Simon Sinek – A Journey of 100 Steps

Type “Simon Sinek Quotes” and you get adjectives such as “amazing,” “inspirational,” and “awe-inspiring.” Type “Simon Sinek YouTube” and, among the results, you read things like “best speech ever” or “the video that will change your life.” Finally, type “Simon Sinek TED Talk” and you’ve just stumbled upon the third most watched TED Talk video in history.

People with such a portfolio don’t need a special introduction, do they?

Who Is Simon Sinek?

Simon SinekAs you may sometimes discern (if you are a language Sherlock Holmes, that is) from his somewhat strange-sounding accent, Simon Sinek was born in Wimbledon on 9 October 1973. Come to think of it, he could have been named Sebastian or Scott – but he was certainly not going to be a John or a Mark.

Because we believe that his family has a knack for the letter “S.”

Don’t believe us?

Well, his father’s name is Steve, his mother is called Susan, and his sister’s name is Sara. And if that isn’t enough for you, his mother has authored a desserts book.

Its title?

“Simply Scrumptious”! Now, don’t tell us that this isn’t some kind of a pattern!

By this point, somewhat unsurprisingly, Simon Sinek spent most of his childhood in South Africa. And that’s where the pattern breaks because afterward, his family moved to Hong Kong and London before Simon finally settled in the U.S.A.

He graduated in 1991 from Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest, New Jersey, before completing a BA in cultural anthropology at Brandeis University. Planning to become a Barrister, Sinek went back to England and enrolled at City University London to study law. However, after a while, he left his studies to focus on a career in advertising.

He worked at Euro RSCG and Ogilvy & Mather, before launching his own business, SinekPartners.

His life changed in 2009 after he published his first book, “Start with Why,” and presented its ideas in an ultra-popular TED Talk which has been so far viewed by almost 40 million people.

In 2014, he published “Leaders Eat Last” which repeated the success of “Start with Why.” Since then, he has published two more books, “Together Is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration” and “Find Your Why.”

Analysists approximate that Simon Sinek’s total net worth is in the range of $15 million. We approximate that his next book will make him even richer, since it will be another bestseller.

And we also hypothesize that you’re going to love each of these books!

There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it, or you can inspire it.

Best Simon Sinek Books

#1. Start with Why Summary: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

By now, you surely know Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle” thought model. As he himself stated in the third most watched TED Talk video in history, “it’s probably the world’s simplest idea.” However, as it has been proven over and over again throughout history, the ideas that change the world are actually simple.

After all, as Shinichi Mochizuki has probably found out by now, what’s the point in proving a long-standing math problem if nobody understands the solution? You know what they say: the tree which falls…

Well, the “Golden Circle,” elucidated in “Start with Why,” didn’t fall on deaf ears; on the contrary, its echo was resounding. The idea is that most companies – and people – know what they are doing and how they are doing it. The point, however, is to know why you are doing what you’re doing.

And this why is the be-all and end-all, the alpha and omega of success. If you don’t have it or lose it – don’t expect an appreciation from others. They have better things to do.

Like finding their whys.

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.

#2. Find Your Why Summary: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team

Find Your Why SummaryIf “Start with Why” was Simon Sinek’s theoretical breakthrough, “Find Your Why” was – and still is – the best step-by-step practical guide for those people who, though now convinced by Simon that they needed a why, went through a fair share of problems finding it.

Co-written with Peter Docker and David Mead, “Find Your Why” brims with practical exercises and applicable advises, action steps and explanatory illustrations. It addresses the most important concerns a person or a company on their path to their “whys” may have.

Practically anything from whether you can have two “whys” to what to do if a team can’t agree on a uniform “why,” from how to circumvent having an identical “why” with your competitors to what to do if your “why” doesn’t match your “how” and your “what.”

Essential for those who think that theory means nothing if not applicable.

If we want to feel an undying passion for our work, if we want to feel we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves, we all need to know our WHY.

#3. Leaders Eat Last Summary: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

Leaders Eat Last SummaryBetween “Start with Why” and “Find Your Why,” Simon Sinek wrote a book which, in retrospect, one may consider a bridge between the “whys.” And its wisdom is as unconventional as its title: “Leaders Eat Last.”

The counter-intuitive idea behind it sounds a bit biblical.

Remember that scene at the Last Supper when Jesus washes the feet of his followers?

Well, if you remember it well, you certainly remember that Jesus counters the amazement of his disciples with a simple remark. “If I then, your Lord and Teacher,” he says, “have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” And he tops that with an even more memorable phrase. “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”

Well, that’s what “Leaders Eat Last” is about. If you are a leader and you wash the feet of your employers, don’t you think that they will wash your feet too?

Of course, we’re not talking about feet. We’re talking about good leaders making you feel safe.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

Best Malcolm Gladwell Books

“Simon Sinek Quotes”

Great companies don't hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. Click To Tweet You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. Click To Tweet It is not the genius at the top giving directions that makes people great. It is great people that make the guy at the top look like a genius. Click To Tweet The opportunity is not to discover the perfect company for ourselves. The opportunity is to build the perfect company for each other. Click To Tweet The greatest contribution of a leader is to make other leaders. Click To Tweet

Final Notes

Simon Sinek didn’t know what his why was for most of his life. After he found it, he realized that it’s related much more to the others than to himself. He wanted to help, to inspire and change people.

And, my god, he’s doing such a great job!

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Leaders Eat Last PDF Summary – Simon Sinek

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

When it comes to creating a successful business, everyone has a part to play. Are you an employee? What’s your level of engagement? Do you believe in the company’s mission? Are you leading a team or even an organization? What are you? A leader or a boss? Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last explains why the values of a company’s leader can make or break it.

Continue Reading…

Best Motivational Books

Down on your luck? Need some motivation to get out of bed? How about grabbing a book? Let us guess: you would, but you’re out of ideas regarding its author or title.

Worry not: we’re here to help!

Just bookmark this article, and you’re covered for the whole of 2019; even if need less than three days to read a 300-page book! Whether it is self-improvement you’re interested in or books about personal growth, whether you want the best motivational books for women or the best motivational books of all time – they are all here.

And we’ve provided a brief, unique summary/review for each of them, and categorized them on ten different self-explanatory shelves.

So, seriously, bookmark this article: it’s that useful

Without further ado – let’s roll.

The 101 Best Motivational Books List

(Click a title below to go to the respective shelf)

1. Basics of Motivation
2. Rules for Life
3. Power of Positive Thinking
4. You Are a Badass
5. Great Lecture
6. Why Would You Give a Damn
7. Fables and Fiction
8. Inspirational Biographies
9. Don’t Worry, Be Happy
10. Show Me the Money
Wildcard

1. The “Basics of Motivation” Shelf

You can’t motivate yourself without learning what motivation is. Want to do that? Well, these 10 books offer a great philosophical and theoretical framework!

The Motivation Manifesto1.1 Brendon Burchard – The Motivation Manifesto

About the Book: What better way to start a list of the 101 best motivational books you should read in 2019 than with a motivation manifesto? And Brendon Burchard’s really lives up to its name! His “9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power” will energize you to your very core! This is one you should keep on your bedside table. Or even under your pillow. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Without making the actual attempt, without trial and strife, there can be no true knowledge, no progress, no high achievement, and no legend.

Find Your Why1.2 Simon Sinek – Find Your Why

About the Book: In Start with Why, Simon Sinek proposed to the world – in his very own words – “the world’s simplest idea.” Namely, that why you are doing what you’re doing is more important than how you’re doing it or even what it is that you’re doing. In Find Your Why Sinek teams up with Peter Docker and David Mead and gives us the book we’ve all been waiting for: a practical guide to discovering that why. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

If we want to feel an undying passion for our work, if we want to feel we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves, we all need to know our WHY.

Drive1.3 Daniel H. Pink – Drive

About the Book: The subtitle of Daniel H. Pink’s thought-provoking 2011 bestseller, Drive – “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” – tells you everything you need to know about this book. First of all, it explores the roots of motivation; and secondly, it reaches unexpected conclusions. In a nutshell, that money doesn’t motivate us; what does is autonomy, mastery, and purpose. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Drive
Favorite Quote:

Pay your son to take out the trash — and you’ve pretty much guaranteed the kid will never do it again for free.

The Power of Habit1.4 Charles Duhigg – The Power of Habit

About the Book: We are creatures of habit, and Duhigg knows that the real power of this insight lies in the fact that “your habits are what you choose them to be.” However, as you know full well, it’s not easy to choose them: you are intrinsically motivated to do some things much more than some others. And though it’s not easy to change them as well, you can actually do it: just replace the routine but keep the initial cue and the final reward. Apparently, this works 100% of the time! (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

The Power of Habit
Favorite Quote:

The Golden Rule of Habit Change: You can’t extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it.

Switch1.5 Chip and Dan Heath – Switch

About the Book: Speaking of habits and how to change them – here’s another classic in the field: Chip and Dan Heath’s Switch. According to the Heath Brothers, all successful changes follow the same pattern. Namely, people who change all have a clear direction, plenty of motivation, and a supportive environment. Or to use the Jonathan Haidt analogy they use: you need to direct the rider; motivate the elephant, and shape the path. You’ll know what we mean: just see 9.7 below. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Switch
Favorite Quote:

Change is hard because people wear themselves out.

Thinking, Fast and Slow1.6 Daniel Kahneman – Thinking, Fast and Slow

About the Book: Daniel Kahneman is a world-renowned psychologist with – get this – a Nobel Prize in Economics. So, basically, he already knows about you more than you’ll ever know about yourself. Thinking, Fast and Slow is a summary of his life-long research, exploring the dichotomy between fast and slow thinking. We don’t think that you’ll place that much value in your own judgment after reading this book. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Thinking, Fast and Slow
Favorite Quote:

A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. Authoritarian institutions and marketers have always known this fact.

David and Goliath1.7 Malcolm Gladwell – David and Goliath

About the Book: Even in his forties, Malcolm Gladwell was already one of the most influential thinkers of our times. Now at 55, he is nothing less than an icon. Even though – like all of his books – a New York Times bestseller, David and Goliath may be his least famous book. But, in our opinion, it may be his most motivating one. Because it can show you why – and how – you can win, even when all odds are against you. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

David and Goliath
Favorite Quote:

Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times, and you discover they aren’t so tough after all.

The Power of Myth1.8 Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers – The Power of Myth

About the Book: People have found different ways to motivate themselves to endure and succeed ever since the beginning of times. In The Power of Myth – a book based on the six one-hour conversations taken between journalist Bill Moyers and mythologist Joseph Campbell in the last year of Campbell’s life – you can see why (and how) these most ancient strategies still work. “Follow your bliss,” says Campbell, “and doors will open where there were no doors before.” (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.

How Will You Measure Your Life?1.9 Clayton Christensen – How Will You Measure Your Life?

About the Book: Clayton Christensen is a Harvard-based scholar most famous for his theory of “disruptive innovation.” However, in How Will You Measure Your Life? – co-authored with James Allworth and Karen Dillon – rather than giving us another analysis of Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, he gives us a book more in the tradition of Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture (see 5.10). And we should be grateful for it! Because How Will You Measure Your Life? introduces the “hygiene-motivation theory,” according to which, it is not money, but work conditions and job security, combined with recognition, personal growth, and sense of responsibility that are the true motivating factors of existence. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

It’s easier to hold your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold them 98 percent of the time.

Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work… and What Does1.10 Susan Fowler – Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work… and What Does

About the Book: Motivation, according to Susan Fowler, is a skill. Meaning, like all other skills, it can be taught and acquired. However, misunderstanding what motivation is leads to a “misapplication of techniques to make it happen.” For this reason, Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work… and What Does sets before itself an objective to dispel all myths about motivation. Here you’ll learn how external undermine internal motivators and how, in order to be motivated, you need to live under an ARC of Freedom. We’ll let you find out what ARC stands for. But we’ll tell you that “people who experience ARC are thriving. They do not need something or someone else doing the driving.” (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Motivation is a skill. People can learn to choose and create optimal motivational experiences anytime and anywhere.

2. The “Rules for Life” Shelf

There are some people who can tell you how you should live your life. And usually, they are smart enough to pack their lifetime of knowledge in several rules. Your job: to merely follow them!

12 Rules for Life2.1 Jordan Peterson – 12 Rules for Life

About the Book:  By all accounts, Jordan Peterson is “the most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now.” His 12 Rules for Life are both humorous and revelatory. And they cover everything – from standing up straight with your shoulders back and putting your house in order to be precise with your speech and – yes! – petting a cat when you encounter one on the street. It’s Peterson, so of course there’s more to it; and of course, it’s as motivating as hell! (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you’re going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have your reasons.

The Four Agreements2.2 Don Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements

About the Book: In his “practical guide to personal freedom,” Mexican neo-shaman Don Miguel Ruiz reveals the four tenets of true joy and happiness. Though fairly simple – as all wisdom is – the four agreements will probably affect you in a life-changing, world-shattering kind of way. Want to immediately find out what are they? Read here. (Read a brief summary of the book | Read the best quotes from the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

The world is very beautiful and very wonderful.  Life can be very easy when love is your way of life.  You can be loving all the time. This is your choice.

Just Shut Up and Do It2.3 Brian Tracy – Just Shut Up and Do It

About the Book: You already know that Brian Tracy is a no-excuses kind of guy. Hence the title. In Just Shut Up and Do It he presents his 7 steps to conquer your goals. So, you can learn how to: surmount the biggest obstacle to success; take charge of your life; dare to go forward; decide what you really want; overcome procrastination; become a lifelong learner; and never give up. (Read a brief summary of the book | Read more about Brian Tracy | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Top people build learning into each day. They read thirty to sixty minutes each morning—approximately one book per week.

