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Top 10 Books To Read Recommended By Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, And Elon Musk

Top 10 Books To Read Recommended By Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, And Elon Musk

Want to know what goes on inside the minds of billionaires, global leaders, and game-changers?

Read what they read.

No matter how successful people like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, or Barack Obama are today, they all acquired their knowledge and experience over time. And they admit that books were a big part of the journey.

I know what you’re thinking: what were these books?

Luckily for us, they’ve publicly shared their most recommended and impactful books that have helped them get to where they are today.

We’ve compiled the top 10 books to read, and brought it here for you to enjoy.

Enjoy these 10 books, and share the knowledge with others!

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Top 10 Books To Read

1. Atlas Shrugged By Ayn Rand

Recommended by: Steve Jobs and Mark Cuban
Topic: Politics & Business
One-sentence summary: “Solve the world’s problem through entrepreneurial solutions.”

When Steve Wozniak was interviewed about what influenced Steve Jobs in the early days of building Apple, he mentioned that Atlas Shrugged was one of the books that Jobs used as his guide to life & business.

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    2. Competing Against Time By George Stalk

    Recommended by: Tim Cook
    Topic: Business, Economy, Productivity
    One-sentence summary: “Time is now added to the other three critical factors in order to remain competitiveness in the market – money, productivity, and quality.”

    Competing Against Time is a book that Tim Cook passes out everywhere and makes it a recommendation for all new hires at Apple to read.

    apple-ceo-tim-cook-is-a-huge-fan-of-competing-against-time-by-george-stalk-jr-its-about-managing-supply-chains-to-get-a-competitive-boost-something-apple-has-to-worry-about-a-lot

      3. Business Adventures By John Brooks

      Recommended by: Warren Buffet and Bill Gates
      Topic: Business & Finance
      One-sentence summary: “A classic story about the American corporate and financial life.”

      What do two of the richest men in the world have in common? They love the writings of John Brooks. Gates writes in his essay about Business Adventures: “Brooks eschews ‘listicles’ and doesn’t ‘boil his work down into pat how-to lessons or simplistic explanations for success.’ Instead, he tells entertaining stories replete with richly drawn characters, setting them during heightened moments within the world of commerce.”

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      Buffett’s classic sayings, such as “you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out,” fits right into the style of Brooks writing as well.

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        4. Influence By Robert Cialdini

        Recommended by: Charlie Munger and Guy Kawasaki
        Topic: Psychology, Persuasion, Marketing
        One-sentence summary: “Science-backed methods to persuade just about anyone you want.”

        Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s partner in crime at Berkshire Hathaway, attributes Cialdini’s work as having a big influence on his thinking process. His published work of the 25 Cognitive Biases of humans was very much influenced by Cialdini’s work.

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          5. Life Is What You Make It By Peter Buffett

          Recommended by: Bill Clinton
          Topic: Life, Purpose, Autobiography
          One-sentence summary: “Instead of taking the way of least resistance, choose the path to greatest satisfaction.”

          This autobiography book by Peter Buffett, Warren Buffett’s son, shares the wisdom learned from his family and his experiences. Here’s how Ted Turner, Media Icon and the Founder of CNN, describes it: “With home-spun, heart-felt wisdom Peter Buffett ponders how to make a meaningful life, while making a living.”

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            6. The Happiness Hypothesis By Jonathan Haidt

            Recommended by: Tony Hsieh
            Topic: Happiness, Culture, Philosophy,
            One-sentence summary: “Giving and serving are the way to happiness.”

            “This is probably the book that’s made the biggest impact on my life over the past five years. The author examines the beliefs about happiness of different cultures, religions and philosophers from different periods, and then compares those beliefs with research that’s been done on the science of happiness. The book is thought-provoking and the concepts can be applied to business and to life.” – Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos)

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              7. The Four Agreements By Don Miguel Ruiz

              Recommended by: Oprah Winfrey and Jack Dorsey
              Topic: Spirituality, Life, Happiness
              One-sentence summary: The book can be summarized in the following four precepts:

              1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
              2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
              3. Don’t Make Assumptions
              4. Always Do Your Best

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                As Jack Dorsey is in the process of running two publicly traded companies, Twitter and Square, he’s forced to mature as a leader. Throughout his journey, he acknowledges The Four Agreement as guiding him in the right path.

