Today, I’m going to share 13 books that have made the most impact on my life.
Reading is a daily ritual.
Much of what I’ve achieved is from reading valuable books and being guided by mentors.
My mission is to help 1,000,000 people transform their business and life.
One way I can do that is to share the lessons that have changed my life from the books I’ve read.
Read time: 3 minutes 👇
By the way, I’m working on a design thinking online bootcamp for early 2023. It is based around the best design thinking framework available.
You can grab your spot here.
Let’s get going!
1) Who moved my cheese? - Dr. Spencer Johnson
I first read this book when I was in my 20’s and it’s stuck in my mind ever since.
An easy 1 hour read that takes you on a journey of two mice that have different responses to a changing world.
- How to anticipate, adapt and enjoy change.
2) What colour is your parachute? - Richard. N. Bolles
This book is a practical guide to career change.
It was the first book that opened my eyes to the possibility of designing a life centred around my unique passsions, skills and traits.
Also, helps you with writing, negotiation and other job-hunting skills.
- How to create a life of purpose and meaning.
3) The how of happiness - A new aproach to getting the life you want - Sonja Lyubomirsky
A playbook to grab the 40% of happiness that is in your control.
Sonja unpacks what happiness is, suggests a way of measuring your happiness and provides activities that will make you happier.
- Understanding that how happiness is determined largely by myself, not my circumstances.
- Happiness has massive lifelong health benefits.
- Finding activities that make me happy, like gratitude, acts of kindness and ways to reduce overthinking.
4) Grit - The power of passion and perseverance - Angela Duckworth
What Angela’s research found was that the common indicator of achievement is effort not talent.
- Effort counts twice. Here’s the formula: talent x effort = skill, skill x effort = achievement.
- The best performers use the deliberate practice system: 1) Clearly designed stretch goal. 2) Focus and effort. 3) Short feedback loops. 4) Reflection, refinement, repitition.
- Grit is contagious.
5) Creative confidence - Tom and David Kelley
The founders of the legendary design thinking agency IDEO, David and Tom Kelley co-authored Creative Confidence.
The book provides an entertaining and inspiring narrative that lefts your confidence in being creative.
It is for everyone to be able to unleash their creativity, to innovate your life or workplace.
- Eveyone can be creative. It’s about having the right processes and mindsets.
- Creativity and design are really thinking by action.
6) Switch: How to change things when change is hard - Chip and Dan Heath
Switch by Heath brothers is about how to change behaviour for effective innovation and problem-solving.
This book is the missing link for innovation.
Use their framework of ‘direct the rider’, ‘motivate the elephant’ and ‘shape the path’ to make hard change possible.
I used their framework on this innovation project.
- Direct the rider – amplify what’s working, describe specific behaviours and give a near-term goal.
- Motivate the elephant – connect with emotion, make change smaller as you grow your people.
- Shape the path – reduce friction for people to act, build off existing habits, unify the team.
7) Playing to win: How strategy really works - Roger L. Martin and A.G. Lafley
This book connects strategy with design thinking.
I provides a simple yet powerful way of thinking about strategy, the choices that you make (and therefore don’t make) within the five, choice cascade questions.
- Strategy is about creating the future you want and it can’t be precribed with accuracy in advance.
- Moving towards your vision, experimenting, iterating and refining will give you a good change of achieving competitive advantage.
8) The 7 habits of highly effective people - Stephen R. Covey
Stephen provides a step-by-step roadmap for living with fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity.
The principles provide us the security to adapt to change and the courage and wisdom to take advantage of the opportunities when presented.
- Habit 1: Be Proactive
- Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
- Habit 3: Put First Things First
- Habit 4: Think Win/Win
- Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
- Habit 6: Synergize
- Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
9) Good to great - Jim Collins
This book helped me to reframe what makes the difference between a good organisation and one that can become great.
Interestingly, it comes down to some basic principles.
- Focus on surrounding the problem or business with the right people first.
- Aim for greatness, keep plans simple and adaptable.
- Be disciplined while cultivating a culture of creativity and fun.
- Spend your time on: what you’re passionate about, what you can be the best in the world at, and that provides enough financial return.
10) Deep work - Cal Newport
Setting aside time for deep work has been a game-changer for me.
You’ll learn how to cultivate deep work habits.
- Turn off social media for that time period.
- Get yourself into the flow of deep work by giving yourself enough time.
- Set up regular planning and review cycles.
11) Mindset - Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential - Dr. Carol S. Dweck
Carol presents the concept of a growth mindset over having a fixed mindset.
This helped me cultivate a love of learning and resilience.
- How you view the world lends itself to growth or fixed mindset.
- Words matter. Yet is a powerful word, ‘I havn’t learned to do it – yet’.
- How to develop deep curiosity.
12) Think and grow rich - Napoleon Hill
The time tested classic about money and mindset.
Opened my eyes to how the two are inextricably connected.
- You can turn your thoughts into action into results.
- Fear is the biggest obstacle to overcome.
13) Ego is the enemy - Ryan Holiday
I’ve started consuming all of Ryan’s books.
Some love this one, some don’t.
It’s very appropriate for business, leadership, innovation and life in general.
- More work, less talk.
- Failure is not seeing the effort as reward in itself.
- Move from ‘know it all’ to ‘learn it all’ mindset.
The short of it
- Always be learning.
- The right book or mentor is life-changing.
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“Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Ghandi