Of course, being a writer, I am also an avid reader. Below is a handful of books that have significantly changed me as a person and helped me grow and understand my life. Literature is a wonderful gift that we should all benefit from.
1. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg – Everyone has a book that has changed their life. This one is mine. Not only has it helped me become a more productive person making and achieve goals both on a daily level and on a long-term scale, it has also helped me curb a major drug fixation. Facing the throes of addiction, I picked this book up in a Barnes and Noble one random day, and changed my addiction habits forever. I substituted the act of reading in for my cravings and now whenever I feel the urge to abuse, I habitually pick up something to read and engage my mind. Human beings are habitual creatures, and creating healthy habits across all platforms of our lives (eating, sleeping, working, socializing, etc.) is, as least for me, a secret to both success and happiness.
2. The 48 Laws of Power and Mastery by Robert Greene – The 48 Laws of Power is essential for anybody who wants to hold a job, advance in a competitive career or simply exist in life. Power surrounds everything we do and understanding how to recognize and wield it is paramount to survival. Mastery is a complete guide to crafting and achieving long term goals and life tasks. All of us want to someday look back on our lives and be proud of all of our accomplishments, and Mastery is the key to unlocking that vision. These two books in tandem are crucial for anybody with even an ounce of ambition in their life.
3. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell – We human beings cannot help but judge each other. We judge everything and everyone we meet and encounter immediately both consciously and subconsciously, within only a few seconds. Malcolm Gladwell’s research on intuition and the concept of “thin-slicing” is utterly unparalleled (as are many of the topics discussed in his books). Judgements are a major part of every day conflicts and explain the rational behind why so many people do the things they do in life. I count this book as a vital read for everybody.
4. Codependant No More by Melody Beattie – This book really made me examine all of my relationships in my life, with essentially everybody I knew. Relationships are the building block for how human beings function in a social world, and being able to closely examine those relationships is a wonderful tool. Are you getting the most out of all your friendships? Do you feel like people in your family take you for granted? Do you have a troubling relationship in your life? This book will help, I guarantee it.
5. Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday – This book is a true gift to millennial culture. Thanks to social media and the immediacy of communication and knowledge, we have become a nation of narcissists. In an anecdotal style similar to that of Robert Greene, Holiday examines the true path to the notoriety so many of us crave – shutting the fuck up, putting your head down, and working hard at a craft. We are always in a state of either aspiration, success, or failure, and the voice of our ego is constantly raging within us. Want to be somebody some day? Work hard, and learn to be in command of the voice of your ego.
6. Introducing NLP by Joseph O’Connor & John Seymour – NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is defined as the art and science of personal excellence. This book really helped me restructure the way I think. It outlines numerous disparate and helpful strategies for problem solving, advanced thinking and cognition, and understanding one’s perception of the self and also others. I have highlighted passages on nearly every page of this book and refer back to it often.
7. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk – I love this book because it’s about pushing yourself to give meaning to your life. The protagonist in the novel goes down a twisted road to get himself out of his rut, but even as things get out of control, there are always lessons to be learned. It’s also one of the only books-turned-movie where the endings are each starkly different, but I think both work wonderfully. If you enjoy eccentric fiction, find some more Chuck Palahniuk novels. You won’t be disappointed.
8. Dataclysm by Christian Rudder – I almost didn’t include this book on my list, but it’s just too damn interesting. Christian Rudder was one of the founders of OKCupid and has taken the last 10 years of social media metadata (including OKCupid, Facebook, Twitter, and others) and compiled all of the striking and anomalous statistics into this book. What he’s chosen to share was very eye opening for me, and the book itself is a quick read. Plus it has graphs!