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10 Books to Read That Will Change The Way You Think Forever

10 Books to Read That Will Change The Way You Think Forever

Sometimes it’s a lecture. Sometimes it’s a particular teacher’s words. Sometimes it’s a lesson from a parent or a friend, or even a life experience that explodes your conception of what’s possible in the world orwhat’s possible in you. And sometimes it’s a book (or ten) that changes how you think forever.

To live is to learn, and to read is to learn fast from the insight and experience of others. This list of ten books by best-selling authors and thinkers in every field from psychology to economics will change how you think about the world, work, other people, and yourself.

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Books that will change your ideas on the world

Fooled by Randomness – The Hidden Role of Chance

We gravely overestimate the impact of luck and random events on our lives, using terms like “skills,” and “determinism,” when “luck” and “randomness” are the elements actually at play. In this book, Nassim Nicholas Teleb cites real-world examples to whip the veil of certainty from our eyes and explains that life is mostly governed by chance. Read this one for an enlightened view on why life is non-linear and not always fair.

The Wisdom of Crowds

Sure, groupthink can be dangerous, but under the right circumstances crowds can make surprisingly intelligent decisions and even produce better results than the experts or the smartest individuals in those groups. If the group is full of independent thinkers who have no problem pooling intelligence for the common good, you’ve reached the apogee of collective brilliance. In this book, James Surowiecki summons examples from popular culture, psychology, biology, and more to illustrate this idea’s implications on how we vote, decide, do business, and move through the world.

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Books that will change your mind about work

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Successful stories, advertising campaigns, and ideas with staying power share the same recognizable characteristics: they’re simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, and emotional –and they tell a unified story. In this book, Chip & Dan Heath explore why some ideas stick and others don’t, and how you can make yours more velcro than slip ‘n slide.

A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future

Right brain aptitudes have been historically undervalued and dismissed, but as we move from the Information Age into the Conceptual Age, they’re becoming the future’s superpowers. What business is increasingly discovering is that while analytical, left-brain thinking is still important, it isn’t insufficient on its own. Being innovative, creative and empathetic are traits that help us succeed professionally, while also increasing our personal well-being. In this book, bestselling author Daniel Pink takes you along on a journey that details the capacities of the two hemispheres and why appreciation for the right side, with all its inveterate skills in design, empathy, and humor, is growing.

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Weird Ideas That Work: How to Build a Creative Company

Routine work and innovative work are both important to a company’s success. But truly recognizing the differences between the two and understanding where each is most useful? That is invaluable. Stanford professor Robert I. Sutton offers insight on the nature of innovation and experimentation, failure, and creative freedom. It’ll blow up everything you thought you knew about creativity and offers ways to put more innovation back into your business via expectation setting, hiring choices, and strategies for dealing with both failure and success.

Drive -The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Let’s talk for a second about extrinsic motivation: based primarily on rewards and sanctions that come from outside the self, extrinsic motivation is useful on a short term basis. In the long run, though, it’s passion and dedication that characterizes intrinsic motivation and truly fuels the search for meaning and success. The second on this list from Daniel Pink, Drive teaches you about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, what influences each sort, and how you can build awareness of intrinsic motivation to improve your productivity and inspire others in kind.

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Books that will change how you think about other people

Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking

Both introverts and extroverts have qualities that can be extremely valuable to the people in their environments, but these personalities need different spaces and treatments to bloom to their full potential. In Quiet, writer and researcher Susan Cain reveals the differences between introverts and extroverts, how the “extroversion ideal” of the last 150 years has transformed the workplace into an extrovert’s dream, and how the talents of the two personality types can be combined for a stunning degree of success. Read this one to get in touch with your inner introvert and learn how to honor it in others

Nudge – Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Look at acid washed jeans, the atom bomb, and Miley Cyrus and it becomes woefully apparent: we as humans make the wrong decisions all the time. We don’t always do what’s best for us. Why? Sometimes, we have too little or overly complex information, or we act on gut feelings rather than reasoned plans. Sometimes we succumb to temptation, and sometimes we’re manipulated by external forces. Thaler, leading behavioral economist and advisor to Barack Obama, shows how nudges, or subtle changes in context that make it more difficult to make a poor decision, can help us achieve our goals.

Books that will change how you think of yourself

Mindset – How You Can Fulfill Your Potential

As little children we adopt a mindset, fixed or growth. Shockingly enough, this one selection defines how we’ll feel, what we believe ourselves capable of achieving, and what we’ll risk for the rest of our lives. Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford, teaches us about how to identify our mindset, confront our own attitudes and ideas, and develop a growth mindset to realize our potential to the fullest. Read it to have your ideas about who you are and your own potential changed forever.

The Righteous Mind – Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Where does moral judgment come from? If you answered something like “firm rationale,” you’re wrong. Moral judgment actually springs from our ephemeral friend, intuition. Intuition works rather like a lawyer, justifying moral judgments to others and ourselves, supporting our reputation and self interest. InThe Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidtexposes how it is emotion and intuition, not reasoning, that drives moral judgment, showing us how understanding the moral foundations on which our interests are based can benefit us in decision making.

More by this author

Sebastian Klein

Sebastian is the co-founder of Blinkist, a serial entrepreneur, consultant, speaker and writer with a passion for management-free organizations.

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.

So how to stay motivated most of the time? Here are 5 simple yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:

1. Find Your Good Reasons

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first but, if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons.

Even when you set goals, there needs to be reasons behind these goals. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

  • A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all.
  • Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way.
  • A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.
  • A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

2. Make It Fun

When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it.

Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

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Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some. Yet many others love the idea!

They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How can I enjoy this task?
  • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
  • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

As long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable, you will start to feel motivated.

Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. You’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.

However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

3. Change Your Approach And Don’t Give Up

When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for the task.

You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

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That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common — if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal.

My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.

4. Recognize Your Progress

Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different:

Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

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You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages, this information will have little meaning.

Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete.

For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made. This is how your motivation can sustain in long term.

5. Reward Yourself

This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone.

Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do.

For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself a dessert.

For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

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Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating but, take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good.

The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

Mix and Match

Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

Pick one of the techniques and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for the best results.

Just think about it: Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to helping you feel better; and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

Or, if you plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that, agree on rewarding yourself as you go; this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.

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Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

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