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Links Mentioned in This Weeks Episode
Yuval Noah Harari
The One Thing
Kiva – Micro Angels Lending Team
Half The Sky
Your Lifestyle Business Facebook Group
In today’s episode I thought it would be fun to give a summary of the 10 top books that have had a huge impact on my life this year and that I believe are an awesome read if you’re wanting to expand your knowledge, build your business, grow your confidence and become an awesome action taker!
To quote one of the authors ‘if you want to walk around so lit up that you shoot sunbeams out of yer eyeballs‘, then keep listening my friend!
1. You Are a Badass – Jen Sincero
From a ‘get out there and make things happen’ perspective this is one of my favorite books.
Written in a down to earth and super humorous manner, Jen has really helped me to light a fire under my backside and I now read a passage from her book and my own 100 day manifesto every single morning.
Here’s the passage I read;
‘Give yourself the permission and the means (yes, this includes the money), to be who you are REGARDLESS OF WHAT ANYBODY ELSE THINKS OR BELIEVES IS POSSIBLE. Do not deny yourself the life you want to live because you’re worried you’re not good enough or that you’ll be judged or that it’s too risky, because who does that benefit? No one, that’s who. When you live your life doing the things that turn you on, that you’re good at, that bring you joy, that make you shove stuff in people’s faces and scream, ‘check this out!!!’, you walk around so lit up that you shoot sunbeams out of yer eyeballs. Which automatically lights up the world around you. Which is precisely why you are here: to shine your big ass ball of fire onto this world of ours. A world that literally depends on light to survive.’
Oh my gosh that sets me on fire!
Plus I’m currently doing a 100 day challenge at the moment, in that I have set myself 3 very specific goals to achieve in 100 days.
In one of Jen’s chapters she encourages you to write a manifesto which is essentially your goals and vision of having already achieved those goals. It’s very similar to what I have taught before in my ‘Power of Focus’ video course I used to give away where you create a detailed vision of your perfect day.
Except this time I wrote a vision of being at the end of 100 days and having achieved my goals. So I sit and read that each morning also to remind myself how I truly want to feel!
I tell you this has had a huge impact on my productivity and I’m getting more done now than I have in years.
So if you can read the book.
If you can’t go find her online.
Lastly decide on a time in the future and write your manifesto!
Jen Sincero – https://jensincero.com/
2. High Performance Habits – Brendon Burchard
I’ve had this book on my kindle for a while, but decided this summer to get down and read it.
It’s pretty easy to read and split into two main sections, Personal Habits & Social Habits, six habits, 3 in each section and then practices within each habit.
The six habits included are;
Seek Clarity – Be super clear about who you want to be and why you’re doing what you’re doing. What skills do you need to achieve your goals, how can you make a difference, what do you want to feel, is what you’re doing personally meaningful.
Generate Energy – Optimize your health, be intentional about the energy you’re bringing to your life and some specific techniques on releasing tension and setting intention.
Raise Necessity – Really affirm your why for doing things by verbalizing so it becomes real and important, surround yourself with the right people, and know who needs you on your ‘A’ game.
Increase Productivity – Figure out the 20% of your workload or project that really matters and work on that. Focus and say No to everything that is not a priority. Chart the five major moves you need to take to make your goal happen and then treat each move as a project, then work out the five major skills you need to execute your moves and become insanely good at those. (I would say this was the section I got the most out of.)
Develop Influence – This was about challenging people to think in a certain way, helping them to grow and challenge themselves and being a great role model. As far as I’m concerned the greatest influencers act before they talk. It’s something I aspire to myself!
Demonstrate Courage – Accept that there will be struggle and don’t complain about it. Embrace the challenge. Live your own truth and don’t be afraid to share your goals and dreams. Find something bigger than yourself to focus on which will help to drive you forward.
The lessons that clearly had the biggest impact on me because they’re what I can remember from the book were firstly the whole five major moves.
Once you’ve set a clear goal what are the five major moves you need to take to achieve it.
So, for example, one of my goals in my 100 Day Challenge is to write a book. It’s actually a book for my daughter, a ‘Mums advice’ to her daughter if you will.
My goal is simply to write it. Not to publish, promote etc. Just to get it written as it’s been sitting on my to do list for the last couple of years.
