So a little disclaimer from the get-go; I rarely ever “read” books, I usually just listen to audiobooks and have made listening a habit since the 5th grade.
I like the flexibility of audiobooks: I can be driving, walking, biking, running, cleaning, fixing, or any monotonous task and be “reading”.
It’s funny, I used to walk around my town and listen to audiobooks, and now when I walk by that same path I recollect what I listened to at that location. I’ll turn a corner and all of a sudden reminisce on Harry shoving his wand up a troll’s nose or see Ender as he freezes his knees to claim victory over his enemies.
The 8 books that have made a massive impact on my life
This is my favorite fiction book. It was not just a great read, it honestly made me feel like I was getting smarter with every page I read. It taught me leadership skills, strategy, and how to think critically.
Basically, the book is set in the future and tells a story about a super-smart 12-year-old who is drafted into a military academy and trained to be the next commanding general should the Formics (an alien race) ever attack again.
The Way of the Peaceful Warrior
There is something mysterious and magical about this book. The most important lesson it taught me is to always be in the present moment – to stop wishing to relive the past or constantly dream of the future, but to cherish and embrace this present moment we find ourselves in. The book presents a whole life philosophy, and I believe my life has been made better by it.
The book takes you on a journey through the college years of the author, Dan Millman, and how he encounters his life mentor, Socrates, who begins to teach him how to live life as a “peaceful warrior.”
Born to Run
(Somehow this book found its way in this list … and it deserves to be here, so I left it.)
This book inspired me to begin trusting in the strength of my physical body. It got me to start running barefoot and really think about what incredible creations our bodies are that have been perfectly adapted to live and handle anything we encounter in our natural environment.
This book got me to question everything that society had led me to believe was normal. I began asking myself whether things were actually necessary or just marketed as essential to our lives. I would think about our prehistoric ancestors and how they got through life, and about animals and how theirs bodies handled their environments. My mind would dwell on questions like: How did cavemen get by without shoes, toothbrushes, diapers, toilet paper, medicine, etc.? Was it even all necessary? Are these only necessary now because of the new conditions that we as humans have introduced into our own lives?
So a quick synopsis: the book starts out with the unveiling of the author’s running pains and injuries which lead him to research a Mexican tribe of runners that would run for hundreds of miles at a stretch with nothing but the thinnest sandals all the while never getting hurt. It’s a wild adventure and a fascinating read.
Some quotes I loved:
- “You live up to your own expectations”
- “Make friends with pain and you will never be alone.”
- “Who’s more committed to winning after all predator or prey. After the lion can come to hunt another day, but one mistake from the antelope and he’s gone.”
- “Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”
- “Beyond the very extremes of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own. Sources of strength we never taxed at all because we never passed through that obstruction.”
- “Bricolage, the concept that less is more. The best solution is the most elegant. Why add something if you’re born with everything you need.”
- “You support an area it gets weaker. Use it extensively it gets stronger. Run barefoot and you don’t have all those problems.”
- “The cure for cancer is a change to a healthy lifestyle.”
- “Human distance running is a blend of strategy and skill perfected and demands a brain-body connection that no other animal is capable of.”
- “Humans have a mind-body conflict. A body built for performance but a brain that’s always conserving. The brain is always trying to conserve your energy. We live in a culture that sees extreme exercise as crazy. Why fire up the machine if you don’t have too. Sitting around was a luxury, only recently have we come up with the technology to make lazing around a way of life. We’ve taken our hunter gatherer body and dropped it into an alien world.”
This book is very special to me. Growing up, there were many times I felt I didn’t fit in and I found solace in this book and truly loved the story.
The book follows Stargirl, a middle-schooler who just moved into a small town in Arkansas. She is bold and embraces her quirky, odd, original nature. This doesn’t go over too well with her new school and with those that are just following the status quo. I always wished I could be like Stargirl and just embrace the true me with no concern of the thoughts of others – fearless and limitless.
