The snow melts, final exam season has come and gone, and graduation parties are just around the corner. Whether you are a student, professional, or even retired, summertime brings on big change in most of our lives. Today can be the day that you start implementing small daily habits that come to change your life. As Gretchen Rubin once said, “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” Here are 5 of my favorite personal development books that I recommend you check out this summer.
The 5am Club by Robin Sharma
Robin Sharma tells the story of an eccentric billionaire that has perfected the morning routine. The first step— wake up at 5:00 a.m. The “victory hour” from
5:00 a.m.—6:00 a.m. will be free of distractions and allow you to calibrate your day using the 20/20/20 formula: 20 minutes of exercise/20 minutes of meditation/20 minutes of learning. Sharma explains that the perfect start to your day begins the night before. Unplugging at night, winding down, and going to bed early are vital in improving your sleep hygiene. You can modify this to suit you, but remember… “Own your morning, Elevate your life!”
First Things First by Stephen R. Covey
Stephen Covey, best known for The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote this gem all about time management. First Things First focuses heavily on how to prioritize tasks and manage deadlines. Convey explains that breaking everything down into quadrants based on their importance/urgency helps to put things into perspective. If it is important and urgent, do it first. If it is not important nor urgent, do it after the other tasks are done. It seemed silly and obvious at first, but after putting it into practice, I found these few extra seconds of planning have significantly impacted my productivity.
The Power of Failure by Fran Tarkenton
Hall of Fame Quarterback, Fran Tarkenton, walks us through why failing fast and often is the key to success. We often hear of people’s success stories, but rarely the process of getting there. Tarkenton does a great job of connecting with the reader by using authentic stories from his past. It’s hard to believe that a Hall of Fame quarterback and serial entrepreneur fails just like the rest of us. But as Tarkenton explains, everyone fails at some point and many fail often. The difference is how we handle those failures and move forward. “Own the loss” quickly became my favorite motto after reading this one.
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
Negotiation is not an act of battle; it’s a process of discovery. — Chris Voss
Active listening is the first step in a negotiation. It allows you to validate your opposition’s emotions, build trust, and get to the root of the issue. Voss has a goldmine of information about negotiating in this book. He highlights active listening, mirroring, tactical empathy, labeling, and the power of “no” by taking the reader on a journey through his career as an FBI hostage negotiator and CEO of the Black Swan Group. Negotiating shows up in various facets of life; we practically negotiate everything without even thinking about it. Group projects, buying a car, determining salary, who takes out the trash, where to go for dinner— just to name a few. This is one of the most important skills to have, yet few people actively work on it.
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell uses the classic bible story to illustrate that although one side may be conventionally stronger, there are undervalued characteristics in the “weaker side.” There are many different scenarios that Gladwell describes where the weaker side must innovate, adapt, and overcome a formidable foe. This train of thought extends to people that have to overcome high levels of adversity and develop critical skills for the future. This book can be a great lesson to both sides: Goliath should never underestimate his opponent and treat everyone with respect, whilst David should never give up in the face of insurmountable odds and continue finding a way to win.
These are just 5 of my favorite books for personal development and high-quality habit formation. In my quest to find ways to differentiate myself professionally and enrich my personal life, these books also incidentally helped reignite my passion for reading. If you are having trouble getting started, find something that interests you and dive in. At Our Future Reads, our mission is to facilitate personalized book donations to the nonprofits in the Chicagoland area. If you are interested in helping someone else find that spark, check out Getting Involved – Our Future Reads or Help Our Future Reads Upgrade Inventory Space For Our 20,000+ Books! (givebutter.com).
Let the curious, be curious.