Is this going to be the year that you get your life together? There is no better way to gain wisdom, do self reflection, and find your true self than with books. Books are an opportunity for you to peak inside of someone else’s mind and learn from their experiences, mistakes, and learnings. This is a collection of personal development and self improvement books that you must read in 2020 to pursue a better life.
The list contains books I read in 2019 as part of a book challenge I took on this year. I include the 10 books that had the most significant impact on my life and my way of thinking. Get your life together with these 10 books.
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Books challenge – Read 100 books this year
At the beginning of this year I signed up to a book challenge through GoodReads.com. I decided to make this a huge challenge for myself and set the bar high. When the Good Reads app asked me how many books I want to read this year, the suggestion was 12 books.
I chuckled, and thought to myself: 12 books, that doesn’t sound impressive. Although I do love reading good books, I never seemed to find the time to read them. Setting a challenge for myself was definitely a good push to actually make time to read more books. And so, I set my book challenge bar to 100 books. Talk about a mission to get your life together!
You must be wondering if I reached that goal. Well, I’ll be honest with you as I am with myself. 100 books is quite a lot of books! It is not average 1 book read every 3 days, hence 2 books a week. When you put the numbers this way, it does sound quite intense. Nonetheless, since it’s called a challenge and not a goal or objective, I figured I can challenge myself and aim high.
At the end of the year I am at 53 books. This is not too shabby for someone who would read around 10 books during a good year. Looking at the numbers, I consider the challenge to have been successful after all. It pushed me to read 5 times as many books as I would usually read.
Of course, it is not about the quantity of books but rather the quality of the books and what you learn from them. However, even if you are being very selective, you can easily add 100 books to your reading list. So setting a high number will push you to read the books you want to.
If you are serious about getting your life tougher, I recommend you challenge yourself to read more than you normally do.
How to read more books
As mentioned before, I am not a huge reader, and speed reading to me is like a super power that only certain people are gifted with. So how did I read 53 books this year?
This is on average 1 book per week, which seems realistic enough. But, I’ll have to admit, I did not read all the books.
Did I really just say that after boosting about reading 53 books this year? Well, my answer to reading more was audiobooks.
The reason I like audiobooks so much is that they offer you a more flexible way to read books. If you read a print or ebook, you need to be 100% focused on reading. Or at least you need to use your hands to hold the book and your eyes to read the text.
With audiobooks, you can read anywhere and anytime. I read books while doing sports (great for morning runs), commuting, and cooking.
As mentioned before, one of the main reasons I did not read many books was time. I didn’t make the time to sit down with a book. Although I do like reading this way as well, and some books should only be read traditionally, there are many books that you can read while doing something else and still get all the knowledge out.
I like to keep a mix of both ways of reading. But having the option to read while doing sports, or while sitting on a crowded bus, is an amazing use of your time.
If you want to get your life together through reading audiobooks, you can use this link to get a $5 discount on your first ebook or audiobook purchase on Kobo.
I challenge you to read more books this year. You can add me on goodreads.com to follow me on my challenge and set up your own reading challenge.
10 Books to get your life together
Reflecting on the last year, I collected 10 books that I read this year that truly impacted my life. Some of these books I re-read and some I read for this first time.
If you start your book challenge for next year, these are books that I strongly recommend you to add to your list to live a better life and get your life together.
1. The Secret Letters of the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma
The Secret Letter of the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is truly a master piece by Robin Sharma! The book tells the story of Julian, a successful lawyer that encounters his cousin after not seeing him for many years. His cousin sends him on an unforgettable trip through which Julian learns about the meaning and purpose of life. He questions his entire lifestyle and comes to the conclusions of what is truly important. Through reading Julian’s journey you will get your life together.
Why read it?
This book is written as if it was a novel. The story is captivating and makes you keep wanting to read. At the same time the book provides many important life lessons that could apply to anyone. Through reading Julian’s story, and reflecting on his life, you start to reflect on your own life and go through a self discovery journey to get your life together.
