Throughout my entire high school and college “career”, I read one book. “Of Mice and Men“, the only book that I had every truly read from start to finish until I was forced to educate myself. I’m as stubborn as a mule. I didn’t read much when I was younger because I never saw how reading was going to help me be successful. I never saw the correlation.
I also didn’t enjoy the books that were being force-fed to me. Since then, I’ve gone back and read many of the books I failed to open as ateenager. And many more on top of that.
When I dropped out of college and got a job in sales, I began educating myself on sales. I began reading. Books on sales led me to books on business which led me to books on entrepreneurialism, then to self-help, biographies, and finally back to fiction. I’ll read anything worthwhile reading. If I didn’t enjoy reading, I wouldn’t have a successful business in any sense of the word.
Reading is not only something that every man should do, but something that every man should love. C.S. Lewis said, We read to know we are not alone. Books connect generations. The living and the dead. They give us knowledge and understanding that even experience might not be able to give us, as we don’t have the wisdom to recognize the lesson when we’re in its midst.
“Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting.” Aldous Huxley
I’ve read many of the following books multiple times. They’ve left their imprint on me. They’ve forced me to look in the mirror. To man the fuck up. To work harder, live more passionately, with more imagination and testicular fortitude. Books have made me a better person, a stronger person, and a better man.
Let these books have that same effect.
The first Pressfield work I ever witnessed was, The Legend of Bagger Vance. I didn’t know he wrote it, but I loved the movie. Then, about a year ago, I someone recommended I read Turning Pro. Life changed.
I didn’t realize how much of an amateur I was – and still am. I thought I worked hard. I figured I was disciplined enough. I felt that I gave my craft the respect it deserves. In my mind I was persistent. Then I read Turning Pro, The War of Art, Do the Work, and The Warrior Ethos.
I realized that I wasn’t alone in my quest to accomplish something great. I wasn’t the only one working hard but not accomplishing all I wanted to accomplish. The books shawn light on the distractions I allowed to take me away from my work. They introduced me to The Resistance, showed me what a real warrior is, and helped me to simply, do the work.
Pressfield has become my favorite author. Any human who possesses even an ounce of ambition, needs to read these four books. Anyone working hard, but complaining that greatness is yet to show itself in their life, needs these books. I’ve read Turning Pro 3 times this year. I’ll surely read it a fourth. It’s epically simple, but profound. Thank-you Mr. Pressfield.
The War of Art
The Warrior Ethos
Do the Work
Ambition, I have come to believe, is the most primal and sacred fundament of our being. To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and on the reason for our existence. ~ Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro
Think and Grow Rich, Hill’s most famous book, changed the way I thought, but also altered my view of what’s possible. Negative thoughts have no place in a successful person’s mind. Our thoughts show us where we are going to be.
I have to admit, when I read that title I was skeptical. I thought the book was going to be a bunch of hot air. But it wasn’t. It helped me realize when I was thinking in a way that wasn’t helping me reach my goals, and change that line of thinking to a way that did. It also showed me how to appreciate the struggle. Every man who has accomplished something great has done so in the face of adversity.
To be in the midst of adversity is to be connected to Booker T. Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, Napoleon Bonaparte, Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Steven Pressfield, Andrew Carnegie, and yes, Napoleon Hill, a man who came from rags (literally) to riches all because he made it so in his mind, and then in his actions.
Think and Grow Rich
Think Your Way to Wealth
One of the first books I read when I got that sales job was, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Corny title? Yes. I remember walking around the airport on my way to Costa Rica – fun trip, I’ll have to write an article about that sometime – holding that book. It was, then, my second time reading it, but I noticed people giving me a funny look. I could feel them wondering, why does this guy need to read a book on how to get friends?
That’s what I thought when I saw the title as well. But it’s so much more than that. If you’re in sales – which we all are in some form or another – read the book.
Earlier this year a friend of mine mentioned Carnegie’s other classic, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. I picked it up. Much like Napoleon Hill’s “Grow Rich”, How to Stop Worrying… shawn a light on how my thoughts were standing in my way. How most of my worries weren’t founded in reality, but concoctions of my imagination. And if they were possible, why dwell on them? Why not work on what you can control, then have a positive attitude about what you can’t?
After reading that book and seeing the many case-studies he highlights of people who faced very tough times, but found success primarily because of a change in thinking and a change in their actions, I too saw the futility in worrying. There’s no point in it! It does nothing for us but cause stress, and even ill health, and death.
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, is a book every human on the planet needs to read. Even in conversations with friends I can see how they’d benefit from this book. Everyone would.
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Robin Sharma made his way into my life through The Greatness Guide. I can get tired and lose patience with long, drawn-out chapters. This book has 1-3 page chapters, each of which provides the reader with a valuable lesson about how to be great. It’s a fun read. One that should be done with patience. Take your time reading each chapter. Even go as slow as one a day as to grasp the importance of what was just read.
Sharma writes about success like few do. His books grab you and don’t let you go until the final page has been read. The lessons and tips he covers in all of his books, whether it’s straight forward like in The Greatness Guide, or hidden in a story like he does in, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, are one’s that we all need to know, and have reinforced.
I’ll read anything he comes out with, I suggest you do the same.
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
The Leader Who Had No Title
The Greatness Guide
The Saint. The Surfer. And the CEO.
What books would you add to this list?