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I have a confession to make…

I’ve become the embodiment of a massive book nerd.

I went from never reading a single book to reading 50+ books every single year. And it’s not just me.

Some of the world’s top CEOs and executives read 4-5 books per month.

So today, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to share some of my all-time favorite books with you.

To make the list easy to read I’ve divided all the books into 3 categories, so you can easily find the books you want to read:

I’ve also included a short description of each book, as well as an Amazon link to buy it. Note: There are no affiliate links in this post, so I don’t earn any commission from of recommending the books to you — other than you’ll have more success in business and life.

Personal development

1. The Obstacle is the Way – The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage by Ryan Holiday

This book draws on the ancient Greek philosophy, “Stoicism.” Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor, said this almost 2,000 years ago: “What stands in the way becomes the way.” The book shows you how some of the world’s most successful people encountered difficult and almost impossible situations. And why their success was less about their intelligence, their talent or luck, but more about how they chose to handle stressful situations.

Buy it here

2. The Power Of Now – A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment Of Eckhart Tolle

This is probably THE BOOK to read if you want to discover how to live more in the present and be present in everything you do. With that said, you need to be very open to the slightly more spiritual element in it — spiritual, not religious. It can be a bit “heavy” in some places, but once you pull out the essence of it, it’s a really interesting and thoughtful read.

Buy it here

3. The Way of the Seal – Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed by Mark Divine

The book was written by former Navy SEAL, Mark Divine. He dives into how you build true mental toughness. The book has different exercises to help you turn the techniques into a regular part of your everyday life. Don’t let the title scare you away. The book is packed with practical techniques and philosophies that’ll make you more focused and more mentally strong.

Buy it here

4. Unbeatable Mind – Forge Resiliency and Mental Toughness to Succeed at an Elite Level by Mark Divine

Yes, one more book from Mark Divine. The difference between “Unbeatable Mind” and “Way of the SEAL” is that UM focuses more on the mental toughness aspect. Look at the description: “The book teaches you to cast out your fear, overcome negativity and connect with a deeper and increased sensitivity to what is happening around you. You want to wipe out the emotional blockades and become the leader you know you were created to be. “

Buy it here

5. The 5 Second Rule – The Surprisingly Simple Way to Live, Love, and Speak With Courage by Mel Robbins

The book gives you an interesting technique that helps you break the different patterns which keep you from doing the things you want. The book has a ton of great stories, examples and a solid tool you can use.

Mel Robbins also has a great TEDx Talk. It’s been seen over 12 million times! It’s amazing.

Buy it here

6. Extreme Ownership – How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

This book… This book is nothing short of amazing! Since I bought it last year, I’ve been through it 5+ times. Whether you’re the CEO, a manager, even if you’re a parent you can use the principles from this book. This is by far my favorite book out of the hundreds of books I’ve read. The audiobook read by the authors is probably one of the best ones, too.

Buy it here

7. Awaken the Giant Within – How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny by Anthony Robbins

If you haven’t heard about Tony Robbins you’re in for a treat. Tony is known as “the father of the coaching industry.” He has personally helped people like Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Nelson Mandela! If there were no Tony Robbins, I wouldn’t be here either. Tony is definitely one of my most important mentors.

Buy it here

8. 59 Seconds – Think a little, change a lot by Richard Wiseman

Here’s something you might not know: A lot of the self-help industry “guru” uses different examples of studies to make their point. But, no matter how interesting they are, most of them never existed. This book takes a critical view of the self-help industry and instead gives you some ultra-specific ways to get more motivated, enjoy your life and much more.

Buy it here

Psychology

9. The Psychology of Winning: Ten Qualities of a Total Winner by Denis Waitley

Denis Waitley studied the different qualities (mindset, thoughts, focus, etc.) world’s top athletes and business people have compared to others who struggle through life. It gives you a clear picture of what you can do to overcome the difficult times that life will inevitably throw at us.

Buy it here

10. The Power of Habit – Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

If you’ve ever struggled with a bad habit and don’t know how to get rid of it… read this book. This is the by far the best book about how to take control of your habits. You discover why we have them, how they’re created, and more importantly: How you change them.

Buy it here

11. The Checklist Manifesto – How To Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

Here’s a universal truth: A checklist can save your life (just ask any pilot). Atul Gawande, surgeon and New York Times bestselling author, gives you an insight into how to use checklists to streamline all aspects of your life and business.

Buy it here

12. Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

This book is a mastodont of a book. “Influence” is the book that thousands of other books refer to when it comes to understanding human psychology. There are decades worth of research boiled down to a few critical principles that will help you understand the science of influence and how you can influence others and yourself.

Buy it here

13. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss

I LOVE this book! If you’ve ever struggled with negotiation, or if you just want to take your negotiation skills to the next level, you should read this book. Chris Voss was the international hostage negotiator for the FBI. He’s taken his vast experience and boiled it down to step-by-step principles you can use today in ANY negotiation.

Buy it here

Leadership

14. Creating Magic: 1 0 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney by Lee Cockerell

Lee Cockerell shares the leadership principles he discovered during his time with Walt Disney World Resort – a multibillion-dollar company. This sentence pretty much sums up this amazing book: “It’s not the magic that makes it work; it’s the way we work that makes it magic.”

