Monday, 24 January 2011

So little time, so many books to read...

Or, perhaps we don’t give enough time to reading the kinds of books that have the power to transform, inspire, and help us to change us for the better. At a very early age, my curiosity about how I could live a more ‘meaningful life’ was insatiable. And because I didn’t have the wherewithal to articulate my feelings, I’d say things like, ‘Why are we here?’, or, ‘Is this it?’ Most of my friends thought I was weird, to my relatives I could have been speaking a foreign language.

Fast-forward to my early thirties when my interest in self-development became heightened. Whilst attending a personal growth seminar, someone suggested I read “The Road Less Travelled.” This was my first foray into the world of reading books that have enabled me to experience my life through an alternative lens, I might add a lens with a far richer view-finder than I could have ever hoped for, or imagined.

When people I don’t know well ask me to recommend a book, I’m often reticent to do so. For me, it’s like recommending a piece of art, or a movie I enjoyed. I’m not entirely comfortable assuming that something that personally resonated with me will do so for someone else. And although I’ve read numerous personal development books, self-help books, books that tell a fictional story that turn out have life affirming parables, knowing which one might best suit another person just seems too assumptive.

In my attempt to share some of my reading with a wider audience, I’ve compiled a partial list of books that have contributed to my own development, and my desire for continued personal growth. You might notice the omission of “The Road Less Travelled” - It’s many years since I read this book, and I’m uncertain as to whether it will have the same relevance today as it had all those years ago. It’s probably time to read it again...
Here's my partial list:

One Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl: A remarkable true story of one man’s courage, emotional resilience and determination to survive.

Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers: This book has been in print for over twenty years, and it’s as relevant today as it was when first published.

Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell: This book gives credence to the power of intuition. Gladwell is a gifted writer, he grounds a subject that some in the business world consider to be a bit ‘flaky.’

The Power of Nice – How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness, by Linda Kaplan & Robin Thaler: A great, short, easy-to-read book by two women who run one of the top advertising agencies in New York.

Nudge – Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein: A book that anyone in business will find helpful and enlightening. It will change the way you think about you and the world in which you live.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, by Robin Sharma: A story that helps us all better understand what’s important in our lives. Sharma tell his story with compassion and a deep knowledge of the human condition.

Loving What Is, by Byron Katie: A book by a writer whose life-changing event has touched the lives of many who’ve read her books.

A New World, by Eckhart Tolle: A book that asks us to question ourselves, and to reflect on whether we are living our best life.

On Writing, by Stephen King: If you enjoy writing, this is the book for you. And if you don’t write, you will be inspired by Mr. King’s extraordinary life story, his rise to fame and the unflinching support of his wife.

Flow – The classic work on how to achieve happiness, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: A book that helps us understand how each of us can be happy by following the simple, straightforward advice of the author.

Working with Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman: Goleman brought attention to the area of EQ about 18 years ago; he’s considered to be one of the experts in the field.