- Live a life of purpose – that is the purpose of life
- Be significant – Do things that matter to you and others
- Have respect for your time – it is the one thing you cannot get back
- Don’t sacrifice happiness for achievement
Get the audiobook or ebook of the The Secret Letter of the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari on Kobo with a $5 discount.
2. The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler
This is a book that I recommend anyone should read. It is a collaboration between The Dalai Lama, the most important monk of Tibetan Buddhism, and Howard Cutler, a well known psychologist. The book tells various beliefs and customs of buddhism with reflection from a scientific point of you. This is not a religious book, but rather a book about living a happy life and understanding how you can control the happiness of your life.
Why read it?
It is not often that you get to learn 2 disciplines at once. The lessons that the Dalai Lama shares about happiness and living life to the fullest apply to anyone whether you are buddhist or not. The reflections from Cutler bring things into perspective and prove the lessons shared by the Dalai Lama from a scientific perspective. This book is a lesson in spirituality and psychology and will really help you get your life together.
- Your happiness is fully in your hands – no external events can truly influence your happiness
- Accept your limitations – nobody knows everything, yet we often try to appear as if we do. Building confidence through accepting your limits will make others respect you
- Suffering is part of life and the only constant is change – not accepting the continuous change in our lives leads us to suffer. By learning to accept changes, we can move on and let go.
Get the audiobook or ebook of The Art Of Happiness on Kobo with $5 discount.
3. Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo
This book has recently been on the bestseller list for a while. Although the title may indicate that it is aimed at aspiring presenters or future TED speakers, it provides much more lessons about communicating. There are lessons you can use for every day communication with your colleagues and peers, or even for writing emails.
Why read it?
Learning to present your ideas is essential for anything you want to do in your life. Knowing how to capture others attention and making your points come across can get you much further. This book explains the underlaying aspects of communication and provides tools to improve your communication skills
- Powerful communication needs to have 3 ingredients: emotion, novelty, and memorable.
- Persuasive communication involves ethos, logos, and pathos – if you include all three you will start to see the magic.
- Use storytelling for all your communication to bring across your message
Get the audiobook or ebook of Talk Like Ted on Kobo with $5 discount.
4. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This one is a classic of the self development books category. Dale Carnegie has studied human relationships and communication and put it all into simple terms in this book. He walks you through steps you can take today with examples on how to get a win-win every time.
Why read it?
First of all this book is a classic that any self development junkie should have read. Besides that, this book is a great way to improve your communication skills on daily basis. From how to talk to your friends, colleagues, parents, or even a police office that is handing you out a fine. Dale Carnegie has you covered for any situation and will help you win people over. The book contains many real-life examples of Dale himself that help bring the messages across.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation to your peers and others you talk with.
- Listen before you talk – always let the other side talk more than you do. That will make the other person feel important and empathise with you.
- Don’t criticise everyone – understand that every thing has multiple sides and try to see things from others’ perspective.
Get the audiobook or ebook of How To Wind Friends and Influence People on Kobo with $5 discount.
5. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kaheman
Thinking Fast and Slow is another classic. Daniel Kaheman is a psychologist with a Nobel Prize in Economic Science. In this book he challenges how we make judgement calls and decisions. He digs deep into what are intuitive (thinking fast) and what are rational (thinking slow) decisions that we make.
Why read it?
This book will help you understand why you think the way you do, and help you understand your decisions much better. Daniel Kaheman goes through a big variety of situations and explains when it would make more sense to use which way of thinking. Understanding how your brain works and why it works that way, will help you gain more control over it and make more conscious decisions.
- You will get a better sense of when to trust your gut feeling and when not to.
- The brain has two systems that determine your activities and decisions – one automatic and one conscious.
- Your brain is often trying to preserve energy and therefore prefers using the fast thinking over the slow thinking.
Get the audiobook or ebook of Thinking Fast and Slow on Kobo with $5 discount.
