As summer approaches, I’m assuming you have fewer papers to write. That doesn’t mean I can’t be of any help. I want to set you up for success at any time, and so I want to make your summer a productive and helpful summer (and fun, but most people can take care of that without any of my help). For those who miss the reading programs from when you were a kid, I’ve compiled a list of five books. There are many more books that can help you, but reading five in a summer already feels like more homework than is ever justified. These are all non-fiction books that I have read, that inspired me during my college time and also helped me improve my college experience. Some seem like business books, but were very easy to implement on a personal level. Most are classics, but I hadn’t read them all before I graduated college, so if it’s a cliche list, that’s because those books have proven their worth. If you have any suggestions or questions, please feel free to jump to the comment section.
1. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Not a number one by accident. Sometimes this is regarded as a business book, but effectiveness and the life lessons from this book can make you a better stay-at-home mom, too. If you want to limit yourself to reading one book from this list, make it this one. It’s an absolute classic, and even though people have tried to write ‘updates’ on it, they’ve only elaborated on the things that were already in Covey’s original. You’ll learn the framework it takes to be more effective in whatever you do, but it also helps you create a framework that teaches you how to cooperate and manage working with other people. I believe this is one of those books in life that will give you a lens that can make sense of an infinite amount of other information.
2. The World is Flat
It’s a book by Thomas Friedman, and you may feel he’s going a bit overboard on some of the pages. That being said, one of the core points of his book is how globalization makes your diploma as a piece of paper less relevant, and that is takes a little extra to keep getting ahead. This core message burned a tiny fire under me, that has never stopped burning. For this fire alone, I want you to read this book. It looks big, but I thought it was an easy read.
3. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
This one is very much related to the next one, but can be applied on a broader scale. The writers go into the mechanics for businesses and organizations to successfully change. In a three step process, they show the ideas behind change, why change is hard, and, being true to their subtitle, how to change things when change is hard. Out of the three, this is the most businessy business book, but if you have something is this world you’d like to change, its insights will be valuable for you in about every situation.
4. The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Program to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence, and Happiness
Some of these books are made to buy hardcover, put on a pedestal in your book case, and sharpen your mind with every other year. This is not one of those books. It’s still on the list, because it shows you how to control your own mind better than any other book. By showing you the idea of the chimp mind, it teaches you how to persevere, how to control your destructive instincts, and how to deal with people when things don’t come easily. The idea is very fascinating and insightful, the book could be half the size.
5. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
If you’re a bit like me, this book will feel a little unsettling. In a way, the entire book is David Allen acting like your mom and telling you to clean up your room. And like with following your mom’s advice, you’ll find that he’s right in the end. Allen dissects the idea of procrastination, and shows you why you can sometimes take a nap just because you have so much to do and don’t know where to start. It’s the most practical book (he will literally tell you what to do and how long it should take), and I think most people follow his advice to a degree they’re comfortable with, but if you follow David Allen just outside your comfort zone into his stress-free productivity zone, you will get more productive, with less stress. And that’s what I’m all about, too. What’s your suggestion for my summer reading list?Who else needs to know this?