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Last Updated on July 4, 2019

How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

What follows is a list of thirteen of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these 13 tips are essential:

1.Think Big

    From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

    “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

    There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

    Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

    Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

    Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
    Instead be ambitious.

    2.Find What You Love to Do and Do It

      From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

      “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

      This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

      Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

      If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

      Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

      Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

      Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

      3. Learn How to Balance Life

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        From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

        “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

        All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

        If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

        However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

        If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

        In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

        To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

        4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure

          From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

          “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

          There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

          Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

          His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

          He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

          Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

          Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

          If you find it difficult to fight your fear of failure, here’s a guide for you: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

          5. Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed

            From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

            “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

            This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

            It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

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            If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

            Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

            6. Be a Person of Action

              From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

              “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

              Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

              Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

              When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renaissance era Italy, we think of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Or think about the present day, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

              You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

              All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

              Applying this to you?

              Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

              7. Cultivate Positive Relationships

                From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                This is key to good leadership.

                It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

                8. Don’t Be Afraid of Introducing New Ideas

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                  From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                  “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                  It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                  Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                  If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                  9. Believe in Your Capacity to Succeed

                    From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                    “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                    Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                    It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                    Keep dreaming!

                    10. Always Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

                      From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                      “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                      Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                      Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                      If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                      However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                      11. Don’t Let Discouragement Stop You from Pressing On

                        From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                        “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                        It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

                        When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

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                        Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                        If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                        This is How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and How to Overcome It

                        12. Be Willing to Work Hard

                          From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                          “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                          You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                          Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                          True success comes from work.

                          You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                          Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                          13. Be Brave Enough to Follow Your Intuition

                            From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                            “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                            In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                            If you strongly believe and desire something, chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                            It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                            Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                            Final Thoughts

                            What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                            Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                            Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

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                            Leon Ho

                            Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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                            Last Updated on July 17, 2019

                            25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are

                            25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are

                            I remember the first time I got my hands on a self-improvement book. I was baffled. At that moment, I realized my fate was not set in stone. I could become my own drill master and coach. The books I read would set out the training course for me to overcome. All I had to do was listen to that voice that aspired to climb higher and higher.

                            Every time I committed to a new challenge, I knew it was going to be outside of my comfort zone. But after enough iterations, I also knew it will not just be part of my repertoire, it will be part of me.

                            Not all self-improvement books are made equal. Some help start you out on your journey, others give you a boost when you’ve achieved experience in certain areas.

                            Here are the best ones that I recommend to read no matter how old you are:

                            1. Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck? And Other Provocations

                            by Seth Godin

                              This book is a masterpiece, and unlike most self-improvement books, this one targets an infinite array of areas in which you can, and ultimately must, improve.

                              With its ruthless honesty and genuine inspiration, Godin makes you ponder the difficult questions you wouldn’t ever dare to ask yourself. The result is a completely new perspective of the world- a fresher, more vibrant perspective, packed with new and bold possibilities.

                              If you need a friend who understands you, a boss that forces you to venture deep in your non-comfort zone, a wise guru that tells you what needs to be left behind and a sage that proclaims the coming of a new age, then look no further; you will find these shrewd voices all tied together in this magnificent book. Make sure to get this one.

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                              2. Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

                              by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

                                Perhaps it is the fact that randomness played such a significant role in my years as a poker player that I find this book utterly important.

                                We often attribute skill where there is only luck; we confuse correlation with causation and we underestimate the incredible effect small changes can have.

                                This book gave me a perspective that I unfortunately rarely encounter in others: you can do everything right and still lose, or do everything wrong and still win. It is thus not about the outcome; it is about your actions that have lead you there.

                                This important message is central to many of my decisions I make in my life. This book by Taleb helps you develop such a perspective so you will be able to live in a world one cannot fully understand, where the results are not always clear markers of performance and where chance seems to play games with our fates. Stop being fooled by randomness!

                                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                3. The 48 Laws of Power

                                by Robert Greene

                                  I read this book in a time where I thought power was something I should attain. Power for power’s sake. And while I disagree with my former self on this point, the fact remains that power is very real, it forms the invisible scepter of all hierarchical relations around us.

                                  I still recommend this book. I believe it is important to know how people use power for their own benefit and what to do to protect yourself from certain abuses of power.

                                  Besides the fact that all stories in this book gravitate around power. It contains many life lessons, amazing historical anecdotes. If read in a certain light, the ability to use power for good.

                                  From Caesar to Goethe, Sun-Tzu to Machiavelli, this eye opening book spans a wide range of human development. If you, like me, would rather be interested in something less egotistical, perhaps Greene’s latest book Mastery will suffice (I haven’t read that one myself).

