I have a passion for self improvement and reading is one of the best ways to expand and develop your mind.
Below are some of my recommendations from my extensive research
The Total Money Makeover
Looking to get a better grip of your finances? Wondering why all of you money disappears every month? Why do you credit card bills keep piling up no matter how hard you try and pay them down?
You need a Total Money Makeover!
Ramsey has established himself as the guru for getting you financial house in order. This book is litter with stories of all the families he has helped over the years. Dave's mantra is - if you will live like no one else, later you can "live" like no one else. Curb your spending now, pay down debt and in the future you can have the life of your dreams. He explains the "debt snowball" method for paying off debts where you start by clearing you lowest balance then when its zero - rolling that payment onto your next highest one.
I didn't think my financial house was in bad shape but having read this book I realize I have a lot of work to do! Whilst I don't fully agree with Dave's "all debt is bad" viewpoint, I am enjoying building my own debt snowball!
Willpower Doesn’t Work
This book challenges the conventional norms of todays “self help” thinking. Hardy explains that willpower, mindset and goal setting are all 1960-1980s psychology. With the constant distraction of today’s world (email, text, Twitter and Facebook) now more than ever you need to change the environment around you to be successful rather than gritting your teeth and grinding away with willpower. Unplug, remove the distractions, change your friends and create an uncluttered environment where you can be at your very best. Go beyond the point of no return by fully committing (especially financially) to your ultimate goal and invest in coaches and mentors to guide you there. This is a really good read if you are “dabbling” on the edge of something – go all in – immerse yourself in the right environment and you will be successful!
SELF & HEALTH
The Big Leap
Most of us operate in our Zone of Competence – where we do stuff but we’re not the best at it. Some of us even reach our Zone of Excellence – where we are really good at some stuff but very few of us take the Big Leap into our Zone of Genius – where we fully utilize our unique capability. Our Upper Limit Problem or ULP holds us all back from achieving our potential. These can be fear of failure, undeserving feelings, negative self-talk or other self-imposed constraints. Hendricks provides tools and techniques for dissolving your specific ULP and allowing you to progress into the Zone of Genius. One of them that I regularly use is Hendricks’ Ultimate Success Mantra “ I expand in abundance, success and lover every day, as I inspire those around me to do the same”. I find this a really powerful phrase to recite when I am faced with obstacles or challenges throughout the day. It helps me get calm and re-focus towards my ZoG!
We all have habits that we don't like. Biting our nails, eating junk food, not exercising. We know they are bad for us but for some reason we keep repeating them. Well all that is about to change when you master your Atomic Habits.
Clear explains why we form habits, how to build new good habits and how to destroy bad or disempowering ones. He explains the 4 Laws of Good Habits - Make it Obvious, Make it Attractive, Make it Easy and Make it Satisfying. He illustrates the effectiveness of these principles with his own examples as well as references from academic research and social observations.
Don't think this is all about just biting your nails - this is one of the most complete books I've read. Clear shows how all the little things we do everyday , stack up to deliver the results we get out of life. Just by tweaking and changing one or two small habits, we can exponentially expand our results!
SELF & HEALTH
The Charisma Myth
Olivia Fox Cabane
Turns out you can teach charisma!
Cabane breaks down the myth that "you've either got it or your haven't" into simple exercises that you can do to develop your charismatic skills. She explains the four "types" of charisma (Authority, Visionary, Focus and Kindness) and teaches you how to master them.
The fundamentals are you need to build a strong mental state, practice gratitude, goodwill and compassion and manage your voice and body language to help convey the right messages. Visualizations also play a key role - doing a "dry-run" in your head of how you want an interaction / presentation / discussion to go in your head is a great way to prepare your mind and body for success.
The other great thing about this book is there is a complete chapter and exercise summary at the very end so it's a great quick reference guide when you check back later.
5 Second Rule
The simplicity of this technique is the key to its effectiveness. Counting backwards from five (like a rocket launch) is a great way to propel yourself forward into the unknown (again like a rocket launch!)
This book is packed with inspirational examples of where people have pushed themselves to achieve things just by using a simple countdown!
I find I use this technique most often to get myself out of bed on those difficult days - and it really does work!
Start with Why
This is one of the best books to explain the importance of a Big Why. By studying both successful large organizations - like Apple - and this that appear to have lost their way - like Microsoft - Since has uncovered the science behind the power of Why. He explains the concept of the Golden Circle - every organization (and person) needs a strong understanding of their Why at their core, this then drives How the organization does things and ultimately What they produce. Too many organizations focus on just the What (their product or profits) and ultimately end up loosing their direction and market share because they haven't understood their underlying Why.
This is a really good book for any manager trying to get their team (and their customers) to "buy-in" to their product or new initiative - they must first understand Why their team exists and ensure that everything they do is consistent with that.
The Happiness Equation
Being happy is not difficult - it's a simple formula!:
Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything
Luckily for us, Pasricha has figured out the nine secrets that will get you the right answer! My favorites include - Do it for you, Don't retire and Just do it! He combines academic research, personal stories and "scribbles" to illustrate each of the secrets in a simple, understandable way. There's also a series of practical exercises you can do everyday to help boost your happy mindset. I've been through a bit of a low point recently and have found these invaluable tools to get me back onto a positive track.
Pasricha's parting words are "Go forth and be happy. And don't take advice." I think that's a great summary of his message.
What is cybernetics? It’s the study of how people, animals and machines control and communicate information. Psycho-cybernetics is a phrase developed by Maltz as a means of “steering your mind to a productive useful goal”. Despite being first published in 1960, I found the methods and tools in this book extremely relevant to anyone trying to achieve a goal today. It teaches you how to harness the power of your creative mechanisms (mind and imagination) and turn them into success mechanisms. Visualize and intensely focus on the desired outcome and the means to achieve that success will arrive. My favorite analogy in here is to imagine yourself as a torpedo. Lock on to your target (goal) and accelerate towards it. You will need to make large adjustments initially to stay on course but as you near your target these adjustments will become much smaller before you ultimately hit the bulls-eye.
You Are A Badass at Making Money
This follow up to Sincero's original You Are A Badass focuses on your finances. Using her unique direct and entertaining style, Jen helps you break down the preconceived notion that a love of money is dirty and wrong.
She teaches that money is abundant and that your share is out there for you to go and get. She also gets you to focus on all the great things money has enabled you to do - not just for you but for those around you.
There's some great exercises in here at the end of each chapter that really help you drill down into why you deserve money and what's holding you back. Like my book, Sincero uses affirmations or "money mantras" to help change your mindset and unlock your financial success!