July 19, 2012

The top three books of all time

"The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it's conformity."  -Rollo May

"The difference between where you are today and where you'll be five years from now will be found in the quality of books you've read."  -Jim Rohn

I think the world would be a better place if more people read the following three books. I'm not saying I agree with every single idea in all of them, but I think everyone would benefit from being aware of these principles and then either living their life accordingly or working to gain a clear understanding of why they would choose to consciously live their life differently. I would also enjoy knowing some of your recommendations.

1. "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. My college communication professor said there is no other book that has shaped his life as much other than the Bible. It's written in the style that would appeal to a 1950s businessman, but don't let that throw you, even if a couple of pages may seem a bit cheesy -- there's a brick of gold under the few thin slices of cheddar. I read this book my sophomore year in college, and some people made fun of me. But, alas, the book is so powerful that a few years later I noticed that some of those same people kept a copy of this book on their nightstand. Short chapters. Easy to read one or two a day. At least read the first two.

2. "The Richest Man in Babylon" by George S. Clason. Mr. Clason was a banker in the 1920s and was tired of watching people waste their money. He wrote a series of pamphlets as parables set in ancient Babylon -- the most wealthy city in the history of civilization. The pamphlets were later combined to create this book; hence, you'll notice some of the stories are loosely connected and others overlap. Overall, it's brilliant in its simplicity. A short book. Principles of money haven't changed since ancient times. (While I see his point of owning a home, I wouldn't rush into it, however)

3. "Gifted Hands" by Ben Carson. Anyone who's been portrayed in a movie by Cuba Gooding Jr. hardly needs an introduction. Carson came from nothing, growing up in inner-city Detroit in poverty with a broken home. The odds were against him, yet now he's the most famous brain surgeon in the world. He was honored in 2008 with the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor for a U.S. civilian. Don't you think a person with a biography like that has something to share that could enhance your own life?

Bonus Recommendations

B1. "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. We slap our foreheads when we think about stupid things that used to be common health practices -- "bleed the bad blood out to cure a fever" or "doctors prescribing cigars for patients with lung problems," etc. This book shatters much of what we know about human movement, such as running and foot health. It's also an instantly gripping and fun read of suspense, a study of biology, a journalist's venture into drug trafficking territory in Mexico, and the recounting of one of the greatest races of all that most people don't know about. I have since switched to only wearing VivoBarefoot shoes, even in the office. If you do decide to switch to minimalist shoes, take 3 to 6 months to do so. I'm probably the last person anyone would think of doing this -- two years ago I was one of those who laughed at the Vibram Five Finger shoes. But now I get it, and I'm even more fascinated with the way our feet were designed. I don't wear the Vibram Five Finger shoes, but prefer the previously mentioned brand, which is born of the same concept. This book may cause one to wonder what else our society is pushing in the name of health that is actually harmful.

B2. "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World" by Harry Browne. Like I said above, I don't necessarily agree with every single idea in this book (his views on marriage are a bit independent, but even he later got married, as he mentioned in the afterward of the 25th anniversary edition), but everyone should recognize our cherished institutions for what they are instead of being awed by them and thus hindered from reaching our own potential. The title says it all -- who wouldn't want to live a more freeing life? He has two sentences in the afterword that should appear in every book: "You were able to overlook our differences and take advantage of the areas where my words could help you."  and  "You wouldn't have made it this far through the book if you didn't have the confidence in your ability to think things out for yourself."

B3.  These are some of the best books of all time on life-enhancement and business (which is much of life).

1 comment:

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