As an entrepreneur and independent career counselor and consultant, I deal with a lot of changes and challenges not just with myself but with others. Giving advice takes a lot of courage and it is not at all effective giving it - if myself is not able to take a good advice and I get all of these great advice from a good collection of books.
I also happen to be a voracious self-improvement book reader (and now listener). But reading too much could also be a bad thing as I don't encourage consumerism or hoarding too much clutter of books and accomplishing nothing. Reading one book and faithfully using it is better than reading dozens of book and not practicing one single book we read is definitely not good and I am very guilty about that. I tend to bring home or download 15 good new books and only read or finish one - all the time, sometimes I don't finish anything at all.
Otherwise, here are my favorites or books that I actually completed and highly recommend if you are a business owner, manager, counselor or simply want to improve yourself, because these books are captivating as well as possibly useful.
I also preferred to listen rather than actually read specially when the actual author’s voice is reading his manuscript, it is more powerful listening to the writer.
I attempted to review back on my history (Kindle, Overdrive, Hoopla are the apps I use to download my audio and books linked through Public Library, yes it's free and don't need an audible subscription) but I can only give a full review of the last six as I may not remember or have not taken notes in all of my books (as most were listened too while I am doing my morning workout or driving in my car).
Here are the first 6 of the 11 books I have read and listen to in the last 12 months that I think can help us in how we run a business, provide advice and live a healthier life:
1. The Tools by Phil Stutz. (On Managing People, Counseling and Self Improvement)
I figured I will start with the last book I listened to beginning fall and has a big impact in how we can shift our thoughts (or others) using 5 tools in various occasion using your imagination (thoughts during your quiet time).
· One tool is Reversal of Desire – picture your worst case scenario and always expect pain. This will avoid fear or hurt when you are rejected.
· Active Love – always care for others (you can fake it at first) and exude love when you feel angry or resentful. Always give unconditional love.
· Inner Authority – Create a “shadow” who has all the negative or characteristics of yourself that you are afraid of and use then when you are in that situation.
· Grateful Flow – list things that you are thankful for.
· Jeopardy – create a picture of your death bed and imagine yourself everyday as if you are running out of time to live. So in that short period of time, what would you do? This will help you develop a strong will power.
2. The Healthiest You by Kelly Traver, MD. (On Self Improvement and Counseling)
This book caught me as I wanted to improve my memory and develop focus. Mental health is critical as it affects our overall health. Using various cutting edge research on brain, it was discovered that brain can work for us and not against us by having a lifestyle change by:
· Eating healthy (lose weight)
· Avoid bad habits (smoking, sleeping 8 hours minimum)
· Always empower or motivate yourself
· Exercise to create better metabolism
3. When to Rob a Bank by Steven Levitt and Steven Dubner (On Marketing and Managing People)
It’s a witty collection from the author of Freakonomics about proving that the obvious is not always right or proving that robbing a bank has a poor ROI (Return of Investment). It also includes how to attack if you are a terrorist. Many unconventional and almost outlandish proofs on everyday life. This was also great listening to as the author have ways of acting his topics.
4. The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (On Counseling and Self Improvement)
This book was almost revolutionary as it explores how people succeed through various case studies of famous people, millionaires and other winners. He believes that people have certain gift or some succeed because of the month they were born. People succeed because of a combination of critical factors like the age they join disciplined sports. For example, he proved a hockey player in Canada succeed more than the others because he was older and bigger when he joins the team versus those who are smaller or younger who join because of the “cut off” or age requirement in the sports team.
A more convincing part was that it takes an enormous amount of practice and failures (like Mozart for music or Michael Jordan for basketball) in their field before they actually succeed. He also claimed that cultural traditions have an impact in our success as well.
5. The Big Moo by Seth Godin (On Marketing, Self-Improvement and Management)
Here is another big favorite not just for marketing yourself or your business but how you can succeed in your field. One of the key points is knowing that security comes when we grow and we must “want” to grow in order to stand out.
We should not try to “fit in” but instead we should be unique or stand out and avoid being ordinary. Always make room for change and always take a risk if you want to grow. When we create a product always think, how can it solve a bigger problem, don’t just create something that is “cool” create something useful – it last longer and finally nobody can predict the future (page 55).
6. One Big Thing by Phil Cooke (On Career Counseling, Self-Improvement and Management)
Phil Cooke gives advice like most typical career counselors will do: make a goal, set a plan and stay focus. But he goes beyond by making it direct and simple in easy steps.
· Hit your purpose. Whatever your age is, you must identify your purpose in life, whatever your passion is, go for it.
· Take feedback. People around you can say a lot so listen to them, they may have a better perspective that can direct your life to better path. That is why getting a coach or mentor is important, even the experts have coach (Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, etc).
· Know when to move on. You always hear to try and try until you succeed, what if you don’t? One example is when a long time violinist George Lang after so many concerts think that it was not for him, he quit and move into a different direction, instead, George Lang became a successful food critic and TV Newscaster.
Other books I enjoyed and finish reading (listening) that I highly recommend:
7. Unique by Phil Cooke (on Branding)
8. Power by Jeffrey Pfeffer (on Self Improvement and Career)
9. Staying Sharp by Henry Emmons (on Mental Health)
10. Good or God (on Faith)
11. What Color is Parachute 2017 Edition (on Career) - What Color is Your Parachute is a classic and the 2017 version has the most updated version that talks about the importance of Social Media in job search. I will do a more indepth review on this book in the future.
Because of a recent talk conducted at a leadership summit, I just downloaded a Kindle book, Cultural Map by Erin Meyer, a book about a research on how culture makes a big impact in understanding better communication that proves that culture or other country have different ways to communicate (talk and listen) and it affects how we lead those who have those culture. So if you think of going globally and expand your business map, this will be a great book to read. I featured some of her ideas in my past LinkedIn blog also at www.tonyastro.com
If you have any books you think impacted how you live and manage people and market yourself and your business, please feel free to share and let me know what you think about those 10 books discussed.