There comes a time in a person’s life when they start to do some reflection on who they are, who they want to be, and lessons they have learned in life. This may be called a mid-life crisis or a breakdown or something else just as scary. It’s shouldn’t be scary though. I call it being human. I think we all should continue to strive to be a better human every single day. Some days I fail wildly but I wake up the next morning vowing to make the new day better than the last. One way I grow is by reading. I have read a zillion (official number) of books over the years. The smut romance novels have not helped me to grow but they do clear my mind from the every day. No mental push-ups necessary!
For growth and to be a better human, I read books that make me think. Here are my recommendations of 6 books to make you a better human. Note-they are not in any particular order.
#1- Your Best Year Yet, Jenny Ditzler. I stumbled upon this book in a little book shop in Minneapolis during a particularly rough time. I started reading the book during January of a cold, cold winter and found it to be an easy read. The bonus- it was a workbook on how to lay out your goals. There is a space to reflect on the past year- both good and bad. You start thinking about where you want to grow in the next year. I was happy I read it January those many years back to set up my year in the right way. I also talked one of my friends into going through the workbook with me. It was life changing. I continue to complete the exercise every single year using this book. I am happy to say I have completed 70-80% of the goals every year. The one about working out continues to escape me- LOL! www.bestyearyet.com
#2- The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz. Just as the title says, there are four agreements you must make with yourself to be free. These agreements come from Toltec wisdom that Mr. Ruiz translates in a magical way. They are moral and ethical boundaries for life. Each agreement is simple and direct on how you should live your life. If we all followed these it would be a better world. www.totltecspirit.com
#3- Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert. This book resonated with me and encouraged me to travel. To not be afraid to travel solo internationally. Just go. You can beat the ghouls of loneliness and depression who try to sneak into your life. Focus on happiness. Find the adventure and for goodness sake- eat all the pasta, bread, and pizza you can while you are in Italy! @gilbertliz
#4- What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith & Mark Reiter. I received this book from a senior leader a few years ago. There are a ton of lessons for folks who want to move from middle management to senior leadership. I should be getting book royalties for this one- I recommend it to every leader. Reason being, every leader needs to understand the power of their words. A couple of examples that hit home for me:
- A leader going into a plant and saying he liked a different color than what was being produced. Production halted immediately and they plant changed course. At the end of the year the leader wondered why there was a halt in production. Folks shared that they changed the color of the widget based on his comments. His words were more powerful than he realized.
- Knowing your “blind spots” and asking for feedback partners. The partners give you feedback on those blindspots and are also able to understand the work you are doing to get better. This is such a powerful tool. Asking your biggest detractors to call you out when you are not following your new path. Letting them know it is something you are working on so they are more empathetic. Pure gold! www.marshallgoldsmithlibrary.com
#5- Mindset, The New Psychology of Success, Dr. Carol S. Dweck. This book explores open versus closed mindsets. The things you can achieve by having an open mindset are limitless. We can help our children to grow up with an open mindset. The key lesson for me was to think about taking chances and not being afraid to fail because you will learn. www.mindsetonline.com
#6- Love Yourself, Like Your Life Depends On It, Kamal Ravikant. I recently found this one as a Kindle recommendation. Super short read but powerful. Included are great meditation and mantra suggestions that are simple to put in place. One is to find a song you like that is approximately 8-9 minutes long and play it during your morning meditation. When the song is done, you’re done. The concept is simple- love yourself, and when that gets hard, love yourself even harder. @kamalravikant