Five Books You Should Read That Will (Probably) Change Your Life

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Over the past year, I read 161 books. I started even more of them. I recommend hundreds of books to organizations and people to help them solve problems.

Transcript of Five Books You Should Read That Will (Probably) Change Your Life

  • 5 books you should read.
  • Reading what everyone else reads is good for conversation, perhaps, but its not going to enable you to think differently.
  • And if you cant think differently, youre always going to be a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest .
  • Over the past year, I started over 300 books. After tossing out the nonsense and putting books back on my shelf that I wasnt ready for, I ended up reading 161 books cover-to- cover. If you want to read and learn along with me, subscribe to my weekly digest: brainfood.
  • Collected Maxims Deceptively brief and easy to read, La Rochefoucaulds unflattering analysis of human behavior will stay with you for a lifetime. His maxims and reflections influenced people like Nietzsche, Voltaire, Proust, de Gaulle, and Conan Doyle. The readers best policy, Rochefoucauld suggests, is to assume that none of these maxims is directed at him, and that he is the sole exception. . After that, I guarantee that he will be the first to subscribe to them.
  • 48 Laws of Power Ive never read this book in a cover- to-cover sense but Ive read each of the laws. More than that, Ive broken each of the laws. Ill give you an example. The first law is Never outshine the master. Once I was hired as the assistant to a very senior person, I worked as hard as I ever have to show off my talents and skills and at every turn it backfired over and over again. The lesson make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power. I wish I read this book earlier in my career, it certainly would have been helpful.
  • The Arts of Leadership and War This book sat on my shelf for a year before I picked it up recently. This is the biography of Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, who made the oldest known declaration of human rights. The book is full of leadership lessons. Heres an example. Brevity is the soul of command. Too much talking suggests desperation on the part of the leader. Speak shortly, decisively and to the pointand couch your desires in such natural logic that no one can raise objections. Then move on.
  • Letters From a Self-Made Merchant This no nonsense collection of 20 letters from a self-made man to his son are nothing short of brilliant as far as Im concerned. This is a great example of timeless wisdom. The broad theme is how to raise your children in a world where they have plenty but the lessons apply to parents and non-parents alike.
  • Models of my Life An autobiography of Nobel laureate Herbert A. Simon, a remarkable polymath who more people should know about. In an age of increasing specializing, hes a rare generalist applying what he learned as a scientist to other aspects of his life. Crossing disciplines, he was at the intersection of information sciences. He won the Nobel for his theory of bounded rationality, and is perhaps best known for his insightful quote A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.
  • Meditations Ok, this is a bonus pick as I figured a many of you might have read this already. It was, after all, on the 2013 Farnam Street readers choice list. If you bought it and havent read it, consider this a nudge. The best way to sum up this book is: A simple and powerful guide to life. This book was never intended for publication it was for himself. How many people write a book of epigrams to themselves? Get it. Read it. Live it.
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