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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 March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

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Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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