Reading is, and always has been, the habit of the highly successful.
Whether you look at someone like Bill Gates, Charlie Munger or Warren Buffett, you’ll find that it is extremely common for the world’s most successful people to read at least one book a week.
One book a week is 52 books a year. That’s 520 books a decade!
Now, just imagine what your life would be like if you also read one book a week for the next 10 years of your life.
Given that you read the right books, you couldn’t help but be healthier, happier, and financially more successful as a result of just reading more.
This is something that all highly successful people know – that if they can get the right book in their hands, then the rest will naturally flow their way.
As someone who loves to read a lot of books as well, I wanted to write a list of the top 10 books I think everyone should read.
So, in no particular order, here are 10 books that have positively changed my life for the better.
1. Contagious by Jonah Berger
When it comes to creating contagious content, don’t worry so much about data. This is because creating ideas and products that spread is tied to understanding consumers and their emotions.
While we all hope for our products and ideas to spread, it most likely won’t happen randomly. Instead, what we have to do is take a more structured approach to spreading our ideas.
This is what Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger talks about in his book “Contagious.”
Berger explains that there are certain key characteristics that make products and ideas more likely to be talked about and shared than others.
It’s not random, it’s not luck, and it’s not chance. There’s a science to why people talk and share certain things more than others. And if we can understand that science, then we can craft contagious content and get our ideas and products to catch on.
2. The Dip by Seth Godin
The Dip is what marketer, writer, and entrepreneur Seth Godin calls the moment when most people quit.
For those whose resolution is to get in shape, for example, their dip is in February. We know that everyone who wants to get in shape joins the gym in January, but for some reason almost no one goes to the gym in March.
Why? Because somewhere between January and March, there’s a dip, which is the moment where the people who are going to remain unfit are the ones who quit, while the people who stick it out are the ones who get in shape.
And what Seth Godin argues in his book “The Dip” is that before you decide to work towards a new goal or start a new project, you have two choices to consider.
Either you start the project, knowing where the dip is, and you plan to have enough resources and mental toughness to get through the dip and succeed, or you don’t start the project at all if you’re not going to push through when times get hard. Because, as Seth Godin says, to start a blog, a business or a project only to then quit at the dip is inexcusable.
3. Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker
In the book “Managing Oneself,” Peter Drucker, who is one of the greatest business thinkers of the last century, says that in order to succeed in your career, you will have to learn to manage yourself.
This means that you will need to develop a sense of self awareness of who you are by figuring out what you’re good at, what you’re bad at, and what your values are. The next thing you have to do is then put yourself in situations where you can then act on that self awareness.
Unfortunately, this is one of the hardest things for an individual to learn how to do, but only once you’ve learned how to properly manage yourself will you be able to achieve lasting success.
4. Sam Walton: Made In America by Sam Walton
There are millions of people in the world who all wish to start a business and make a living doing something they love.
And in pursuit of this goal, people will spend $100,000 to get an MBA at Harvard, they’ll spend thousands of dollars to attend a seminar and they’ll spend even more trying to go to every business conference they can.
But what they don’t do, however, is read a $7 book written by Walmart founder Sam Walton, who is by all measures arguably the most successful businessman who ever lived.
Remember, this was a man who made 160 billion dollars for himself and his family, which is more than Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Elon Musk combined!
Wanting to share his story and spread a message to the world, Walton decided to write this book on his deathbed.
5. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
One of the biggest excuses people use as to why they can’t start a business is always “I don’t have enough money.”
Typically, people think they need a lot of money like $50,000 in order to get their idea rolling and their business growing.
Chris Guillebeau, who is an author and entrepreneur, did an extensive study where he identified 1,500 individuals who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more a year that started from a small investment, in many cases just $100 or less.
From the 1,500 case studies, Guillebeau chose to focus on 50 individuals in his book “The $100 Startup.”
In this book, Guillebeau shares stories of individuals from all around the world, who have no specific specialized skills but who are discovering ways to monetize their passion at a low cost, and he explains exactly how they did it and how you can too.
6. Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins
If you’ve ever wanted to pursue a career in writing, art, or music, you’ve probably heard the same advice from people: “Don’t quit your day job.” “No one succeeds doing that.” “If you strive to be an artist, chances are you’ll starve.”
