The beginning of a new year is a time when a lot of us set a new plan for the next year. It’s a time when we can start with a clean slate, set out a few goals and do our best to achieve them.
Goals are always easier to achieve when you have suitable inspiration to help you achieve them. Even large, daunting goals are possible when the right fire has been lit inside you! Where you get your inspiration from is largely irrelevant, but I find books to be one of the best sources. I love reading the thoughts and approaches of people who have managed to achieve goals and/or a successful and interesting life.
But where to start? There are so many interesting and inspirational books out there to read, so which ones are of any value? I personally find there are couple of genres of books I like when it comes to inspiration – there’s the autographical books that help inspire you from a ‘if they did it, I can do it’ point of view, then there’s the strategy books. These are the books that say “I achieved X and here’s how I did it”. Finally, there are books with a philosophical angle, which provide a nice set of operating principles for life.
I’ve settled on 5 inspirational books, because that feels like an appropriate number to get started with. You can read these 5 books thoroughly, digest them and act on then within the next few months and if you do, I promise you’ll be a more successful, relaxed and happier person.
To make this list of inspirational books for men easier to read, I’ve split them into sub-sections including autobiographies, philosophical books and strategy books. I’ve personally read them all so know with confidence they’re great books…
Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
Apple is one of the biggest companies in the world, but it was started in the late 70’s by two Steve’s, (Jobs and Wozniak) from a garage in California. This book charts the life and times of Jobs, from his upbringing in California, through the birth of Apple, the early growth and subsequent decline when he was ousted. It talks about how we came back and grew the company into the behemoth it is today.
Love him or hate him, he’s a fascinating character and his leadership style has created friends, enemies and a business that has broken ground in many fields. It’s a great read and Isaacson has unique access to Jobs in the lead up to his death.
Losing My Virginity – Richard Branson
Richard Branson is a unique character in business, in that he has achieved so much across so many different fields. From his early days in magazines, through to music, airlines and trains, plus dozens of other businesses on the way, he proves you don’t need to come up with a great idea on your own – you can be incredibly successful by taking an existing idea and improving on it.
In the book you learn how his positive, can-do attitude has allowed him to see opportunity and overcome lots of issues in business. It’s also the foundation stone for much of his success.
The Four Hour Work Week – Tim Ferriss
This book is arguably the best-selling business book of all time. There are a number of reasons for this, but the main one is because it truly is a blue-print for modern business success. Despite being over 10 years old, it teaches the reader how to use the tools available to us all to improve our productivity, chances of success and how to assess the best use of our resources. It was written at the birth of web 2.0 and helped inspire millions of people around the world to use the internet to their working advantage.
Tim himself says the title is about increasing your productive time, allowing you to potentially reduce your working hours. If you like working, it shows you how to get more done in the time you are at work, so it’s a win-win!
This is a great book and one that I’d recommend to anyone looking to improve their working life or set up their own business.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
Like it or not, money is important. What Rich Dad Poor Dad does is focus less on the message of ‘spend less, save more’ and instead focus on how to look at purchases, use of money, debts, loans, assets and liabilities. It’s the best-selling money book of all time because it teaches people a new way of looking at money – it doesn’t patronise, it gives a clear strategy to help you re-assess your finances and teach you how to improve your income.
This book proves you don’t need to understand advanced financial instruments such as stock markets, futures, commodities and currency exchanges to look after your finances well. It’s a simple read that teaches you money management in a really basic form.
Marcus Aurelius – Meditations
Where to start with this book? Marcus Aurelius was a unique man – he was a Roman Emperor and a Philosopher – the only man to be both.
He was a Stoic and his book ‘Mediations’ was never intended for publication – they were letters to himself, outlining his own philosophical thoughts and thinking. They’re reflections on life, combat, relationships, politics, emotions, virtue and convictions. These notes were discovered after this death and compiled into a single book years later.
What’s all the more impressive is that even though these were written almost 2000 years ago, they are every bit as relevant now as they were then. It shows that although we have come a long way as a species, in many ways we’ve come nowhere at all.
As an operating system for life, I can think of few better. They take the trials and tribulations of life and put them into real perspective.
Inspirational Books: Concluded
A book is a unique thing – it’s the thoughts and expertise of a person on a single topic, condensed into the written word. It’s a way to learn about things for a small amount of money. They make you more intelligent, more reasoned, more interesting and more rounded.
I hope you take these book recommendations, read them all and are inspired to take on a new challenge! Let us know how you get on!