Emotional Habits2.4 Akash Karia – Emotional Habits

About the Book: Akash Karia is a peak performance coach and a celebrated NLP trainer; and in Emotional Habits, he shows how Subtitled “7 Things Resilient People Do Differently and How They Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life,” this book is “a quick read that can have immediate and long-term benefits.” (Phil Barth) Not the least because it includes spot-on practical executrices. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

The goal of building emotional strength is not to somehow make every situation in life happy and rosy.

Simple Rules2.5 Donald Sull and Kathleen M. Eisenhardt – Simple Rules

About the Book: Life is difficult as it is to make it even more unbearable by adhering to complex rules. If you are – then this book is for you. Drawing on hundreds of studies and more than a decade of research, in Simple Rules Sull and Eisenhardt show how simple rules are the deal and how, armed with just a few of them, “you can tackle even the most complex of problems.” And thrive. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Simple Rules
Favorite Quote:

Investing the time up front to clarify what will move the needles dramatically increases the odds that simple rules will be applied where they can have the greatest impact.

The Daily Stoic2.6 Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman – The Daily Stoic

About the Book: Another obligatory bedside-table – or even under-the-pillow – book. Compiled by one of the leaders “for the charge of stoicism,” Ryan Holiday, The Daily Stoic contains “366 meditations on wisdom, perseverance and the art of living” – one for each day of the year, for the rest of your life. And they are all commented upon by Holiday who has a knack for illustrating how relevant this ancient school of philosophy is for our modern world. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Serenity and stability are results of your choices and judgment, not your environment.

Ignore Everybody2.7 Hugh MacLeod – Ignore Everybody

About the Book: Hugh Macleod (of gapingvoid.com) is a pretty creative guy; so, when he publishes a book sharing a list of his 40 keys to creativity, it is bound to make a splash. A paean to originality and nonconformity, Ignore Everybody is both a humorous and engaging read; not to mention inspirational. By the end of the book, you’ll definitely want to take your kindergarten crayons back. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.

The Art of Nonconformity2.8 Chris Guillebeau – The Art of Nonconformity

About the Book: Chris Guillebeau has lived a pretty unconventional life, volunteering with Mercy Ships, founding a $100 startup, and visiting all 193 countries of the world by the age of 35. So, in a way, he has mastered the art of nonconformity. Based on his popular online manifesto, “A Brief Guide to World Domination,” this book shares what he learned throughout the process. And can help you learn not only how to set your own rules and live the life you want, but also how to change the world. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Unreasonable, unrealistic, and impractical are all words used to marginalize a person or idea that fails to conform with conventionally expected standards.

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success2.9 Deepak Chopra – The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

About the Book: In the eyes of most people – yes, we’re looking at you, mums and dads – dreams are an antonym of reality. However, in the eyes of Deepak Chopra, reality and dreams are interconnected, and “the same laws that nature uses to create a forest, a star, or a human body can also bring about the fulfillment of our deepest desires.” A pocket-sized practical guide to the fulfillment of dreams, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, shares the whys and the hows; and it’s both motivating and enlightening. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
Favorite Quote:

The past is history, the future is a mystery, and this moment is a gift. That is why this moment is called ‘the present.

The Code of the Extraordinary Mind2.10 Vishen Lakhiani – The Code of the Extraordinary Mind

About the Book: True, many books can claim to contain “10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed on Your Own Terms,” but Vishen Lakhiani’s bestseller actually does. There’s a high chance that you’ve encountered upon none of them (at least in the form they are shared here) in any other book you’ve ever read. And yet, from law #1 (“transcend the culturescape”) through law #7 (“live in blissipline”) to law #9 (“be unf*ckwithable”) – they all make sense and are helpful! (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.

3. The “Power of Positive Thinking” Shelf

Science has repeatedly shown that glass-half-full people live longer and happier lives than the rest of, well, us. These books show why. And how you can become one of them.

As a Man Thinketh3.1 James Allen – As a Man Thinketh

About the Book: Published more than a century ago, As a Man Thinketh is a literary essay by James Allen, one of the first which deals “with the power of thought, and particularly with the use and application of thought to happy and beautiful issues.” Described by Allen himself as “a book that will help you to help yourself,” As a Man Thinketh is one of the earliest self-help books; and it is still one of the best. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.

The Power of Positive Thinking3.2 Norman Vincent Peale – The Power of Positive Thinking

About the Book: Even though published fifty years after James Allen’s masterpiece, The Power of Positive Thinking is usually credited as the book which started the “positive thinking” revolution. Justly so, bearing in mind the fact that it’s written in a simple, yet engaging, style, and that it compiles an extensive list of case histories to go with the practical instructions. A classic. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop the picture.

The Secret3.3 Rhonda Byrne – The Secret

About the Book: Rhonda Byrne doesn’t hide the fact that The Secret is directly inspired by the ideas of Norman Vincent Peale – or those by Wallace Wattles (10.1), Napoleon Hill (3.8 & 10.2) or Helena Blavatsky. And, indeed, The Secret doesn’t offer any new insights. But it does explain the law of attraction in the simplest manner possible – which is why the book sold over 30 million copies and was translated into 50 world languages. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

The Secret
Favorite Quote:

The truth is that the universe has been answering you all of your life, but you cannot receive the answers unless you are awake.

Ask, Believe, Receive

3.4 David Hooper – Ask, Believe, Receive

About the Book: Byrne’s The Secret may be inspired by Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking, but Ask, Believe, Receive is a direct sequel to The Secret. Inspired by the fact that “The Secret exposed the world to the Law of Attraction in ways James Allen, Earl Nightingale, and others hadn’t,” David Hopper wrote this book to complement it with a practical guide. It is a “step-by-step formula, actually five of them, to help you achieve what you want in specific areas of your life – money, relationships, health, employment, and business.” In seven days. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

The Law of Attraction won’t enclose you in a cushy cocoon, so you never have to deal with problems again – but it can give you greater control over how many of those problems you experience.

Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life3.5 Brian Tracy – Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

About the Book: A list of 101 best motivational books is bound to include quite a few Brian Tracy entries; after all, he is a powerhouse – if not the powerhouse – in the world of motivational speakers. In Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life, Tracy provides a step-by-step blueprint on how to transform your ways of thinking about yourself and your potential and, thus, change your life for the better. If not – for the best. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

The very best way to predict the future is to create it.

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind3.6 Joseph Murphy – The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

About the Book: “I have endeavored to explain the great fundamental truths of your mind in the simplest language possible,” writes Joseph Murphy in the introduction to his ultra-popular The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. And he does. The result? The best book on the “miracle-working power of your subconscious mind” and its ability to “heal you of your sickness” and “make you vital and strong again. “ (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Busy your mind with the concepts of harmony, health, peace, and good will, and wonders will happen in your life.

You Can Heal Your Life3.7 Louise L. Hay – You Can Heal Your Life

About the Book: Just like is the case with most of the books in this category, the premise of You Can Heal Your Life is quite simple: everything is connected, and you can use this to your own benefit. However, if the other books explore the links between your mind and the universe, Louisa L. Hay’s perennial bestseller is mainly focused on the interconnections between your mind and your body. The main takeaway: most diseases are actually mental diseases; and they can be cured via your mind. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

What we think about ourselves becomes the truth for us.

Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude3.8 Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone – Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude

About the Book: After the Second World War, the godfather of self-help books and New Thought guru, Napoleon Hill, teamed up with businessman and philanthropist W. Clement Stone. Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude is the final result of their collaboration. “These two men,” commented upon it none other than Norman Vincent Peale, “have the rare gift of inspiring and helping people… In fact, I owe them both a personal debt of gratitude for the helpful guidance I have received from their writings.” (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude
Favorite Quote:

Whatever your mind can conceive and can believe, it can achieve.

The Road Less Traveled3.9 M. Scott Peck – The Road Less Traveled

About the Book: It’s been half a century since The Road Less Traveled was first published, so it may be a bit difficult today to understand the spiritual impact this book exerted upon publication. Read it, and you’ll instantly see why it sold almost 10 million copies long before books of its kind became mainstays of the bestseller lists. Exploring the topics of discipline, love, religion, and grace, Peck’s book will etch in your mind such truisms as “laziness is the ultimate sin” and “love is not a feeling, but an action.” (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.

The Power of Now3.10 Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now

About the Book: Translated into more than 30 languages and recommended by Oprah Winfrey on numerous occasions, The Power of Now is one of the best manuals you’ll ever find on how to conquer your ego and let go of your worries. A mixture of Buddhism, mysticism and New Age, Eckart Tolle’s masterpiece suggests that about nine-tenths of your anxieties come not from things which are happening, but of things which have happened or might happen. And this is something you can – and should – change. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

The Power of Now
Favorite Quote:

As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle to dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease.

Best Motivational Books

4. The “You Are a Badass” Shelf

As the story itself demonstrates, there’s a Goliath in every David; in other words: it’s all in the state of mind. The biblical David had God as his guide; we are positive that these ten great motivators can serve the same purpose in your transformation from a David to a Goliath.

Rising Strong4.1 Brené Brown – Rising Strong

About the Book: In the world of motivational thinkers, Brené Brown is all but a legend. And Rising Strong is her call for “a critical mass of badasses who are willing to dare, fall, feel their way through tough emotion, and rise again.” And the rising process she suggests is a simple 3R procedure. First, you reckon with your emotions; then you rumble with your stories; and, finally, you revolutionize your existence. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

The truth is that falling hurts. The dare is to keep being brave and feel your way back up.

You Are a Badass4.2 Jen Sincero – You Are a Badass

About the Book: Hilarious and inspiring, You Are a Badass is the debut book of Jen Sincero, a motivational coach who has helped numerous people worldwide transform their lives and finally experience happiness. It is a 250-page tour-de-force of inspiration, shared out in 5 parts and 27 chapters. Through quite a few inspiring stories, wise advices, and simple exercises, Sincero goes on a mission to teach you “how you got this way,” “how to embrace your inner badass,” “how to tap into the motherlode,” and “how to get over your b.s. already.” You know, the lot which will help you learn “how to kick some ass.” (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

If you’re serious about changing your life, you’ll find a way. If you’re not, you’ll find an excuse.

Grit4.3 Angela Duckworth – Grit

About the Book: Angela Duckworth is University of Pennsylvania’s Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology and a 2013 MacArthur Genius Fellowship awardee. So, it’s safe to say she knows some things about human nature. In her debut, Grit, she claims that talent is only one part of the equation for success. Moreover, that it may even be the least important part. As she repeatedly shows in this great book, the ones who succeed are rarely the ones who are the best. It’s the ones who are the grittiest. Or, to clarify that a bit, the ones with the passion and the perseverance to succeed. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Grit
Favorite Quote:

With effort, talent becomes skill and, at the very same time, effort makes skill productive.

The Power of Self-Confidence4.4 Brian Tracy – The Power of Self-Confidence

About the Book: Oftentimes, average players can become great overnight; the only thing that’s changed in the meantime: their confidence. Brian Tracy’s book shows the extent to which self-confidence is the secret ingredient to success; and teaches you how you can attain it so that you can become unstoppable, irresistible, and unafraid in every area of your life. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

What one great thing would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail?

Girl, Wash Your Face

4.5 Rachel Hollis – Girl, Wash Your Face

About the Book: It’s not you: nobody has life figured out. Rachel Hollis, for example, has four children, owns an ultra-popular blog, and is the CCO of a company she has founded. How does she do it? Well, actually, she doesn’t: she has merely let the chaos of her life spur her onwards. In Girl, Wash Your Face she shares the tips and tricks. Oh, yes: if the title wasn’t a giveaway, guys, turn away – this one’s for the girls only. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.

Year of Yes4.6 Shonda Rhimes – Year of Yes

About the Book: Among other things, Shonda Rhimes was the creative force behind one of the most popular TV shows ever: Grey’s Anatomy. She was also a workaholic with barely a minute to spare on her three children or dearest friends. That all changed in 2015, her “Year of Yes.” This book chronicles her experiences of that year; and can certainly inspire you to do something and start creating some of your own. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.

Choose Yourself4.7 James Altucher – Choose Yourself

About the Book: Rife with insightful interviews and astute life lessons, Choose Yourself is one of the best self-improvement and motivational books you’ll ever read. The basic premise is (once again) quite simple (just see the title), but the way it’s related and the sheer force of the arguments is compelling. Because, as Altucher says, if there ever was a time in history when you could choose yourself – that time is today. Make the most of it. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Forget purpose. It’s okay to be happy without one. The quest for a single purpose has ruined many lives.

Awaken the Giant Within4.8 Tony Robbins – Awaken the Giant Within

About the Book: Tony Robbins is a motivational powerhouse. In fact, just seeing him or hearing him talk is enough for one to realize that he’s all kinds of a powerhouse. Awaken the Giant Within, a massive 600-page book, is perhaps his still best-known and best-loved work. As you’ll find out in it, getting rid of your old limiting belief systems is a painful process; but if there’s someone who can inspire you to endure the pain necessary to develop an empowering belief system, well, Robbins is your guy. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Awaken the Giant Within
Favorite Quote:

I truly believe we all have a sleeping giant within us.

