Books are the lifeblood of knowledge. Books go deeper than a YouTube video or a blog post and help us to understand a topic in its entirety. This week, I want to share six books I have read over the last six months that have really helped me to grow and develop myself and I hope in turn they do the same for you.
So here goes in no particular order.
Few people realise that the father of GTD, David Allen, has written more than the productivity bible, Getting Things Done. Among those books, Ready For Anything is the follow up to GTD where David Allen explains some of the finer points of how GTD can work for you and some of the more deeper levels of GTD.
The book is a collection of essays David wrote for the GTD Connect community. It is easy to follow and over time can serve as a quick reference guide for those time you feel a little lost or ‘fall off the GTD wagon’
This is a brilliant read and shines a light on some of the more deeper concepts of GTD. If you do consider buying this book, I recommend you read Getting Things Done first as this will give you the context to take your GTD practice to a much higher level.
While most people know pilots use checklists to ensure the safety of their planes, few know that checklists are also extensively used in the construction industry as well as in surgical operating rooms.
Atul Gawande explains that the humble checklist can also help us to ensure we are doing the right things at the right time and that we don’t skip essential steps when it comes to achieving our goals and successfully completing projects on time.
I learnt the value of not skipping steps years ago when I sold cars for a living. There was a concept called “the six-month salesman” where after receiving training in the art of sales, a salesperson would grow over-confident and start skipping steps in the sales process at around the six-month mark. When that happened, their sales would begin to fall and their performance would suffer.
The Checklist Manifesto will give you the inspiration and know-how to create your own checklists for those important areas of your life.
This was definitely my book of 2018. Robin Sharma writes these books differently, choosing to impart his wisdom through the format of a novel. In this book, we are taken on a journey through the eyes of an embattled entrepreneur and a struggling, yet a talented artist.
The book takes us to Mauritius, Rome, São Paulo and South Africa and along the way we learn the power of waking up early, exercise and giving ourselves an hour of power every day. Through the power of story, Robin Sharma teaches us some of his greatest wisdom.
If you only read one book from this list, this is the one to read.
A scientific book that is readable — a rare book indeed in my experience. In this book, Daniel Kahneman shows us how our brains use two types of analysis when presented with a situation. System one and system two.
System one often leads us to form erroneous conclusions and system two adds the all-important context and analysis. Unfortunately, type two is lazy and will often defer to system one — the less intelligent part.
This book gives us a fascinating insight into how our brains work. Understanding why we think and interpret things as we do and goes a long way to helping us to overcome our worst traits when it comes to productivity.
This is a brilliant book to help you keep things in perspective. There are 366 mini-essays of no more than around 500 words and you read one a day — hence “The Daily” part of the title.
Not only is this book inspiring every day, but it also shows us that we control only two things in life — our thoughts and our feelings. When you get control of those and do not allow anyone or anything takes that control away from you, you begin to really enjoy life and focus on the things that will improve you and the quality of your life.
What I find with this book is that no matter my mood, or how I feel about something, with quotes from Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus, this book really helps to set me up for a day of gratitude and philosophical thought and brings me valuable perspective and context when I need it most.
A second book from Ryan Holiday and again a book on the Stoics. This is one of those exceptional self-help books that motivates and educates at the same time. The basic tenet of Stoicism is that we cannot control what happens to us, all we can control is how we react to what happens to us.
This book shows us how by taking obstacles and bad events that happen to us and turning them around we can gain insights and knowledge that improve us as people. We can use the three disciplines of Stoicism — perception, action and will — to take these negative events and use them to build stronger and better lives.
When I began reading this book, it was a book I couldn’t wait to pick up again the next day as it inspired and energised me.
With around six months to go this year, these six books are worth a read. That’s just one book a month, reading these books will not only improve your productivity but also your perspective and understanding of life.
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