So my five major moves are to;
- Create a rough outline – tick
- Breakdown the chapters into subheads – tick
- Create bullet points of what I want to write about under each subhead – tick
- Write 5,000 words every 10 days which gets me to 50,000 words in 100 days which is about how long I want it to be – 10,000 words completed so far by the way.
- Take some time out at the end of the challenge and then read through chapter by chapter, amending and tightening up.
When I get to the publishing bit, I’ll figure out my five major moves to publish & promote (if in fact I am going to do as it’s really a book for just my daughter but if it helps other Mum’s and daughters then I may well launch it out into the public realm.)
Secondly the whole get insanely good at what you do.
I personally want to become a full time writer. I love it. And so I will be focusing over the coming years on reading the kind of literature which helps to improve my writing skills and of course writing itself! ‘The knowledge comes from the theory based learning side, the skill comes from practice!’ That’s a quote by me!
Lastly, focus on something bigger than yourself to help drive you forward.
I’m currently launching a new ecommerce brand. My focus is on a), teaching my community how to launch and build their own business and b), I see the brand as becoming an outlet for my desires to get involved in the world of micro lending and helping female entrepreneurs in developing countries.
So if you can read the book.
If you can’t go find him online.
Lastly, get super clear with your goals, find something bigger to focus on that just your own ends and chart out your next five major moves & the skills you need to get you there!
Brendon Burchard – https://brendon.com/
3. Living With a Seal – Jesse Itzler
I loved this book! I only read it because my hubby to be had read it before me and recommended it as a good read. Plus as he was reading it he was giggling so that’s always a good sign!
Jesse Itzler is the husband of Sara Blakely the billionaire founder of Spanx. He is successful in his own right and co founded a private jet company which was later bought out by Warren Buffets company Berkshire Hathaway. He now co-owns the Atlanta Hawks, is an author and a keynote speaker.
His story is about how on one of his ultra marathons he encountered an navy seal who he later contracted for a month to come and live in his house and train him to become super fit.
It’s a fab story, very funny and highly motivating although you wouldn’t catch me jumping through an ice hole in a frozen over river for love nor money.
But the book led me to look up the seal in question who’s name is David Goggins. (In the book he’s simply referred to as ’Seal’).
Find more about Jesse Itzler here – https://jesseitzler.com/
4. Can’t Hurt Me – David Goggins
So David Goggins who is now a retired navy seal, the world record holder for the most pull ups in 24 hours, an ultra marathoner and a keynote speaker has written his own book called ‘Can’t Hurt Me’.
This was a tougher read as he recalled the trauma of his childhood and the story of how against so many odds became a navy seal despite going through hell week three times!
His tales of how he overcame challenge after challenge are nothing less than incredibly inspirational and it made me realize just how weak minded we can be when faced with a challenge.
And I’m not talking about bleeding blisters and knackered legs at mile 65 of 100 and continuing to the end no matter the pain.
For me personally I’m talking about giving in to the pizza when the scales haven’t given me the result I thought I deserved or not following through on learning Thai because the language is too hard, or not sitting down to write my book for fear of it being rubbish!
These things really aren’t challenges at all, but as David says we have to callous the mind. We have to do stuff even when we really don’t feel like doing it as it’s that which strengthens our resolve.
The book was hugely inspiring but what’s even more impactful is I now follow him in Instagram where he posts 1 minute videos regularly and whenever I feel my brain is weak, I go and watch one of his videos.
Try it, it works!
David Goggins Instagram Account – https://www.instagram.com/davidgoggins/
5. The War of Art – Steven Pressfield – Books 1 & 2
As a wannabe author, Steven Pressfield would be a natural choice. As at the age of 76 he’s written 17 books (the first published when he was 52, some 27 years after he started writing).
5 are educational books on writing
3 are historical non fiction books
He’s also written several Hollywood screenplays for films starring names such as Anthony Hopkins, Steven Segal, Emilio Estevez and in 2000 his first novel ’The Legend of Bagger Vance’ was made into a movie starring Will Smith & Matt Damon.
He’s quite the character and I first saw him on an interview with Marie Forleo.
He captured me with his talk about ‘resistance’, the invisible force which stops all of us from doing what we really want to on a regular basis.