Now, Discover Your Strengths4.9 Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton – Now, Discover Your Strengths

About the Book: As its title suggests, Now, Discover Your Strengths is a sequel to Buckingham’s debut, First, Break All the Rules, with the sole aim to help you – and we do mean you – realize your innate potential. It does this via the Internet-based StrengthsFinder Profile, based on a multimillion-dollar 25-year-long study. Once you buy the book, you’ll discover your unique number to use the program. And after going through the internet analysis and discovering your strengths, you are advised to come back to the book and find the best way to use them. Very unique, Now, Discover Your Strengths is not only groundbreaking but also an extremely useful book. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

If you stop investigating yourself for fear of how little you might find, you miss the wonder of your strengths.

Finding Your Element4.10 Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica – Finding Your Element

About the Book: If you don’t know who Ken Robinson is, then there’s a high chance that you don’t know what TED is either; because Robinson’s 2006 speech, “Do Schools Kill Creativity” is by far the most viewed TED Talk of all time. Finding Your Element builds upon that speech and its prequel-book (The Element), which taught us that the Element is the point at which “natural aptitude meets personal passion.” Here you’ll learn how to discover it and transform your life. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Finding your Element is vital to understanding who you are and what you’re capable of being and doing with your life.

5. The “Great Lecture” Shelf

Regardless of who you are or who you’ll become, a large part of it (for better or for worse) will always be the aftereffect of your professors’ lectures. We can only wish that some of them looked like these ten.

5.1 Elbert Hubbard – A Message to Garcia

About the Book: On February 22, 1899, Elbert Hubbard, an American philosopher and publisher, was irked by a lazy worker. That very night, he wrote this 32-page essay in an attempt to expose “the imbecility of the average man” and his “inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it.” His starting point for comparison: a certain soldier named Andrew S. Rowan, who, just prior to the Spanish–American War, was tasked with carrying a message from President William McKinley to the Cuban insurgents’ leader, Gen. Calixto García, “somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba—no one knew where.” Hubbard’s main point: Rowan asked no questions; he just took the message and delivered it. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

The hero is the man who does the work.

This Is Water5.2 David Foster Wallace – This Is Water

About the Book: Due to his problems with depression and anxiety, David Foster Wallace lived a famously secluded life. In fact – and unfortunately – the only public speech he ever gave in his life was the commencement speech delivered on May 21, 2005 to the graduating class at Kenyon College. An unforgettable lecture on awareness and empathy, the speech was published in a slightly extended version as this book in 2009, a year after Wallace decided to end his life. Regardless of whether you’ll listen to the speech or read the book, Wallace’s messages will most certainly remain with you for many years to come. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book | Listen to the speech)

Favorite Quote:

You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.

Harvard Commencement Speech5.3 J.K. Rowling – Harvard Commencement Speech

About the Book: Back in 1994, J. K. Rowling was a single mother of one, diagnosed with clinical depression and as “poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.” A year later, 12 publishing houses rejected her manuscript of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Today, she is one of the bestselling authors in history. In her 2008 Harvard Commencement Speech Rowling looks back at it all and shares the two lectures she wishes she had been taught at university: the importance of imagination and the usefulness of failure. (Read a brief summary of the speech | Watch the speech)

Favorite Quote:

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case, you fail by default.

Want to Get Great at Something? Get a Coach5.4 Atul Gawande – Want to Get Great at Something? Get a Coach

About the Book: Atul Gawande is an exceptional American surgeon and public health professor. In this TED2017 speech, he explains that, regardless of his level of expertise, he still needs a coach to get better – or at least not to regress. Athletes have been aware of this fact ever since the beginnings of sport. Even a Michael Jordan or a Garry Kasparov needs a coach. Doesn’t that mean, by implication, that we all do? (Read a brief summary of the speech | Watch the speech)

Favorite Quote:

Great coaches…are your external eyes and ears, providing a more accurate picture of your reality.

The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage5.5 Susan David – The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage

About the Book: There are objective facts and events; and, then, there are also our emotional reactions to them. It is the latter which actually shape our lives, everything from our health through our relationships and careers to the genuineness of our happiness and contentment. That’s why it’s exceptionally important to develop emotional flexibility; and Susan David’s speech will tell you how you can achieve that. (Read a brief summary of the speech | Watch the speech)

Favorite Quote:

Diversity isn’t just people; it’s also what’s inside people, including diversity of emotion.

Make Your Bed5.6 William H. McRaven – Make Your Bed

About the Book: The title of this book is the first of Admiral William H. McRaven’s ten life lessons. It’s a different way of saying “start your day with a task completed.” The other nine are the following ones: you can’t go it alone; only the size of your heart matters; life’s not fair – drive on; failure can make you stronger; you must dare greatly; stand up to the bullies; rise to the occasion; give people hope; and never, ever quit. Funny and inspiring, McRaven has a host of personal anecdotes to illuminate each of these suggestions; and to inspire you to dare greatly. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book | Watch the speech)

Favorite Quote:

Without pushing your limits, without occasionally sliding down the rope headfirst, without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible in your life.

You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems5.7 Tapiwa Chiwewe – You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems

About the Book: “Even if you’re not an expert in a particular domain,” says Tapiwa Chiwewe in this endlessly unassuming and infinitely inspiring speech, “your outside expertise may hold the key to solving big problems within that domain.” In his case, it was his background in computer engineering that helped him solve an ecological problem. What will the combination be in your case? The combinations are endless. And that’s the point. (Read a brief summary of the speech | Watch the speech)

Favorite Quote:

Sometimes just one fresh perspective, one new skill set, can make the conditions right for something remarkable to happen.

Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are5.8 Amy Cuddy – Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

About the Book: The second most watched TED Talk in history, Amy Cuddy’s Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are can be summed up in a single sentence: strike a “power pose” (think Wonder Woman) and your body will start releasing hormones to boost your feelings of confidence. In other words, regardless of whether you’re actually confident or not – you can trick your body to trick your mind that you are. (Read a brief summary of the speech | Read some Amy Cuddy quotes | Watch the speech)

Favorite Quote:

Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it…Do it enough until you actually become it and internalize it.

Tuesdays with Morrie5.9 Mitch Albom – Tuesdays with Morrie

About the Book: Morrie Schwartz, a sociology professor, was Mitch Albom’s favorite teacher at Brandeis. However, even though he had promised him the opposite at his graduation day in 1979, Mitch (now a nation-famous sportswriter) had not corresponded with Morrie for the next 16 years. And then he learned from an interview with Schwartz on the TV show Nightline that his university professor is dying from ALS. He called him immediately and for the next fourteen weeks, Mitch Albom spent every Tuesday with Morrie Schwartz. This book describes their discussions, covering everything from family to religion to the meaning of life. And it’s everything you’d expect it to be: poignant, heartbreaking, life-changing. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

The truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.

Tuesdays with Morrie5.10 Randy Pausch – The Last Lecture

About the Book: What if you suddenly find out that you have barely a few months left to live on this planet? We know what you’re thinking: there are so many things I’d do, so many dreams I have yet to achieve. Well, what’s stopping you now? In a nutshell, that’s the question Randy Pausch thinks is the most important one you can ask yourself. And the question he tried to answer in a poignant and inspiring one-hour talk, which he gave before a packed audience, merely 8 months before he passed away. This book grew out of that talk. And it’s so wonderful that we can honestly say to you this: if Pausch can’t motivate you to start achieving your dreams today, well, we don’t know who can. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book | Watch the speech)

Favorite Quote:

We cannot change the cards we are dealt; just how we play the hand.

6. The “Why Would You Give a Damn” Shelf

You know what? You worry about too many trivial things in your life. And that’s what stopping you from being happy. Here are ten books which can teach you how to give less damn about, well, almost everything.

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living6.1 Dale Carnegie – How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

About the Book: Published in 1948, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie – the godfather of self-improvement – is widely considered a self-help classic and one of the best books on the topic ever written. Carnegie wrote it because, in his own words, he “was one of the unhappiest lads in New York.” And these are the time-tested methods which helped him recognize and overcome his worries. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Nobody is so miserable as he who longs to be somebody and something other than the person he is in body and mind.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck6.2 Mark Manson – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

About the Book: Mark Manson is not a guy who’ll ever try to sugarcoat his words or his messages. And, albeit The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck cites quite a few academic studies, very early on you get the feel that this book is the best (unsubtle) proponent of the message he’s trying to relate to his readers. Namely, that life is unfair and that no matter how much you try to make it right, it will certainly find a way to hit you with a hammer at the least convenient moment. Your job is to find a way to absorb the blow. And not giving a damn about 99% of the things you are – is the best way to do it. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Favorite Quote:

Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.

Don’t Sweat Over the Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff6.3 Richard Carlson – Don’t Sweat Over the Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff

About the Book: Profoundly believing that “stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness,” Richard Carlson — a renowned psychotherapist and motivational speaker — spent almost all of his (unfortunately short) life studying the ways to overcome it. And the trademark-titled Don’t Sweat Over the Small Stuff is his best-known book on the subject. It shows marvelously how important is to simply calm down and chill out in life. True, the idea is simple, but so is Carlson’s style. Which makes both for an enjoyable and an inspiring read. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

We deny the parts of ourselves that we deem unacceptable rather than accepting the fact that we’re all less than perfect.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck6.4 Sarah Knight – The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck

About the Book: “The life-changing magic of not giving a f*ck,” writes Sarah Knight in this “practical parody” of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, “is all about prioritizing. Joy over annoy. Choice over obligation. Opinions vs. feelings.” Hilarious and stimulating, Sarah Knight’s profane language, coupled with her blunt honesty, will teach you “how to stop spending time you don’t have with people you don’t like doing things you don’t want to do.” Don’t like it? Well, Knight couldn’t care less about it. It’s there on the first page: this is “a no f*cks given guide.” (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

I call it the NotSorry Method. It has two steps: 1. Deciding what you don’t give a f*ck about; and 2. Not giving a f*ck about those things.

Ego Is the Enemy6.5 Ryan Holiday – Ego Is the Enemy

About the Book: At first glance, the title of this book says it all. What it doesn’t say, however, is that Ryan Holiday is a modern-day Stoic (see 2.6) and that, for him, ego is not merely a clinical term in Freudian theory, but a word to describe “an unhealthy belief in your own importance.” And this belief is something you must get rid of, Holiday says, going over a host of killing-the-ego-related positive anecdotes – as well as cautionary tales – to make his point. Some of the great historical and contemporary figures mentioned in his book are George Marshall, Christopher McCandless, Jackie Robinson, Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as Larry Page, Paul Graham, and Steve Jobs. See why. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Ego Is the Enemy
Favorite Quote:

Be lesser, do more. Imagine if, for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them? And you looked at it in a way that entirely benefited them and not you.

The 4-Hour Workweek6.6 Timothy Ferriss – The 4-Hour Workweek

About the Book: Before he became the world-famous entrepreneur that he is today, Timothy Ferriss was not much different from you; in other words: he worked about two-thirds of the day – and slept away the last one. There must be more to life – he thought to himself one day while on a 3-week sabbatical to Europe. And that’s when he stopped checking email and started outsourcing assignments. The result? Well, see the title. If that seems like a stretch, we guarantee you at least this: stick to Ferriss’ advice and you will at least undoubtedly escape the boring 9-5 lifestyle that’s draining all of your energy. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

The 4 Hour Workweek
Favorite Quote:

Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is not laziness.

Why Men Love Bitches6.7 Sherry Argov – Why Men Love Bitches

About the Book: A practical “from doormat to dreamgirl” guide for women, Why Men Love Bitches answers the rhetorical question from the title in an example-rich and emphatic fashion. We’ll let Argov’s definition of what being a bitch actually means give you a taste of what to expect from this brilliant New York Times bestseller: “A woman who won’t bang her head against the wall obsessing over someone else’s opinion – be it a man or anyone else in her life. She understands that if someone does not approve of her, it’s just one person’s opinion; therefore, it’s of no real importance. She doesn’t try to live up to anyone else’s standards – only her own. Because of this, she relates to a man very differently.” (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Be an independent thinker at all times, and ignore anyone who attempts to define you in a limiting way.

What If It Does Work Out?6.8 Susie Moore – What If It Does Work Out?

About the Book: If you’re anything like us, the first question you ask yourself every time you come up with an idea for something big is “what if it doesn’t work out?” Well, it’s time for a why-worries paradigm shift: in What If It Does Work Out? Susie Moore takes you on a step-by-step journey of how to transform your side hustle into cash; and, by way of proxy, your mediocre present of whys and what-ifs into a bright future of passion and fulfillment. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

You are not your job. You are much bigger than and not restricted by whatever your job title says you are – even if you love your current career.

Braving the Wilderness6.9 Brené Brown – Braving the Wilderness

About the Book: In the words of Joseph Campbell (see 1.8): “if you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” So, “stop walking through the world looking for a confirmation that you don’t belong,” Brené Brown joins in (see 4.1). “The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.” And no one can teach you to stop worrying about the world and brave the wilderness inside you better than Brown. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

I have started to believe that crying with strangers in person could save the world.

When Things Fall Apart6.10 Pema Chödrön – When Things Fall Apart

About the Book: Almost any book illuminating the principles of Tibetan Buddhism can teach you to worry less and accept more. This one – one of our favorites – is written by a Berkeley-educated disciple of that crazy sage, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche; and abounds with piercingly beautiful pieces of counterintuitive “heart advice for difficult times.” The bottom line: you can overcome any pain by embracing it; and Pema Chödrön has a knack for choosing the right words in teaching you how. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.

top motivational books

7. The “Fables and Fiction” Shelf

“I give you the truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion,” informs us Tom Wingfield at the beginning of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. And that’s what great fiction always does; and that’s why you can learn more about real life from these ten fictional stories than you can from, well, real life itself.

