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What Are 5 Books That Can Change Your Life?

Sep 12, 2014

I recently posted about five of my must-read books. Here are a few more that have really made a difference in my life:

1) 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute

What is it?

If you like this blog, you’ll love this book. Richard Wiseman takes psychology research and tells you how to use it to improve your life in a straightforward (but entertaining) way.

What did I learn from it?

A ton. I learned that:

This video describes some of Wiseman’s work.

Check out the book here.

Eric Barker: What are the top five books you must-read?

2) Creativity

What is it?

For his book Creativity, noted professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi did interviews with 91 groundbreaking individuals across a number of disciplines, including 14 Nobel Prize winners. What do they have in common? What does it take to be a successful creative professional?

What did I learn from it?

They weren’t stars in school. Almost all have IQ’s over 130 — but once past the 130 threshold, all that mattered was effort. They were all curious and driven. They take their intuition seriously. More here.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi studies creativity, happiness, and flow. Here’s his TED talk.

Check out the book here.

3) Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think

What is it?

Brian Wansink studies our behavior around food. And his work is fascinating. You eat for a lot of reasons — and hunger is rarely the primary one.

What did I learn from it?

  • Dessert tastes better on fine china than a paper plate.
  • Big plates make you eat more.
  • Wine from California tastes better than wine from North Dakota — even if it’s the same wine with different labels.
  • And a lot more.

Wansink discusses his research here.

Check out the book here.

Eric Barker: What 10 things should you do every day to improve your life?

4) Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t

What is it?

Want to understand how office politics works? Want to learn how to get better at playing the game? This is the book. Combines research with examples to give you a modern Machiavelli’s The Prince. Even if you don’t work in an office it’s a must-read because these factors are fundamental to human nature.

What did I learn from it?

I did a whole post about the book here.

Author (and Stanford MBA school professor) Jeffrey Pfeffer discusses some of the book’s ideas in this video.

Check out the book here.

LIST: The 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Buy here) By Sherman Alexie. A coming-of-age novel (illustrated by Ellen Forney) illuminates family and heritage through young Arnold Spirit, torn between his life on a reservation and his largely white high school. The specifics are sharply drawn, but this novel, with its themes of self-discovery, speaks to young readers everywhere.Little, Brown
Best Children's Books: The Wind in the Willows
The Fault in Our StarsBy John Green. Hazel, a 16-year-old cancer patient whose prognosis is dim, has her life transformed when she falls in love with a young man she meets at a support group.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Buy here) By Sherman Alexie. A coming-of-age novel (illustrated by Ell
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Little, Brown
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5) Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries

What is it?

How can you spur innovation and creativity in your life without taking big risks? Little bets are the answer. Author Peter Sims lays out a system for pushing the envelope without danger, pulling from scientific research and great examples (like how Chris Rock develops his comedy routines.)

What did I learn from it?

It’s an excellent system to make sure you keep learning and growing in almost any area of your life. I posted about the book and similar theories here.

Peter Sims spoke about the book at Google.

Check out the book here.

Eric Barker: What five things can make sure you never stop growing and learning?

Again, they are:

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This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree

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