Books For Personal Growth: Part 1

I used to be one of those people who scoffed at self-help books. They didn’t appeal to me because I wasn’t into all that cliche, feel good stuff. I lived in the ‘real’ world and I knew that if you want to succeed, you have to figure out the secrets that successful people keep and follow them. Life is a competition and only a few people get to win and you aren’t going to win by reading a soft gooey book about feelings and finding yourself.

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In some ways I was right, but in most ways I was wrong, and by not considering these books as worthwhile reading material, I was actually holding myself back. Two books opened the door to self-improvement for me, and I think a lot of that was to do with their method of story telling.

A quick note on the links: I’m linking directly to Hive, my online bookstore of choice. These aren’t affiliate links, so I get nothing from them, I just prefer Hive over Amazon because they support and promote independent bookstores.

The Goal

This is book one of the two books that opened up a whole new way of thinking for me. Before reading this book, I was very much out for myself. I could see all the ways the world should change and it caused me a lot of stress that it could be so much better if people would just do the obvious things.

But the obvious things aren’t the obvious things, I was thinking about things in terms of only myself and leaving out the most important part, other people.

In The Goal, you follow the story of Alex Rogo, a plant manager who is in trouble. Throughout the book, you get to know him and his problems, and ultimately how he transforms his plant and his life into something much better.

The story is written well and engaging, I found that I wanted to read this as much as any other great story; the fact that it contains a lot of great business and life advice was just a bonus to me at the time.

I’ve read this book about three times in the last couple of years, and I’ll read it again and again, I think everyone would benefit from having this book in their library.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Although Rich Dad, Poor Dad seems to have become something of a money-spinner, with their plethora of books and courses to teach you how to maximise your wealth, this first book is no less valuable to individuals.

The best lesson I learned, and am still trying to grasp to be honest, is that money should be treated as a tool to be used rather than some treasure to be hoarded.

In our modern world, we are encouraged to exchange our money for goods and services that will make our life easier, more fulfilling and impress our friends and families. Cars, gadgets, parties and holidays, these are the ways we show people how well we are doing.

In Rich Dad, Poor Dad, we learn that actually, building wealth often means forgoing these things and realising that all of these frivolous purchases and expenses aren’t assets, they’re liabilities.

The solution offered in this book is simple; invest. Learn how to invest from others who know better than you, build up savings and put them into stocks and shares, get financial advice and don’t just throw your money away on all the fineries you think you deserve, think about your future.

Very inspiring read and one that you are never too young or too old to pick up for the first time. I’d probably read only this one in the series to begin with, ignoring the others until you’ve gone through some books by other authors because I think you can get too into this wealth-focused mindset.


There are a few other books that I’ve read more recently that I feel are having a positive effect on my life. Even if you don’t feel like you can learn anything from them, it’s better to have the ideas from them in your head than not, so I would strongly recommend reading them.

Mindset

This book by Carol Dweck shares the idea of the growth and fixed mindsets. Not long after picking up this book, you’ll start noticing ways in which you behave in both types of mindsets, and you’ll start noticing people who are more one way or the other.

This book actually goes a long way in explaining why some people behave in ways that completely baffle you, that seem completely illogical. They may simply be at the other end of the spectrum to yourself.

Like sexuality, no one is completely one way or the other (although some people will believe they are), but this book does help you to move your mindset more to where you want it to be.

I love this book because it helped me understand myself a bit better. I came from a predominantly fixed-mindset background and that caused me to become a fixed-mindset person as I grew up. I broke free of that a few years ago, but I still revert back to that way of thinking sometimes because it’s easy to just stick with what you know.

This is another book that I want to re-read a few months down the line, to reaffirm the lessons in it and to see how far I’ve come.

Drive

Motivation is the story here. In business, we’re seeing a shift in how companies try to motivate us. Google famously gives their engineers 20% time to work on anything they want, which resulted in us getting Gmail and Google News, among others.

Drive doesn’t only describe how companies can better engage their employees, but also gives help and advice on how you can motivate yourself more, backed by scientific studies.

I haven’t finished this book, but it is already on my re-read list along with The Goal and Mindset. Figuring out how to reward yourself is something that will give you a continuous supply of motivational energy, and this book will help you with doing that.

If and when I crack it, you can bet I’ll be sharing what I figured out here!


There are many more books that I haven’t mentioned here that I would love to write about, but I’ll save that for another time. I’d say give any of these books a try and see what you think, although if you don’t like the self-help thing, maybe start off with The Goal to ease yourself in like I did.

For now, sayonara!

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