Allegory of the Cave7.1 Plato – Allegory of the Cave

About the Book: Imagine a group of prisoners incarcerated in a cave and chained in such a manner that they are merely facing a blank wall; and on the wall: nothing but shadowy projections of people and things passing in front of a fire burning behind them. And yet, since they can perceive nothing else, the shadows are what constitutes reality for these prisoners. According to Plato, in this unforgettable excerpt from The Republic, it is the job of the philosopher to break away from the chains and inspire others to see that there’s more to reality than mere projections; and it is a job he did flawlessly. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Anyone who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light.

The Alchemist7.2 Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist

About the Book: Inspired by an old folktale (search for the Peddler of Swaffham), Paulo Coelho’s most-celebrated book, The Alchemist, follows the journey of a young shepherd named Santiago, from the pastures of Andalusia to the pyramids of Egypt – and back again. The reason for this journey: a recurring dream which promises the poor boy treasure. In the end, he finds it; but it’s not where he expected it to be; and, moreover, it’s not what he expected it to be. Oh, just when will they finally release that Idris Elba-starring movie adaptation? (Read a brief summary of the book | Read the best quotes from the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

The Greatest Salesman in the World7.3 Og Mandino – The Greatest Salesman in the World

About the Book: According to Norman Vincent Peale (see 3.2), The Greatest Salesman in the World is “one of the most inspiring, uplifting, and motivating books” in existence; and, according to Matthew McConaughey, it profoundly changed his life. A parable set in the last years of the first century before Christ, this tiny booklet weaves mythology and practical tips in a way which makes life much more graspable and the act of selling (in the words of Daniel H. Pink) an inherently human – and humane – endeavor. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand.

TheMonk Who Sold His Ferrari7.4 Robin Sharma – The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

About the Book: In a novelistic fashion, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari retells the story of Robin Sharma’s actual real-life transformation. A motivational fable, it is presented in the form of a conversation between two friends, Julian and John, during which the first one, a successful trial lawyer, recounts to the second one how he sold his Ferrari and his holiday home after suffering a heart attack. And how that decision was the best in his life, because it funded a Himalayan journey which, ultimately, changed his whole perception about himself – and life itself. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Life has bigger plans for you than you can possibly know.

Who Moved My Cheese?7.5 Spencer Johnson – Who Moved My Cheese?

About the Book: A very short 32-page barely illustrated story, Who Moved My Cheese? tells the story of two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two little people (Hem and Haw). They live in a maze and are in a constant pursuit for cheese. After they find a whole bunch of it, the little people seem quite content with the discovery, while the mice are already thinking about the day they’ll have none. Sure enough, that day comes. And the little people have no choice but to learn how to deal with the scarcity of food. One of them deals with it better. And tries to motivate the other. And, much more importantly, by way of proxy, you. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

If you do not change, you can become extinct.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull7.6 Richard Bach – Jonathan Livingston Seagull

About the Book: What can a story about an outcast seagull who prefers mastering the art of flying to, well, eating, tell you about how you should live your life? Surprisingly: a lot. It is not for nothing that the book is dedicated to “the real Jonathan Seagull, who lives within us all.” Critically acclaimed Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury once wrote that Richard Bach “does two things: he gives me Flight. He makes me Young. For both, I am deeply grateful.” We are too, Ray, we are too. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now.

Siddhartha7.7 Hermann Hesse – Siddhartha

About the Book: Profoundly influenced by Western (Jungian) psychoanalysis and Eastern (Buddhist) philosophy and written in the simplest and most lyrical of styles, Siddhartha is one of the all-time classic novels of self-discovery and enlightenment. Siddhartha, a contemporary of the Buddha, experiences everything from the silence of asceticism through the pleasures of sex to the emptiness of loss – only to ultimately realize that life is actually what happens deep within ourselves. Let Hermann Hesse guide you on this very same path through the pages of this absolutely mesmerizing book. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.

Walden7.8 Henry David Thoreau – Walden

About the Book: Remember how John Keating motivated his students in Dead Poets Society? Well, this is the book he used to do that. And if you want to “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life” – it is certainly the book you should read as soon as possible! (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

The Old Man and the Sea

7.9 Ernest Hemingway – The Old Man and the Sea

About the Book: Ernest Hemingway had written quite a few immense novels adored by literary critics before he penned The Old Man and the Sea in 1951 in Cuba, but it seems that both the Nobel Prize Committee and the general public of the world really made note of him as a writer because of this novella. A story about a Cuban fisherman and his exhausting fight with a 5.5-meter-long marlin and quite a few hungry sharks, The Old Man and the Sea reads as something even more than an unforgettable allegory: a modern myth. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Man is not made for defeat… A man can be destroyed but not defeated.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven7.10 Mitch Albom – The Five People You Meet in Heaven

About the Book: Killed in an amusement park accident while trying to save a little girl from a falling cart, 83-year-old Eddie awakes uninjured in heaven. He is afterward taken on a journey through all five levels of it, meeting, at each step, a person whose life had been interrelated with his own while on earth. A timeless tale, The Five People You Meet in Heaven is as profound and as moving read as Tuesdays with Morrie (see 5.9); and at least as life-altering. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

We are all connected. You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind.

8. The “Inspirational Biographies” Shelf

Some lives can be just as inspiring as any book or movie; the least they deserve is to be put on paper or adapted for the big screen. Here are our ten choices.

Man’s Search for Meaning8.1 Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning

About the Book: Voted one of the ten most influential books in the United States, Man’s Search for Meaning is a once-in-a-lifetime life-changing book. Written by Viktor Frankl, an Auschwitz survivor, the book is not merely a haunting memoir of his soul-crushing experiences in the concentration camp (something which would have been enough to earn this book a place on this list in itself), but it also introduces a psychotherapeutic method which has helped numerous people around the world to overcome any kind of difficulty in their own lives. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Man’s Search for Meaning
Favorite Quote:

So live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!

The Diary of a Young Girl8.2 Anna Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl

About the Book: Here’s another memoir straight from the depths of despair and the abysses of human evil. Arguably the most famous among many written against the background of the horrors of the Holocaust, Anne Frank’s Diary chronicles the last two years of her prematurely ended life. However, what has really made this book “one of the most enduring documents” of the 20th century is Anne Frank’s “triumphant humanity in the face of unfathomable deprivation and fear.” (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them because, in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.

What Is the What8.3 Dave Eggers – What Is the What

About the Book: What is the What is subtitled “The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng” which may even sound a bit strange if you don’t know Dave Eggers’ aptitude for combining fiction and non-fiction to create unforgettably imaginative novels firmly rooted in reality. Yes, that means that Valentino Achak Deng is a real person and that Dave Eggers is essentially writing his story in his place. And what a story it is! One of the Lost Boys of Sudan, battling being orphaned, starvation, soldiers and lions (yes, lions!) only to finally be offered a new life in the United States and end up discriminated. Remind us, Primo Levi: what does it mean to be a human? (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Humans are divided between those who can still look through the eyes of youth and those who cannot.”

When Breath Becomes Air8.4 Paul Kalanithi – When Breath Becomes Air

About the Book: Paul Kalanithi was an Indian-American neurosurgeon with an MA in Literature and a bright future ahead of him when he was diagnosed with metastatic stage IV lung cancer. He passed away two years later, a month shy of his 38th birthday. Behind him he left a loving wife, a newborn daughter and a thought-provoking book which will undoubtedly enthuse you with a new-found love for life; whilst, expectedly, bringing quite a few tears to your eyes. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Even if I’m dying, until I actually die, I am still living.

Unbroken8.5 Laura Hillenbrand – Unbroken

About the Book: Adapted in a 2014 Angelina Jolie-directed movie, Unbroken tells the story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini, the youngest US Olympian in history and a World War II hero. After suffering a plane crash, Zamperini survived 46 days drifting in the ocean before landing on the occupied Marshall Islands and ending up a Japanese prisoner of war. And he overcame everything to die peacefully in the 97th year of his life. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain.

The Glass House8.6 Jeannette Walls – The Glass House

About the Book: Back in 1963, Jeannette Walls set herself on fire while trying to cook herself some hot dogs on the stovetop because her mother was too busy painting to bother making her lunch. The most frightening part of that story: she was merely three years old. Still under the impression that you had a bad childhood? Walls’ remarkable memoir, The Glass House, is here to shatter for you that impression, all the while redefining the meaning of some words such as “family” and “love.” (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Things usually work out in the end.’ ‘What if they don’t?’ ‘That just means you haven’t come to the end yet.

Long Walk to Freedom8.7 Nelson Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom

About the Book: “Do not judge me by my success,” said Nelson Mandela once. “Judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Long Walk to Freedom, his autobiography which served as the basis of the similarly titled 2013 movie adaptation, documents all of his pre-1994 falls and, more importantly, ascends. History has already judged them; by taking a bow. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it’s lowest ones.

Way of the Peaceful Warrior8.8 Dan Millman – Way of the Peaceful Warrior

About the Book: Based upon the author’s early life, Dan Millman’s Way of the Peaceful Warrior tells the story of the life-changing meeting between a hurt world champion gymnast and a powerful old warrior/gas station attendant nicknamed Socrates. It may sound stranger than fiction, and yet, it’s all but. The 2007 movie adaptation was dubbed “Rocky for the soul,” and Eckhart Tolle (see 3.10) praised it with the words: “Watch it and be transformed.” Let us paraphrase him: read the book and change your outlook on life. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

Shoe Dog8.9 Phil Knight – Shoe Dog

About the Book: Phil Knight is currently worth more than $30 billion; and yet, just fifty years ago, he was basically a penniless entrepreneur with a risky idea. Namely, to strike an exclusive deal for the US distribution rights of the Tiger shoes with the Japanese Onitsuka company by presenting himself as a representative of Blue Ribbon Sports. The trick is: Onitsuka is a giant, and Blue Ribbon Sports is located in Knight’s parents’ house and has only him as the sole employee. Shoe Dog tells the rest of the story. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Shoe Dog
Favorite Quote:

Let everyone else call your idea crazy… just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where ‘there’ is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.

Losing My Virginity8.10 Richard Branson – Losing My Virginity

About the Book: If not the favorite, Richard Branson is certainly the most colorful and least boring of all great entrepreneurs (Elon Musk comes close second). Judging by the quote below, you can easily guess why. Losing My Virginity is the first part of his autobiography – and it’s as outrageous and inspiring as you would expect! (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive, then I believe you are better off not doing it. A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.

9. The “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” Shelf

According to most philosophers, happiness is the ultimate goal of human life; in fact, according to Aristotle, it is the only thing human beings desire for its own sake. But should it be? Find out with some of the most motivational books on the subject of happiness ever written.

Stumbling on Happiness9.1 Daniel Gilbert – Stumbling on Happiness

About the Book: “If you have even the slightest curiosity about the human condition,” writes Malcolm Gladwell (see 1.7), “you ought to read this book.” And you really should! Written by a Harvard psychologist, it is witty and engaging, wide-ranging and thoroughly researched. Not to mention it answers some of the most troublesome questions of your life! Like, for example, why does the grocery store line slow down the very moment you join it? (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

If you are like most people, then like most people, you don’t know you’re like most people.

The Happiness Project9.2 Gretchen Rubin – The Happiness Project

About the Book: If there’s one thing that Gretchen Rubin is famous for – other than long, long subtitles – is her interest in all topics happiness-related. In this case, she explains why she spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean her closets, fight right, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun. And how that all worked out. By the way, the project had a sequel in Happier at Home which was all about kissing more, jumping more, abandoning a project, reading Samuel Johnson – and some other experiments in the practice of everyday life. So be sure to check that one as well! (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.

The Art of Happiness9.3 Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler – The Art of Happiness

About the Book: Who better to tell you how you should live a happy and worry-free life than the man a large part of the world population considers the most enlightened human being currently treading the earth? In The Art of Happiness, His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, shares his simple philosophy on the art of happiness – all the while providing you with a multipurpose handbook for living. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

The How of Happiness9.4 Sonja Lyubomirsky – The How of Happiness

About the Book: It’s easy to experience a moment of happiness; what’s difficult is sustaining it for the long run. The How of Happiness by Russian-born American psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky – justly advertised as “a scientific approach to getting the life you want” – is focused on this letter part of the equation. And for a reason: according to studies, 40% of your happiness depends on your intentional activities and only 10% on the circumstances. True, the other half is genetically determined, but look at it this way: even in the worst-case scenario, you’re responsible for at least half of your own happiness. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

People have a remarkable capacity to become inured to any positive changes in their lives.

Happiness9.5 Richard Layard – Happiness

About the Book: One of the preeminent economists of happiness today, Richard Layard has been fascinated for most of his life with something called the Easterlin paradox. Namely, it seems that people’s happiness depends on their income only until a certain point – after which, money has no effect whatsoever on their wellbeing. The interesting thing: the paradox is as factual as Napoleon’s date of birth. Richer societies? Oh, no – says Layard in Happiness. We need to strive for happier societies. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

The more television people watch, the more they overestimate the affluence of other people. And the lower they rate their own relative income. The result is that they are less happy.

The Happiness Equation9.6 Neil Pasricha – The Happiness Equation

About the Book: In the words of Susan Cain, author of Quiet, Dale Carnegie (see 6.1) was last century, Stephen Covey was last decade, but Neil Pasricha is what’s now. And after earning himself a name with The Book of Awesome series and giving one of the most inspiring TED Talks ever (“The 3 A’s of Awesome”), Pasricha is back again with the simplest of all happiness equations: want nothing + do anything = have everything. Believe it or not – it is not a contradiction in terms. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Motivation doesn’t cause action. An action causes motivation.