In his own words – ‘the enemy—what I call Resistance with a capital “R,” i.e. fear, self-doubt, procrastination, perfectionism, all the forms of self-sabotage that stop us from doing our work and realizing our dreams.’
So I picked up ’The War of Art’, then read ’Turning Pro’ and ’Nobody Wants to Read Your S**t’.
All books are easy quick reads and written more like a collection of blog posts put into a book than a book per say.
I really enjoyed what he called ‘Book One’ & ‘Book Two’ in ’The War of Art’. Book One is all about resistance and how it stops us and Book Two is all about becoming a professional and how to overcome it. Book Three I’ll be honest goes over my head a bit.
It’s all about angels & muses and the authentic self and just got a bit woo woo for my tastes. But it didn’t stop me going on to read two more of his books!
Check him out at – https://stevenpressfield.com
6. The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday
My first audio book, I really enjoyed listening to this book as I walked along the beach near my Mums house while visiting the UK.
A huge advocate for stoicism Ryan takes us on a journey through events & stories about people like Amelia Earhart, Thomas Edison, Margaret Thatcher, Teddy Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Eisenhower & many more.
His goal with the book was to demonstrate not only how we can overcome obstacles but become stronger because of them.
The very definition of stoicism is ‘the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint.’
Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell you which part of the book really stood out for me as it would seem I retain more from reading rather than listening, but I do remember thinking that this was the intellectual person’s self help book.
Rather than the rambunctious ‘You are in charge of your life’, ’Nothing can hurt you if you don’t let it’, ‘Change your story, change your life’ cries from the popular self-help gurus, this was a deeper, more demonstrable exploration of how we can control our perceptions, actions and will in order to better control our life.
I have no doubt the messages within left more subconscious impressions which have affected my behaviors since.
Find Ryan Holiday here – https://ryanholiday.net/
So staying with the intellectual;
7. Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari
Recommended on a Tim Feriss’ podcast. I loved this book.
It took me a while to get through it as I’m not quite as well read as Tim Ferris or some of his guests.
In fact, it made me giggle as it was a conversation between Tim & his friend and guest Naval Ravikant who is like a super intellectual, entrepreneur and angel investor, and Naval said something about Sapiens and said ‘it’s an easy read’.
So I bought the book and from my standpoint, it was anything but easy!
But it was insanely interesting.
The book basically walks through the history of humankind from the beginning to where we are now.
Covering the the Cognitive Revolution (70,000 years ago), the Agricultural Revolution (10,000 years ago), and the Scientific Revolution (500 years ago), the author explored prehistoric humans, where and when humans evolved, neanderthals, the evolution of Home Sapiens (meaning – wise man) and how via each revolution we and the world changed and evolved.
It made me realize that the world we live in today is really just an idea, a thought, a cog in the wheel of evolution.
Capitalism and nationalism that so many fight & die for are no more than a few decades old and money is simply an evolutionary concept. It doesn’t really exist. Trade is real, money isn’t.
He covers religion, gender, war, the economy, the future. It’s jam-packed with so many out of the box ideas, you can’t possibly read it and not have your eyes opened and your thoughts broadened.
It’s a book you can’t go back from if you get my meaning.
Find out more about Yuval here – https://www.ynharari.com/
8. The One Thing – Gary Keller
Ok so back to a good old easy to read productivity book, the one thing is now not only a book, but a podcast and a movement!
Advocating the benefits of focus, the one thing teaches exactly what it says on the cover. How to hone in and focus on your ‘one thing’.
It’s core idea being to ask yourself the question – ‘What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?‘
I have tried endlessly to focus on only one thing at a time, but at my age time is passing too fast to make this a total reality.
However, I also know from experience I get nowhere fast trying to focus on too many things.
So in my 100 Day Challenge I have 3 main goals I’m working on, attempting to put everything else on hold and saving for my next 100 days.
So far so good, I’ll let you know in 100 days.
If you don’t have time to read the book, check out the podcast;
The One Thing – https://www.the1thing.com/
9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k – Mark Manson
I really like Mark Manson’s style of writing.
He has a great blog which I refer too regularly and has just released a new book – ‘Everything is F***ed – A book about hope’.
