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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
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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.

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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 July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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