The Happiness Hypothesis9.7 Jonathan Haidt – The Happiness Hypothesis

About the Book: In The Happiness Hypothesis, award-winning psychologist Jonathan Haidt examines – in as many chapters (not counting the conclusion) – ten ancient ideas about what it means to be happy; and he extracts the most applicable parts of them all. The main metaphor he uses – that of the dichotomy between the rider (the conscious mind) and the elephant (the unconscious mind) – has been reused by many authors during the last decade – the finest evidence in favor of the popularity and significance of this book. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Love and work are to people what water and sunshine are to plants.

The Happiness Advantage9.8 Shawn Achor – The Happiness Advantage

About the Book: An advocate of positive psychology, Shawn Achor is a Harvard-educated researcher in happiness and the presenter of one of the most popular TED Talks on the platform, “The Happy Secret to Better Work.” And someone whose books would fit just as nicely on our third shelf. Because his main thesis is that it isn’t success which brings happiness, but, the other way around: it’s happiness which brings success. His seven principles of positive psychology are as thought-provoking as funny-named. And we bet you want to immediately find out what does “Tetris effect” and “Zorro Circle” stand for. Please do. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

We tend to miss what we’re not looking for.

The Little Book of Hygge9.9 Meik Wiking – The Little Book of Hygge

About the Book: According to almost every study ever conducted, Denmark is the happiest country in the world. According to Meik Wiking – who is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and is, of course, Danish – this is because the Danish have mastered the art of hygge. Wikipedia defines it as a “mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment;” Wiking has the details. And a bunch of practical tips. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Happiness consists more in small conveniences or pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happens but seldom.”

Feeling Good9.10 David D. Burns – Feeling Good

About the Book: As we told you in 9.4 above, about half of happiness is genetically determined; which means that there are numerous people on this planet who are, simply put, almost incapable of being happy. Most of them suffer from depression. David D. Burns’ Feeling Good is specifically written for them. Drawing on the ancient philosophy of Stoicism (see 2.6), Burns provides readers with a problem-focused and action-oriented mood treatment which actually and undoubtedly helps. It is called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and it is widely believed to be as effective as psychoactive medications. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Your thoughts create your emotions; therefore, your emotions cannot prove that your thoughts are accurate.

10. The “Show Me the Money” Shelf

As hinted in 9.5 above, money can’t buy you happiness; but, as Clare Boothe Luce, once quipped, “it can make you awfully comfortable while you’re being miserable.” Need some motivation to start earning? Then have a look at these ten books!

The Science of Getting Rich10.1 Wallace D. Wattles – The Science of Getting Rich

About the Book: The book which directly inspired Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret (see 3.3), The Science of Getting Rich is a century-old classic on the subject of wealth attraction. “There is no reason for worry about financial affairs,” claims Wattles. “Every person who wills to do so may rise above his want, have all he needs, and become rich.” Just follow Wattles’ rules, and you will become rich; with – and this is a direct quote – “mathematical certainty.” (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

The very best thing you can do for the whole world is to make the most of yourself.

Think and Grow Rich10.2 Napoleon Hill – Think and Grow Rich

About the Book: Written in 1937, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich is the ultimate classic in the genre. Inspired by a suggestion from none other than Andrew Carnegie – at the time the richest man in the world – the book lays out the 13 principles of the Philosophy of Achievement: desire, faith, autosuggestion; specialized knowledge; imagination; organized planning; decision; persistence; power of the mastermind; the mystery of sex transmutation; the subconscious mind; the brain; the sixth sense. It’s difficult to argue with any of them. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Think and Grow Rich
Favorite Quote:

One of the main weaknesses of mankind is the average person’s familiarity with the word ‘impossible.

The Richest Man in Babylon10.3 George S. Clason – The Richest Man in Babylon

About the Book: Advertised as “the most inspiring book on wealth ever written,” The Richest Man in Babylon is yet another of the undisputable all-time self-help classics. Just like Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount, George Samuel Clason imparts his wisdom and knowledge through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

It costs nothing to ask wise advice from a good friend.

Rich Dad Poor Dad10.4 Robert T. Kiyosaki – Rich Dad Poor Dad

About the Book: Just like Clason’s classic, Robert T. Kiyosaki’s bestseller – according to many lists, the #1 personal finance book of all times – is also written in a simple style abounding in immediately comprehensible parables. Its wisdom boils down to something that should be a truism: you can’t become rich without a proper education; and your school doesn’t provide it; neither your proper-education-bereaved poor or middle-class family. Let Kiyosaki. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Rich Dad Poor Dad
Favorite Quote:

Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.

MONEY Master the Game10.5 Tony Robbins – MONEY Master the Game

About the Book: After publishing Awaken the Giant Within in 1991 (see 4.8), Tony Robbins published just one book in the next 23 years: the incremental-changes guide Giant Steps in 1994. And then, two decades later, inspired by the financial crisis, he came up with this exceptional “7-step blueprint for securing financial freedom.” “If there were a Pulitzer Prize for investment books,” noted at the time a review in Forbes magazine,  “this one would win, hands down.” (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

MONEY Master the Game
Favorite Quote:

Money can have the power to create or the power to destroy. It can fund a dream or start a war.

The Total Money Makeover10.6 Dave Ramsey – The Total Money Makeover

About the Book: Dave Ramsey is the common-sense financial guru of millions of Americans. And most of them will tell you that The Total Money Makeover is essentially their Money Bible. Time to make it yours. Why? Because it will help you create a plan for paying off all of your debt; because it will dispel for you the most dangerous money myths out there; and, finally, because it will inspire you to take control of your financial freedom. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.

Retire Inspired10.7 Chris Hogan – Retire Inspired

About the Book: Chris Hogan is Dave Ramsey-approved (“In my opinion, Chris Hogan is the voice of retirement in America today.”) And that should tell you enough. In Retire Inspired, he teaches that retirement isn’t an age, but a financial number. Which means that if you follow his advice – based on the amount of money you need to start living out your dreams – you can retire at any age you like; all you need to be is reasonable. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

It’s hard to live your dream in your golden years when you’re trying to make it on an income that’s actually below the poverty line.

The Millionaire Next Door10.8 Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko – The Millionaire Next Door

About the Book: If you are like most people, you don’t become rich by suddenly obtaining lots of money; you become rich by consistently spending less than you earn. It’s that simple. And Stanley and Danko’s comparison of UAWs (under accumulators of wealth) and PAWs (prodigious accumulators of wealth) is ample evidence in favor of this. The bottom line: the rich are your neighbors, and status items are for showoffs. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

Whatever your income, always live below your means.

The Power of Broke10.9 Daymond John – The Power of Broke

About the Book: From time to time, it’s good to have someone turn things on their head. If the power of money won’t do the trick for you – says Daymond John – The Power of Broke undoubtedly will. Published only recently, John’s manual for start-up entrepreneurs gives all the details on “how empty pockets, a tight budget, and a hunger for success can become your greatest competitive advantage.” (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

The easiest thing to sell is the truth.

Tools of Titans10.10 Tim Ferriss – Tools of Titans

About the Book: Once he successfully limited his workweek to four hours (see 6.6), Tim Ferriss started The Tim Ferriss show, “the first business/interview podcast to pass 100,000,000 downloads” and “generally the #1 business podcast on all of Apple Podcasts.” For it, he had the privilege and honor to interview over 200 world-class performers. Tools of Titans reveals their secrets, in a structured, easy-to-read and easier-to-apply manner. (Read a brief summary of the book | Buy the book)

Tools of Titans
Favorite Quote:

The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.

The Wildcard

The Little Prince101. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – The Little Prince

About the Book: Some books manage to sell 2 million copies overall, and are considered exceptional successes; The Little Prince sells as much on a yearly basis for the past 70 years! Translated into more than 300 – yes, 300! – languages, this is one of the best-selling books ever published. Also: one of the very best. Fortunately, it just entered the public domain, so now everybody can read it. And everybody should. Because just like Ancient Greek myths or Jesus’ parables, it is timeless; and just like them – you can enjoy it – and understand it differently – regardless of your age. (Read the book | Buy the book)

Favorite Quote:

One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eye.

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Braving the Wilderness PDF Summary

Braving the Wilderness PDF SummaryThe Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

It’s Brené Brown once again!

Meaning: we don’t have to introduce her at all.

Ever since her TED Talk on vulnerability became one of the Top 5 Talks of all time, Brené Brown has basically become a cultural icon!

You know her, you love her, you want to hear her thoughts on everything.

So, join her as he shares her most valuable lessons on:

Braving the Wilderness.

Who Should Read “Braving the Wilderness”? And Why?

By now, you should be already familiar with most of Brené Brown’s interests: vulnerability and courage, humiliation and pride, belonging and being an outsider.

In Braving the Wilderness she tackles once again all of them, mostly focusing on the last one of these dichotomies.

And, just like most of her other books, this one also analyzes the problems in a way which should attract both students of social sciences and common folks who just need someone to talk to.

Well, hurting people, Brené Brown is certainly someone you’ll enjoy having a chat with.

About Brené Brown

Brené BrownBrené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston and New York Times bestselling author.

She has spent over two decades studying under-researched topics such as vulnerability and courage, empathy and shame, and is widely considered one of the world’s most read and beloved experts on these subjects.

She is the author of half a dozen books, most of which we’ve summarized here: I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) (2007); The Gifts of Imperfection (2010); Daring Greatly (2012); and Rising Strong (2015).

Braving the Wilderness was published last year (2017) and Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. – Brown’s most recent book – just four days ago.

Brown’s 2010 TED Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” has been seen over 36 million times (as of October 2018) and is one of the five most viewed TED Talks in history.

“Braving the Wilderness PDF Summary”

We all live in a bubble.

And no, we’re not talking about multiverses or Bitcoin or any other kind of scientific or economic bubble.

No.

We’re talking about something that, based on urgency, may be even more serious.

Namely, the filter bubble.

Put simply, the filter bubble is a state of intellectual isolation caused by personalized searches. They make your life easier, of course, but they also make humanity’s future bleaker.

Why?

Because instead of using the Internet to connect with other people with different experiences and worldviews, you are using it to reinforce your previous beliefs and disconnect from everything else!

The Internet was supposed to usher us into an age of interrelatedness; instead, it is merely making us lonelier by the minute.

Enter stage Brené Brown.

Brené Brown, the Outsider

You see her now all smiling and vivacious and you are immediately overwhelmed by the feeling that she has her life all figured out.

And then you hear her sharing some of her past experiences and you realize that she may have already had more problems than you ever will.

In fact, most of Brené Brown’s childhood was marred by a crushing fear that she doesn’t belong anywhere.

As a little girl, she was oftentimes marginalized by everybody. It was a poisonous racially segregated environment and the white girls at her school didn’t like her African-sounding names: Brené and Cassandra (Brown’s middle name); on the other hand, her African-American friends of hers were somewhat afraid to hang out with her.

So, she was neither here nor there for most of her childhood.

Thigs got only worse in high school where she badly wanted to become part of her school’s cheerleading team, the Bearkadettes. Just like her mother – who had met her father in this manner. (Stop guessing: her father was indeed the star of the football team).

Brown did everything within her power to become a member of the Bearkadettes; unfortunately, neither the liquid diet nor her perfect routine didn’t help her make it.

And to top this off, her parents were disappointed in her for not making it to the team.

To fight pains such as this, Brené started to drink. So much, in fact, that she had to join the AA.

Guess what?

They didn’t want her there either, suggesting her to try the Co-Dependents Anonymous group instead!

Brené Brown Discovering Herself

Most of the people you know have gone through what Brené Brown did in her early years.

And it always boils down to the same problem:

We put a lot of energy to belong to something; read between the lines and that means that you are, in fact, putting a lot of energy to be something that, deep inside, you are not.

Back in 1987 Brené Brown was at one of the worst stages in her life. She spent most of her time drinking and smoking, partying even when she had no energy for it.

That was her way of forgetting about herself.

And then she met Steve, the man she would eventually marry.

The best part about Steve?

He saw through Brené’s attempts to belong somewhere; and started guiding her toward self-belonging. Three decades later Brown would explain to the world how she managed to do this, as a guest on Oprah.

Namely, permission slips.

Suddenly, next to Steve, Brené realized that she could permit herself to be the person she actually was. No conventions, no exhausting liquid diets you need to go through so that you can be accepted.

Just herself.

In fact, her fist permission slip stated: “Be goofy, have fun and enjoy life.”

And she has tried doing that ever since.

Brave the Wilderness Inside You

You are such a unique individual that no one has ever lived a life like the one you’re currently living.

That’s as close to a fact as an opinion can get.

So, it’s only natural that conventional wisdom may not work: your own self is a one-of-a-kind wilderness.

Whatever you do – treat it as such.

Of course, this means that your path through it is also unique and that you need to find it on your own. But, believe us – you will!

Because, deep down inside you, you actually know that walking inside it is what life is all about. “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step,” advised Joseph Campbell, “you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”

And Campbell was one of the smartest and most inspiring people of the 20th century.

So:

Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.

Key Lessons from “Braving the Wilderness”

1.      The First Lesson of Self-Belonging: Brave the Wilderness Inside You
2.      The Seven Traits of Trustworthy People
3.      Tackling Loneliness and Ways to Burst the Bubble

The First Lesson of Self-Belonging: Brave the Wilderness Inside You

There’s a reason why everybody wants to belong to someone or something.

And that reason is quite obvious: it’s quite difficult to go through life alone. Men are social beings – and that’s exactly what Aristotle thought was their defining trait.

However, it is difficult to belong somewhere if you don’t know who you are. In that case, all of your attempts to become part of a group are actually wild guesses, shots in the dark. “Be careful who you pretend to be,” warned us once Kurt Vonnegut. “You might forget who you are.”

