I used to hate reading. I read because I had to, not because I wanted to and then I grew up and realized I had it all wrong.
It wasn’t that I hated reading; it was that I hated reading boring books, of which there are a lot. In school we’re taught to read; unfortunately, many of the books they then have us read have very little to do with real life.
The Outsiders, Waiting for Godot, The Merchant of Venice and Kiss of the Spiderwoman were just some of the books that were required reading for me in IB English class in high school. Despite all being classics, for me they had one other thing in common – they were about as interesting as watching paint dry (most of my friends would agree). They were excruciating.
English teachers might argue with me and say that they make for good discussion, but the same can be said for books such as Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and Jaws. The difference between enjoyable books and many of the books children must endure in high school is that they keep our interest.
Whenever I taught higher-level students in Japan that wanted to get into a prestigious college or university, books were my first line of offense. They could learn grammar, vocabulary and ample topics to discuss in class. My track record speaks for itself: 100%. Every student that has followed my advice has gotten into the college of their choice.
As each of us is unique, I realize that one book won’t appeal to everyone so I have a lot list of reading material from which they can choose. But reading to get improve ourselves and become successful are two different things. While Daemon by Daniel Suarez is an enthralling thriller that ranks up there with Jurassic Park as one of my favorite novels, it’s not going to help you improve your sales, negotiate a better deal, help you with your taxes, or how to build a business.
I break my reading down into two categories: fun and success.
The following are seven books that you should never read unless you want to be rich. And if you’re being completely honest with yourself, being rich is something we should all aspire to be.
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
This is where it starts. A short, easy read that will open your eyes to what it takes to be successful and the mistakes so many of us make. I read somewhere that Will Smith had both his children read it at the age of 10. Considering Smith has a network of about $350 million, that says something.
Key takeaway: Find ways to make your money work for you.
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
Your mind will be swimming with ideas once you get through with this book. Ferriss goes into some depth about how he was able to free himself from the shackles of a corporate job and create a dream lifestyle without breaking the bank. This is an absolute must-read for anyone frustrated with their job and is thinking of becoming an entrepreneur.
Key takeaway: Validate your ideas before you go all in
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
This book spawned a multi-billion-dollar business. It’s also been listed as one of “The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books” by Time magazine. It focuses on timeless principles that help us improve every facet of our lives whether it’s in the boardroom or at home with the kids.
Key takeaway: Sharpen the saw
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This book was published back in 1937 and has gone on to sell 30 million copies. It’s stood the test of time because the concepts contained in this book are evergreen because they apply to people. They work because they are so simple and yet so many of us have either forgotten how powerful they are, or failed to understand how to use them in the first place.
Key takeaway: “Remember a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
- He Can Who Thinks He Can by Orison Swett Marden
The oldest book to make the list and for good reason. Despite the odd reference to steam engines and the like, you wouldn’t realize this book was written back in 1909. In many ways, this book is the foundation of so many personal development books and material. You’ll never look at an old book the same way again.
Key takeaway: “Wishing does not amount to anything unless it is backed by endeavor, determination, and grit.”
- The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
I’ve been obsessed with productivity and time management for years, and this is the book I wish I’d written. It’s concise, easy-to-read and hammers home the concept of how to be successful in every facet of your life by applying the concept of compounding. Unlike many other books on this list, this focuses on one simple concept and how it applies in different are
Key takeaway: Small, seemingly insignificant decisions in people’s lives can, over time, lead to profound effects.
- Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins is a larger-than-life personality. His “Date with Destiny” seminars are 6 full-day events, with tickets ranging from $5,000-$12,000. He’s like an energizer bunny on stage and is a marvel to watch. With Tony, it’s go big or go home. This book is no different. It’s 544 pages long filled with so many incredible takeaways. All I can say is make sure you have a highlighter and a pen handy when you sit down to read this book.
Key takeaway: Physiology proceeds psychology