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20 Books Everyone Should Read Before Age 40

20 Books Everyone Should Read Before Age 40

Books are wonderful things. Information, entertainment, wisdom and imagination all wrapped up in a nice little bundle of pages… or an electronic file as the case may be.

But there are so many. Millions actually, so the question becomes, “What are the must reads?”, especially in the first half of your life when you’re trying to do so much and seeking all that life has to offer so diligently. I’ll start by saying that there are so many books that could have made my list, but I suspect that you, like me, read many of those throughout your educational years. Still, it might be worth another read through of some of the classics.

My list of 20 must-read books:

(In no particular order, some classic, and some modern)

anne frank

    The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank- I hope I don’t need to explain why this book is so important. You probably read this as a student, but read it again. It may be the ultimate book about the power of hope and strength in the midst of unspeakable atrocities, and it serves to remind us that there will always be evil in the world, but that we must not let it win.

    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

      I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou – Poverty. Racism. Rape. Coming of age amidst all that. It’s both heartbreaking and empowering, like only Maya can do.

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      Attitudes of Gratitude- How to Give and Receive Joy Everyday of Your Life

        Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Everyday of Your Life by M.J. Ryan – Ryan shows us that when we let ourselves feel and express our appreciation, we feel happier, younger, and healthier.  Gratitude creates a powerful state of happiness where we notice what’s right instead of what’s wrong, which teaches us how to unlock the fullness of life.

        To Kill a Mockingbird

          To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Another book many of us read in school, but it’s worth another read through adult eyes. Be brave enough to do what you know is right—enough said.

          Emotional Intelligence 2.0

            Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry, Jean Greaves, Patrick Lencioni – It’s no secret that emotional intelligence (EQ) is critical to success, but knowing what emotional intelligence is and knowing how to use it to improve your life are two very different things. Emotional intelligence shows us how to use self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management to achieve our fullest potential.

            The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People- Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

              The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People By Stephen R. Covey – It’s a classic for a reason: still one of the most valuable personal development books of all time. Covey prescribes a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach to help us lead the best life possible.

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              The Power of Now

                The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle – The message is simple: living in the now is the path to happiness (and enlightenment.) An excellent manual of how thoughts and emotions get in the way of our ability to live in genuine peace and happiness.

                Mans Search for Meaning

                  Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl – Based on his own experience in Nazi death camps, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.

                  Now, Discover Your Strengths

                    Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham, Donald O. Clifton – Unfortunately, most of us spend our lives trying to combat our weaknesses instead of developing our strengths, when the truth is that it is actually our strengths that lead us to personal and professional success.

                    Traveling Mercies- Some Thoughts on Faith

                      Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott – Anne Lamott says the two best prayers she knows are: “Help me” and “Thank you.” Irreverent and witty, Lamott shows us how to own the reality of our own brokenness while coming closer to a real understanding of grace.

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                      making-marriage-simple-10-truths-for-changing-the-relationship-you-have-into-the-one-you-want

                        Making Marriage Simple: Ten Truths for Changing the Relationship You Have into the One You Want by Harville Hendrix, Helen LaKelly Hunt – A guide to building a strong partnership in today’s world. It gives practical tools needed to transform one’s relationship into a rewarding and joyous one.

                        Tuesdays with Morrie

                          Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom – Reminds us of the importance of having mentors, and that the lessons they teach us about living robustly and fully impact our lives in ways that we may not understand at the time.

                          The Artists Way

                            The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – An inspiring and invaluable guide on living a life of creativity and passion.

                            The Gifts of Imperfection

                              The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown – This book lays out ten guideposts for Wholehearted living. Brown teaches how to combat the barrage of messages from society telling us who, what, and how we should be, to discover that we are worthy just as we are.

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                              The Tipping Point- How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

                                The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell – The tipping point is that critical moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, then tips, and spreads like wildfire. Gladwell explores the tipping point phenomenon and how it’s changing the way people throughout the world think about the development and dissemination of ideas.

                                Imagine- How Creativity Works

                                  Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer – Discusses the importance of thinking like a child, daydreaming, and adopting an outsider’s perspective. He talks about creative collaboration, criticism and how we can use creativity to better our world.

                                  The Last Lecture

                                    The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch – At one time or another, we all consider our deaths and ruminate on what matters mos; the wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance. This lecture given by Pausch, a computer science professor recently diagnosed with a terminal illness, expresses the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, and of seizing every moment.

                                    The Notebook

                                      The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks – This is more than a simple story of love, lost and found—it’s one about the choices we make and the hardships we face. Whether you feel it’s a love story or a tragedy, it’s about a journey to happiness and ultimately deciding what or who is important to us in life.

                                      The Power of Full Engagement

                                        The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr, Tony Schwartz – Shows us how managing energy, not time, is the key to performance, health, happiness, and life balance. This fundamental insight has the power to revolutionize the way we live.

                                        Your chosen book on your spiritual path or philosophical leanings – A must, and probably should have been listed first. Whether it’s the Bible, Tao Te Ching, Bhagavad Gita, works by Plato, Aristotle, or one of the many spiritual books out there, whatever book helps you to understand your place in the larger picture of life, that gives you purpose and meaning, may be the most important book you ever read.

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                                        Royale Scuderi

                                        A creative strategist, consultant and writer who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment.

                                        How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries How to Invest in Yourself: 3 Valuable Ways to Change Your Life Why You Need to Ask for Feedback…and How to Use It 15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done What Is Emotional Intelligence (And How to Develop It)

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                                        Last Updated on November 19, 2019

                                        20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                                        20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                                        Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

                                        If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

                                        1. Create a Daily Plan

                                        Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

                                        2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

                                        Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

                                        3. Use a Calendar

                                        Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

                                        I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

                                        Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

                                        4. Use an Organizer

                                        An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

                                        These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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                                        5. Know Your Deadlines

                                        When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

                                        But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

                                        6. Learn to Say “No”

                                        Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

                                        Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

                                        7. Target to Be Early

                                        When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

                                        For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

                                        Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

                                        8. Time Box Your Activities

                                        This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

                                        You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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                                        9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

                                        Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

                                        10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

                                        Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

                                        You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                                        11. Focus

                                        Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

                                        Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

                                        Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                                        12. Block out Distractions

                                        What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

                                        I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

                                        When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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                                        Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

                                        13. Track Your Time Spent

                                        When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

                                        You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

                                        14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

                                        You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

                                        Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

                                        15. Prioritize

                                        Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

                                        Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                                        16. Delegate

                                        If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

                                        When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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                                        17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

                                        For related work, batch them together.

                                        For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

                                        1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
                                        2. coaching
                                        3. workshop development
                                        4. business development
                                        5. administrative

                                        I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

                                        18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

                                        What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

                                        One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

                                        While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

                                        19. Cut off When You Need To

                                        The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

                                        Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

                                        20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

                                        Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

                                        More Time Management Techniques

                                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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