Well, Brené Brown is here to update this advice.

The best way to forget who you are, she says, is to never understand yourself completely in the first place.

And if you want to do that, be prepared to make some steps in the wilderness:

Belonging so fully to yourself that you’re willing to stand alone is a wilderness — an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. The wilderness can often feel unholy because we can’t control it, or what people think about our choice of whether to venture into that vastness or not. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.

Look at it this way: nobody belongs to this place more than you.

Even if a wilderness, your self is a very unique place: your very own, personal Shangri-La.

And nobody can explore it better than you!

The Seven Traits of Trustworthy People

Self-belonging is not as easy as it sounds.

It means making yourself open to your traumas and pains and vulnerable to other people’s opinions and judgments.

But it’s worth it!

Especially if you can find trustworthy people you can talk to, dependable friends ready to listen to your

According to Brené Brown, these people share these seven traits:

1. They are reliable, which is self-evident;
2. They own their mistakes which is something people rarely do nowadays;
3. They are capable of respecting boundaries, meaning they know that they should leave you alone when you want to be alone, even if that means going to the cinema without company;
4. They are capable of keeping confidential information safe; so, be wary of people who can’t keep your secrets because the betrayal of trust is one of the most traumatic experiences one can go through;
5. They are capable of making decisions with integrity; integrity is underrated in a world of lies and money;
6. They are non-judgmental; they know that we all make mistakes and that pointing them out repeatedly helps no one;
7. They are generous; with everything; meaning: with them, you’re never the only one who shares.

Tackling Loneliness and Ways to Burst the Bubble

If you’re feeling that people are too divided, then be aware that it’s not exactly a feeling: it’s a fact.

For example, only a quarter of Americans supported a specific candidate overwhelmingly back in 1976; however, just a few years ago, more than four fifths were either strongly for Trump or strongly for Hillary Clinton! And, in the meantime, the number of people who describe themselves as lonely more than doubled!

We explained at the beginning of our summary why this is happening. The same mechanism applies to both examples. Put simply, we live in a world designed to keep us inside a bubble.

We don’t experience anything out of our comfort zone, because it’s so easy to stay inside it: personalized ads, personalized searches, and even personalized channels.

The solution spells itself: do the opposite of what Google or YouTube or your inside voice suggests you! Experiment! Experience the difference! And see for yourself whatever suits you best.

At a certain point during your journey, you’ll undoubtedly come across a place, a person, a point where it will all make sense.

Congratulations: you’ve found your way through your inner wilderness.

Now you belong to yourself.

The side-effect?

You already belong to others as well.

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“Braving the Wilderness Quotes”

You are only free when you realize you belong no place—you belong every place—no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great. Click To Tweet But what we know now is that when we deny our emotion, it owns us. When we own our emotion, we can rebuild and find our way through the pain. Click To Tweet Sometimes the most dangerous thing for kids is the silence that allows them to construct their own stories—stories that almost always cast them as alone and unworthy of love and belonging. Click To Tweet Courage is forged in pain, but not in all pain. Pain that is denied or ignored becomes fear or hate. Click To Tweet We want to be part of something, but we need it to be real - not conditional or fake or constantly up for negotiation. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“It is inevitable —we will fall,” notes Simon Sinek in a review of Braving the Wilderness. “We will fail. We will not know how to react or what to do. No matter how or when it happens, we will all have a choice—do we get up or not? Thankfully,” he adds, “Brené Brown is there with an outstretched arm to help us up.”

Just like most of Brown’s books, Braving the Wilderness does feel as if an outstretched arm. It is both compassionate and empowering. Add to that mixture a lot of goodhearted humor and few mantras you’ll never forget – and you have a reason why you should read this book as soon as possible.

Especially if you feel like nobody understands you.

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The Barefoot Executive PDF Summary

The Barefoot Executive PDFThe Ultimate Manual for Being Your Own Boss & Achieving Financial Freedom

Don’t you want to be able to just once go to work in your pajamas?

What about if that is your life?

Carrie Wilkerson teaches you how you can become “The Barefoot Executive.”

(Which, having founded a company by the same name, she quite literally is.)

Who Should Read “The Barefoot Executive”? And Why?

Do you like your job?

Can you imagine yourself doing it for the next decade or half a century?

If so, then – congratulations!

You’re one of the fortunate few people on this planet who’ve managed to become their own executives!

Because we just can’t imagine someone who’s not his own boss – and who, consequently, has to adhere to schedules, deadlines, inflexible work hours, etc. – content enough to not yearn for a different future.

Carrie Wilkerson’s “The Barefoot Executive” is a book about these yearners, the less fortunate ones.

Those who want to do something other than what they’re currently doing.

So, basically, it’s about you.

Carrie WilkersonAbout Carrie Wilkerson

Carrie Wilkerson is a bestselling author, consultant, and sought-after keynote speaker.

Named by “Forbes” a top small business influencer, Wilkerson has been featured on both Fox Business News and CNN and has consulted many Fortune 500 companies, including Google.

“The Barefoot Executive” is her only book so far.

Find out more at http://carriewilkerson.com/

“The Barefoot Executive PDF Summary”

Even though it shares the title, this book has nothing to do with the 1971 live-action Disney movie starring the young Kurt Russell and a very smart TV-loving chimp.

However, it may have everything to do with the brightness of your future and your wellbeing, since Carrie Wilkerson’s goal – as stated in the Introduction is

…to give you hope and to take you through the process of investigating your options and your skill sets to create the financial freedom and work life that you’ve perhaps only dreamed of until now.

Ignore the naysayers and avoid the status quo.

So, in other words, Carrie’s vision of your future is one in which you can go to work without socks – or even pants – and one in which you can have the flexibility to join your daughter on an all-day field trip whenever you like – without asking for permissions and without any consequences.

And she shares this vision in five main parts.

The first part is titled “The Myth Breakers,” and it consists of two chapters: “Job Security, Tenure, Retirement, and Other Fairy Tales” and “Why You Must Own a Business.”

As evidenced by the tiles themselves, these chapters set the tone for Carrie Wilkerson’s main investigation, i.e., the why before the how of becoming your own executive.

Needless to add, as far as Wilkerson is concerned, you’re living in some century past if you still believe that securing a 9-to-5 job for the long run is the only way you can live your life, or that you can retire inspired and live happily ever after on your social security pension only!

It’s never been easier than today to start your own business, so you’re missing the opportunity of your life if you don’t at least try that!

But how should you start?

Well, by not making one of “The Three Big Mistakes” which is how the second chapter of Wilkerson’s book is titled.

The mistakes are chasing someone else’s dream, chasing too many rabbits, and chasing dollars.

Wilkerson’s point here is that you shouldn’t try to be the next anyone because that way you risk detaching your own business from your real desires and dreams, ultimately falling down the same rabbit hole you were trying to climb up from.

In other words: if you don’t work the job you want, create the one you’ve always dreamed about!

Not the one which books say will most probably work, or the one which self-help authors claim will get you the most money.

As Simon Sinek so convincingly argued a while back, there’s only one place from which you should start building your company: its why.

Part three, “The Methods,” is where Wilkerson moves from the why to the how, or, in other words, from motivation to action.

Here she explains what the right mindset of success is and how personalizing a business means taking massive action.

However, actually masterminding it will probably mean doing at least one of two things: finding a good mentor and doing serious research.

After all, even the greatest of sportsmen can’t maximize their talents without a proper mentor – so, don’t act self-important and do find one.

The fourth part of the book – titled “The Models” – covers (quite fittingly) six different business models from which you can choose to develop your business practically from scratch.

The models discussed here are service based (i.e., the one based on using your skill set), expertise-based (coaching and consulting), knowledge-based (information marketing), goods-based (commerce or direct sales), and referral-based (commission or affiliate marketing).

The sixth model is not actually a business model in itself but a combination of the other, since, once you have at least one model firmly planted, nothing’s stopping you from progressing to multiple streams of income.

The fifth and final part of the book, “The Marketplace” is all about positioning and finding your right audience.

It tries to answer questions such as “who wants what you have?” “where will they find you?” and “where will you find them?” while also sharing some ideas to income and discussing how you can effectively build your audience.

Scattered throughout Wilkerson’s book, you’ll find many practical advises and case studies – “Barefoot Action Steps” and “Barefoot Case Studies” – in addition to numerous links to supplemental videos which should further help you understand Wilkerson’s message.

Which, ultimately, is really simple but extraordinarily powerful: if you don’t like your life, you can easily fix it.

Just remodel yourself:

Key Lessons from “The Barefoot Executive”

1.      Shatter the Myths of the Past Century – and Become Your Own Boss
2.      The Three Big Mistakes You Should Never Make
3.      The Five Business Models You Should Research

Shatter the Myths of the Past Century – and Become Your Own Boss

There are many unsubstantiated and/or obsolete myths which, unfortunately, have decided your life for you.

Some of the most frightening ones are the Myth of Job Security, the Myth of Tenure, and the Myth of Retirement.

These are all remnants of a past world which has nothing to do with the dynamic you-can-do-it-yourself age in which we’re currently living.

So, forget about them.

Start your own business and write some new myths for the new generations.

The Three Big Mistakes You Should Never Make

There are three big mistakes you should never make if (or, rather, when) planning to start your own business.

The first one should be an obvious one – but people do it much too often so that we can ignore it: chasing other people’s dreams. The point is to build your life around your very own.

The second one is chasing too many rabbits – because that way you probably won’t catch a single one.

Chasing dollars is the third one.

Money should always be just means to an end, not the end itself.

The Five Business Models You Should Research

Probably the most important part of “The Barefoot Executive” is the fourth one: “The Models.”

Here you’ll find five different business models you should research and the ways you can employ them and link them to your very own business.

These are service-based, expertise-based, knowledge-based, goods-based, and referral-based.

Finally, the sixth model is a combination of these, i.e., multiple streams of revenue.

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“The Barefoot Executive Quotes”

Why do you want to start a business? Why are you reading this book? Click To Tweet

The ‘why’ behind the money, the ‘why’ behind how you are changing people, the ‘why’ behind what you do is what you are really focused on. Click To Tweet

You are never going to work really hard just to have a lot of money. Click To Tweet

What motivates us is what the money can do or the cause it can support or the choices that money allows us to have. Click To Tweet

Take action, absolutely – but also keep learning and growing. Don’t ever be finished. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

If you want to find a one-for-all working formula on how to start a business and become a filthy rich person, “The Barefoot Executive” is not the book for you.

However, it can do you one better: it offers a comprehensive overview of the possibilities ahead of you while sharing with you all the motivation and inspiration you’ll ever need to finally get the courage to start of your own business.

Funny and stimulating, “The Barefoot Executive” is certainly one of the places where you should start pursuing your dream career.

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Top of Mind PDF Summary – John Hall

Top of Mind PDFUse Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter to You

Have some of your customers ever said to you: “I was just thinking of you”?

John Hall says that it’s vital.

Because being and staying “Top of Mind” with your customers is a prerequisite if you want to succeed in today’s dynamic world of marketing and business.

Who Should Read “Top of Mind”? And Why?

If you’ve spent some time in the world of marketing, you may think that you already know everything there’s to know; however, if you’re long enough – you must be aware that marketing is an ever-changing field in which the nuances matter and in which self-development is a prerequisite.

“Top of Mind” is for both novices and veteran marketers: it introduces the former to the new rules of marketing and some basic content marketing secrets, and it helps the latter understand how marketing has evolved from persuasion and selling to trust and lending a helping hand. 

John HallAbout John Hall

John Hall is the founder and CEO of Influence & Co., a content marketing agency which was ranked No. 72 on Forbes’ list of most promising companies in America in 2014, and No. 239 on Inc.’s similar list the very same year.

John Hall himself was recognized as one of the Business Journals’ Top 100 Visionaries, and two years later he received the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Best Emerging Company.

One of the most powerful people in media whom you’ve never met,” John Hall has so far authored only one book, “Top of Mind.

“Top of Mind PDF Summary”

The Internet managed to change so many things that people born few decades before it feel as if strangers in the world of the 21st century.

And we’re not going to say anything new if we tell you that the Internet profoundly altered the world of marketing as well, bringing new rules and revolutionary ways to increase your sales.

However, John Hall argues that with the advent of the Internet, the most important thing that changed isn’t the field itself, but the mindset of the customer.

And in an almost counter-intuitive way!

And marketers and marketing companies aren’t keeping up with this since they fail to acknowledge the revolution!

What are we talking about?

Well, you see, just a while ago – and by while we mean merely two or three decades ago – marketers could have ignored the Internet altogether.

But then, the first dot-com companies started making money, and the more perceptive advertisers started taking notes.

Some time passed, the millennials took the world by storm, and few people realized a painful truth: The Internet hasn’t merely changed some of the rules of the marketing game; it has changed the game altogether.

Namely, the 21st century meant that for the first time in history, customers were able to get all the info they like and need via the Internet.

And this didn’t only pertain to products and prices, but to reviews and expert opinions as well.

The big question:

So, what were all these salespeople supposed to do?

The startling answer:

Nothing.

They were obsolete.

They are obsolete.

And that’s a good thing.

Because, John Hall argues, it means that Selling 101 has morphed into Altruism 101.

Namely, since today’s customers are not passive – and are, even more, suspicious of salespeople who don’t ask for permission to invade their privacyyour job isn’t any more that of a marketing rep, but the far more humble and noble of being a friend.

Customers today don’t like to buy from people who are intrusive and persuasive.

