Every once in a while, you hit on a book that totally changes your worldview. Once that happens, you can never go back. You look at things through another lens; what was once irrefutable fact is now an assumption to be questioned.
Other times, you find a volume that has you nodding along in agreement. These tomes spit truths that you never knew you held until you saw them in black and white.
These types of titles find permanent places in my personal library. Whenever I feel myself losing faith, getting off track, or generally questioning my deviance from the tried-and-true path, I pull out one of these five books to get back in the game.
The Five Books That Categorically Changed My Life
I first came across this book in 2012, during a time when I was searching for reassurance that I wasn't delusional for wanting something more than a staid suburban life. Through this book, I was introduced to the notion that there are many options out there, not just a desk job and a single-family home in a nice neighborhood.
The most novel idea from The 4-Hour Workweek was the idea of passive income, or the separation of hours spent from earned money. The breakdown of how to transition from a steady job that required ass-in-seat time to one that you could operate from anywhere was fascinating.
A debt-reduction book is an odd choice for a listicle on success, yet here it is.
J.D. Roth, founder of Get Rich Slowly, recommends this book in Be Your Own CFO: The Unconventional Guide to Mastering Your Money. I picked up Roth's book in an effort to right our personal financial practices; they were a little scattered and I was looking for something more streamlined. I also wanted a good guide on eliminating our credit card debt, of which we had just enough to make me uncomfortable.
Mundis's book turned out to be the answer to questions I didn't know I had. As it turns out, when we carry debt, we tend to harbor a low-grade anxiety over our finances that affects our decisions about everything. Every choice is bumped up against whether or not we can afford it, which can spiral into fears of not having enough, of going bankrupt, of dying alone and penniless on a street corner somewhere with feral cats eating our brains.
When we tend to our debt, we free up space in our heads that was previously dedicated to lack. Shifting our focus from what we want and don't have to what we like about what we do have changes our perspective and makes us better equipped to make decisions that will improve our lives.
No list on money or success is complete without a reference to Mr. Hill. Considered one of the founding fathers of the self-motivation movement, Hill spent over 2 decades interviewing the most successful people of his time. The result was this guide to transforming your desire for success and achievement into reality.
What struck me about this book is that despite the fact that it's over 75 years old, the tenets ring true today. Amid adversity, he professes, are opportunities to change the rules and recreate the world as you see fit.
The innovative idea here is that no matter what is happening in the world—when Hill published Think and Grow Rich, the world was still recovering from the Great Depression—there's an opportunity to change, grow, and succeed. If you can train yourself to spot these opportunities and adapt yourself to take advantage of them, then you will not fail.
When I first picked up Sacred Success, I was expecting a treatise on the intersection of profit and purpose.
What I didn't expect was a guidebook detailing the journey from average to amazing. Dubbed the Heroine's Journey, the path Stanny describes leads the reader through the four stages of real, personal, and passionate success.
The unique takeaway from Sacred Success is the need for rest. Stanny calls this stage Receptive Surrender, in which you bow out of your daily duties, allow yourself to recuperate from all the leaning in, and listen to what your soul truly desires. This is essential to true triumph; without the knowledge of what you really want, you spin your wheels and never get anywhere.
If you are ever searching for a simple map to wild success, this is it. The Success Principles, written by a man who can be considered one of the most successful of our time, lays out the exact path to go from victim of your circumstances to the creator of your world.
This is a book I reference often, for two reasons: one, I occasionally need to remind myself that I can, indeed, do something. I have the ability and the power, and it's up to me to claim it. Two, I like to see what lies ahead if I continue to create momentum in my life.
Canfield's steps are simple, but not easy. The greatest resistance comes from within, and we often stop ourselves before we truly achieve greatness.
When I find myself getting blown off course by the winds of life, I routinely turn to these books for inspiration, guidance, and practical how-tos. They've influenced everything I've done in the past four years, including starting my own businesses, publishing books, dancing with my hula school, and upgrading our travel experiences.
These books, and others that have had a significant impact, are listed and linked to on my Resources page. I encourage you to explore that list and add a couple to your To-Read list.
Over to you
Which books or authors have had a significant impact on your success mindset?
Is there anyone in particular that you turn to when you feel your spirits drooping? Share your favorites in the comments section—and feel free to share a link as well!