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When people ask me a good book to read I don’t know what to tell them.  There are 200-500 good books.” ~ James Altucher

People often comment on how I am always reading something new and frequently ask for my a good book recommendation.  It might be the most common (and most difficult) question I am posed so regularly.  My absolute dream day is spent with 2-3 hours absorbing my latest book. Writing this post therefore is both enjoyable and very challenging! For me, and I don’t feel like I am exaggerating here, it’s like choosing between my children!  Sadly I think I don’t have any other hobbies.

What I have here for you today is a curation of some of the books that have most impacted my life, changed me for the better and radically improved my quality of living.  I feel sometimes like reading is cheating – I get to learn from everyone else and use their experiences to drastically better my life – my business, my relationships, my bank account and my overall sense of peace.  A few friends now that have suggested I make this a topic of my newsletter and I have finally relented to the challenge of limiting my favorite teachers to just 7.  I tried 5 (and failed).  My original brainstorm was at 73 so please just go with me here.

Side note – I love fiction too but this list is non-fiction.  Fiction lessons and narratives can be equally valuable (hello, The Alchemist!) … Look out for those recommendations in a future post.

1. A Return To Love – Marianne Williamson
This book changed my view of the world entirely.
Greatest lesson: Only love is real. All of our fears, resentment and worry are an illusion of our ego. Marianne’s truths are freeing and enlightening in the most legitimate and beautiful way possible.

2. The Magic of Thinking Big – David Schwartz
I read this when I was 15!
Greatest lesson: Anything is possible – it starts and ends with your thinking.  There is no way I would have aimed so high from my unstable, extremely humble, nomadic upbringing had I not learned and believed these principles.  I adore the 1950’s vantage point too.  I got a few chuckles out of when re-reading this book recently – how success is defined by how I “can provide the best opportunities for my wife and children” and how it’s important “to treat my secretary with respect”!

3. The 4 Hour Work Week – Tim Ferriss
Never think about work the same way again.
Greatest lesson: Creative decisions and actions allow you to experience the richest life available and reject the traditional 9-5.  You’ll question everything about why your conventional career is valuable and receive highly practical information to live your life by design in an online driven, connected, opportunity rich world.  Slave, save, retire?  No thanks!  This book also gave me the idea of hiring an inexpensive virtual assistant, allowing me to free up my time for maximum creative use  (I have never looked back).

4. Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson
Change is everywhere, those who embrace it win.
Greatest lesson: People who succeed in all areas of their life embrace change swiftly and without complaint.  Be one of them.  This is a simple narrative about 2 mice and how each one acts differently when their cheese disappears.  The lesson applies to love, work, migration, even “the times”. You can finish it in 2 hours and be riveted by all the examples in your life you are reminded of.

5. How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
People matter most in this world.
Greatest lesson: You succeed when you make it about others. Ask questions. Listen. Use people’s names. Be encouraging and optimistic and sincerely praise the people in your life.  They will love you for it and you are both better for the experience.  This has been invaluable in my sales career.

6. The 5 Love Languages – Dr Gary Chapman
We all have 1 of these 5. Make sure you and your partner understand yours and each others.
Greatest lesson: All forms of conveying love are not equal. You need to give your partner what he or she needs (time, affection) and ask for what you need (help at home, words of affirmation). My husband and I love this book!  Every married couple ought to read it.

7. The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
Resistance stands between everything you have any everything you want.
Greatest lesson: Get busy. Work every single day toward your dream. Nothing else is more important and excuses mean nothing.  I quote Pressfield a lot.  One day he tweeted my article called, “The Secret To Getting Started” and I nearly died.

I am forcing myself to stop here.

Now … What has been a life-changing book for you?

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