Sure, you can trick them once or twice, but the minute they find out – and, trust us, these relentlessly displeased millennials will – you’ll lose them for eternity.

Them and about a million other people who’ll find out about it the very next second – on every social network in existence!

So, instead of tricking them – earn their trust.

Being authentic, honest and truthful is your best promotion, because if your customers trust you, then you will be the first thing that comes to their minds in case they need your goods or services.

This is what being top of mind means.

And what should be your objective if you want to be a successful company in the world of today:

Authenticity is the foundation of your relationship with your audience. But for the relationship to flourish, it’s not enough to simply be authentic; you also have to deliver tangible value.

To get to your customers’ “top of mind,” you need to earn their approval.

How?

The very same way you would get the approval of people you’d like to be your friends.

By expressing genuine concern about their likes and dislikes, by establishing a type of communication between you two that’s based on mutual trust and commitment.

Most importantly, by helping your customers from time to time without seeking any compensation.

Let us rephrase that:

How would you feel about a company who suddenly presents you with a high-quality product you really need for no charge whatsoever?

Wouldn’t you feel almost obliged to buy the next product of that company once it arrives on the market?

Exactly!

Keep this up for the long haul, and you’ve reached your objective: you will be uppermost in the minds of your customers, and they’ll think of you first in case they need something you provide.

John Hall neatly zips the process in a simple formula:

Trust” plus “consistency” leads to “opportunity.

To strengthen the relationship with your buyers, use relevant content which – remember Simon Sinek? – should always start with your company’s why.

People are suckers for core purposes.

The rest is merely decorum.

Key Lessons from “Top of Mind”

1.      Salespeople? Who Needs Salespeople?
2.      Trust Plus Consistency Equals Opportunity
3.      Content Marketing’s Best Practices

Salespeople? Who Needs Salespeople?

Maybe you haven’t noticed so far, but in the age of the Internet, salespeople – the good old Ziglar type – have become a thing of the past.

How so?

Well, because of a change in the mindset of the customers.

Your buyers are now capable of finding everything they want to know about your products online, rendering them much more powerful and much less susceptible to being tricked or persuaded to buy something.

The only way you can do that today is by earning their trust and becoming their friend.

And, thus, placing yourself at the top of their minds!

Trust Plus Consistency Equals Opportunity

It’s not easy to gain someone else’s trust.

If it was, you would have much more friends than you have now.

And when you want to sell something to someone, it’s even more difficult.

So, start by doing something extraordinary for the marketing world – don’t take advantage of your buyers, but lend them a helping hand.

We never thought we’d say this, but it seems that in the 21st century, Kant’s second formulation of the categorical imperative can’t ring any truer: “Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end.”

Do this in a more consistent manner – and you’ll be granted with an opportunity.

Not to sell your products.

But to have them bought.

Content Marketing’s Best Practices

A good way to promote yourself in an age where earning the trust of your customers is an imperative is by using strategically developed – but always honest – content.

If you’re new in the business, follow these few steps:

#1. Set the right goals and document your strategy: and always start with a why.
#2. Focus on ideas which attract people: and seek guidance on how to do this.
#3. Commit to the process of content creation: and make it as enjoyable as it can be for your team.
#4. Find a way to distribute your content well: and make sure to update the methods continually.

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“Top of Mind Quotes”

Helping others when you have the ability, being yourself and doing it all with consistency are normal human behaviors. Click To Tweet

Content won’t generate an overnight spike in sales. That should never be the goal because that’s not how content works. Click To Tweet

Like helpfulness, authentic likability is a practice. It can’t be forced, but it can be developed through everyday thoughts and actions. Click To Tweet

Trust manifests itself on a spectrum. The degree to which you trust someone determines how far out you’ll stick your neck for her. Click To Tweet

Even the most thoughtful act of kindness will not generate long-term top-of-mind status if it’s a one-off. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

As Al Ries and Jack Trout noted in their 1981 classic “Positioning” (which we didn’t hesitate to include in our list of top marketing books in history), “positioning is not what you do to a product: positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect.”

“Top of Mind” shares some tips and tricks which may help you emerge victorious from this battle for your mind.

And according to John Hall, once that happens, you’ve won the marketing war.

You want to have this book as an ally: it’s smart, practical and thorough.

An excellent resource!

 

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The Culture Map PDF Summary

The Culture Map PDFBreaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business: How People Think, Lead, and Get Things Done

Some time ago, business went global.

Culture, however, didn’t.

Erin Meyer’ “The Culture Map” is your guide to effortlessly transcend the cultural barriers and acquire the much-needed skills to “decode cultures foreign to your own.”

Who Should Read “The Culture Map”? And Why?

It’s only common knowledge that cultures significantly differ from each other and what’s complimentary or conventional in one may be rude and eccentric in another.

If you are a business executive, failing to address this issue may cost you deals worth millions of dollars.

However, even though “The Culture Map” is explicitly written for leaders of international teams who want to rise above cultural clashes in the workplace, Erin Meyer’s exceptional book may help anyone who wants to improve his or her communications skills as well.

Erin MeyerAbout Erin Meyer

Erin Meyer is a Minnesota-born American author and a professor of Cross-Cultural Management at INSEAD in Paris, where she currently lives with her husband and two sons.

She developed her interest in cultural differences while volunteering for Peace Corps in Botswana. Before moving to Paris, Meyer also worked at McKesson, HBOC, and Aperian Global.

In 2013 “Business Inc.” selected her as one of the ten best business school professors worldwide. “The Culture Map” – her only book so far – was published the following year and was met with wide critical acclaim.

In 2017, Meyer was selected as one of the most influential thinkers worldwide by both “Thinkers50” and “HR Magazine.”

“The Culture Map PDF Summary”

At the heart of Erin Meyer’s exceptional book, “The Culture Map,” is an “eight-scale model” which should help managers and leaders of culturally diverse teams improve their effectiveness by offering them a platform to analyze the positioning of one culture relative to another and, thus, correctly decode the meaning of some actions and gestures.

The eight scales in question – and the two extremes between which Erin Meyer scatters many of the world’s countries – are the following:

  • Communicating: low-context vs. high-context
    Evaluating: direct negative feedback vs. indirect negative feedback
    Persuading: principles-first vs. applications-first
    Leading: egalitarian vs. hierarchical
    Deciding: consensual vs. top-down
    Trusting: task-based vs. relationship-based
    Disagreeing: confrontational vs. avoids confrontation
    Scheduling: linear-time vs. flexible-time

Meyer dedicates a chapter to each of these eight areas.

And so should we a key lesson – each one borrowing the title of the relevant chapter!

Key Lessons from “The Culture Map”

1.Listening to the Air: Communicating Across Cultures
2. The Many Faces of Polite: Evaluating Performance and Providing Negative Feedback
3. Why Versus How: The Art of Persuasion in a Multicultural World
4. How Much Respect Do You Want? Leadership, Hierarchy, and Power
5. Big D or Little d: Who Decides, and How?
6. The Head or the Heart: Two Types of Trust and How They Grow
7. The Needle, Not the Knife: Disagreeing Productively
8. How Late Is Late? Scheduling and Cross-Cultural Perceptions of Time

Listening to the Air: Communicating Across Cultures

Communication is a complex thing.

Just listen to a British comedian comparing American and British movies, or an American comparing the humor of both countries.

According to Erin Meyer, the reason why Americans have trouble understanding British humor and the British consider American humor all but stupid is fairly simple.

Namely, the US is a low-context country (in fact, the lowest one), and the UK is a middle-context nation. In other words, Americans say everything they mean, and the British leave some of it to the context.

Japan is on the other side of the spectrum: it’s the highest-context country, closely followed by other East Asian nations, such as Korea, China, and Indonesia.

In their cases, most of the communication is implicit.

The Many Faces of Polite: Evaluating Performance and Providing Negative Feedback

If you’ve happened upon the Anglo-Dutch translation guide so far, you probably know that what the Dutch hear when the British say “That is an original point of view” is “They like my idea!” even though what the British actually mean is “Your idea is stupid!”

This is because different nations evaluate differently – anywhere from giving direct to indirect negative feedback.

Interestingly enough, the evaluation scale doesn’t coincide with the communication scale, i.e., some nations (such as Israel) may be high-context (implicit) nations but still give direct negative feedback – in fact, “the directest.”

You’ll get direct negative feedback in Russia and Germany too, but the Americans, just like the British, will sugarcoat it.

There’s a high chance you won’t even know what kind of a feedback you’ve gotten from a Japanese executive since Japan is not only the highest-context country but also the least direct one in giving negative feedback.

Why Versus How: The Art of Persuasion in a Multicultural World

Persuasion is an art – but what kind of art depends on the country you’re in.

In fact, Erin Meyer says that there’s so much difference between Asian countries and European-influenced cultures, that “an entirely different frame of reference, unrelated to the Persuading scale, comes into play” when we’re talking about Asia.

In a nutshell, Asian countries are more holistic and want to know how things connect with the environment (the big picture), while Western countries are more specific and react better to detailed instructions.

Within the latter, old countries such as Italy and France are why-oriented (principles-first), and the newest countries (US, Canada, Australia) are more concerned with the how’s (application-first).

(And Simon Sinek is interested in both!)

How Much Respect Do You Want? Leadership, Hierarchy, and Power

While analyzing 100,000 management surveys at IBM in the 1970s, Geert Hofstede, the most famous cross-cultural researcher in history, developed the concept of “power distance,” i.e.,

the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations accept and expect that power is distributed unequally.

However, ask a Scandinavian what “a power distance” is, and he’ll probably laugh the subject right off the table: for the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish “the best boss is a facilitator among equals” and “organizational structures are flat.”

Unlike the egalitarian North, the East is strictly hierarchical: in Japan, it will be a mindless act to disagree with your superior.

Big D or Little d: Who Decides, and How?

Expectedly, egalitarian cultures usually make important decisions consensually and respect the opinion of every member in the group; however, so do the hierarchical Japanese, who actually rank highest at one end of the deciding spectrum, since their directorial boards are flat structures.

Their nearest neighbors, China, is on the other end of the spectrum, just second to Nigeria in terms of top-down deciding.

There – as well as in India and Russia – decisions are made by individuals, and the others simply follow.

The Head or the Heart: Two Types of Trust and How They Grow

There are two types of trust: cognitive and affective.

Cognitive trust stems from knowledge: you know that someone is capable of doing a job based on his previous record. Affective trust has a lot more to do with the future: you expect someone to do a good job, merely because you’re close to him and her and you believe that, for personal reasons, he/she will not disappoint you.

Cognitive trust is task-based, and if you are an American, you know what it means: business is business. Affective trust is relationship-based and is shared through meals and drinks over the long term in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, India, and China.

The Needle, Not the Knife: Disagreeing Productively

The art of disagreement may be dying – or, who knows, it may have just taken a different form!

Because, historically and traditionally, nations disagree differently.

In Israel and France – and to a lesser extent in Germany and Russia – you are expected to get confrontational, and this will not impact the relationship in any negative way.

However, you are better off avoiding confrontation altogether in East Asian countries, since it is harshly frowned upon.

How Late Is Late? Scheduling and Cross-Cultural Perceptions of Time

You can be on time if you live in Switzerland, Germany, and Japan – countries which respect the idea of linear time and believe in sequential steps, promptness and strict adherence to deadlines.  

However, that’s not the case with Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Kenya, and India, where adaptability is much more important and time is flexible.

In other words, as strange as it may sound to you, if you are a German in Nigeria, your Nigerian friend isn’t wrong if he/she comes 32 minutes after the agreed time.

You are wrong to have expected him/her to come on time.

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“The Culture Map Quotes”

Unless we know how to… avoid easy-to-fall-into cultural traps, we are easy prey to misunderstanding, needless conflict, and ultimate failure. Click To Tweet

The vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work. Click To Tweet

Just as fish don’t know they’re in water, people often find it difficult to see and recognize their own culture until they start comparing it with others. Click To Tweet

If you don’t know what your behaviors signify, you’ll have no control over the signals you send, and the results can be disastrous. Click To Tweet

When in doubt, the best strategy may be to simply let the other person lead. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The Culture Map” is a unique book – so it’s unsurprising that it was met with positive reviews from the public and professional reviewers alike.

In fact, according to “The Huffington Post,” “whether you’re a corporate or traditional diplomat, global traveler, government official, or passionate world citizen, this is the one book you should not miss.”

“Inc.” called it “superb,” and we share the magazine’s opinion. And that’s even though we are not leaders of an international team or CEOs of a multinational conglomerate.

But thanks to Meyer – now we can travel much more safely and relaxed!

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Find Your Why Summary

Find Your Why SummaryA Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team

Unfortunately, most of our lives we spend so much time doing things, that we don’t have the time to ask ourselves why we are doing them. Really: what’s the meaning, the purpose of it all?

After pointing out to you almost a decade ago that you should always start with a why, Simon Sinek is back to teach you how to “Find Your Why.”

Who Should Read “Find Your Why”? And Why?

Simon Sinek is too popular to ignore anything he does.

And “Start With Why” – his debut book – was one of the things which made him so big. So, when that book gets a follow-up, it’s only normal than the answers to the above questions are as generalized as possible: 1) everyone; 2) because everyone wants to have a purpose and a direction in life.

Or, to quote Simon Sinek himself: “Find Your Why” is a book “for all of the people who want to learn their WHY, who want their companies to start with WHY, who want to help others find their WHY . . . for all of the people who want to help build a world in which the vast majority of people wake up inspired to go to work, to feel safe when they are there and to return home fulfilled by the work they do.”