                                  Another great book in the same style, but this time around; covering a wider scope, and perhaps, something that will make the world make a better place.

                                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                  4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

                                  by Stephen. R. Covey

                                    The title of this book doesn’t capture it all. Covey shares with us seven habits one should adapt to become truly effective in whatever you would like to achieve.

                                    Of course, it is not as easy as it sounds. He stresses the fact that we need to go through a paradigm shift – a fundamental change in how we perceive the world and ourselves.

                                    This book can be read as a guide, with practices and everything, to go through the stages in order to make such a shift happen. Part shock-therapy, part ageless spiritual wisdom, Covey’s book is packed with wisdom that actually makes a difference.

                                    And as I mentioned, don’t let the title of the book fool you; it is about much more than just becoming more effective. It is about becoming a whole integer person who not only seeks the best in oneself, but also in the people around her.

                                    A must read for anyone who feels there is always something left to learn.

                                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                    5. The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys

                                    by James Fadiman

                                      While finding a book on psychedelics in this list of books on self-improvement might come as a surprise, I believe any metaphysical distinction between tools such as books, meditation or molecules hold no ground. They should all be solely judged on their merits. And the merits of certain chemical keys, used in a constructive way, are perhaps bigger than any book in this list.

                                      The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide will teach you how to prepare yourself and your surroundings, what and how much to take, and what do do when something goes wrong. So you can safely enhance your thinking, creativity, introspection and emotional balance.

                                      This book contains everything you need to know about using psychedelics as a tool for self-improvement while drawing on extensive scientific literature and personal wisdom. A must have for the beginning and experienced psychonaut alike.

                                      Print | eBook

                                      6.  Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

                                      by Brian Tracy

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                                        We all know how that destructive downward spiral feels.

                                        We have to do some big tasks of which the thought alone triggers resistance. We aren’t sure how and where to begin and feeling overwhelmed before we even start. We get easily distracted to get rid of that feeling, only to suddenly realize that hours went by- precious hours- and then find ourselves in the same position as before, still not knowing where and how to begin, but now, feeling guilty on top of it which expresses itself in more craving for distraction.

                                        Ad infinitum

                                        To break this spell of procrastination before it paralyzes us, Tracy advises us to Eat That Frog: to set our priorities straight, deconstruct larger tasks into smaller ones, learn when to tackle the big frog first or to start out with something else.

                                        Tracy is truly a motivational writer. While I wished he had gone a bit deeper into the psychological reasons why people procrastinate, it is still a must have for anyone who wants to break the spell and get shit done.

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                                        7. Think and Grow Rich: The Original 1937 Unedited Edition

                                        by Napoleon Hill

                                          A from 1937, this book by Hill is a masterpiece. Don’t bother with the edited versions since they all omit important and controversial information: some historical, and some pertaining to the goal of the book, which is to think and grow rich.

                                          The word rich might imply that this book is all about material gain, and while it certainly covers that area, it is about much more than that.

                                          This is perhaps the first explicit mention of positive thinking on how to care not just about the cash in your pocket, but also the thoughts in your head.

                                          This book has been able to withstand the destruction of time. It covers all the basics from planning, decision making and persistence, to the more advanced techniques as auto-suggestion, transmutation and what we can learn from fear.

                                          This is not a grow rich book, but a timeless guide to find out what actually matters. As it says clearly in the beginning ‘Riches can’t always be measured in money!’

                                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                          8. The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind

                                          by Alan Wallace

                                            In a world that is dominated by ever stronger technologies designed to grab your attention, a way to empower yourself is to bring that attention back to where you want it to shine. This book offers just that.

                                            In The Attention Revolution, Wallace describes the path to attaining Shamatha, a buddhist meditation state of mind that is free from any flickering of distraction. It is a hard and long path, probably not possible for us to reach in this lifetime. However, even getting to stage two or three will make everything in life easier.

                                            A wonderful introduction to meditation, The Attention Revolution will inspire you to take on the challenge and see what training your mind can actually achieve.

                                            Once you have achieved such level of focus, you can put it to use to open your heart with the practice of The Four Immeasurables or deepen the practice with this wonderful commentary by Dudjom Lingpa, both by Alan B. Wallace.

                                            Before you read this book, you may want to take a look at this guide so you get a better idea on how to prioritize your life:

                                            The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

                                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                            9. The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health

                                            by John Durant

                                              In the last 10,000 years or so, it seems we have been propelled into an ever faster paced world forged by our own hands and minds. Only recently have we been able to reconstruct our journey and reflect back upon our humble origins.

                                              This amazing book is such a reflection. It goes back to the paleolithic searching for answers to health and longevity.

