When it comes to reading there are two quotes that you should always keep in mind:
“A Man Who Does Not Read Has No Appreciable Advantage Over One Who Cannot Read.” Although the author is unknown the quote is no less true. If you refuse to read, you are limiting the ways in which you can grow and learn.
The second quote is taken from Brian Tracy. “If you read only one book per month, that will put you into the top 1% of income earners in our society. But if you read one book per week, 50 books per year, that will make you one of the best educated, smartest, most capable and highest paid people in your field.”
So, from these two, what can we surmise? That reading is vitally important to what you can do and become in life? That reading is the gateway to improving your life? That reading is something you should pursue diligently?
If you agree with any or all of these statements, we have seven books you should consider reading, either as the start of your journey or to continue a trend of improvement. Either way, the following are books everyone should read.
1. How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler
Although it seems strange to read a book about how to read a book, Adler delivers on his promise. He teaches you how to read a book from beginning to end so that you can absorb every last bit of it, and come out a different person by the end of it.
“….A good book can teach you about the world and about yourself. You learn more than how to read better; you also learn more about life. You become wiser. Not just more knowledgeable – books that provide nothing but information can produce that result. But wiser, in the sense that you are more deeply aware of the great and enduring truths of human life.”
2. The Lessons of History by William and Ariel Durant
This is meant as a companion to the duo’s life work, the ten-volume series of “The Story of Civilization.” Within this one book, they attempt to distill down the major changes that have taken place over time in politics, economics, and military customs, with a particular emphasis on the great artists and thinkers. Since the book primarily focuses on Western Europe, this should be seen as a starting point to reach out and dive deeper into the history of humanity.
“It is not the race that makes the civilization, it is the civilization that makes the people: circumstances geographical, economic, and political create a culture, and the culture creates a human type.”
3. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
Written in seven “Babylonian parables,” this book has helped thousands of people with financial planning, thrift and personal wealth.
“Will power is but the unflinching purpose to carry the task you set for yourself to fulfillment.”
4. The Bible
If you look at this book without bias, there is a reason that it has been one of the greatest selling books in all of history. Whether you are Christian or atheist, or Hindu, or any other religion, there is still a fair amount of wisdom about people held within its pages. The Bible has answers to almost every situation it’s possible to encounter throughout life.
“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.”
5. Zero To One by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters
This is a collection of the lectures by Peter Theil (the founder of Pay-Pal) from his teaching years at Stanford, “hard-hitting set of standards for entrepreneurs, startups, and thought-leaders to carefully consider when building the “next big thing” of the future.”
“Customers won’t care about any particular technology unless it solves a particular problem in a superior way. And if you can’t monopolize a unique solution for a small market, you’ll be stuck with vicious competition.”
6. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Written over 1800 years ago, this book is still as relevant now as it was when the ink was fresh. Written without the intent to publish, it shows a depth and breadth of emotion in the only Roman emperor who was also a philosopher. It offers a remarkable series of challenging spiritual reflections and exercises developed as Aurelius struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe.
“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.”
7. The Definitive Book of Body Language by Allan and Barbara Pease
Have you ever been in a situation where you wish you had a better understanding of people? Or one where you looked back and realized that things didn’t turn out the way you thought all the signs were pointing? This book can help you figure out people using ways that they might not even realize they are using to communicate. Allan and Barbara Pease have studied around the world and there are some things that always stay the same, and some things that differ. They take the time to point out situations you need to be more aware of body language, and times when it could have different meanings than you might think.
“How to Offend Other Cultures When it comes to inadvertently offending other cultures, Americans usually take first prize. As mentioned, most Americans don’t have a passport and believe the rest of the world thinks like them and wants to be like them.”
Each of these books focuses on different areas of life. Wisdom, people, finances, business, history, learning, and life. While this is by no means the be all and end all of a comprehensive reading list, these books are a great place to start. Pick an area you want to focus on, or one where you want or think you might need to improve. Or draw lots out of a hat if you want a less structured approach. Whichever you choose, remember this: the book that you don’t read cannot help you.
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