Two years ago I made the conscious effort to start reading again (stimulated by wanting to fill in the boredom that comes with taking the train to work every day). The only problem was, I had no idea what to read. It’s like January 1st comes along and you decided to get fit by going to the gym, except once you get to the gym, you have no idea what to do. That’s the problem I had.
I solved this problem by recalling that one of my favourite sites, Nerd Fitness, once had a post recommending what books to read. This post was so great, that I ordered almost every book of that list. As a matter of fact, 3 of those books will appear on my list today.
I sorted this list into categories. What you’ll need to do first is decide on what category you want to read about. If you feel like you’re stuck in the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, look at personal finance. If you’re struggling to lose weight and to stick to a diet, I’d recommend looking at Diet (and Habit Building).
Without any delay, here are my recommendations on what books to read
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
This book will change how you think about money. The theme of Ramit’s book is “Save on the big things so you can spend money on the little things.’ Rather than cutting back on lattes so you can buy a new car, get a car that’s a bit older, save yourself a few thousand, which you can then use to buy drinks for your friends absolutely guilt-free.
- You Need a Budget by Jesse Mecham
I’ve been using the YNAB app for 12 months now and for the first time, I actually feel in control of my money. Every time I get paid, I allocate money to a category, then that’s how much I’m allowed to spend each month. I also use it to plan out yearly expenses (like car insurance), by setting aside money every month so that way I am no longer surprised and worried when I need to pay $1,000. Recently Jesse came out with a book which is on my “To Read” list. I’m sure it’s amazing as the apps/guides/videos he puts up.
- The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
It took me a while to get into this book, the start is slow so you’ll only read a bit at a time. However, after 100 pages, you’ll be absolutely hooked and won’t be able to put it down. The sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear, is even better and I read the 1,000 page book in less than 2 weeks.
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This book got me back into reading. I received it as part of Loot Crate, then 3 months later I decided to give it a read. I was unable to put this down and I recall spending days in my hammock outside just reading it. Now with a movie on the horizon, it’s never been a better time to read it.
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
You see this book in almost any list on Personal Development and there’s a very good reason why. The book is effectively time management principles, by focusing on the things that are important to you (and your job), and delegating the other tasks. This book helped reignite my passion at work and I’ve used the principles ever since.
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
I’d call this a science book. Charles explains how habits form in our mind by the Cue, Routine, Reward system and how organisations use this to their advantage. It’s perfect to learn why you do things the way you do (and why you can’t give up that afternoon piece of chocolate).
- Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb
If you’ve never heard of Nerd Fitness, stop reading and go to their website now at https://www.nerdfitness.com/
Steve created a revolution of Nerds who no longer use videogames as their escape from reality, but instead use reality as their escape from video games. It’s about changing your lifestyle so you see life as a videogame, and you are slowly working your way to Level 50 as you enjoy more of life’s experiences. His book, Level Up Your Life, details how you too can set your life up as a videogame by creating quests, recruiting other players, and gaining loot as you defeat real life bosses (such as an Ironman Triathlon).
- Stronglifts Website by Mehdi
Okay, this one isn’t a book, but the amount of material provided in a guide should be converted into a book. Stronglifts is the perfect workout for any beginner who wishes to lift weight to build muscle. Typical beginner lifting programs will give you 10 different exercises to do for 3×10 reps and with a vague guideline on what weight to use and when/how to increase weight. Stronglifts gives you 3 lifts, 3 times a week, starting at 20kgs (45lbs), and increasing the weight each workout by 2.5kg (5lbs). Simple and effective. And if you don’t know how to squat or deadlift properly without breaking your back, he has plenty of guides and videos showing you exactly what to do, and even has photos on what not to do.
- Unbreakable Runner by Brian Mackenzie
This book changed my relationship with running and training in general. When I started getting into running (and triathlons), the typical advice was to log lots of miles every week and to force your body through 10-20 hours of training a week. I followed this, and it worked, but I was clearly overtraining, but most importantly, I couldn’t fit this lifestyle in with full time university. By finding Crossfit Endurance (now Power Speed Endurance), and reading Unbreakable Runner, I no longer focus on increasing volume, instead I focus on getting the skills right, and adding intensity into my workouts. The result, I can make progress through 5-10 hours of training a week and not feel like my body is destroyed.
- Deskbound by Kelly Starrett
If you spend all day sitting in a chair at work, you need this book. If you’ve tried using a standing desk but failed, you need this book. If you have any pain spots in your body which you know comes from sitting badly and maintaining poor body positions, you need this book.
- The Keto Reset Diet by Mark Sisson
I recently purchased this book because I found it on sale at Target. I’m glad I picked it up. Mark gives an introduction into keto, then describes in detail how you can transition to a keto lifestyle in 3 weeks by gradually reducing carbs and eliminating grains, before jumping into a 6 week full keto diet. If you are interested in learning what keto is (High Fat, Low Carb), then I suggest giving his book a read. Even if you don’t like it, it is chock full of delicious recipes that you can try out.
- The First 20 Hours: How To Learn Anything Fast by Josh Kaufman
The book which is the inspiration for this site. Josh Kaufman dispels the 10,000 hour rule, saying that you can learn anything in 20 hours or less. He talks about how the 10,000 hour rule is about how to become a world class expert in something. 20 hours is the time you need to become kind of decent at. It takes less than 10,000 hours to play the guitar, in fact it took Josh 20 hours to learn to play the ukulele and give a performance at a Ted talk.
What this book teaches us is that we should always be looking at learning something new. Whether that’s how to ride a skateboard, or how to change the oil in your car, whatever it is, we can learn it in under 20 hours.
- Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham
Do you have a business? An online business? Do you do any freelancing? If so, then you need this book. Jay provides timeless tactics and strategies to significantly increase your client base and subsequently the income from them. Jay mostly works with huge companies and CEOs (think of Tony Robbins), so the fact he is providing such great information in a $20 book is amazing. Spend $20, make thousands, that’s a pretty good deal to me.
- 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
I feel like this book started a revolution. Gone are the days of slaving away in the office for 40-60 hours a week to earn a mediocre salary and dreaming of your retirement. Instead, apply the 80/20 principle, create a small but successful company, and you can live the life through mini retirements in Spain all whilst making passive income.
Even if you aren’t looking to quit your day job, you can learn a lot in this book. His final chapter talks about freeing up time by negotiating flexible work hours, then filling up that time through activities like socialising and learning. In fact, after reading it, I chose to learn Japanese as I had a lot of free time. I’m glad I made that decision.
- Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business by Ramit Sethi
Ramit Sethi has officially written two books, I Will Teach You To Be Rich in 2009, and Your Move in 2017. In between that time, he created high quality courses on finding dream jobs, negotiating salaries, freelancing, how to start an online business and many more things. I feel like the entire point of his Your Move book is to give people a taste of what his premium material is like. That doesn’t mean he wrote a book to advertise all his products. His book has enough material in it such that you could start an online business or get into freelancing and make a decent living out of it. The book also comes packed full of bonus material with interviews that last longer than it will take you to read the book. Definitely worth looking into.
Hopefully you’ll read one book on this list. I have a book rule which I learnt from Ramit Sethi, if you think about buying a book, you should buy it. If you learn just one thing from it, then it was worth it.
We’ve talked about why reading is important and how it can enrich your life. I’ve now given you a list of books to read. In my next post, we’re going to talk about how to find the time to read (something I find people struggle with a lot). If you’ve ever said “I don’t have the time to read”, “I’m too busy”, then make sure to subscribe so you can be updated on when the next post arrives.
I leave you with one question, what books would you add to the list above?