“A lot of people complain about yesterday. We have no power to change yesterday. But this very day, 30 years later, is what we can control and decide. Change yourself, take baby steps, and stay determined for ten years.”
― Jack Ma
More often than not we hear about successful people’s stories from their “beginning” to how they got where they are today. We seek some wisdom from them but often find ourselves hearing the same, cliche advice that is too general to be practised.
With the internet today, a book seems like ancient history. However, reading actually gives you the ability to extend your attention span (don’t deny it, people today are so engaged to the quick changes on the screen that most of them have the short attention span) and thus immersed in the topic of the book.
Now, about the topic. Out of many “cliche” success wisdom, there are some that should be highlighted: habit, balance and resilience. These three, if fulfilled, will lead you to a smart (effective) mindset and thus become better at decision-making.
These are the top five books that will explain to you thoroughly (also hopefully persuade and motivate you to practise it in real life) about that wisdom.
1. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
“Change might not be fast and it isn't always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.”
Award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us on some thrilling scientific discoveries that explain the origins of habits and how they can change. Along with the engrossing narrative, we will learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite their long and restless efforts, while others seem to be able to change overnight.
From laboratories where neuroscientists reveal how habits work and its place in our brain to the success story of how engaging the right habits lead Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps to success and many other popular success stories.
The Power of Habit is an exhilarating argument, one that encourages us about how a small change can lead to a powerful result.
2. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
In our lives thus far, we always encounter a group of people who are deemed the best. The best athlete, the best grade in the class, the most popular, the prettiest, the most handsome, the strongest, the everything. The outliers.
The question is: what makes them what they are? What makes them the best of everyone else?
In this book, Malcolm Gladwell answers that question with a theory that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like (what success is supposed to be) and too little attention to what makes them successful: their culture, their family, where they come from, their experiences, their upbringing.
He brings us to the origin stories from why Asians are good at math to why the Beatles become the greatest rock band of all time.
3. The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
What do you do?
For some, it is an easy question. I’m a doctor, I’m a student, I’m a scientist. But a controversial Princeton University lecturer Tim Ferris is one of those who find this question difficult.
His answers could be racing motorcycles in Europe, skiing in the Andes, scuba diving in Panama, dancing tango in Buenos Aires and of course, lecturing at a university.
For the past five years, Ferris has learned the secrets of the New Rich, a growing subculture who abandoned “life plan” and mastered the new currency (of time and mobility) to generate luxurious lifestyles.
Through his book, Ferris teaches us on how to enter this revolutionary new world and mastering the new currency, whether you are an overworked employee or an entrepreneur bound in your own business. How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent ‘retirements’? What is the difference between absolute and relative income? A great life is a well-balanced life.
4. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
There are two systems that drive the way we think: the fast, intuitive, emotional one and the slower, deliberative, logical one. We will explore the capabilities, faults and biases of the highly demanded fast thinking as well as the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behaviours.
Through an engaging lively conversation with the readers, Kahneman reveals to us where we can and cannot trust our intuitions; how we can use the benefits of slow thinking to make better decisions. He teaches us enlightening insights on how to switch between the two systems for both business and personal life decisions.
5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Old but gold is the perfect phrase for this book. Released in 1936, Carnegie’s principles have endured over decades and have always entered the list of “must-read” books for, not only entrepreneur-to-be but practically everyone.
More than owning your career, this book teaches us how to win over a situation. There are six ways to make people like you and nine ways to direct people the way you want them to be without arousing resentment. Although the book seems ancient, his principles are still relevant in today’s complex and competitive modern day. Carnegie’s rock-solid advice has brought many people up to the success ladder within their business and personal lives.
Not a fast reader? Don’t worry. When it comes to books, the most important thing isn’t how fast you finish it, it’s to understand what the book is all about. So, take your time, sip your coffee (or tea!) and enjoy the books.
Talking about being successful, habit and mindset don’t change overnight. The earlier we embrace it, the better chances we are to lead a ‘successful life’ (of course, the term ‘success’ have various meanings to each and every one of us). An entrepreneurship-based learning school in Indonesia is aiming to teach these lessons to underprivileged and orphaned children across the country. Read their story here and reach out to them here.