                                              Between science and his personal experiments, Durant weaves a mind blowing story that will convey the importance of an evolutionary perspective on how to live well.

                                              It covers everything from nutrition to exercise, from sleep to fasting, from ancient practices to modern biohacking and even has an outline for a vision of the future where depression and obesity have become obsolete.

                                              If you only have room for a couple of books on this list, make sure this one is included.

                                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                              10. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation

                                              by Daniel J. Siegel

                                                As my Burmese meditation teacher often proclaimed, ‘Mindfulness alone is not enough!’ Siegel seems to have taken this to heart and made an unique synthesis between meditation, psychoanalysis and neuroscience which he calls ‘Mindsight‘. As he says himself, a potent combination between emotional and social intelligence.

                                                All of us deal with one disorder or another, something that seems to disturb the very core of our being at ease; and while it might not always be the best strategy to want to get rid of it, it certainly helps to understand and have compassion for that little aspect that upsets that perfect image of ourselves.

                                                Brimming with techniques, insights and epiphanies, this book contains everything you need to know to reprogram your brain and to optimally use its capacity of neuroplasticity. A great book for spiritual seekers and scientists alike.

                                                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                11. How to Win Friends & Influence People

                                                by Dale Carnegie

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                                                  This is the first self-improvement book I have ever read and it is also probably one of the oldest in this category.

                                                  Written in 1937, mainly for the door to door salesman of that era, this book by Carnegie can truly be called a classic. It shows what we all intuitively know:

                                                  It doesn’t matter what your line of work is or what you want to achieve. If you are doing business of any kind, you need to make it about the other person.

                                                  Being nice helps, a lot. And while I might not fully defend the premise of this book because it doesn’t distinguish between genuine interest and faking it to get what you want; it still contains a treasure chest full of timeless wisdom.

                                                  Everybody wants to feel appreciated, and rightfully so. Learning to take a small effort to make someone’s day will make the world better no matter what your goal is.

                                                  I still spontaneously remember some of his guidance, and perhaps this quality is the reason why this book still draws millions of readers to this day.

                                                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                  12. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

                                                  by David D. Burns

                                                    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most effective therapy used by psychologists today. It consists of identifying thought patterns that have a detrimental effect on your self-image and mood; and deconstructing these in order to break out of these destructive cycles.

                                                    If you want to know how this works, which moods are central in your life, what thought patterns are causing your depression, how to overcome self-judgment and guilt, how to defeat approval and love addiction and how your self-perfectionism is hindering you, then don’t look further.

                                                    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has helped millions of people and it can help you, and this is the best book for the job. Packed with scientific research, exercises and examples, this is the best improvement your self is going to get.

                                                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                    13. Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life

                                                    by Maxwell Maltz

                                                      What can a plastic surgeon tell us about happiness?

                                                      By dealing with his patients, Dr. Maxwell Maltz experienced firsthand that having your expectations come true doesn’t automatically result into a more positive life experience. Their outward appearances did indeed change but their inner insecurity remained.

                                                      This caused him to find other means to help his patients, resulting in visualization techniques. He found a person’s outer success can never rise above the one visualized internally.

                                                      This book carries a very honest and humbling story, loaded with fundamental truths about our psychology and how our own philosophy affects us. This is all told by a very compassionate writer.

                                                      Of some books it can be said that it will be valuable for years to come, and I am absolutely positive that this is one of them.

                                                      Print | Audiobook

                                                      14. Thinking, Fast and Slow

                                                      by Daniel Kahneman

                                                        This brilliant book by Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman is a lucid account of all the amazing research he has done over the years. He is the founder of behavioral economics – the way our psychology affects our decisions – and explains in simple prose how our thinking is divided in two systems: one fast and one slow. (Here’s an explanation on how these two systems work.)

                                                        The fast one is almost instant; it consists of the hardwired instincts that govern emotions, a remnant of an evolutionary past, an unconscious irrational machine.

                                                        The slow one is deliberate, self-reflexive and logical, but can easily be distracted and takes a lot of effort.

                                                        Both play a large role in our lives and Kahneman explores when the fast system fails and why the slow system is often not utilized.

                                                        Packed with mind blowing examples and sharp analyses, this book teaches you how to learn to make sound judgments, and use the best of both systems.

                                                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                        15. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

                                                        by Chris Hadfield

                                                          A few extraordinary people journey to the edge of our world and come back with a unique story to tell. Colonel Hadfield is such a person, and his story is perhaps the most important one in this list.

                                                          While the other books in this list teach you to be independent, visualize your future and dream big, this astronaut’s guide turns these all upside down.

