7 Books That Changed My Life Forever (And Will Change Yours Too)
After reading more than 250 books in the course of 7 years, I’ve found 7 that I can say were the ones that made the most impact in my life: they changed the way I live, my priorities and objectives, what I thought was possible, and made me question and explore subjects that blew my mind and stimulated my brain immensely.
Some of them are popular bestsellers that mostly everyone knows, but others are true gems that are not widely known and are very difficult to find, so I recommend you read till the very end.
This list is pretty varied. It includes books about personal development and psychology, philosophy, career development, life purpose, and a bit of spirituality – in no particular order. So, you’ll sure find a couple of them interesting and of value.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You
The first book in the list is called So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport. After interviewing very successful people in different industries, Newport discovered that if you want to build a successful and fulfilling career, finding, and following your passion it’s a very, very bad advice.
People that start with their passion usually end up disappointed and quit because they lack the skills needed to be successful and provide value that can be monetized. What you should do instead is trying to become very good (even the best) in your industry or job, no matter if you are passionate about it or not. Once you become very good, passion will be a side effect.
In other words, Skill comes first; passion then follows.
I loved this book because it literally flies in the face of that so-common self-help advice of “follow your passion and the universe will align to make you successful.” On the contrary, the advice it’s very down-to-earth and it’s full of practical tips that I’ve implemented in the past few years. Concepts like mastery, deliberate practice, and career capital are all very important when it comes to developing a successful and fulfilling career. No matter if you are 17 or 40, this book will revolutionize the way you think about passion, success, and your career.
The Book of Not Knowing
The next book is called The Book of Not Knowing by Peter Ralston and it is, in my opinion, the most important book I’ve ever read and that everyone should read at some point in their lives. The author was the first non-Asian ever to win the Martial Arts World Championship and spent years studying and contemplating the human mind and life, so he knows what he’s talking about.
Everyone is familiar with the phrase “life doesn’t come with a manual”? Well, this book is as close to a life manual as it can get. It goes though subjects like emotions, mind, happiness, why we behave and act the way we do, what is a self, discipline, freedom, beliefs, and much, much more. Each chapter is full of wisdom and teaches you something new that, if applied, can literally change your life in one swoop. I’m not exaggerating.
What I completely hate about many so called “spiritual teachers” and the spirituality industry in general is tha they want you to believe in something – whether that’s reincarnation, energy, or whathaveyou t. Well, Ralston does the exact opposite. It introduces topics like enlightenment, consciousness, and Being in a very rational way that doesn’t push you to believe stuff. On the contrary, he asks you not to believe anything he says and to experience it first-hand. And I love that.
I cannot recommend this book enough. It’s honestly the book that had the most impact in my life and I’m sure you’ll love it too.
The 4-Hour Workweek
The third book on the list is called the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. I read this one in my last year of college, and the timing couldn’t have been better. Ferriss introduced in my life an idea that I still have present in my mind: lifestyle design. Basically, he proposes that the conventional life that most of us live: the 9-to-5 job, the routine, and the fixed place is not of everyone. And if you make the commitment, you can design a life that fit your needs and desires and not the other way round.
I know, the title of the book is a bit clickbait-y, but it opened my mind to the possibility of creating a business that provides me with financial stability without the need of working tirelessly to keep the money rolling – which at that time was huge. And if you want to do it yourself, there’s also a step-by-step guide to build that system, which I review from time to time to refresh it.
Of course, the book makes this process sound easy and straight-forward, but reality is always more complicated. But not matter if it’s easy or hard, just the mere fact of reading that there are people out there doing it successfully and living a life in their terms is very encouraging and motivated.
The Sages’ Booklist
There are 4 more books to go, and they are as good the first 3, I promise. But if you feel 7 is not enough and you want more, I created a booklist called “The Sages’ Booklist” with 175 of the best books I’ve ever read. There are more than 15 categories, including life purpose, psychology, relationships and dating, and more, and each book is ranked and reviewed so you can choose the ones that you feel are the most relevant for your situation.
So if you want to stop reading summaries that don’t really help and go for the big fish, click here and stop buying bad books that only waste you time and money.
Sex Ecology Spirituality
The next book on the list is not very popular but it’s a true masterpiece. It’s called Sex Ecology Spirituality by Ken Wilber, one of the most brilliant philosophers of our times. Don’t ask me how a 20-year old, Argentinian college student ended up reading this book 6 years ago, but I’m glad I stumbled upon it.
