15 Books That Inspire Change In 60 Days

By Wesley
15 Books That Inspire Change In 60 Days

There may be one rare exception in a thousand to this rule, but one thing about those who are successful and able to create massive amounts of wealth is that they read – a lot. The statistics on this fact are staggering. The top one percent of income earners in the United States reads on average, 60 books a year or five per month. So, they finish a new book each week. In contrast, the bottom 25 percent of income earners in the United States don’t read books.

In surveys about this, the bottom 25 percent of income earners told researchers they haven’t finished even one book in the last year. So, who do you want to be more like? Remember, the top one percent of income earners in the U.S. earns approximately $450,000 a year. So, it seems like a smart idea to start hitting the books. If you don’t know where to start, fear not. Here are the top 15 books that will take you from zero to hero.

1. Think and Grow Rich

Think and Grow Rich is one of the most famous bestselling books on wealth creation and cultivating a money consciousness ever. It is one of the most important books most people will ever read. In fact, one reader credits reading this book during their first month as a commissioned salesman selling automobiles at a major regional volume car dealership with helping them to move millions of dollars of inventory in their 32 months there.

The book starts off somewhat slow. But keep reading because it shares several inspirational stories about people who persisted amid struggles and challenges and came out on top. Napoleon Hill wrote this book. He was a close family friend of Andrew Carnegie, the American steel industry magnate And if his money was in today’s dollars, he would probably be the second richest man to ever live.

In this book, Hill reveals Carnegie’s personal philosophy of wealth creation that he learned directly from Carnegie himself. And this book doesn’t pull any punches. In a vastly inadequate nutshell, the book explains just how powerful your thoughts are in manifesting the reality around you. How you think can orient you in the world to either achieve unparalleled success or go about your days in obscure mediocrity.

The choice is yours to think the way successful people think or think like those who are not. And if you choose to think like wealthy people do, you will begin to attract money to yourself the way they do. And there’s nothing magical or spooky about the way this works.

2. How to Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegie’s classic self-help book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, is one of publishing history’s greatest bestsellers. This book has helped man influential people over the years. Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in history, who made his barely fathomable fortune off investing in businesses, cites it as an important factor in his success.

Strangely, Charles Manson, who persuaded his followers in the 1960’s to commit a series of murders in his name, told authorities he read How to Win Friends & Influence People. He said he used what he learned from it to get people to do his bidding, even when it was something so extreme and violent. So, the caveat with this is use what you learn from the book for good because it is that powerful.

There is an extreme form of positivity and optimism that shines throughout the book. And while some people may see this as cause to dismiss the book as pie-in-the-sky, glassy-eyed nonsense, it is more important for people to read now than ever before. After all, this is a time where most of us are breathing an atmosphere thick with cynicism and ironic detachment.

So, smiling more and having a sunny disposition, as well as bringing an honest-to-goodness, sweet earnestness to your words and actions is in short supply and therefore, quite valuable. That glowing beneficence and extending a token of goodwill for others is so welcome in a world where life can so often be marked with suffering, tragedy, and distress. Genuine sincerity and caring will take you far all on their own.

3. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, died a few years back and his passing did not go unnoticed. The man heavily innovated the industry for self-help genre books back in 1989 with the wildly successful publication of his mega-hit book. Although you should read the book for more details, here they are:

Be Proactive

Divide your perception of the universe into two circles: The Circle of Influence and The Circle of Concern. Work from the center of your circle of influence while also working to expand the circle. Don’t waste time worrying about anything that’s in the circle of concern but not in the circle of influence.

Begin with the End in Mind

Imagine what you want in the future, then reverse engineer it. Work backward from the end result to where you are today to know what steps you have to take next to get to the end result, the future you want to have.

Put First Things First

There’s a difference between leadership and management. Leadership is moving relentlessly toward your most important vision, even if it’s not urgent today. Management is putting out each day’s urgent but unimportant fires. You should prioritize in the following order:

  • Important and urgent
  • Important and not-urgent
  • Not Important and urgent
  • Not important and not urgent

Think Win-Win

This is an important and influential concept in business. Look for ways that both sides in a negotiation can win. Life is not a zero-sum game. Everyone can win. People who are good at making sure everyone wins to get to run the world.

Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

Be empathetic. Care about others. Always listen well and make sure you understand what others are thinking, and where they’re coming from, and what’s important to them. There is an ancient Greek philosophy that sums this up well in three words in order of importance:

  • Ethos: This is your personal credibility. How much do people know you for your work ethic and dependability?
  • Pathos – This is the alignment with the emotional trust of another person.
  • Logos – This is logic or the rational part of your presentation.

Synergize

Synergy is the combination of people’s complementary strengths through productive teamwork. The goal is to achieve an emergent whole to accomplish more than the sum of each individual’s work without synergistic cooperation.

Sharpen the Saw

This means making continuous improvements to your productive capacity. It involves balancing short terms gains with consolidation. However, you need to take some time away from expansion to improve your ability to expand. Don’t keep sawing all day. At some point, you must stop and sharpen your saw.

4. Ender’s Game

If you’ve ever strolled past the science fiction section in a bookstore, you’ve seen this book. It’s considered by many to be the greatest science fiction novel ever. It might look like a long read, but it goes fast. You can probably finish it in a couple of days.

The novel tells the story of a young boy named Ender Wiggin who goes to Battle School, a military space training academy. It is in orbit around the planet Earth. They designed the school to train students to become hardened soldiers for the inevitable future conflict with an alien race known as “Buggers.” The aliens have already attempted to invade Earth once and they were barely able to repel them.

So, to survive, humanity must prepare for another conflict. Also, it will have to win the second one decisively to prevent future invasion attempts by the Bugger race. That is why they chose Ender Wiggin for the task of leading the Earth’s military against the aliens. They groom him from a young age to be the next superstar general who will be the savior of all humanity.

They chose Ender at the beginning of the book because the mild-mannered young boy was the victim of bullying in school. So when it came to the point of violent confrontation, he didn’t just fight back to defend himself. As soon as Ender landed a blow that knocked the bully to the ground, he did some quick calculations in his head.

He realized that the bully would try to pick future fights with him. Ender knew he would have to come more prepared next time. Maybe he would have some friends with him or bring a weapon. Also, Ender realized others might see him as a target for the same reasons this bully did and try to fight with him.

So Ender decides to take decisive action to win future fights to keep the bully and other potential bullies away from him. The generally congenial Ender then jumps on the fallen bully and beats him to within an inch of his life. This sent a clear message to other students not to mess with Ender.

When he told the authorities in his school why he took it so far, even after defeating the bully, the military took an interest in recruiting Ender. They recognize he had the mindset humanity would need to win its next existential interstellar conflict. The book will shape you into a better person as you read it. Interestingly, it’s required reading on the U.S. Marine Corp’s reading list.

5. The Definitive Book of Body Language

The Definitive Book of Body Language is a game-changer about the importance of body language in communicating information between human beings. In fact, the words you use when you interact only make up approximately 10 percent of the importance of the information you are expressing.

The tone of how you say those words conveys another 20 percent of the importance of information in any face-to-face human exchange. The other 70 percent is all body language, non-verbal communication through gestures, postures and even the movement of your legs. Body language can reveal the essence of your thoughts and feelings when you talk to someone.

And people use non-verbal communication with each other automatically, without even consciously thinking about it. However, subconsciously, they are aware of what they are saying and what others are saying to them through body language.

For instance, that feeling or intuition about what someone thinks of your sales presentation is not a mysterious “sixth sense.” However, it could be the ability to understand what their levels of eye contact mean. Or perhaps you noticed how they kept their arms folded and their body turned away from yours like they were bored and tired of the conversation.

Through the scientific study of body language, the experts who wrote this book reveal exactly what the body communicates as people interact in business and other interpersonal situations. They teach you how to read others like a book, as well as how to communicate and present your ideas through the cultivation of your conscious fluency in body language.

In the book you will learn:

  • How to use palms and handshakes to gain control.
  • The most common gestures of liars.
  • How the legs reveal what the mind wants to do.
  • The most common male and female courtship gestures and signals.
  • The secret signals of cigarettes, glasses and makeup.
  • The magic of smiles including smiling advice for women.

How to use nonverbal cues and signals to communicate more effectively and get the reactions you want.