Buy it here

15. It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by D. Michael Abrashoff

Leadership and management are difficult in any business. But management in a rigid, top-down hierarchy like the US Navy is something else. Yet, Abrashoff still managed to take the USS Benfold, the worst-performing ship in the navy, and transform it into the “best damn ship in the navy.” The book is an excellent practical guide that will turn you into an even better leader.

Buy it here

16. The TRUST Method: 10 Leadership Strategies That Build Genuine Trust and Influence Anyone to Take Action

Ahh yes, by far my most FAVORITE book on this list. (Hey, it’s my list, there should be some benefits, right?).  In the book, you’ll discover EVERYTHING you need to know about how to build genuine trust and influence anyone to take action. You’ll get 10 modules in a hyper-specific, step-by-step program which holds nothing back on the most effective leadership principles.

Buy it here

Miscellaneous

17. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

The primary reason I read “Ender’s Game” was because that it’s one of Mark Zuckerberg’s favorite books. Fortunately, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the exciting story of Ender and his development in the military as a child. If you like science fiction books, this is a great read.

Buy it here

18. The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream by Paulo Coelho

The title says it all: The Alchemist is a story of having the courage to pursue your dreams. The book centers on the boy, Santiago, a shepherd who dreams of traveling the world and its treasures. The book has sold over 65 million copies and holds a Guinness World Record for the most translated book by a living author.

Buy it here

19. Way of the Peaceful Warrior – A Book That Changes Lives by Dan Millman

Honestly, I usually read this book twice a year. The book is based on Dan Millman’s real experiences with his mentor “Socrates.” It has great life lessons, stories and philosophies that you can directly implement into your own life.

Buy it here

20. The One Thing – The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller

Most of us probably know the feeling of being overwhelmed by all the different things we want to achieve — losing weight, growing our business, getting a new car. “The One Thing” takes the complete opposite approach. You learn how to cut through the noise, achieve better results in less time with less stress… just by focusing on one thing: The most important thing.

Buy it here

21. Tools of Titans – The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss

In this book, Tim Ferriss took over 200 podcast episodes — with people like Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger — and boiled them down to the biggest insights and into some simple tools you can use to become the best version of yourself.

Buy it here

22. The 4-Hour Workweek – Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich of Timothy Ferriss

The last book on the list and another book by Tim Ferriss and a modern classic. This book is for you if you want to live life on your terms (i.e. more time between your hands) and this book shows you exactly how to do it.

Buy it here

What books do you recommend?

Honestly, all these books can change your life. So here is my personal recommendation to you:

Don’t debate with yourself whether to buy a book or not. Buy the book no matter what. If you only get one new idea or new insight from the book, it could potentially change your life and business. At that point, it’s already worth a lot more than the few dollars you invested in it.

Now I would like to hear from you.

Have you read some of the books from the list? What was your biggest insights from reading it and why? What books would you like to add to the list and recommend?

I look forward to reading your response.

Today, I would like to introduce to you a concept I call “The New Persona Strategy.”

Your current persona is who you are right now. It’s what you believe, what you focus on, how you think. It’s everything that makes you… you.

Your current persona is also the different skills you have right now. It’s your strengths, your weaknesses, your good as well as bad habits. It’s also the things you fear.

The brutal truth is that you are the biggest problem standing in the way of you reaching your goals. But, you are also the solution. And the person you are now is what I call “your current persona.”

The more honest you are with yourself, the easier it will be to change your persona into the new persona you need to reach your next level.

I’ve always found it fascinating when people take different personality tests. The first time they take the test, they feel their results are spot on. But then, when they decide to take the test a few months later, and they get a different result, the typical reaction is usually that those personality tests “don’t work.”

This is total nonsense.

As we discussed earlier, everything in the world is moving and changing. Nothing stands still. Either you’re growing, or you’re dying.

So is it really that strange that, when you take a personality test at a later time, you get a different result? Of course not.

Your current persona, who you are now, is just an image you’re seeing at this point in time. If you want to reach new goals and get new results in your life, you have to change your current persona.

That’s why the whole social norm of “you should just be yourself” really is B.S. Because, if who you are right now is not producing the results you want, why would it make sense to stay the same?

For example, if my current persona wants to lose weight, but everything I’m doing contradicts that goal, I’m never going to be successful. If I eat junk food every day, and I never drink water or exercise, it makes no sense to stay the same.

If you want things to change, you have to change.

Right now, you have to make a decision: You have to decide whether you are satisfied with the results you have now or not. And if you’re not satisfied, you need to change. Otherwise, you’re just going to get the same result as always.

I’ve mentioned this point many times throughout this book, so all this might seem obvious. But again: Common knowledge is not always common practice.

Let me give you an example: One of my clients, during one of our coaching sessions, said he wanted to instill real passion into his staff. But he was having a hard, hard time achieving that goal. We went through a lot of different strategies, but the more he spoke, the more I got the feeling he didn’t even have that passion himself.

You can’t expect other people to have something you don’t. How are you supposed to influence them if you can’t even influence yourself?

If your team is lacking passion, take a hard, critical look at yourself and ask whether your current persona really shows genuine passion. It’s one thing to say that you’re passionate. It’s another thing to show it. People learn more by example than being told what to do.

So show them, instead of telling them.

* * *

This was an excerpt from my book, The TRUST Method: 10 Leadership Strategies That Build Genuine Trust and Influence Anyone to Take Action.

Available in either paperback or Kindle version on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.