The idea of the starving artist has been around for centuries, but is this idea actually true? In the book “Real Artists Don’t Starve,” bestselling author Jeff Goins believes it doesn’t have to be.
In this book, Goins challenges the idea of the starving artist by debunking the ideas that originally created it. And in its place, Goins replaces those ideas with timeless strategies that will turn any starving artist into a thriving artist.
This book isn’t just for writers, painters, and poets; it’s also for graphic designers, business professionals and creatives of all types.
7. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
In the book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck categorizes how people think into two mindsets: Fixed mindset and growth mindset.
A fixed mindset assumes you only have a fixed amount of intelligence and ability and therefore can’t do anything to improve. On the other hand, a growth mindset is rooted in the idea of self improvement. And according to Dweck, those with a fixed mindset are a lot less likely to succeed than those with a growth mindset.
Why? Because the problem with believing that your intelligence and talent is fixed is because this leaves you to think you can’t do anything about it. If, for example, you think your academic intelligence can’t be improved, then you will quit at the first sign of trouble with any academic subject. Instead of persevering and deciding to put in more effort into studying, you’ll just say, “I’m not good at this subject,” and give up.
In every situation, a fixed mindset hinders us but is not justified as an excuse. So, if you’re a writer, a creator, or an entrepreneur, you need a growth mindset in order to succeed.
8. Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
Why is it that some romantic relationships seem to work out perfectly, while other relationships seem to be a total disaster? Well, according to the book “Attached,” researchers Amir Levine and Rachel Heller say that the reason some people easily find love while others seem to struggle with it is because of attachment theory.
According to attachment theory, everyone in our society, whether they have never dated someone before or have been married for 50 years, fall into one of three attachment styles: secure, anxious or avoidant.
People with a secure attachment style typically feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving.
People with an anxious attachment style generally crave intimacy, are often preoccupied with their relationship and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back.
People with an avoidant attachment style equate intimacy with a loss of independence and they constantly try to minimize closeness.
Being able to understand attachment theory and being able to identify these three attachment styles is an easy and dependable way to understand and predict people’s behavior in any romantic situation. Not being able to identify them can negatively affect your happiness in your romantic relationships.
9. Start With Why by Simon Sinek
In the book “Start With Why,” author, speaker and marketing consultant Simon Sinek says the reason some individuals and brands are more influential and successful than others is because they all think, act, and communicate the same way. They all start with WHY.
And interestingly, this is the opposite of what everyone else does. The problem, Sinek says, with how most brands and individuals communicate is that they always talk about WHAT they do and HOW they do it, but rarely ever do they talk about WHY they do what they do.
However, it’s this kind of communication that is the reason people like the Wright brothers, Martin Luther King Jr and Steve Jobs were so successful in spreading their message to others. It’s because they realized that people don’t buy WHAT you do until they know WHY you do it.
The important question for all of us to then figure out is, what’s your WHY? This is an important question to answer for yourself because without a WHY, you’ll always lack the proper framework needed in order to lead a movement, to move up the corporate ladder, and to inspire other people to take action.
10. Tribes by Seth Godin
Thanks to the invention of the internet, social media outlets, and other new technology around the world, individuals of all sorts are successfully starting businesses centered around doing things they love.
And what these people are showing us is that you don’t need everyone to like your idea or to buy your product to be successful. You don’t need “10% market share” to earn a great living. Instead, all you need is a tribe of about 1,000 true fans who care deeply about the work you create.
A thousand true fans are enough because if they really are true fans, then they’ll be happy to spend at least $100 a year into you. And with 1,000 true fans, that can lead to about $100,000 a year for yourself, which is a great living for any individual.
This concept of only having to find 1,000 true fans is great because 1,000 is a feasible number for anyone to accomplish. Without a tribe, though, you’ll always be just another writer, entrepreneur or creator who is trying to break through the noise and make a name for themselves.
Seth Godin explores in depth this idea of building a tribe in what I think to be his best book “Tribes.”
So there you go. These are 10 books that have completely changed my life for the better.
Maybe they’ll even change your life as well.