6. The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich was a 2007 New York Times bestselling self-help book. The author was Timothy Ferriss, an American writer, education activist and serial entrepreneur/investor. The book was so successful it spent more than four years on The New York Times Best Seller List. It’s been translated into 35 languages now and has sold over a million copies globally.

The 4-Hour Work Week teaches readers about what Tim Ferriss refers to as “lifestyle design.” It acts as a manifesto to repudiate what he calls the traditional “deferred” life plan. This is when people work grueling hours at a tedious job they hate. Also, they take few vacations for decades to save up money to finally relax in retirement at the end of their lives.

Ferriss developed all his ideas for The 4-Hour Workweek (4HWW) while dealing with the challenges of 14-hour days managing his sports nutrition supplement company, BrainQUICKEN. Stressed out by all the work and suffering from a lack of any free time, Ferriss took a three-week vacation to Europe. His vacation became an indefinite tour of travels throughout Europe, Asia and South America.

During that time, Ferriss improvised a streamlined methodology for checking email once a day and outsourcing small daily tasks to virtual assistants. The book is the fruits of his personal escape from a workaholic lifestyle. The outline and structure for The 4-Hour Workweek came together from a series of lectures Ferriss gave about high-tech entrepreneurship at Princeton University, his alma mater.

He jokingly named his lecture series, Drug Dealing for Fun and Profit. The lectures were to share his own personal experiences in automating his company and deliberately designing the lifestyle he wanted. His book has been a life-changer for many readers.

7. Rich Dad Poor Dad

This bestselling book on wealth creation and the mindset of the wealthy made waves when it hit the bookshelves in 1997. Robert T. Kiyosaki wrote it to advocate for an atrociously under-valued practice in our society: financial education and the cultivating of financial literacy. It also covers building wealth through investing in cash-flow producing assets. They include real estate investing and starting your own business.

It also helps to increase your financial IQ to improve your business ability and success. The premise of Rich Dad Poor Dad is that growing up in Hawaii, Robert Kiyosaki had “two dads.” One was his rich dad, who was his friend’s dad, and his poor dad, who was his own, biological dad. His own dad was one of the most highly educated and well-respected men in Hawaii at that time.

However, he had no financial IQ, no understanding of money, and a negative attitude toward money and wealthy people. Robert’s dad was an intellectual and academic with all these degrees, but always struggled with money problems his entire life. But Robert Kiyosaki’s rich dad had to quit high school to take over his family’s business when his father died. So he did not have a high school education, much less any college degrees.

But what he did have was great financial literacy, which he learned from managing his family’s business from a young age to keep food on the table. By the time he was teaching young Robert about money along with his own son, Kiyosaki’s rich dad was amassing one of the greatest real estate fortunes in the Hawaiian Islands.

The lessons in the book cover what Kiyosaki learned from both his rich dad and his poor dad about money: He talks about the difference between assets and liabilities. Additionally, he discusses how the rich teach their kids about money that the poor and middle class don’t. The book also covers the real definitions of income and expenses, as well as assets and liabilities.

Kiyosaki explains how cash flow is the necessary foundation for financial literacy and education. He uses these fundamentals to redefine common financial understanding, like how your primary residence is not your asset, but the bank’s asset and your liability. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to be money wise.

8. Humans of New York: Stories 

This book is ideal for those who love imagery. Photographer Brandon Stanton began Humans of New York (HONY) as a project to create a census of New York City through his photographs. In 2014, the UN chose Stanton to travel around the world on a mission to build international ties between the citizens of the visited countries and his HONY followers.

His published his first book, which includes his photos and their accompanying interviews, in 2013. The book immediately topped the NY Times Bestseller List. He published his second book, Humans of New York: Stories, in 2015. This time, the captions are more in-depth and touching than before, as people in the book open their lives to the reader.

Each story makes the reader feel more human as they learn of the hardships and joys of those around them. The internet may allow us to communicate with people across the world, but we rarely ask strangers the questions Brandon does. It is only with these questions that people learn lessons and open their eyes. Some stories will leave you with a chuckle or tears, while others may offer some life-changing advice.

