Today a reader. Tomorrow a leader. My favorite books are the ones that change my thinking, beliefs, behavior, and performance. Books are not just made of pages and words. They are made of hopes, dreams, and possibilities. A person who does not read is no better off than a person who cannot read.
Reading books is one daily habit that has completely altered and changed the trajectory of my life. For me, reading books is a necessity. It is as important for me as breathing, eating, sleeping, shelter and water. Besides housing and food, books are my largest expense throughout the year. I have over 2,700 books in my home library and commit to reading at least 80 books every year.
The 21st-century has become an age of rapid change, innovation, disruption and new ways of thinking, doing, and being. There is no better time to be exceptional in your craft and no worse time to be mediocre. In this constant stream of information and connectivity finding quality time to unplug and read books has created a daily mindfulness and solitude that has been imperative for my continued growth, discovery, and mastery of self.
The daily challenge when reading books becomes learning how to transfer knowledge into wisdom and wisdom into strategic action and change. There is a huge difference between information and knowledge. When reading I strive to focus relentlessly on knowledge, remaining receptive and open every day to ushering in intellectual pursuits that transform problems into opportunities.
What we do today is one more action towards who we will become tomorrow. The art of reading books daily has allowed me to stretch beyond what is normal, and discover the outer depths of who I am.
The following ten timeless books have all had a profound influence on my life. It is through reading books that one can discover who they are, what they want and what they can be.
1. The True Believer by Eric Hoffer
“The True Believer is a landmark in the field of social psychology, and even more relevant today than ever before in history. The True Believer is mandatory reading for anyone interested in the machinations by which an individual becomes a fanatic.”
2. Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi
“In Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi lays out the specific steps—and inner mindset of what distinguishes highly successful people from everyone else is the way they use the power of relationships—so that everyone wins.”
3. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
“In The Four Agreements, bestselling author Don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.”
4. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
“In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.”
5.The Other America by Michael Harrington
“The Other America has been established as a seminal work of sociology. Harrington shed light on the lives of the poor—from farm to city—and the social forces that relegated them to their difficult situations. He was determined to make poverty in the United States visible and his observations and analyses have had a profound effect on our country, radically changing how we view the poor and the policies we employ to help them.”
6. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
“Go Tell It On The Mountain, is Baldwin’s first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.”
7. What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School by Mark McCormack
“To this day, McCormack’s business classic remains a must-read for executives and managers at every level, featuring straight-talking advice you’ll never hear in business school. Relating his proven method of “applied people sense” in key chapters on sales, negotiation, reading others and yourself, and executive time management, McCormack presents powerful real-world guidance on navigating and excelling in business.”
8. Sports in America by James A. Michener
“Originally published in 1976, James A. Michener’s explosive, spectacular Sports in America is a prescient examination of the crisis in American sports that is still unfolding to this day.”
9. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom
“Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago. Tuesdays with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie’s lasting gift with the world.”
10. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
“Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.”