I’ve been a voracious reader since I was a small child and I’ve read more than 2,000 books in my life. Self-help, psychology, horror, fantasy, history, health, longevity, biographies, politics, fiction, business – I’ve ripped through numerous books in all those categories. Consuming all those books had a lot of benefits including the fact that it helped me write a book that was in the top 50 in the self-help category on Amazon at one time — 101 Things All Young Adults Should Know. However, there were a few books that stood out from the rest because of the powerful impact that they had on my life. These weren’t books that I merely enjoyed or that helped me improve a few things, these were books that had a major impact on my thinking. These are all books that changed my life significantly. Enjoy!
PS: I’m leaving out the Bible because it’s too obvious. No book has influenced more Americans and you don’t need me to tell you that.
Honorable mentions: An End to Innocence: Facing Life Without Illusions, Winning through Intimidation: How to Be the Victor, Not the Victim, in Business and in Life, The New High Intensity Training: The Best Muscle-Building System You’ve Never Tried, and The Way of the Superior Man, The Compound Effect.
1) Awaken the Giant Within: Wait, you mean that tall guy with the big teeth that used to do infomercials was actually on to something? As it turns out, yes, he was and he’s so good at what he does that he’s worth half-billion dollars today. If you’re wondering what he’s so good at doing, it’s teaching you how to reprogram your brain with neuro-linguistic programming. NLP is a truly brilliant school of psychology that in the hands of a skilled practitioner can often produce powerful results in weeks that most therapists can’t achieve in years. However, it has two major weaknesses. The first is that it’s radically different from techniques used by conventional psychologists and so they heap scorn on it, which is ridiculous. It makes no sense to say that something like NLP is “pseudo-science” while considering say Gestalt therapy or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to be legitimate. The other issue is that the two guys that invented NLP in the seventies, John Bandler & Richard Grinder are (as respectfully as I can say this because they’re brilliant) simultaneously dull as dishwater and so combative that they’ve refused to work together for decades. What you see in Tony Robbins is a guy who understood neuro-linguistic programming, became extremely good at treating people with it, and started pushing it out to the public in a charismatic manner. The book changed my thinking in an elemental way. It helped me control my thoughts, my emotions, my priorities, focused me on improving myself to make a better life and it changed the way I look at the world and what I believe is possible in my life. This is THE book I’ve gifted the most to other people and if you’re only going to read just one book off of this entire list, this is the one.