Books are my guilty pleasure.
I should be working but I am reading.
I should be sleeping but I am still reading.
I should be exercising but I have been lured again……
By the temptation to read.
What do I love about books?
Books provide insights into the distilled thoughts that are often decades in the making.
They reveal the wisdom of sages and men and women who have built their work on the generations that have gone before them and next to them.
They are time machines that transport us in to the future or take us back to the distant past.
Books aren’t for everyone
But I know that devoting a lot of your time to reading isn’t for everyone because we all have different modalities of learning and absorbing information.
Some like to watch and other like to listen.
One of the real gifts of technology is that information and inspiration can now be provided in a range of mediums. That includes YouTube videos, podcasts and even audio books.
We are all different and some of us are stranger than others. But we need the mavericks. The crazy ones.
So what have I read recently that has inspired me and shown me new insights and tools to change my life?
Here are inspiring books that have continued to change my thinking about life.
#1. Tribe of Mentors
Tim Ferriss inspired me 11 years ago to start a journey into the world of digital entrepreneurship. And over a decade later he is still is offering insights into what it means to be fully human.
Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice From the Best in the World is not a book that you would want to consume in big chunks but in small bites.
The format of this book is one where Tim asked people that are the top of their game 11 questions.
- What is the book or books you’ve given most as a gift? Or….what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?
- How has failure set you up for later success?
- In the last 5 years, what new belief, failure or habit has most improved your life?
As I am always looking for inspiring new books and also key insights into what has made a difference in people’s lives this book distills the essence of what makes people succeed….and fail.
This book is a wonderful resource for ideas and tactics that you can test drive in your own life.
#2. How to Fly a Horse
Kevin Ashton is a serial entrepreneur who debunks the myth of innovation, creativity and success as being only for the special ones. The geniuses that have been chosen by nature to succeed.
He believes that as humans we are all innately creative and it comes down to one thing.
If we can only sit down, show up and keep “doing” every day then the possibilities are just waiting to be manifested.
Woody Allen said, “80% of success is just showing up” and in the context of this book it now makes total sense to me.
I can identify with this as I discovered that success shows up if you persist and keep creating every day despite disappointment and setbacks.
His book “How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention and Discovery” is a great read that will give you hope, despite friends or teachers telling you that you were ordinary.
Ordinary can become extraordinary if you persist in “showing up” every day.
#3. The Creative Habit
You may have detected a bit of a theme in this book list.
Many of us have completed IQ tests and have been categorized and dropped into that “not so smart” bin.
But they don’t measure things like persistence, discipline and motivation.
It is good to be bright but it’s better to start and create habits that over time transform your life.
The Habit of “Deep Work” transformed my life.
“The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use It For Life” is by Twyla Tharp who is one of the world’s leading choreographers, and creator of the smash-hit Broadway show, Movin’ Out.
In it she shares her secrets for developing and honing your creative talents.
#4. The Artist’s Journey
Stephen Pressfield is one of my favorite authors.
His books are often short but beautifully written with wit and wisdom.
He has perfected the art of distilling powerful insights into the human condition. These include how to overcome life’s challenges and road blocks and break through to success.
The Artist’s Journey: The Wake of the Heroes Journey and The Lifetime Pursuit of Meaning will inspire you to do the work.
#5. The Resilience Factor
Life sometimes just flows. At other times you feel like you are waging a war and are being overwhelmed with chaos as things beyond your control threaten to draw you into the abyss.
This is when resilience is needed.
The book The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatté is a book based on scientific research.
The 7 skills include:
- Avoiding thinking traps
- Detecting icebergs
- Overcoming challenging beliefs
Resilience can be learned. It is a skill that we all need.
And we will need it in parenting, business, work and just for “life” when it shows up in all its glorious imperfection.
Want more inspiring books?
Here are a few more books that got onto my reading list.
Check them out.