Sometimes we all need a little change in our lives... and sometimes, we need a lot. Each of these books has helped me find new paths in my life and make fundamental changes in who I am. When you're ready for change— serious, major change, the kind of change that could only be called a "reinvention" of yourself— try some of the titles below.
by Michael Bungay Stanier
I love this book for two reasons: first, the design is terrific. It's playful and fun, easy to read, has lots of sidebars and interesting notes, and just generally feels inviting and exciting. Second, Michael Bungay Stanier is all about helping you find out what really matters in your life and what you should be focusing on. And more than anything else, he accomplishes that goal. There are exercises, great examples, and even small contributions from some of my favorite bloggers such as Seth Godin, Penelope Trunk and Chris Guillebeau.
by Brian Tracy
Brian Tracy is one of the "old school" motivational writers/speakers — he's published dozens of titles all around goal setting, achieving your dreams and finding success. His latest book, on reinventing yourself, is powerful stuff. Reinvention focuses less on specifics and day-to-day action plans, and more on the big picture of your life. Reading it will help open your mind to new ideas of who and what you can be and do.
by Timothy Ferriss
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this best-seller. On the one hand, I feel like 25% of the book is just absurd and inauthentic and sounds like the author is making things up... on the other hand, the other 75% is motivating, direct, and clear as a bell. This is a book that you'll keep putting down because you will be repeatedly struck with inspiration and need to go write down your new ideas. While I think Tim Ferriss sometimes comes across as a bit of a, um, tool, there's just no denying that this book breaks a lot of new ground, his techniques are revolutionary, and Tim's success is well-deserved. So, bottom line, highly recommended reading. Incidentally, I specifically recommend this revised edition of The 4-Hour Work Week — the case studies and testimonials from readers of the first edition are impressive and add a lot of credibility to Tim's writing.
by Noah Blumenthal, foreword by Marshall Goldsmith
Let me start by saying that this book does something I hate: the first half of the book, the "parable," is a heavy-handed, clunky, pedantic story that communicates the author's message. (Think: Who Moved My Cheese?, one of the most cringe-worthy and awful books I've ever read.) It feels inauthentic and, frankly, just isn't well-written. There's a reason non-fiction writers should stick with non-fiction. ;-) NOW... that said... the message that Blumenthal communicates about framing your reality, is incredibly powerful. In fact, I would say it's the most powerful book on this entire list, which is saying a lot. (Incidentally, every single review on Amazon — and they're all glowing — raves about this book and the parable. So maybe the storytelling mechanism just rubs me the wrong way, and you'll think it's great. Either way, the lesson is incredibly important and really can change your life.)
by Rick Smith
While this book is written for individuals climbing the corporate ladder (it's written by a former executive recruiter), the writing is fresh, the ideas are sound and there are tons of interesting examples. It's a solid read for anyone — as a self-employed entrepreneur, I enjoyed it — but will resonate most strongly with individuals following a traditional career path at a large firm. A perfect gift for the MBA in your life.
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
About Eric Mueller
I live in Los Angeles, where it's not really about reading, it's about movies -- yet given the choice, I usually prefer to curl up with a good book. Most of my reading gets done on airplanes or laying in bed in that quiet hour right before lights-out. I'm also known to collect pretty much every book having anything to do with Disney's theme parks.
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