In it, Wilber attempts to build a theory that explains all of reality and tries to connect different fields like biology, psychology, physics, sociology, history, and spirituality in cohesive framework. Even though there are not many practical tips to implement, it completely changed how I looked at the Universe and my life. It provided me a new and fulfilling sense of purpose and, in a way, it helped me locate myself in the bigger scheme of things.
I’ve also learned a framework called the 4 Quadrants, that I applied to many things in my life, from my marketing campaigns, to life decisions, or just to understand some subject better. And, similarly to The Book of Not Knowing, it speaks about spirituality in a very scientific and rational way, which was very illuminating for me at that time.
I know all this may sound a bit strange, but I promise you this book will blow your mind. Or at least it did to mine.
Awaken the Giant Within
This next book occupies a special place in my heart since it was the first personal development book I’ve ever read. It is Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins. If I remember correctly, I read this book when I was 18 and I literally knew nothing about psychology and self-help, so imagine my enthusiasm when I discovered that I had the power to change myself and create a life that fulfilled me. I remember it felt that a whole new world opened in front of my very eyes.
If you’ve read lots of self-help books already, you’ll probably find ideas you are familiar with, but if you are new to the field, this book will be a game-changer. In my case, the main thing that I learned and is still with me today is that humans are motivated by only two factors: to avoid pain or to gain pleasure.
If I engage on something that is not healthy for me – let’s say smoke or being shy – but I keep doing it, it means that there’s something that I’m gaining from that behavior, whether that’s some emotional release or not letting myself show up and be seen. It follows that if I want to actually stop it, I should increase the amount of pain that the activity produces. And this logic can be applied to anything that I want to change about myself.
There are many more interesting concepts in this book that I cannot go through in this article, but I highly suggest checking it out for yourself.
The next book on the list can be hard to digest – or at least that was my experience. It’s called Radical Honesty and it was written by a psychotherapist called Brad Blanton. He argues the main reason why humans suffer and are stressed is because we are constantly lying. The lying he talks about is not just the blatant ones. It’s also the withholding of information, the white lies and the secret keeping. And we don’t just lie to others, we also lie to ourselves.
And the only way to free ourselves from this mind-prison is to start telling the truth to others and, most importantly, to ourselves. Yeah, I know it’s not easy to hear this, so imagine reading a 250-page book about it. Even though it was not a pleasant read for me, it challenged me to truly start being honest, and I can tell you that although it’s not an easy endeavor, it’s a 100% worth it.
By putting into practice what I’ve read, I noticed how much I was lying… and not in obvious ways, but subtly. And when I started telling the truth more and more, I felt lighter and my sense of being freer. There are definitely some benefits in lying, but I believe that there’s much more to lose when we are not honest, and this book illustrates this perfectly. I fully recommend it.
Gödel, Escher, Bach
The last book on the list it’s my second favorite book of all time and it’s called Gödel, Escher, Bach by my favorite non-fiction writer Douglas Hofstadter. Even though it’s very entertaining to read if you like philosophy, it took me more than two months to finish it.
This Pulitzer Prize Winner is a 650-page investigation into the nature of the I, and to aid him, Hofstadter uses concepts and ideas from Gödel Incompleteness Theorem, Escher’s paintings, and Bach’s musical compositions. The guy is true polymath and one of my intellectual idols. The way he expresses his ideas, utilizes analogies, and connects different fields is outstanding.
This book didn’t change my life in a practical way: I didn’t learn a new marketing formula or an innovative visualization I can implement, but it has affected me deeply on a different level. First, reading this book ignited a curiosity I never imagined I possessed. From one day to the other, I wanted to learn a new language, programming, music theory, numbers theory, art, and much more. Hofstadter love of learning and even life in general is evident in each and every page and extremely contagious. In fact, I cannot wait to forget it and read it all over again.
So that’s it. The 7 books that transformed my life. Even though some of them are not the common self-help or success books, I think that they are very important and relevant – perhaps even more relevant than the practical ones.
If you liked this article, I highly suggest you check out my brand-new product “The Sages’ Blueprint”. After the success of the Reading a Book a Week video, many of you all asked for my booklist, so I made one with 175 books, ranked and reviewed in more than 15 categories.
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