As the title of the book suggests, he’s pretty down to earth and unafraid of expressing his opinion and whilst I don’t always agree with everything he says, I love how open and honest he is.
In fact, I sometimes read a post of his just before I’m about to start writing to get some grammatical inspiration.
The book as the name suggests is about getting comfortable with being different, or expressing different opinions or following your own path rather than that of the crowd.
It’s actually not truly about not caring, it’s far more about being precise and calculated in what you do care about and ensuring you only care about that which is important to you and what could actually impact your life positively.
He also talks quite a lot about identity and how you identify yourself. If you believe deep down that you are or are not something then you will take the actions necessary to prove that.
For example, if you identify with being a great cook, you will do everything in your power to be a great cook and god forbid you to serve up a horror of a meal.
However if something threatens your identity you’re more likely to avoid it, for example, if you’ve been overweight for most of your adult life and you subconsciously identify with someone who is constantly losing weight, the chances are you will avoid taking the actions necessary to lose that weight once and for all.
For real! I can see that.
It’s a fairly quick and easy read with lots to make you think, so I highly recommend giving it a go.
Find more on Mark Manson here – https://markmanson.net/
10. Half The Sky – Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn
Quite simply this book changed my life.
Written by two New York Times journalists & Pulitzer Prize winners, this is a collection of stories about women in Africa, Cambodia, South America and other war torn, poverty stricken and developing countries.
Interviewing the women themselves, NGO’s, charitable organizations, the writers explored the horrors that the women in these countries are facing today.
Illegal and underage prostitution, human trafficking, genital mutilation, arranged marriages, legalized rape, infanticide, murder. It is horrifying.
However, they also shone a light on the organizations who are trying to effect change, the people on the ground, the charities and in particular the programs which impacted me the most, the micro lending institutions.
Founded by a chap called Muhammad Yunus back in 1976 in Bangladesh, the Grameen Bank is a microfinance organisation and community development bank.
Microfinance is basically a way of funding people in impoverished areas with no collateral or banking facilities and giving them the startup monies they need to start a small business which transforms the lives of themselves, their children & their communities.
97% of the borrowers are women.
The stories are nothing short of inspiring.
The lady in Pakistan being beaten by her husband and Mother in Law and Brother in Law who borrowed $75 to start making and selling shawls at the local market and who now employs her entire village including her deadbeat husband. No-one touches her anymore!
The story about the woman in Cambodia, trafficked as a young girl into illegal prostitution and drug addiction who now runs a home for victims of the same who she goes out and saves via local police raids.
The lady who was tied to a tree in the DRC and gang-raped repeatedly for 2 weeks until she escaped to a refugee camp in Uganda, where she started a small business selling charcoal and now heads up a group of women she called the ‘Angels’ who out of their profits fund other female startups in the camp.
My research led me to an organization called Kiva.org founded in 2005 who work with NGO’s in affected countries to find people who need loans and then through their website crowdfund those loans via people like yours truly in increments in $25 or more.
Last year I lent out $200 to a variety of projects and am sitting on repayments of $227 to re-lend out at the moment.
That’s what I love about micro loans. You lend the money, it gets repaid and you loan it again to someone else. So you don’t help one or hundreds you potentially help thousands as your money gets loaned over and over again effecting dramatic changes across the globe!
To become a member of my lending team, click here – https://www.kiva.org/team/microangels
To get your copy of Half the Sky, click here – https://www.amazon.com/Half-Sky-Oppression-Opportunity-Worldwide/dp/0307387097
So there you have it. The Top 10 Books that have impacted my life greatly over the last year.
Right now I’m reading ‘The Happiness of Pursuit’ Chris Guillebeau and I have the distinct feeling he may make my next Top 10!
The book is making me seriously think about my own life and the quests I would like to undertake. If only I had more hours in my day and more years in my life!!!
I do hope you’ve found this list interesting and thought provoking.
If you have read or do read any of the books above, Id love to hear your thoughts. Equally if you have any books you absolutely recommend do please let me know!
The best place to come and have a chat with me is in my facebook group. Just search for ‘Your Lifestyle Business’ on FB and come and join the fun!
In the meantime, Live Life on Purpose and of course as always Make It Happen.
Thanks for listening, speak again next week.