I understand not everyone can read multiple books per year. For some, it’s a struggle to finish just one book. And for that, I have the perfect recipe.
Some of my favorite books have incredibly short chapters that can be read in short, infrequent bursts. These books are so dense with powerful insights that you need only read one or two pages to get the most of of them for that day. You can open up to a page and read a few lines first thing in the morning, or crack it open and shut just before you turn the lights out at night. These four books are the perfect dose for making a better you little by little.
Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
At first sight, this book looks massive, and it is. Yet, each chapter, or interview is only a couple of pages long. The basis of the book was Tim Ferriss annotating the best highlights from his famous podcast interviews with the most successful people in their field. He divides the book into three sections – Health, Wealth, and Wisdom. Each day, you can flip open to a brief interview with Jimmy Fallon, Malcolm Gladwell, Maria Popova, Brené Brown, Tony Robbins, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, to see what they have to say about life. I’m a huge fan of Tim Ferriss not only for his great books, but for the excellent series of questions he tends to ask that cut right to the core of the people he interviews. If you’ve already read this book, I would point you to his second volume of similar nature, Tribe of Mentors.
The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
I love what Ryan Holiday has done for spreading Stoic philosophy. Most people when they hear the word ‘stoic’ think of someone who has no emotion or empathy; a person who remains straight-faced and undeterred in every situation. The common nomenclature is a bit of a misnomer and a discredit to the great Greek and Roman Stoic philosophers like Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus. What the Stoics teach, rather, is that you cannot control any situation other than your reaction to it. You must control your emotions since you cannot control the outside things in this world. Ryan Holiday provides these little anecdotes of wisdom in a daily reading with a quote from one of the ancient greats, and a common-day comparison explanation for how you can apply that quote to your life today.
From today’s page: January 28th
“Take a good hard look at people’s ruling principle, especially of the wise, what they run away from and what they seek out.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 4.38
You can also check out Ryan Holiday’s other works on the Stoics:
The Power of Your Subconcious Mind by Dr. Joseph Murphy
There are very few books I recommend more than The Power of Your Subconcious Mind. It’s been one of the most impactful books on my life and it is a quick read. I’ve read it several times because it can be read in three-page chunks at your leisure. I typically read this throughout the year, picking it up from my nightstand before I doze off just to get in a couple of pages of it’s wisdom. The core tenant of the book is that you have control over your thoughts and inner dialogue. The more positive your inner dialogue or self-talk, the stronger you will become. The nature of your subconcious thoughts will automatically start moving your life towards where you want it to go. It’s incredibly powerful and almost always the first book I recommend to anyone asking for my “go-to” book.
The only path by which another person can upset you is through your own thought.
― Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind
Life’s Little Instruction Book by H. Jackson Brown Jr.
This was a cool little Amazon stocking stuffer, but also something I’d love to one day write myself. Life’s Little Instruction Book was written by H. Jackson Brown Jr. as a life manual to his son. Each page has just a few funny, but practical tips in how to be successful in life, such as “Compliment the meal when you’re a guest in someone’s home,” “Learn how to show enthusiasm, even when you don’t feel like it,” or “Carry jumper cables in your car.” They’re the funny little quips and cliches that you hear over and over again, but know that they are true and that you should be doing them more often. It’s a small reminder to appreciate life and the people you love.
There are leagues of books you can get started with today, but if you just want a small hit of knowledge to get the ball rolling, these are the books to start with.
With love, always