Over that last two years, my reading has averaged out to around 30 minutes per day, which has meant that I have read approaching 70 personal development books - all have added some value, some have been pretty good, and a few of them have been great. A couple of them have changed my life.
So, when I combine the great ones I have read recently, with a couple of classics I read a few years ago, I have a space on my shelf for my own reference library - those books that I return to again and again, and/or have had a profound impact on my life and ideas.
Here, as of July 2018, is my current reference library*
… and here are my top-level summaries of what these books mean to me - they may not match what is on the cover, or even what the author intended, but they are what comes immediately to mind when I look at the spine….
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey. An absolute classic, and perhaps the one book that, more than most, influenced my thinking on personal development and growth.
Seven Strategies for Wealth and Happiness - Jim Rohn. Helped me to clarify my thoughts on discipline and goals, and Jim serves as a source for many more recent development books written by other authors.
Thinking Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman. My current book - a fascinating understanding of how the mind works.
15 Invaluable Laws of Growth / Intentional Living - John Maxwell. Great thoughts on how to live intentionally and build a practice of personal growth.
Life on Purpose - Victor Stretcher. A deep understanding of how finding your purpose and what matters most to you can really change your life.
Good to Great - Jim Collins. More a business development book than a personal one, but full of key learnings for what make successful companies successful in the long-term.
Be a Free Range Human - Marianne Cantwell. The first book that opened my eyes to how different a self-employed life can be to a corporate life, and a few interesting ideas on how to escape the former.
Grit - Angela Duckworth. A deep understanding of resilience, why it is important, and how to build it.
Mindset - Carol S Dweck. How the difference between fixed and growth mindsets can impact our performance, and how we can improve our own mindset.
Flow - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. How to create ‘flow’ - the state of joy, creativity and immersion that can bring greater happiness to our work and lives.
Start With Why - Simon Sinek. The modern classic on how understanding why we want to make changes is much more important than the how we do it, or what we do.
Wooden - John Wooden. A wonderfully reflective collection of thoughts and ideas.
Dot Com Secrets / Expert Secrets - Russell Brunson. Although I don’t agree with some of the ‘pushier’ approaches these books contain for converting customers on-line, they are an excellent foundation in how to spread ideas on the internet.
The Compound Effect - Darren Hardy. A great book that appears light, but contains deep insight in how small improvements and disciplines, repeated daily, can compound to make massive positive changes over time.
Eat That Frog - Brian Tracy. Another relatively light book, but with a few key concepts that have really made me think (and change) the way I do my work and plan my days.
The Happiness Advantage - Shawn Achor. The book that gave me the revelation that we don’t need to be successful to be happy, we actually need to be happy to be successful.
The Fortune Cookie Principle - Bernadette Jiwa. Other than the master, Seth Godin, Bernadette Jiwa is the only other voice I listen to about creating a story-driven business that can have a positive effect on other people’s lives.
There are a few important books missing from the shelf because they are either out on loan, or hidden on my Kindle :
Purple Cow - Seth Godin. Thoughtful insights on how to make products and build business that matter. Basically, anything by Seth (books, blogs, videos) is awesome, and it is fair to say that Seth influences my work more than any other author.
Anything you Want - Derek Slivers. A great, quick read, that reminded me that I can build my business exactly how I want to build it. The book (and idea) can at exactly the right time for me, and has reshaped how I want to build my business.
Feel The Fear - Susan Jeffers. Still the best book I have read about understanding the fears that drive us, and how to overcome them.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Reminding and reinforcing the idea that anyone can become good (even great) at anything, so long as they invest the hard work required to do so.
For a little context, here is the picture of the full shelf - the books resting on top of others are unread, and next on my list….
And there you have it - my current reference library. There are probably a couple of other books missing, and at some point I will write a Top 10 greatest of all time post with greater detail as to why those books are more important, but I’d also love to know your own top books - reading at least 30 minutes a day means I’m always on the lookout for something new….
* I say current because, over time, some classics stay on the list (e.g. Stephen Covey), but also new ones replace old ones (‘The Compound Effect’ has replaced ‘The Slight Edge’ because, for me, it explains the concept of daily incremental gains much better). And, of course, because I discover new books all of the time…..