This is my list of favourite books about motivation and self-help. Each book gave me lots of input and ideas, making me into the optimistic person I am today. Now this knowledge can be yours. I hope you will find them inspiring, and perhaps they may even help to get your life back on track as it did for myself.
1) MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING
Man’s Search for Meaning is an extraordinary tale from a man who survived the Holocaust.Witnessing all manner of horrors, the author, a professional doctor, provides us with the psychological aspect of prisoners throughout their captivity at Auschwitz. Unlike other books that describe prisoners’ precarious conditions. In his masterpiece, Vikor Frankl puts the stress on the decay in both the mind and the spirit. How, under certain conditions, even the most respectable person can return to his primordial state, and be capable of the most brutal things, in order to save one’s life. An internal journey through human nature and its reactions when being put to the test by extreme conditions. A book designed to travel into the depth of human mind. To make the reader reflect, giving them a picture of history unlike any other history book.
2) THE MIRACLE MORNING
The Miracle Morning explains the not-so-obvious power of waking up earlier. An incredible stint where usually people prefer to keep on sleeping rather than trying to build the life they want. Author Hal Elrod experienced all the incredible advantages one can make by simply deciding to wake up earlier than usual. A witness of all the great things one can achieve by being committed every day, starting right from the mornings. In fact, having a great, satisfying life, as he states, should be a right, not a privilege. However, such a life must be thoughtfully planned and put into action. To do a number of activities (all explained in detail in the book) in order to kick-start your days, all the way up until you achieve a great lifestyle. And not just in one area. You can actually do brilliantly in all fields, as long as you are committed. Unfortunately, reality shows a different story. That is, most people just hate taking time off from sleeping. And when they do, they grumble. They don’t have a clear sense of direction. It is their daily, unsatisfying routines to lead them, and it should be the other way round. The Miracle Morning can teach you this: to have the force to take control and get life back on track, all of this before 8 am.
3) THE MAGIC OF THINKING BIG
There is no magical formula for success. No tricks or short-cuts. Two people can receive the same education, same teachers, even brought up in the same environments, but ending up with two different lives: one full of success and satisfactions. The other, just trying to survive and stay afloat. Why is that? Is one lucky and the other is not? Not at all. Simply, the former has no limiting beliefs, nor does he allow any hurdles to stop him. He thinks he can do whatever he decides to focus on (that’s his secret). In contrast, the other believes he is undeserving of having a wonderful life (and surprise: that’s what he gets). The truth is that, despite having the same upbringing or families, one chooses to think big, the other small. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz is exactly this: a manual teaching people to think and act without any limitations. To set their biggest dreams free and take flight, no matter what. Because to be successful means to be happy. To be average, means to complain and be dissatisfied. Ignore those who say you won’t make it, that something is impossible. Just because they think small doesn’t mean you have to be like them. Think big and you’ll have the life you want.
4) THE ALCHEMIST
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is the journey of a shepherd who is on the lookout for a hidden treasure in the middle of the desert. Along the way, he bumps into all manner of people, both good and bad, including a famous alchemist. The Alchemist reveals a secret to him: that the only way to find any treasure is to first learn to listen to one’s heart and soul. The book highlights that everyone has a ‘Personal Legend’ to pursue, a mission to accomplish. To be in search of one’s personal dreams and do whatever it takes to realise them. Unfortunately, many spend their entire lives without ever discovering theirs, let alone fulfilling any. After a number of adventures, the protagonist successfully finds the treasure he was looking for. However, he only manages to find it after learning the ‘Language of the World’: a language that human beings have long forgotten, but still spoken by nature and animals. Only then, he could find all the answers he was looking for (treasure included). Only then he was on the right way to becoming an alchemist himself.
5) THINK AND GROW RICH
Published in 1937, it has been the most popular book in personal-development over the 20th century. Napoleon Hill explains how critical it is to have desires. Likewise, he points out the importance of keeping faith throughout your journey. Furthermore, he highlights how something that is not carefully planned, and followed up by persistence, is doomed to remain simply thoughts and conjecture. Think and Grow Rich is a book for those who want to grow internally, both mentally and spiritually. Inspiring millions of people over the last decades, Think and Grow Rich has been updated with modern examples, so that it can now inspire readers in the 21st century. It is the perfect book for those who want to approach this field and master it.
6) THE ONE THING
We would like to do a lot of things and end up achieving very little. We want to be good (or even great) at pretty much everything. We demand excellence and quality at whatever we think and focus on. The only issue is: this is virtually impossible. As humans, we are like the battery of a phone, with a limited amount of energy at our disposal and, at the end, we are done. People naively want to multi-task in whatever they do, and then get surprised if they perform poorly and make silly mistakes. As authors Keller and Papasan explain, ‘multi-tasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more things at a time’. Rather, you should be focused only on what matters most. No more, no less. If we take Olympic players, for instance, they excel at one activity only. They don’t multi-task, and risk performing poorly in several ones. No, One-Thing-only. The book is really eye-opening and goal-oriented, and invites its readers to focus on just what matters the most to them, screening out all the rest. To become an expert in one field, rather than mediocre in several.
7) ATOMIC HABITS
‘Atomic Habits’ is a guide helping you build good habits, and replacing negative ones. A manual to take you through the world of habits, explaining to you how they work and why they can be double-edged weapons, providing us with great results, as well as toxic ones. As James Clear points out, ‘to have a quality life, you first need to have quality habits’. How it is up to us to decide what to replace as well as what to improve. A not-so-easy field to navigate, habitual rituals are like being on auto-pilot, and can lead one miles in the wrong direction. This is an inspiring piece of writing for those who are stuck into their old routines, and would like to make radical changes somehow, despite ignoring where to start or what to do.