This way, you can start building out a variety-packed library of your own over time. It’s equal parts inspiration, motivation, and education.
As you build out your personal library, you’ll notice that having different types in equal measure keeps things even. Too many books about taking action and your motivation wanes. Too many motivational books and you’re all adrenaline and no plan. Keep an even keel and over time you’ll build up a stunning collection of books you’ll come back to year after year.
So without further ado…
by Bob Burg and John David Mann
This book’s tagline is “A Little Story about a Powerful Business Idea.” Despite how right that is, it also falls short of the book’s true value. Though the word “business” is in the subtitle, this book is really about life in general. It’s a major perspective shift that takes you from a “getting” mindset to a “giving” one. This simple philosophical shift alone can change the way you conduct your life.
I first read the book in 2008. It left me so catalyzed that I bought 10 copies to mail to friends and family. Then I ordered another 10 to give away. Then some more. I’m not exaggerating when I say the count is somewhere near 200.
I believe in this book because it’s worked for me. It’s not a positive thinking manifesto like many books. It focuses on the spirit of generosity and actually proves its worth if you apply the lessons.
I’ve applied the five laws of stratospheric success in my life as well as in my businesses since my first read. This book has changed my life and done the same for many others who’ve read and applied it. The Go-Giver Movement has now taken on a life of its own as a living philosophy, not just a business one.
By OG MANDINO
I am really cheating here. That is not the title of an Og Mandino book. That is the word everything, which Merriam Webster defines as “All that relates to the subject.”
In the very early 90’s, I read The Greatest Secret in the World. That one small book sent me on an obsessive quest to read everything that Mandino had written. This is a pretty common reaction. This was when I first realized that the greatest gift you could give someone is a life-changing book. A habit that’s stuck with me for years.
For birthdays, I’d run to Barnes & Noble and purchase small Mandino libraries and bundle them up for people as gifts. They’re easy, conversational reads, so it’s always great to have the next one available (you willcrave more content by Mandino as soon as you finish one of his books.
Here’s a list of my personal favorites. Pick one and add it to your success library (so you don’t have to call me a liar in regards to the blog title).
- THE GREATEST SECRET IN THE WORLD
- MISSION SUCCESS
- THE CHOICE
- THE GREATEST MYSTERY IN THE WORLD
- THE GREATEST SALESMAN IN THE WORLD
- UNIVERSITY SUCCESS
- THE GIFT OF ACABAR
- THE RETURN OF THE RAGPICKER.
If I didn’t list it on here but you see his name on it, read it!
YOU ARE A BADASS
by Jen Sincero
The audiobook version of Jen Sincero’s instant hit book accompanied my on a solo road trip I took 2 years ago. Her inspiring words kept me awake during that otherwise dreary 17 hour trip from Texas to South Florida.
Sincero made a great case for the importance of loving ourselves and empowering us to bring out the badass in each of us. It’s really there, just find it, bring it out and let it change your life.
It’s a clean and simple concept that’s beautifully reduced in the language of coffee shop conversations. A must-read wake up call for the soul.
THINK AND GROW RICH
by Napoleon Hill
This is a classic which likely needs no introduction. You’ve probably heard of it before if you’ve ever been interested in positive psychology or optimism in general.
If you haven’t actually read it or haven’t read it in years: READ IT AND READ IT AGAIN.
This is a powerful little treatise that has pretty much influenced every other success writer on earth. Hill really nails how mindset informs material and (more importantly) personal success. The language is perhaps a bit dated by some standards.
It’s rich with description and packed with spirited wording, which makes it a little tougher to get through. But at the end of it all, you’ll have all the tools (and reasons) you need to start changing your mindset for a more successful life.
This is Just the Beginning
It’s a short list, but there is plenty of content here to break ground on your new success library. Each of these books is strikingly different in their approach and tone, but that’s what it takes to build a powerful collection.
The trick is: you have to read them. Don’t think just reading this blog and buying the books will help you start your path to success. You can’t just skim through them either! Read them. Get to know the author through their words, and take their advice into your daily life. There’s no way you’ll be the same person you were before you finished all these books.