A University of Sussex study found that reading for 6 minutes was able to reduce stress levels by more than two-thirds. Reading can also improve memory, shift mindset, and induce feelings of well-being.
Perhaps this is because the same neurological regions of the brain are stimulated by reading about something as by experiencing it. Wow, right?
With this in mind, it’s critical to be consuming powerful, life-changing literature.
Sifting through titles on Amazon (or Audible) can be cumbersome though. How do you know which are going to be worth the read?
I’ve got you covered! Below is a list of 7 life-changing books that profoundly altered the way I think, act and live my life. I highly encourage you to rush out and grab them today.
None of the books below are affiliate links and I have no connections with the authors, so these represent my unbiased opinion!
7 Must-Read Life-Changing Books
While you’ll probably grow your own collection of life-changing books, chances are you’re looking for new ones to change your life and your finances. These books will unquestionably open your eyes to new opportunities and skills, no matter your path or lifestyle.
1. Extreme Ownership
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin is an incredible book for anyone looking to learn more about how to fill leadership roles.
The book focuses on the takeaways the two men gained during their time serving in Iraq. While the book is written from the perspective of Navy SEALs, the lessons they detail are life-changing for anyone who is growing as a leader.
The book is very structured and straight to the point. Everyone will have to step up and be a leader at some point in their life, whether it’s for a team of 300 or a team of 3. Extreme Ownership breaks down what leadership means and how to own up to one’s responsibilities and mistakes.
What is “extreme ownership”? It’s the principle that leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.
This book has spread like wildfire through entrepreneurial circles because of it’s core message to own everything in your world and blame no one else.
2. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
In this book, author Robert B. Cialdini delivers extraordinary knowledge about the power of persuasion, describing how the brain has automated responses to many types of external and social stimuli.
Cialdini calls the tendency to predictably react to a piece of information without rational analysis as a “click, whirr” response. Humans (and many other species, in fact) have developed many types of “click, whirr” responses over the course of our evolutionary development.
The purposes of these responses were to help our species save mental energy when food was scarce. This was critical throughout much of evolution, because in the resting state, the average adult brain consumes approximately 20 percent of the body’s energy. These automated responses, in aggregate, served our species well. But, on an individual basis, there are many instances in which they simply don’t make sense.
What makes this book so powerful is that Cialdini spent years placing himself into groups and situations where influence was being practiced at a scientific level. Examples of situations where Cialdini placed himself included churches, cults and car sales teams.
In the field of influence and persuasion, Dr. Cialdini is the most cited living social psychologist in the world today.
The 6 principles of influence that Cialdini presents in this book are:
- Social proof
In short, the book Influence explains the psychology of why people say “yes”—and how to apply these principles to your own life.
It is the perfect book for anyone who’s at the edge of success, because it teaches the science behind why people say “yes”, how to make it work to your advantage, and how to avoid falling for poor persuasion yourself.
3. Rich Dad, Poor Dad
In Rich Dad, Poor Dad, author Robert T. Kiyosaki breaks down the financial lessons that he learned from his own father (his “poor dad”) and contrasts them with those from his best friend’s father (his “rich dad”). The story describes that ways in which both “fathers” shaped his mindset about money and investing.
The core principle of the book is that you don’t need to earn a high income to be rich. Rather, rich people make money work for them, by learning how to use financial tools – such as businesses, investments, and tax advantages – to multiply their wealth.
In my opinion, Rich Dad, Poor Dad is the single best book that you can read about personal finance. This is because it advocates for the importance of financial literacy and wealth creation through getting your money to work for you, instead of you working for it.
For people who critique the book, their most common compliant is that it doesn’t teach investment tactics. For example, financial blogger Ramit Sethi says that the book “irks” him because it doesn’t speak to the specifics of investments strategies and advocates for real estate investing, which Sethi thinks is “too complicated for beginning investors.”
I disagree with Sethi’s opinion, because the purpose of the book is to change how a person thinks about money. I also love real estate and think it’s one of the simplest and fastest paths to wealth for the average person.
Without a change in mindset (the “why to do something”) the “how to do something” won’t matter. Change a person’s mindset and you change their life.
The focus of this book is to change your mindset about money, which it will forever alter.
As proof, the book has been translated into 51 different languages and more than 40 million copies have been sold across 109 countries worldwide.
I believe this book is so valuable, that I re-read it every one to two years to keep its principles top of mind.
4. Crush It
If you’re an aspiring business owner or already halfway there, Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk should be your next read. In this book, Vaynerchuk details how to expand on a passion and use the internet to monetize it.
Anyone who’s struggled to see their own business improve will add Crush It! to their list of life-changing books after the first read.