6. What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkamp
Your mornings are probably the most important part of your day. They pave the way for the rest of the day. If your mornings are full of chaos and snoozing, then you need to read this book. Laura Vanderkamp interviewed some of the busiest and most successful people to learn their morning secrets. She shares all of them in an easy to follow manner in this book.
Why read it?
The most successful people have a morning routine that they follow ritually. They design their mornings to be their most productive and effective time of the day. Laura Vanderkamp interviewed the top CEO’s and the busiest people on the planet, and brought all lessons from all of them in this book. If you want to be more effective in the morning and the rest of the day, this book is for you.
- Doing the most important tasks / activities first in the morning is proven to be the most effective.
- Willpower works like a muscle – it gets tired with how much you use it and like other muscles it can be strengthened.
- The most successful people create the following morning rituals: nurturing their career, nurturing their relationships, and nurturing themselves (sport / good food).
Get the audiobook or ebook of What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast on Kobo with $5 discount.
7. Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy
We all know we need a to do list to get things done. But how come there are always things left at the end of the day on the list, sometimes even the most important things. In this book, Brian Tracy, life coach guru, explains why you should pick up the most difficult tasks first. Eating the frog first will help you get your life together.
Why read it?
We all have things that we need to get done to move forward. Whether for work, holiday planning, or anything else, there is always a list of tasks you need to complete. There’s an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re done with the worst thing you’ll have to do all day. This is how Brian Tracy explains why you should do the hardest task first.
- Eat that frog – do the most difficult, annoying, or strenuous task on your list first, everything after that will be easier.
- Do the tasks that have the most impact on your life.
- Use tools such as technology to help you, but don’t depend on them.
Get the audiobook or ebook of Eat That Frog! with $5 discount.
8. The Law of Attraction – Plain and Simple by Sonia Ricotti
The Law of Attraction explains how the universe works to deliver on your wishes. In this book Sonia Ricotti will help you understand how you can get your life together and live your best life.
Why read it?
This book walks you through a set of steps to understand what you want in life and then how to get all you desire. If you are not yet familiar with the law of attraction and how you can use it to achieve anything you desire, then you must read this book. The book provides examples and exercises for you to follow.
- To understand what you want, think of everything you know for sure that you don’t want in your life.
- You can choose your thoughts and feeling – this will also influence what you achieve in your life.
Get the audiobook or ebook of The Law of Attraction with $5 discount.
9. Unshakable by Tony Robins
Unshakable is probably the best personal finance related books I’ve read this year. As Tony Robins usually does, he goes beyond finance and describes how you can be unshakable in any area of your life. This book is ideal for a starting investor or even a professional investor.
Why read it?
There is no doubt that Tony Robins is one of the best self improvement coaches out there. Having a book about finance written from his perspective focuses on the important things, such as emotional response to market moves. Robins interviewed the most successful financial investors out there to share all their lessons in this book.
- Winter (a market recession) will come as they always do, but spring (market recovery and beyond) will always follow.
- Your brain is constantly trying to fool you to make the wrong decisions about your investments – always think rationally.
- Reduce your costs and understand the relationship between risk and reward.
Get the audiobook or ebook of Unshakable with $5 discount.
10. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker
The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind will change the way you think about money forever. In this book, Eker explains that everyone has a money blueprint ingrained into them as children. He explains how this blueprint impacts your financial decisions and expectations, as well as how it is formed in the first place.
Why read it?
It is essential to have a good relationship with money. You need to understand its power and what is sufficient for you to be content. Through understand your money blueprint you will be able to better understand your financial circumstances. Eker walks through 17 “wealth files” which are exercises you can follow to change your money blueprint.
- Your money blueprint is formed during your childhood by your parents’ teaching and your environment.
- Wealthy people focus on opportunities, while poor people focus on obstacles. It’s essential to change this mindset.
- In order to get big results, you need to think big.
Get the audiobook or ebook of Secret of the Millionaire Mind with $5 discount.
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