I will always remember my English Literature high school days as dull. I was simply not interested and could not see the reason for reading Shakespeare and writing any sort of book report. Why did I spend hours on what was deemed a ‘core’ subject.
I’m not saying literature doesn’t have its importance, but I am saying that it doesn’t have be taught to the mainstream, and there are far better books that have more chance of having a lasting impact on youngster’s lives. So if I could tell my younger self to read anything it would be these following three books:
- Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Successful People (link to blog). This is an amazing book that will help you learn tools and techniques to bring focus to your life, something that is more and more important in today’s society. The circle of control vs the circle of influence is something I try to apply in every area of my life.
- Start With Why, Simon Sinek (link to blog). A great book that helps us reflect critically and define what it is that really makes us tick. This is something that is so hard to define, but once you get a glimpse of what actually makes you drive it will change your perception (and hopefully direction) forever. It really is inspiring.
- The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris (link to blog). Perhaps the most controversial of the three suggestions. I am not proposing we all strive to outsource our lives, we all want to be leaders, after all. However, his no-nonsense discussion around cutting out the fluff that surrounds us daily and focussing on those 20% tasks that produce 80% of the results is key. Some of the tricks and techniques he suggests are nothing new, yet so few of us do them. One of my favourite parts is his discussion surrounding email and only checking it minimally, instead of constantly. He sums it up nicely reminding us all that email is indeed ‘Mail’. It is not chat that is immediately opened and responded to. It is mail. open it at a set time of the day and respond to it all at a set time of the day.
So that’s my three books, sort of. Because there is one more, and for me it trumps the rest: Victor Frankl ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ A powerful book written by an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who is a Holocaust survivor. It will teach you a lot about the power of belief. Book review pending…
What books would you recommend to aspiring leaders? Why?