But, most importantly, the book will inspire you to be better to others and to yourself. The first, most important step to success is loving and believing in yourself, as well as the path you are taking. After a few pages, you are likely to wonder what your caption would be. This thought alone has encouraged readers to make changes in their lives. Who knows – maybe they will have an inspiring story to share one day.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a high-intensity instruction manual on how to close sales. Rather, this is a classic self-help book brimming with important principles to guide you on your journey to success. Og Mandino has given the world a short read that will inspire long, but powerful reflection. The book is meant to empower readers and teach them how to motivate themselves to be a successful entrepreneur.

The Greatest Salesman in the World tells the story of a poor boy named Hafid in Ancient Jerusalem in Biblical times. The book may seem dated, but it discusses powerful concepts that are timeless. Hafid aims to learn the secrets of success from a wealthy trader who owns a chain of stores. The trader is at death’s door and regards Hafid as a son, so he shares his secrets.

The wealthy old man gave him 10 scrolls on the condition that he keep them safe and only pass them on at the end of his life. The first scroll sets the tone for the others. It tells readers they have the power to change their life by adjusting their attitudes, habits and beliefs. They sold more than 13 million copies of the book. In fact, many readers have reported that the positive concepts changed their lives for the better.

The book’s concept may sound corny to you, which is understandable. But, the effects of positive thinking can have a strong influence if you make positive changes in your actions and attitudes. The book is a seed of positivity that will bear fruit to keep you nourished on the tough road to success.

10. Dream Save Do 

Whether you are yearning to create art, start your own business, travel or make the world a better place, reading Dream Save Do is a good place to start. Even if you are still unsure about the details, but you know you want a change, this book will help you get there. Betsy and Warren Talbot have created “An Action Plan for Dreamers” that has proven helpful in many success stories.

One such story belongs to the actual creators. The Talbots wanted a change back in 2008. After two years of sculpting their dream into reality, they succeeded in traveling the world and continue to do so today. Dream Save Do has been called a practical alternative to the 4-Hour Work Week, also on this list. The practical advice and realistic views presented in Dream Save Do make it an inspiring, straightforward read.

Although the Talbots road to change took plenty of planning and hard work, their methods are all do-able. They reveal these methods along with handy money-saving advice. Other tips they offer include how to prepare yourself for unsupportive reactions from others as you follow your dream. Betsy and Warren give advice on how to deal with the opinions and also how to stay committed, despite your own self-doubts.

They strongly emphasize staying motivated and focused as you work towards achieving your dreams. Overall, this book is the perfect companion for those traveling a confusing or pricey road to success. Through case studies and step-by-step practical advice, Dream Save Do gives users the framework to map out their dream and plan accordingly. The book is very action-oriented and stresses that life is too short to wait for “someday.”

11. The 100 Dollar Startup

Imagine that this is your last day working for a boss that isn’t you. Now imagine that in your not so distant future you are doing what you want and how you want to do it. Thousands of people across the world are doing just that. According to Chris Guillebeau, it’s possible for you to do the same. In The 100 Dollar Startup, he offers guidance on how to live a life of adventure and purpose while earning a decent living.

Chris, who is still in his early 30’s, is yet to hold a “real job” or earn a regular paycheck. Instead, he generates his ideas into income, which he then uses to live the adventurous life of his dreams and help others. Therefore, you can trust that he does have some idea what he’s talking about. In this book, he gives readers a glimpse into what is possible with only a small investment.

The book focuses on 50 intriguing case studies, chosen by Chris from a thousand others. All cases showed individuals who built their business on $100 or less but now earn over $50,000. Almost all the cases have a similar message to find the line between what you’re passionate about and what others want to buy. Chris says monetizing a passion can lead to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

According to Chris, the move to being your own boss can begin as a small venture by investing a little time and money. Once you’ve identified a market for your passion and acknowledged Chris’s tips, you will be ready to take the plunge.

12. Start a Freedom Business 

Full-time traveler and entrepreneur, Colin Wright, has collected a bunch of handy practical tips for this book. Wright aims to assist aspiring entrepreneurs in building their profitable dream businesses. Many inexperienced businessmen fall prey to the startup trap. This leads them to tradeoff their business for an amount that could be earned without it.

But this book doesn’t stop at creating the business, but also how to maintain and keep it growing so an unwanted tradeoff is never an option. Each chapter covers tons of valuable information for starting and maintaining your own business. For example, the first chapter explains what a “Freedom Business” is, the reasons you might want to start one and how to do so.