                                                          A truly remarkable book, overflowing with mind-blowing stories that illustrate the life lessons he learned as one of the most accomplished astronauts that ever lived.

                                                          Full of compassion, warmth and genuine self-reflexive humor, he conveys to us to be prepared for the worst and never let yourself be swayed from enjoying every moment.

                                                          Part action story, part no-nonsense hard truth and part timeless spiritual wisdom, this book makes you feel like you stepped onto a rocket ship and experienced what he did while learning these most valuable lessons on the way.

                                                          eBook

                                                          16. Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat

                                                          by Paul Jaminet & Shou-Ching Jaminet

                                                            No self-improvement list is complete without a nutrition book and the Perfect Health Diet is arguably the best diet book on the market now.

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                                                            If you are overweight or not, feel sick, or just looking for an extra boost in health (and keep it this way), then look no further.

                                                            From reading decades of studies the authors construct the optimal way to eat, destroying popular food fads in the process. They explain in sufficient details the optimal macro-ratios of which starches are safe, which vitamins and supplements to take and what foods, or what they call toxins, to avoid.

                                                            This book is a great supplement to the Paleo Manifesto as it shares its basic evolutionary perspective; we were evolved to eat non-toxic, high fat, moderate protein and carbohydrates.

                                                            And sometimes, going around with no food at all, can be a very healthy thing. If your body is not in optimal health, then it is almost no use to read the other books. Make this your priority number one.

                                                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                            17. Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success

                                                            by John C. Maxwell

                                                              At one time or another, we will all fail. What matters most is how you deal with it once you do.

                                                              Will you give up? Or will you use it as a stepping stone for success?

                                                              I recently read an article about new start-ups in silicon valley. Its hypothesis was the more you had failed in the past, the more likely you were going to get funding.

                                                              Why?

                                                              Because failing teaches you invaluable lessons, and if you decide to continue after you hit the pavement, the more you have it in you to deliver.

                                                              Now, this is not in anyway our instinctual reaction to failing. Most of us dread it, avoid it or refuse to fail at all costs. All three are by far sub-optimal. It is far better to accept failure where it arises, to accept responsibility and use it as a way to learn about yourself and your weaknesses.

                                                              Only when you are absolute honest with yourself with respect to failure can you hope to grow. This wonderful book will teach you how to do exactly this. A honest book for everyone searching for a clean mirror.

                                                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                              18. The Power of Now

                                                              by Eckhart Tolle

                                                                The Power of Now hardly needs any introduction. It is perhaps the book that has had the most impact on our collective consciousness in recent years.

                                                                It inspired millions of people all over the world to live a more fulfilling and compassionate life, all through the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness consists of moment to moment non-judgmental awareness. 

                                                                It is a technique that alleviates depression, increases emotional intelligence and develops compassion. And only recently has come to the west, which remained weary and skeptical until science had validated a wide array of its claims.

                                                                The brain can be trained. The Power of Now teaches you how to release your attachment to certain thoughts and states of mind, thereby clearing the mind to fully embrace the present moment.

                                                                If you already have read this book and are looking for deeper understanding, readWherever You Go, There You Are.

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                                                                19. The Last Lecture

                                                                by Randy Pausch

                                                                  At some point or another, almost all of us has come across The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. (If you haven’t, watch this powerful message here.)

                                                                  What would you say when you only have a few months left to live? This was probably Pausch’s question he posed to himself when he had to deliver his lecture a week later.

                                                                  But being confined to an academic setting and short time frame, he felt he had more to share, thus marking the birth of this book.

                                                                  Filled with stories about his childhood, it is a very down to earth exploration of what it means to chase your dreams, to be a good person and live a life that gives value to others.

                                                                  A beautiful mixture of humor and optimism, his tender voice will be a source of inspiration for everyone who will take the time to listen, something he tried to impart on his readers.

                                                                  A very lovely read. And don’t forget, ‘It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.’
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                                                                  20. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

                                                                  by Brené Brown

                                                                    I love Brené Brown’s books. She writes about an insight that I have found to be scary but true at the same time.

                                                                    Vulnerability, unlike we have been taught, is not a weakness, but a power to be tapped. Growing up with the idea that we have to hide certain parts of ourselves, to look strong and persevere at all costs always seemed a facade to me. And now she has the research to back that up.

                                                                    From that place of vulnerability comes a sense of worthiness, which for most of us, needs to be cultivated every day. Only if we get in touch with that tender spot of our hearts can we connect with others and develop genuine compassion, which are prerequisites, Brown tells us, for living a ‘wholehearted life.’