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                  8. Self-Reliance By Ralph Waldo Emerson

                  Recommended by: Barack Obama
                  Topic: Individualism, non-conformity and independence
                  One-sentence summary: “Hold on to your own convictions, despite what society and other people want you to believe.”

                  Self-Reliance is what put Ralph Waldo Emerson on the map as one of the most influential poets and philosophers of the 19th century. President Obama referenced this essay as one of the most significant books to him in an email to Jon Meacham from the New York Times, and even referenced the importance of self-reliance in his 2008 election victory speech.

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                    9. Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin By Walter Isaacson

                    Recommended by: Elon Musk
                    Topic: Autobiography, Entrepreneurship, Benjamin Franklin
                    One-sentence summary: “The rise of Benjamin Franklin from the bottom to the top.”

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                    Elon Musk, the Co-Founder of Paypal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, has said that Ben Franklin is one of his heroes, and likely sees Franklin as the type of American he himself would like to be and become: a combination of statesman, inventor, and businessman.

                    “You can see how [Franklin] was an entrepreneur. He started from nothing. He was just a runaway kid.” -Elon Musk

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                      10. The Remains Of The Day By Kazuo Ishiguro

                      Recommended by: Jeff Bezos
                      Topic: History, World War II, Life & Regret
                      One-sentence summary: “A compelling portrait of the perfect English butler and of his fading, insular world postwar England.”

                      “Before reading it, I didn’t think a perfect novel was possible. I’m always interested in things that seem to be impossible, but are then achieved.” -Jeff Bezos

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                        Over To You

                        Which of these top 10 books to read caught your interest?
                        Is there a book that’s on your list, that didn’t make it to our top 10 books to read? Please share with us!

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                        Last Updated on March 21, 2019

                        11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                        11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                        Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

                        You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

                        But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

                        To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

                        It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

                        “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

                        The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

                        In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

                        Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

                        1. Start Small

                        The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

                        Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

                        Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

                        Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

                        Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

                        Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

                        It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

                        Do less today to do more in a year.

                        2. Stay Small

                        There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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                        But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

                        If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

                        When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

                        I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

                        Why?

                        Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

                        The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

                        Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

                        3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

                        No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

                        There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

                        What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

                        Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

                        This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

                        This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

                        4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

                        When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

                        There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

                        Peter Drucker said,

                        “What you track is what you do.”

                        So track it to do it — it really helps.

                        But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

                        5. Measure Once, Do Twice

                        Peter Drucker also said,

                        “What you measure is what you improve.”

                        So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

                        For reading, it’s 20 pages.
                        For writing, it’s 500 words.
                        For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
                        For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

                        Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

                        6. All Days Make a Difference

                        Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

                        Will two? They won’t.

                        Will three? They won’t.

                        Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

                        What happened? Which one made you fit?

                        The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

                        No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

                        7. They Are Never Fully Automated

                        Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

                        But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

                        What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

                        It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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                        The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

                        It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

                        It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

                        8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

                        Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

                        Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

                        When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

                        The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

                        Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

                        9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

                        The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

                        Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

                        You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

                        But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

                        So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

                        If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

                        This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

                        The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

                        Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

                        10. Punish Yourself

                        Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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                        I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

                        It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

                        You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

                        No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

                        The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

                        But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

                        11. Reward Yourself

                        When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

                        Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

                        The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

                        After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

                        If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

                        Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

                        If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

                        In the End, It Matters

                        What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

                        When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

                        And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

                        “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

                        Keep going.

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                        More Resources to Help You Build Habits

                        Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
                        [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
                        [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
                        [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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