The Five Love Languages
This book is powerful. If I were ruler of the world, I would decree it a mandatory read for anyone of marital age. My wife and I read this book every year in October – we feel the lessons in it are that important.
We’ve read a number of relationship books, but none are as succinct and impacting as this one. Filled with case studies and different strategies, it will teach you how to build/repair a beautiful relationship with your spouse.
The main takeaway from this book is that people feel love in different ways and if you want to truly love someone, you need to do so in a language that they understand. It also stresses that not fulfilling someone’s primary love language whether it be quality time, acts or service, touch, words of affirmation, or gifts can be detrimental to a relationship.
If you haven’t already, please read this book. It’s only four hours long (in audiobook form) and will change your life.
The 4 Hour Workweek
This book is for anyone who is not satisfied with their 9-5 work life. The book shows you how to excel at work and be super productive, whereby you can land yourself more freedom and liberties with your time, since no manager will want to mess with an A+ employee. The book also explores entrepreneurial endeavors you can start during those free hours you’ve now gained and how to eventually escape the corporate rat race altogether.
I read this book prior to starting my full-time job as a mechanical engineer and I feel it really pushed me to improve my output and productivity right from the get-go. This gave me a lot of confidence in my job and a sense of being “highly valued” at my workplace.
This book dives into a lot of topics that I am very interested in: starting a business, automating your businesses, improving productivity, getting things done, becoming more effective, working less and getting more done in less time.
Outwitting the Devil
The history of this book really intrigued me. It was written nearly 70 years ago by Napoleon Hill. Hill’s wife begged him not to publish it as she felt it would be too controversial a book. So it has sat dormant all these years only to be published a few years ago.
In the book, Hill somehow manages to capture the Devil and force him to give an interview. The Devil is left with no other option than to answer Hill’s questions, which then reveal all his devilish tricks to ensnare humanity and keep people from successfully reaching their true potential and destiny in life.
The Book expands on these 7 principles to attain spiritual, mental, and physical freedom:
- Definiteness of purpose
- Mastery over self
- Learning from adversity
- Controlling environmental influence (association)
- Time (giving permanency to positive habit and developing wisdom
- Harmony (acting with definiteness of purpose to become the dominating influence in your own mental, spiritual, and physical environment)
- Caution (thinking through your plan before you act)
My biggest takeaway from this book was the notion of offensive and defensive finances. Offensive finances are the money you bring in – for most people that are just their salary. Defensive finances are how you spend your money. If you have the best offense and no defense you save no money. You need both offense and defense to play a good financial game.
This book shares some fascinating statistics on millionaires and their lifestyles. The book sheds light on the fact that the typical millionaire is not who you would typically think of. They are not lavishly spending their money, buying expensive fancy cars, and going on shopping sprees. The book talks about the characteristics, principles, and attributes that millionaires embody and is quite an interesting read.
One main point he brings home is that kids are not the leaders of the family and should not be catered to as such; nor do they want to be. Instead, kids want to be led and told what to do.
He describes the ideal parenting style as a “benevolent dictatorship” and I couldn’t agree more. It’s a very quick read – you could finish the book in an afternoon – but it can change your life and that of your families forever.
List of all the Books I’ve read:
The Stars indicate my rating for the books.
* – Didn’t like it
** – It was okay
*** – Good Book
**** – Great book, definitely recommend it
***** – Everyone should read this book!
"We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy." - J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
I never felt I was born a genius or particularly gifted in intelligence. But I am positive that the habit of reading (or listening to) books has vastly improved my mind and critical thinking. I attribute a large majority of my success to my habit of listening to audiobooks.
I feel my life is constantly uplifted and inspired by books. There is so much value added to my life from the books I read and although I gain a lot from each book, it is the overall habit of continually reading and taking in new information and lessons that has made the biggest impact on my life.
If anyone has any book recommendations, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear other people’s ‘Top 8 Books’!