The next chapter focuses on the importance of shifting your perspective to reach your goals faster. Wright also covers numerous business models to help guide you as you start your own. Besides this, Wright also includes interviews with various successful entrepreneurs. These stories are sure to encourage any aspiring entrepreneur who is still on the fence about the value of being their own boss. Reading the career success stories of other entrepreneurs can help motivate you and keep you on track.

The various resources Wright provides makes this a perfect read for those who want to start an online business. If blogging, designing, consulting, or writing is one of your strengths, Wright’s book will help you hone in on these skills and monetize them. If you want to learn more about the Freedom Business path, including how to fund it, read this book right away.

13. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Future 

You probably know Michael J. Fox as a famous actor, but it turns out he’s also a high school dropout and a decent writer. In his autobiographical book, Fox not only focuses on dealing with challenges life throws at us, but also how to thrive in them. This book is a short collection of the memories he’s had and the life lessons they taught him.

The book tells how Fox dropped out of high school to pursue his dream of acting. He then went on to receive several honorary degrees for his acting and writing. He tells his story in the hopes that it inspires others to recognize opportunities to use their abilities and passions. Don’t get him wrong though.

Fox supports higher education and acknowledges that there are fewer dropout success stories than that of college graduates. However, he makes the point that learning isn’t restricted to a classroom, but it reaches beyond that. Fox uses his own experience as an aspiring actor to bring home the point of how being a starving artist taught him economics.

Jokes aside, this autobiography is a worthwhile read for anyone who feels they lack the qualifications to be successful. Fox shows how committing to your dream and persevering through adversity will help you succeed. He also mentions his Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis and how he remains optimistic despite it. Fox writes his autobiography in a way that encourages readers to roll with life’s punches.

With the establishment of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease research, you can be certain he practices what he preaches. Overall, this autobiography is for anyone who considers themselves an underachiever and needs a success story to give them a little push.

14. Breaking Night 

For a more intense success story, Liz Murray’s memoir is the ideal candidate. The book tells the incredible story of a homeless teenage girl who eventually made it to Harvard. She believed that her life would never be the result of just one circumstance, but her willingness to persevere whatever the situation. Murray writes that her parents loved her, but their drug addiction made her life hard.

She had to skip class to avoid bullies who would tease her for her dirty clothing and untidy hair. Her family unraveled when she was 15, and she was forced to live on the streets. She learned how to survive, but eventually decided to take control of her own future. This decision took her back to high school, where she squeezed four years of schooling into two.

Murray worked full-time during the summer and did her homework on subway trains, in hallways or wherever she could. Her hard work and belief in her future and her potential worked out in the end. While homeless, she received a New York Times scholarship and made it into the Ivy League.

Her story is unforgettable and will inspire you to persevere on the tough road from zero to hero. Breaking Night gives its readers hope that hard work and determination pays off and it’s always worth a try. Murray also teaches the importance of self-love and belief. Had she given up on herself, she would not have had the motivation to fight for the future she wanted. Going from zero to hero is because of Murray’s perseverance and optimism.

15. The Power of Habit 

This book is a lengthy read, but worth all the life-changing knowledge it provides. Duhigg uses research to explain how people form and change habits. Everyone knows of someone who was a smoker, a heavy drinker or was out of shape and managed to change in only a short time. You may have wondered how they did that.

According to Duhigg, it’s simple. They just changed their old habits and formed new ones. The book describes how doing something enough, whether good or bad, can make it become a habit. Duhigg refers to memory loss research to help explain this concept. Researchers found that patients with memory loss were unable to show where the kitchen was but could find it when hungry.

What helped them were cues, routines and rewards form the habit loop. The cue forces the brain to find the routine as it is encouraged by the potential reward. Smoking from stress is a classic example of this. Stress is the cue, smoking is the routine, and the feeling the cigarette offers is the reward. Duhigg goes on to explain that changing a habit involves keeping the cue and reward but finding a different routine.

This logic applies to other habits that may be holding you back from achieving your true potential. But this is just a glimpse into the knowledge this book has to offer. The book focuses on understanding how habits work and how new ones can change your life.

These 15 books could take you from zero to hero in 60 days. Pick up one of them to learn how to be more productive, grow your company, or simply start reading more books.

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