The Books That Have Changed My Life (and will change yours)

If you know me personally, you know that I love to read. It started in grade school where the elementary school I attended offered points and prizes for those who read (and passed tests on) the most books every month.

I remember I graduated with the 3rd most points in the history of the program (something like 10 years). However, the reason that I grabbed a book and started reading so much wasn’t because of the points and prizes that the students were rewarded with – it was because getting lost in a series like “The Lord of The Rings” or reading an autobiography by one of history’s most famous individuals (“My Life and Work” (Henry Ford)) was so much more entertaining than watching a quick movie or a TV show. The latter mediums just couldn’t capture magic the same way a book could.

This continued into college, but by then, I really became most interested in non-fiction books (though TLOR will always hold a special place in my heart). I kept reading biographies of people that inspired me or read books written by those that I respected or wanted to imitate in a particular skill or expertise.

I always found it interesting that so many people rely just on what their professors, teachers, or parents educate them about, instead of supplementing this education with some of the work of the actual masters of a particular domain.

I think that it is incredible that any average human being can pick up a book written by a world expert for only a few bucks! This luxury that we have should not go unappreciated. If you learn how to self-educate yourself by reading and, more importantly, putting what you have read into practice, you will gain a much more robust education than even the top schools could ever rival.

For this reason, it is my goal to read about 100 books a year on topics that I either want to improve on or just find very interesting. Education should never stop once you have finished school. In fact, this should be just the beginning. Through schooling you learn how to learn and the discipline of learning. Now that you have that, you are set free to study the great works and wisdom of the most influential and successful people of the world! Exciting isn’t it??

I think so anyway.

This last year I read a lot of great influential books that impacted my life. Many people think that I only read computer science books because that is my career and one of my passions. However, I find that since I code for my day job 8 hours a day (and have to read a lot of technical literature for that), I get a lot of this knowledge just from experience. Sure there is a lot I still don’t know in this domain, but there is so much more in the world that I could master that would pay much higher dividends.

What I really like to read about falls into twelve broad categories:

  1. AUTOBIOGRAPHIES/BIOGRAPHIES
  2. BUSINESS & ENTREPRENEURSHIP
  3. GETTING THINGS DONE
  4. HAPPINESS/MINDFULNESS
  5. HEALTH
  6. INFLUENCE & PSYCHOLOGY
  7. INTERNET MARKETING
  8. MARKETING
  9. MONEY
  10. PHILOSOPHY
  11. RELATIONSHIPS
  12. SUCCESS

These categories were chosen because I believe these are some of the main areas in life that one can improve on and can learn from the people who have proven they are the best and most knowledgeable in their particular field.

As the title of this posts implies, these books below have changed many different aspects of my life and I try to take at least one main principle from every book and apply it to my life. This has resulted in a much happier, productive, healthy, and successful me!

I promise if you read the books on this list, it will change your life as well. 

Without further ado, the list!

THE LIST

AUTOBIOGRAPHIES/BIOGRAPHIES 
  1. Steve Jobs
  2. Made In America
  3. My Life and Work (Henry Ford)
  4. The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie
  5. Pour Your Heart Into It
  6. Losing My Virginity
  7. Total Recall
  8. The Everything Store
  9. The Snowball
  10. The Score Takes Care of Itself
BUSINESS & ENTREPRENEURSHIP
  1. The 4 Hour Workweek
  2. The E-Myth Revisited
  3. The Hard Thing About Hard Things
  4. Good To Great
  5. Made To Stick
  6. Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard
GETTING THINGS DONE
  1. Flow
  2. The Power of Full Engagement
  3. The One Thing
  4. Leaders Eat Last
  5. The Effective Executive
HAPPINESS/MINDFULNESS
  1. The Power of Now
  2. Peace Is Every Step
  3. Loving What Is
  4. The Happiness Advantage
HEALTH
  1. The Story of the Human Body
  2. 50 Secrets of the World’s Longest Living People
  3. The Primal Blueprint
INFLUENCE & PSYCHOLOGY
  1. Influence
  2. Secrets of Power Negotiating
  3. Introducing NLP
  4. Predictably Irrational
  5. The Believing Brain
INTERNET MARKETING 
  1. Dotcom Secrets
  2. 80/20 Sales and Marketing
MARKETING
  1. Breakthrough Advertising
  2. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
  3. Positioning
  4. Purple Cow
  5. Scientific Advertising
MONEY
  1. The Richest Man in Babylon
  2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad
  3. Money: Master The Game
  4. The Warren Buffett Way
  5. Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs
PHILOSOPHY
  1. On The Shortness of Life
  2. Meditations
  3. Letters from a Stoic
  4. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays
RELATIONSHIPS
  1. How To Win Friends and Influence People
  2. The Go-Giver
  3. Difficult Conversations
SUCCESS
  1. Think and Grow Rich
  2. The Slight Edge
  3. Outwitting the Devil
  4. The Magic of Thinking Big
  5. Psycho-Cybernetics

Well, that is the list (for now)! All of these books can be found on Amazon and I believe all of them are affordable ($10-$30) which is crazy for how much value they have brought into my life.

Read them, learn them, love them, LIVE THEM!

If you have any other books that you believe should be added to the list, PLEASE LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!

If you liked this post, please share it with others! That is the biggest compliment I could receive and encourages me to keep writing.

Please subscribe to this blog if you are a technology enthusiast!

Have a great day!

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jroell View All →

I love to code and build new innovating solutions to people's problems!

3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Hello Jason. This is a great list of books. I have personally read four (feeling shameful!!). These are: How to Win Friends and Influence People, Think and Grow Rich, The Magic of Thinking Big and Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Next on line is STEVE JOBS (He was my greatest tech hero). I have other books in mind that I think should have made it to your list as well: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey and The Mythical Man-Month. Kindly let me know your take on these two books. Thanks and keep writing and sharing your invaluable knowledge and wisdom. I am already a fan of your very insightful articles.

    Like

    • Hey Chris! Glad you liked the post. Also, thanks for recommending some of your own favorites! I have read both of your suggestions and I debated putting The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People on the list. I really loved that book as well, but I just thought the advice was covered in some of the other books that I liked more. Either way, you are right, it is a great book. As for the Mythical Man-Month, I actually have included this on one of my ‘must read’ lists, but only under my software books that I have recommended. I think it was a little too deep into the software to help the general public. I think you would really like this post -> https://jasonroell.com/2015/03/16/12-most-infuential-books-every-software-engineer-needs-to-read/ if you like books like that! Cheers!

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      • I totally agree with your fantastic list Jason. This is definitely a ‘must read’ book collection for anyone who aspires to become a master software engineer. I have read (and I own personal copies of) most of the 12 books, and I keep recommending some of them to my friends (and students) who, like me, are striving towards becoming great software engineers. My all-time favorites are Code Complete, Clean Code, The Pragmatic Programmer and Design Patterns (The Gang of Four).

        A little side note: My background is in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and I am writing from Nairobi, Kenya (Africa)!

        Like

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