In my trainings and speeches, I often remind others that success (like life) is a journey. And we create that success with every decision we make. There is a cause and effect to everything. Everything counts!
And one of the BIGGEST REASONS for my success has been my commitment to self development and reading. If you are a new distributor in network marketing, here is a list of the top 17 books and audios I would recommend.
But today, we are going to talk about something different…
we are going to talk about the
Top 6 Books that Have Had the Biggest Influence In My Life
So… what were the top 6 books that have helped me along my journey?
Note: these are not my favorite books… but these are the ones that has the biggest positive impact on my life.
This is not an easy question to answer. A similar question was brought to me by my business partner, Scott McGee a year ago when he asked me, if I had to throw away all my books and keep only 5, which 5 would I keep?! Wow… that was tough…
But I think even tougher is to list the top 5 that had the most impact…
I have been thinking about the answer to this ever since I posted this question on my Facebook Fan page a few days ago. Now… I can list 10 but to keep it to 5 is tough… I had to think about all areas of my life… so I ended up cheating… and ended up with 6 books instead!
So below are my 6… some of you may be surprised at my selections and also surprised that I have omitted some “obvious” ones given the success that I have encountered in the home business industry. These 6 are not the ones that you would have guessed…
I chose these 6 because I felt they had the biggest impact on certain stages of my life. Each book made me take another step in right direction of my life journey. At the time I read them, they had huge impact on my thinking and more importantly forced me to make changes that provided me long term benefits. I would not be where I am today if it was not for these changes that I had made.
Here are the top 6 Books that had the Biggest Influence in my Life:
I could write pages on this book but I will keep it short. I first read it 20 years ago and got to know Jesus… and afterwards my life has never been the same. This book has given me joy, happiness, peace and most importantly, a purpose in my life. I still read the Bible first thing every morning. I used to be fascinated by the Gospels but lately all I read is Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. I've been reading them over and over again. The wisdom in those 2 books are timeless and it is incredible how accurate they are even 2000 years later.
Not many people know about this book… and I did not even read the whole book!… but it still had a HUGE impact. I was staying at my friend, Pete Feng's dorm in Stanford back in 1997 and he had it on the coffee table in his living room. I was bored one day and picked it up and started reading it. The intro and first 2 chapters captivated me. The book went against how I was brought up. Up to that point in my life, all I knew was “school was the most important thing” and “IQ was important” to how well you would do in life. That book revealed to me that academic intelligence and IQ had NOTHING to do with success. Instead, success was based on “successful intelligence.” He defined successful intelligence as a combination of emotional intelligence, social skills and street smarts. This book was important to me because it taught me that I could be super successful and more successful than I could have imagined. Before I read that book, I never thought I could be successful because I was NEVER an outstanding student… but the book taught me that all the old indicators (academics and IQ) had nothing to do with my future. Instead, there was something entirely new that I could master and would allow me to live a life beyond my dreams.
This book gave me hope… and with hope, I started to dream big again… and with dreams, I began to take on bigger challenges and bigger opportunities… Without this book, I would be stuck in mediocrity today and never tapping into my potential.
After a few years working in corporate America, I noticed that many people accomplished the same things as I did with half the effort as I put in. These people had these “magical” people skills that I obviously did not. When I was raised, success was determined by education and grades. Academic skills (reading, writing, math and science) were the priority… but when I read this book, i realized that I failed the MOST IMPORTANT skill out there; which are people skills. Without good social skills, I would be doomed to live a life a mediocrity and frustration. This book gave me a crash course on people skills and I started making learning people skills a #1 priority.
Most of my friends at the time I read this book all had typical jobs and worked the 9 to 5 (or 9 to 6) and had 2 – 4 weeks of vacation days a year. As limited as it sounds now, but my vision of success was to work for corporate America and climb the corporate ladder and have that corner office; (and still work 9 to 6 everyday and have that 2 – 4 weeks of vacation a year). That was how simple I was… that was what I thought the rich do except that the rich were in higher paying industries. It is pretty hilarious to think about how naive I was back then and also how much I have changed. The biggest impact this book had on me was I realized that life did NOT need to be dull and boring and I did NOT have to work 9 to 6. I could have 52 weeks of vacation a year! I could work at home! I could choose when to work and when not to work… The book taught me what the rich do and how they think. It revealed to me the magic of passive income and the importance of having a business and the freedom that comes with it! Once I read this book, I felt like the bird out of the cage and I NEVER wanted to go back a job (the cage) again! It also made life so exciting cause the possibilities in business are endless!
This book taught me the importance of intention… importance of singular focus… importance of goal setting… and countless other mindset skills. There are probably better and more famous books than this one that covers these topics but this was the first book that I read on them and it was also very reader friendly. It also had thought provoking exercises at the end of each chapter. The book introduced me to habits and mindset skills that formed the foundation for my success. I trace my success habits to this book and still remember the exact location I was when I read it back in 2005.
This is not a business book but it had positive benefits in my business and personal life. I learned as an entrepreneur that I can NOT be successful if I can not focus. Focus is important… and one of the things that kills focus is stress and clutter. The key to eliminating stress is to keep life simple. If you have less things to worry about, you can focus better. One of the things that causes the most stress is clutter. When I see clutter in my house (whether it is newspapers, magazines, paper, or clothes… or dishes… or boxes) it stresses me and I can not work and be super creative and productive in stressful environments. This book taught me the benefits of keeping life simple and easy to manage. Some tips such as; you must discard the old if you are buying something new (for example; clothes)… throw away anything that you have not looked at in the past 6 months (for example, old magazines)… the book had great tips. You can still buy all your toys and gadgets but just remember to give away an old toy and old gadget after you get your new ones. Once I started to follow the advice, my house became less cluttered and simpler. I also had less bills to pay and less to worry about… and more time to be creative and more time to have fun!… which leads to a happier life!
Those are the top 6… and now… what about the future?
In 2011, I recently read a great work by Robert Ringer. It has already made a big impact on me now but we have to revisit this a few years later to see the long term effect… so the jury is still out on this one.
This is an classic written in 1990 and is currently out of print. Also don't confuse this book with the one by Brian Tracy which has the same title. Robert Ringer was a best selling author in the 70s – 80s and I came across this work recently. The style of writing and ideas is very different from the self help books of today and that was what got my attention. It revealed to me a different way of thinking when it comes to business and success in life. Some may not like Ringer's direct (no holds barred and in your face approach) but it was great for me. It provided very simple, direct and useful advice even though sometimes the advice was not what I wanted to hear. It is definitely not a “feel good” book.
So.. that's it… those are the top 6 books + 1 for the future, that have had the biggest impact on my life.
Some other books that came close but just not in the top 6 are:
Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren – showed me the purpose of my life
4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris – taught me the importance of working smarter and achieving more in less time
Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill – taught me that success depends entirely on our attitude and mindset
Leadership Promises for Everyday by John Maxwell – provides daily leadership lessons based on Biblical principles. I still read this every morning
2 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell – taught me what leadership is. I still refer back to this book every year
Unlimited Power by Anthony Robbins – shows how powerful our minds are and how we can overcome our fears
What are your top 5 that have had the biggest impact on your life?!
Most importantly, what book are you reading today?
P.S. If you are interested in more great books, here is a list of some of the top books that I have read over the years.