5 Essential Books for Achieving Success

Girls Can't WHAT? Rule the WorldThis week’s challenge has to do with reading.  No, I don’t expect anyone to read all five books in one week, but I invite you to read through the description for each one and make a note of which ones you’d like to read.  You may click on them and buy direct from Amazon or add it to your library list. The challenge is to take action on reading at least one of these before the end of the year. Easy enough, right?

The following books are what I would personally label “recommended reading for achieving success”.  They are recipes for sorting out the junk in your life and setting up achievable goals and living a life you love.  They are 100% practical, without the fluff and woo-woo philosophical mumbo-jumbo that sounds good on paper but is forgotten by the next day.  These books are tried and true, solid and easy to read.  If I had to pare down my entire book collection to just 5 books, these are the ones I would keep.

And by the way, don’t read any of these books unless you really want to change your life or conquer your dreams.  Because after you read these, you will have NO excuse not to take action.

These are books I refer to over and over and over again.  I don’t necessarily re-read them from cover to cover, but I have favorite sections and inspirational passages that motivate me or help generate new ideas when I’m in a rut.

Now, if you aren’t familiar with any of these books, let me suggest you read them in the following order.  Although they have similar elements, each book has a specific purpose.  I find that I tend to cycle through them in a certain order and if you’re starting from scratch, this order will make more sense to you.

1. Unclutter Your Life in One Week by Erin Rooney Doland

Purpose: Getting rid of clutter, clearing the decks of your workspace.

Unclutter Your Life in One Week

Cleaning out your closet may seem like an odd place to start, but you’re not going to get anywhere with your dreams if you’re drowning in a sea of “stuff”.  Stuff can be anything from physical clutter to too many events on your schedule.

Erin’s book is the BEST at systematically going through your living space and clearing it out to make room for the things you truly enjoy.  She not only tackles the space-mooching things in your home, but also digital pack-ratting and how to create a schedule that will make you want to pop out of bed before your alarm goes off.

2. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Purpose: Managing your workflow, handling “todo lists” and clearing your mind

Getting Things Done

Warning: This book is life-changing.  You will never think the same way about time management and todo lists again.  You will also be more productive than you’ve ever been in your entire life.  I first read this book about 5 years ago and the concepts were mind-blowing.  I have used the GTD techniques to leave my boring desk job and move into the realm of working from home as an entrepreneur.  You can put any project through this system and achieve it.

And the best part is that it’s incredibly simple to grasp and implement.  You can have a personalized system set up and running within minutes.  It’s that easy!  No fancy planner, no software, no special equipment. Pen and paper will work just as well your favorite electronic tool.  Read the book, learn the workflow and start getting things done!

3. Getting Results for Dummies by Mark H. McCormack

Purpose: Learning to be real with scheduling

Getting Results for Dummies

I hesitated to add this one to the list, because frankly, Mark appears to be superhuman.  But once you’ve devoured this book, it will all come together as to how and why Mark is successful.  My main takeaway from this book was learning to be realistic with my planning and scheduling. Knowing the differences between optimistic and pessimistic scheduling was a huge boost to me.

I may not be traveling the globe on international business like Mark is, but I’m managing my schedule alongside my kids’s school and sports schedules and trying to run a household in the process.  The tips he has for planning are invaluable.  And he’s not really superhuman…he is just incredibly detailed. And he takes afternoon naps, doesn’t that sound like a great plan?

4. Making Work Work: New Strategies for Surviving and Thriving at the Office
by Julie Morgenstern

Purpose: Show me the money!

Making Work Work

No matter what you do in life, you’re gonna need to have some cash or at least something to barter or trade in exchange for what you need.  Julie’s book is aimed at the office worker, but as an entrepreneur I found her writing to be a resource I refer back to for guidance frequently.

This book is not about making a fortune or giving you million dollar ideas.  This book is about taking your existing work (like say the lists you compiled from the Getting Things Done book) and making the right choices on what to do based on how that task correlates to your bottom line.  Knowing how to pick tasks based on their ultimate financial value can give you peace of mind that your dream won’t be going bankrupt any time soon.

5. The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

Purpose: Regeneration, Focus

The Power of Less

Ideally, I wanted to start with this book in the #1 slot, but I realized that as I cycle through these books, this one is both an ending point and a beginning point fro me.  It’s an ending point in a sense that I start to recognize what I still want to shed from my schedule, my life and my goals.  But it’s a beginning point in that I start to mentally create a clearer, brighter and more focused path to where I want to be which leads me back to the books mentioned above to assist with the implementation.

This book is a short read, but it’s so packed with ideas that I usually have to stop reading and jot my ideas down before I forget.  I always walk away from this book feeling calmer and more refreshed.  It gives me a feeling that life can be made simpler and kicks my brain into high gear towards achieving that lifestyle.

Are you up for the challenge?

If you’re an avid reader, by all means go for it and read all five.  If that seems overwhelming, set a goal to pick up at least one of these from your local library or click the links to buy from Amazon. (And yes those are affiliate links… I should get credit for promoting, right?)

If you’ve read any of these books already, what did you think?  I’d love to hear some feedback on what you learned and how you’ve used it to move closer to your goals.


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