About Simon Sinek, David Mead and Peter Docker

Simon SinekSimon Sinek is a British- American leadership consultant and motivational speaker. To say that he is one of the biggest names in both areas may be an understatement. His TED Talk, “How great leaders inspire action,” is the 3rd most viewed TED talk of all time. “Together Is Better” and “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe” are just as beloved.

“Find Your Why” is his fourth book. Previously, he has published “Start With Why,” “Leaders Eat Last,” and “Together Is Better.”

David MeadDavid Mead is a corporate trainer whose worldview was turned upside down once he met Simon Sinek in 2009.

Inspired by his Golden Circle concept, he started working closely with him, first by developing content and then by organizing popular workshops. He has presented their ideas to over 150 organizations located on 5 continents.

Peter DockerPeter Docker is a keynote motivational speaker and popular leadership consultant. He is a former international negotiator for the UK government and Royal Air Force senior officer with combat experience.

In 2011, he joined Simon Sinek and his Start With Why team. His main focus is transforming Sinek’s theories into practical coaching manuals.

“Find Your Why Summary”

Have you ever asked yourself what’s the point of it all? What’s the meaning behind the things that you’re doing? What’s the purpose of your life?

Or, in short:

WHY are you doing what you’re doing right now?

It can be a depressing thing, we know. To tell you the truth, we ourselves have rarely bothered to ask our hearts and untethered souls such a troubling question. And even now, as we do, we are stunned to face the silence and the lack of satisfying answers.

But don’t take our word for it.

Simon Sinek went through the same process as well. At one point during his life, he discovered that there was nothing which really made him happy. He had lost all passion and enthusiasm for anything. His friends noticed his depression, so, naturally, they tried helping him by offering some advice.

Nothing worked.

Until Sinek decided to delve deep into his past and discover his WHY. Soon enough, he did: he wanted to inspire others. The rest – as they say – is history.

So, why don’t you go and try doing the very same yourself?

Dig deep in to your past and discover whether something you have done sometimes filled you with a feeling you won’t mistake for anything other than happiness. If so, stop – for a second, a minute, an hour, a week, a month! – and think it through why that was.

For example, a woman the authors worked with had all but given up on her life. She didn’t know what to do – and even less why to do it.

Through a series of long – and rather painful – conversations, the authors of “Find Your Why” did manage to locate the root of all her sadness: an abusive father. However, that part belongs to the past and psychology studies. The one which follows belongs to the future and motivational books.

Namely, the woman had a sister. And the thing that really made her feel as if she did something good with her life was few acts of self-sacrifice when she protected her sister. There was the revelation, there was the WHY: she wanted – really, really desired to help vulnerable people in need.

And, suddenly, her life made sense again.

However, discovering your WHY sometimes may not be as simple. You may need some external help such as the woman did in the above example.

So, try to casually slip your WHY conundrum in a conversation with some of your friends. Start retelling stories from the past and see where that will lead you. The only thing you need is a good listener with observant and curious mind. Because these people will try to find your WHY for you.

Few of them – and you just might have a winner.

Key Lessons from “Find Your Why”

1.      There’s No Point in Doing Anything Which Lacks a Profound WHY
2.      Discover Your WHY by Digging Deep into Your Past
3.      Next Time You’re Out with Someone for a Cup of Coffee – Please Tell Them Your WHY

There’s No Point in Doing Anything Which Lacks a Profound WHY

The only things you should be doing in life are the things which make you get out of your bed – happy and smiling. And the things which make you happy – are usually those you do because of a profound reason.

Your WHY.

If you remember Sinek’s “Golden Circle” explanation, this WHY is the center of the said circle, enclosed within the HOW and the WHAT. And it is what people buy – they don’t buy WHAT you do, neither HOW you do it. They buy it because of the WHY, the story behind it.

That’s why Apple is so huge. It just happens to produce computers – because it thinks differently. To them, the WHY is the more important of the HOW and the WHAT. And it is to us as well.

So, if companies can do it – why shouldn’t you be able as well?

Discover Your WHY by Digging Deep into Your Past

If you want to discover your WHY, the best way is to close your eyes and start thinking about the past. See what made you happy when you were a child – and try to find out why.

List all the stories. Maybe you’ll find some interrelations, some things which repeat as if a pattern.

For example, maybe you wanted to visit your grandparents not because you had time during the summer vacation, but because their house is next to a forest, which you were able to explore. And maybe you wanted to do the same when you went on those high school excursions.

If so – shouldn’t you be working as, say, an ecologist, instead of draining your life in that small, dark office of yours?

Next Time You’re Out with Someone for a Cup of Coffee – Please Tell Them Your WHY

Even when you discover your WHY, you’re merely halfway finished. Because – now you need to start following it.

And overcoming fear isn’t really an easy task.

However, there’s a great way to do this. And it’s fairly simple: just share the WHY. Tell it to others. Especially strangers.

When someone you’ve just met asks you “What do you do?” don’t beat around the bush saying things such as “Well, I was this and then that but plan on to become a third thing…”

Just say it out loud: “I’m an ecologist because I want to explore and preserve nature.” It may sound funny at first – but, believe us, your life depends upon it.

Because this practice will not only give you the much-needed confidence. It will also help you adjust your message. And it will also reassure you that you’re doing the right thing.

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“Find Your Why” Quotes

If we want to feel an undying passion for our work, if we want to feel we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves, we all need to know our WHY. Click To Tweet There’s just one problem with feelings. They can be tremendously difficult to express in words. That’s the reason we so often resort to metaphors and analogies. Click To Tweet When we align emotionally with our customers and clients, our connection is much stronger and more meaningful than any affiliation based on features and benefits. That’s what starting with WHY is all about. Click To Tweet There are two ways to build a career or a business. We can go through life hunting and pecking, looking for opportunities or customers, hoping that something connects. Or we can go through life with intention, knowing what our piece looks… Click To Tweet The opportunity is not to discover the perfect company for ourselves. The opportunity is to build the perfect company for each other. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Most people are writing self-help books. As Simon Sinek writes in the Foreword to this book, he and his team are focused on creating the “help-others” bookshop section.

True, “Find Your Why” is not as groundbreaking and as inspirational as its predecessor “Start With Why.” In fact, to many, some of the ideas in “Find Your Why” may seem nothing more but recycled versions of previous ideas Sinek has persuasively presented.

However, “Find Your Why” tends to be much more practical and applicable. And, even if repetitive, it can still inspire you to change your life.

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Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe Summary

Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe SummaryWhat describes a one-of-a-kind leader? The incentive to guard against any external factors that may jeopardize the stability of the company and as a result put the employees in a difficult position.

About Simon Sinek

Simon SinekSimon Sinek is the author of “Start With Why” and “Leaders Eat Last”; and he is also a non-profit consultant.

“Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe Summary”

When there is a threatening situation, out of instinct, people tend to adopt new ideas that apply to the rules. Sometimes these concepts are converted into devices, developed to enforce the rigidness of the system.

As an illustration, Simon shows this example – One day, a gate agent at the airport prevented a passenger from climbing on board too early.

The agent on numerous occasions explained its reaction: “If I don’t follow the rules, I could get fired or endanger my position.” Perhaps, such similar situation would not have raised the roof in other company that stimulates the employees to stick to the agenda without any exceptions.

Southwest Airlines, among them, is a firm whose roots are deeply connected to certain norms, which don’t endanger the efficiency and productivity.

If you want to keep a safe distance from corruption; show your unconditional support towards the employees. With the wind in their backs, they will improve the cooperation with the rest of the group, a mentality that elevates the company to the next level. Great leaders foster the employees to become moral and ethical individuals, a line that overlaps good parenting.

Protecting your employees’ interest is a responsibility for every CEO. However, many subordinates feel the injustice deriving from the disproportionately divided salaries. The art of betrayal is typical for many leaders, but it doesn’t serve the company’s long-term interests because it arouses a sense of deception and reduces productivity.

Unlike some of his fellow colleagues, CEO Bob Chapman refused to fire some of the employees due to the crisis that struck the world economy and inflicted a recession in 2008. As a response, he enforced the well-known four-week furlough program.

Instead of laying off only a small group of workers, he spread the stress and financial stroke evenly, at the expense of all members including the management.

We don’t know if you concur that real form of leadership can only be tested in times of crisis or not. Bob got more than he had ever bargained for, the employees with an intention to help those who could not afford any unpaid absence, swapped personal gain for compassion and friendship.

Evidently, rank and status don’t collide with leadership. Your authority grants you the right but not the command if you lack the ethical skills. Real leaders must exist at all layers, for the purpose of providing good care for their fellow colleagues.

Making sacrifices for improving the well-being and stability of others is a trait that is a rarity in today’s world. Nonetheless, leaders who put their people’s satisfaction first, deservedly hold the primacy – of true moral managers and decision-makers.

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“Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe” Quotes

If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears. Click To Tweet You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. Click To Tweet If the conditions are wrong, we are forced to expend our own time and energy to protect ourselves from each other. When we feel safe inside the organization, we will naturally combine our talents and our strengths and work tirelessly to… Click To Tweet

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Together Is Better Summary

Together is Better SummaryTogether Is Better” is Simon Sinek’s third book, a short richly illustrated fable about three kids on a journey to a new playground. However, we felt that the talk it’s based upon is better structured and more appealing for now.

So, we summarized it.

About Simon Sinek

Simon SinekSimon Sinek is a British-born American motivational speaker, marketing and leadership consultant. He became a sensation with his talk “How great leaders inspire action,” the 3rd most viewed TED talk of all time. It’s an understatement to say that his first two books, “Start With Why” and “Leaders Eat Last,” followed suit: they started a movement.

“Together Is Better Summary”

Whenever we’ve talked about millennials before on our site, it seems that we’ve talked about their failures. In a nutshell: they are the generation destroyed by smartphones and multitasking.

However, Simon Sinek – and he’s an expert on millennials – claims that this reputation is not solely the millennials’ fault. And moreover, that, either way, we must do something about it. After all, many members of Generation Y are already your employees – or will very soon have to become.

So, understanding why they are the way they are is of utmost importance.

And in Simon Sinek’s opinion, there are four factors who have contributed to the current attitude of millennials.

First of all, parenting.

Generation Y was probably the first generation in history to enjoy the fruits of all those liberal approaches to child-raising. Sinek is brutal in his assessment: it was a “failed parenting strategy”.

Why?

Because, millennials were showered with praise regardless of how good they were as kids. This has rendered them incapable of dealing with things such as disagreements, criticism or even competition. And, even worse, it has made them overconfident.

So, they are either bound to become unmanageable employees or fall apart when they realize that rewards are related to good performances.

Secondly, technology.

All benefits aside, technology has one serious downside as well. Namely, it turns most of its users into addicts. And that’s because interactions with cellphones release dopamine, which is the neurochemical which makes you happy.

Of course there’s a problem: if devices make you happy, people may not so much. So, millennials are incapable of forming relationships. And may turn to alcohol or even suicide due to this feeling of complete isolation from their peers.

Thirdly, impatience.

Millennials are instant gratification monkeys: they want it all and they want it now. And, thanks to technology, in many cases they do have it. After all, why are Amazon and Netflix so popular services?

But, this attitude doesn’t transfer well to the serious world of adults. Because, instant gratification isn’t love, but sex; and isn’t a career, but a low-level employee moving from one job to another.

Finally, environment.

Millennials are victims of outdated management strategies which put the needs of the customers first and the needs of the employees last. Even though companies nowadays need dream managers, they are fully satisfied with one-minute managers.

Not a good idea!

So, what should leaders do to turn millennials into a productive generation?

Well, obviously, to teach them the value of relationships and patience, and the importance of criticism. And they should not do it through an intense one-off seminar; but through a careful implementation of such a culture within their company.

Key Lessons from “Together Is Better”

1.      Older Generations: Millennials Are Unmanageable
2.      Four Factors Have Made Millennials the Way They Are
3.      Here’s How You Can Successfully Lead Millennials

Older Generations: Millennials Are Unmanageable

Also known as the Generation Y, millennials are those people born sometime between 1984 and 2004. In the opinion of older generations, they are the worst! First of all, they are lazy. Secondly, they are egocentric and don’t want to learn. And thirdly – they think they are always right.

Now, how would you manage such a bunch of selfish nitwits?

Four Factors Have Made Millennials the Way They Are

Well, first of all, by understanding what made them what they are. And in Simon Sinek’s opinion, four factors have contributed to the shaping of Generation Y.

First of all, liberal parenting, which encouraged positive feedback even when the children hadn’t deserved it. Secondly, technology which made millennials incapable of forming long-term relationships. Thirdly, impatience which stemmed from technological instant gratification. And, finally, the environment – which hasn’t caught up with the new times.

Here’s How You Can Successfully Lead Millennials

And it’s not that difficult to lead millennials successfully. However, instead of focusing on how to change them, you need to focus on how to change the culture of your company. In other words, try to make your company comfortable for millennials. And they will pay you back big time!

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“Together Is Better” Quotes

We need to be the leaders we wish we had. Click To Tweet We treat problems with a pill instead of a person. Click To Tweet We’ve failed the millennial generation. We haven’t demonstrated empathy…So many leaders are so frustrated by this generation that they’ve given up trying to lead them. Click To Tweet Social media and mobile phones…release dopamine, and we have no age restrictions on this open access. It’s the equivalent of throwing open the liquor cabinet and telling our teenagers, ‘Try the vodka to help you get through your teenage… Click To Tweet The journey is what matters, not the summit. Career, or life or a relationship…is the journey…And sometimes there is an incredible view and sometimes it’s cloudy. And sometimes it’s a straight path and sometimes it’s rocky. Click To Tweet

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