                                                                    The reality, however, is that we often close down, feel neglected and misunderstood, and rather want the vulnerability and perhaps even ourselves to disappear.

                                                                    This book is an amazing antidote for that common instinct. Want to be truly convinced? Check out her amazing ted talk here.

                                                                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                                    21. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

                                                                    by Carl Sagan

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                                                                      We all find UFO’s fascinating. We all really want to believe in magic or visiting aliens. (Surely the crop circles are conclusive proof!) And some of us believe the government is poisoning us with chemtrails.

                                                                      At the same time we are fascinated by the progress made by science, by all the new technology and medicines and the fascinating discoveries being

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                                                                      22. Philosophy for Life

                                                                      by Jules Evans

                                                                        As philosopher Sloterdijk puts it; ‘philosophy is a beautiful child of an ugly mother.’

                                                                        Philosophy first arose when the old Greek polis states were at the brink of destruction. Philosophy, according to Sloterdijk, was not just a way to make sense of the world, to come to knowledge or truth, but to serve as a psychological immune system.

                                                                        This book is an amazing expression of this perspective. From the stoics to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Jules Evans writes about some of the amazing philosophical techniques we can use to train and improve our cognitive immune systems.

                                                                        He weaves ancient stories with modern applications, from heroism to cosmic contemplation. Philosophy for Life is a beautifully written book that makes it easy to understand the practical nature of philosophy.

                                                                        Perhaps the book would have been better if he would have gone deeper into the subject matter, but nonetheless he captures the essence of what philosophy can mean for the modern person. A must read.

                                                                        Print | eBook

                                                                        23. Man’s Search For Meaning

                                                                        by Victor. E. Frankl

                                                                          If I had to pick one book from this list for mandatory reading, I would choose this one.

                                                                          For three years, Viktor Frankl labored in four different Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. He tells us about his experience and that of his fellow prisoners.

                                                                          Both chilling and uplifting, confronted with the idea that they would be trapped there for the rest of their lives; he gives us an account of those who found meaning and those who succumbed to nihilism.

                                                                          A blend between a memoir, a psychological investigation and a self-help book, Frankl delivers a powerful message:

                                                                          Finding meaning lies at the core of being human.

                                                                          From his own experience as a psychiatrist, combined with anecdotes from his time in the concentration camps, he tells us how important it is to find meaning in our own lives and what we can become if we don’t.

                                                                          Suffering, he conveys to us, is inevitable. But as to how we cope with it is dependent on ourselves. If we can find meaning, even in the worst acts our species have ever inflicted upon their fellow men, we will be able to move forward with renewed purpose.

                                                                          I also recommend you to check out this article to help you find out your purpose and passion that will motivate you to live in a meaningful way: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

                                                                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                                          24. Simplify

                                                                          by Joshua Becker

                                                                            This is a fun little book written by Joshua Becker, a big proponent of minimalist living. We all know that quote from Fightclub: “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.” 

                                                                            Well, this is ending.

                                                                            Slowly we are outgrowing an era where the unquestioned mantra ‘more is always better’ dictates our behavior. Rather, we now find ourselves, our lives and our homes cluttered with too much information, too much stuff and just too much shit we don’t need.

                                                                            This simple book helps you become aware of the freedom gained from living with less. It is a small book, easily read under an hour, but it carries a persuasive punch to start living live in a very different way.

                                                                            eBook

                                                                            25. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

                                                                            by Kamal Ravikant

                                                                              The fundamental ground upon which all true self improvement is build is called self-love. Because in the end, no matter which way you turn, if you don’t love yourself, you will sabotage yourself at one point. You will think that, for some reason or another, you are not worthy. And if you think that, why would you truly want to achieve anything?

                                                                              And this is not just about achievement. This is about how you approach yourself every day; this is what you see when you look in the mirror.

                                                                              We make so many snap-judgments about ourselves- often without being conscious of them- that are filled with negativity, haltering us before we can even begin to heal. This powerful book shows you the antidote.

                                                                              Self love. Not to be confused with creating some narcissistic image of ourselves that some previous books in this list implicitly endorse, but self love, that inner gratefulness that no external condition can take away.

                                                                              Self love, that infinite source you can share with others.

                                                                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                                              Final Thoughts

                                                                              Now that you’ve got a list of the most inspirational books to improve your life, what should you do next? Read them all?

                                                                              It’s of course best to read them all, but we only have so much brain energy to take all this knowledge. What if I tell you there’s a way to boost your brain power? Here it is:

                                                                              How to Increase Brain Power, Boost Memory and Become 10X Smarter

                                                                              More Books for Your Inspiration

                                                                              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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