Crush It! is a must-read for anyone who is still learning how to build a genuine brand and use the internet and social media to grow an audience.
The core principle behind the book is that social media revolution irreversibly changed the way we conduct our lives and businesses and there are billions of dollars in advertising moving online, waiting to be claimed by whoever can build the best content and communities.
What fascinates me most about this book is that Gary V wrote it in 2009, but it’s principles are even more true today than they were a decade ago, solidifying Gary V as one of the world’s best visionaries.
Interestingly, this book was also one of the reasons that Lewis Howes became a social media influencer and podcaster. Because this book profoundly impacted his own life, Lewis has recommended it to others who are seeking to make a living in a modern and fulfilling way.
If you love Gary V videos, then grab a copy of this book, because it’s just as good (and maybe better)!
5. Love Warrior
For anyone who’s ever had to deal with loss or a betrayal of trust, Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle is a must-read.
Because of her extensive experience with addiction, depression, an unexpected pregnancy and marital infidelity, among other issues, Glennon experiences “rock bottom” moments that cause her to embark onto paths of self exploration that very few people undertake during their lifetime. When Glennon finds out that her husband Craig has been cheating on her throughout their entire marriage, she has to cope with what comes next.
This book is not a story about marriage, but about self discovery and self love. It is about changing your relationship with pain. It is about what it means to be human.
If you’ve dealt with grief, you’ll find that Glennon will speak to your heart. Doyle masters the art of storytelling while instilling wisdom into every word. Originally a blogger, the book Love Warrior is about growth and self-acceptance from the point of view of someone who has gone through devastating experiences and overcome them through a journey of self-discovery.
In her writing, both online and offline, Glennon has had the courage to reveal all about her life, including the dark, gritty parts nearly everyone would hide. She shares her struggles with bulemia, alcohol, drugs, mental health, sex, and relationships, including her ex-husband’s infidelity and a porn addiction that dates back to his early childhood.
Doyle’s journey with accepting the past and moving forward creates a magnetic story. Once you begin this book, you won’t set it down and if you’re like me, you’ll “dog ear” or underline content on nearly every page.
As Glennon says, “We can choose to be perfect and admired or to be real and loved. We must decide.”
Why should you read this book? Because it is packed with humor, bravery, kindness, and an epic amount of wisdom.
Best of all, if you love this book, you can also grab her other two, Carry On, Warrior, and Untamed (coming out March 2020).
6. The Millionaire Booklet
If you want to get a look into the “millionaire mindset”, this book will change your life and deliver that insight.
As Grant notes, learning how to make a million dollars isn’t something that we’re taught in school. Only a lucky few are taught this by their parents. However, there is unquestionably a predictable, reliable path to becoming a millionaire, which Grant lays out in this book.
As described by Grant, the eight steps to becoming a millionaire are:
- Make the Millionaire Decision
- Do Your Millionaire Math
- Increase Your Income
- Identify Who’s Got Your Money?
- Stay Broke
- Save to Invest (Don’t Save to Save)
- Create Multiple Flows of Income
- Repeat, Reinforce and Hyperfocus
Cardone is knowledgeable about business and sales, but he also works hard in this book to push the importance of motivation and accountability.
If you’re ready to go after 7-figures of net worth, which you unquestionably should, grab this book and devour it today. If you’re already at 7-figures, you’ll still love this book because it will reinforce the process for how to multiply money.
7. The $100 Startup
For anyone who is sick of the traditional routes laid out for them and wants to take the road less traveled, The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau has to make your to-read list.
In preparing to write this book, the author Chris Guillebeau “identified 1,500 individuals who built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a modest investment (in many cases, $100 or less)” and presents 50 of the most intriguing case studies.
In one example, Guillebeau discusses a waitress in London who was so great at her job that you frequently got compliments and big tips. One day, someone said to her, “You’d be good at PR.” While she didn’t know a thing about public relations the time, she eventually explored how to use the skills from her low-paying job to create a business where she helped clients to have success.
If you’ve dreamed of traveling the world while supporting yourself, this book will inspire you to see how realistic and attainable it can be. In this book, you’ll learn how to build a business and grow it to support your desired lifestyle.
As Guillebeau says, “It’s all about finding the intersection between your “expertise” – even if you don’t consider it such — and what other people will pay for.”
If you think you might have the entrepreneurial itch, then go grab this book today.
Changing Your Life, One Book at a Time
Words are powerful. Words are epic. Words shape our belief and direct our actions.
The books above are seven of my all-time favorites. If you’re looking for life-changing books that will show you how to achieve financial freedom, then the list above will deliver.
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