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The 5 books I recommend for everyone to learn, develop and grow to be a better person

One of the most asked questions I have from people that read my blog and articles across other platforms has been around what do I consume to develop my own mindset, my skills and support in my continued evolution.

Now that is of course a somewhat deep question and it doesn’t have a straightforward answer as I consume so much content in a variety of formats such as books, videos, podcasts, blog posts and even songs. However, I thought I would create a mini series and share some of the resources that I’ve used to not only help myself, but those I feel can really help you too.

In this post, I will draw back the curtain and share the 5 books that have shaped my mindset, behaviours, outlook and much more in recent times. Please note that I’m not calling this my all time top 5 or anything like that as this list is always changing besides a few consistent ones and of course as time goes on my thinking will always change.

As of November 2018, these are the books I’d recommend to everyone who wants to learn, develop and grow to be a better person.



Meditations – Marcus Aurelius

If you’ve read anything I’ve published before, you’ll know of my undying love for this book. I’ve written about it at length in a variety of articles and most recently in ‘What a 2000 year old journal from a Roman emperor can teach you about life, business and mental health’.

I want go into too much detail here as the post above will provide this for you, yet I cannot stress just how much this piece of writing can teach you and remind you about the inner workings of all our minds and the challenges we face.



The Chimp Paradox – Professor Steve Peters

How do we manage the monkey mind? It can be really tough and so many of us have no idea how much we are controlled by our emotions.

I’ve read this book a number of times and always learn something new through each session. I find it really clear in breaking down how our mind works, how we can understand our emotions and what we can do to take charge of our own behaviours.

You’ll find a good mind management framework here that may ignite further curiosity into just how similar we all are.



Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss

Now I’m aware that Mr Ferriss isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, yet I’ve personally found a lot of useful and at times life changing insights from his work. One of his latest releases titled ‘Tools of Titans’ provides great insights from leading innovators and thinkers across the world.

Think of this book as a library of short pieces of advice from those you’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt. The great function of this book is that you can dip in and dip out across any part of it, to take away what you need in that moment – a very handy structure and a good example of a on-demand resource.



The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck – Mark Manson

Don’t let the click bait title put you off, this book is a real standout from the overpopulated self help crowd and is a somewhat modern day take on Buddhist principles.

As the strapline says on the front cover, it truly is a counter-intuitive approach to living a good life. We could all do with being more aware on where we want to focus our time, what we will let affect us and plainly just how many fucks are we willing to give towards certain things. It’s a reframed modern day look at discovering what you should really care about, what you shouldn’t and how to make it all work for you.



The Daily Stoic – Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

Technically this is just a book with a quote for every day and a modern day translation that allows anyone to apply the teachings to the now. Nonetheless it can serve as an important reminder and a guide to your daily habits.

You’ve probably gathered that stoicism is a running theme throughout this list and a number of my own pieces of work too. I love to read literature from stoics of the past and present as I find we can learn so much from those who’ve walked the path before. For me stoicism has personally enabled me to make sense out of a lot of crazy shit in my life, yet it’s not for everyone and I’m not saying it’s the answer either.

I jump into this little book now and again, especially on the days when the struggle truly is real. It allows me to just take a step back for a few minutes, absorb some wisdom and re-frame how the rest of my day could go.


That’s it

There you have it, my personal recommendations to everyone and maybe you’ll find some use in these too. I’d love to hear what you think and also the books that have shaped your own mindset, development and growth over time.


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