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Want to hack your life? it’s easy if you do it with books

Updated: May 23, 2019

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I was recently asked what I was reading and it made me realise that lately I have been mainly focusing on improving my soft skills rather than undertaking technical training, but to be honest they are equally important when it comes to being successful.

I also realised that I have rarely had the time to sit down and read a book but thanks to Blinkist I have been able to keep up my personal development but in a fraction of the time.

The app, which is available on Apple and Android compresses the bestselling non-fiction books into bitesize pieces text and audio, which take just 15 minutes to digest.

It costs just £12.99 if you pay monthly or £6.67 if you pay in one go and you can get a free seven-day trial.

Obviously, a compressed version can only give you the key takeaways and fundamental ideas, which sometimes is enough, but with others, I still have to go and read the books in full.

That’s where Audible comes in so I can listen to the books or either a Kindle version or the physical book.

The books I am reading right now, revolve around three core skills:

• Storytelling for business

• Taking Actions

• Time management

This might sound out of place to hear from someone technical but let me tell you it’s not.

I wish I’d learnt more about public speaking and time management when I was younger, so I’m not playing catch up and when I feel more confident on those topics I will turn my attention back to more technical studies.

Here are some books which have proved to be really inspirational for me and they might just work for you.

Stories for Work: The Essential Guide to Business Storytelling  — Gabrielle Dolan

This is by far the best book I have read on storytelling. It provides a straight up technique and method to really nail storytelling for business.

Hooked: How Leaders Connect Engage and Inspire — Gabrielle Dolan

This book taking things a little bit further and re-enforces the techniques and provides some really easy to follow do’s and don’ts.

The Laws of Human Nature — Robert Greene

This one by Robert Greene is more focussed on psychology and behaviour than the previous two books but offers it is a great follow on from Hooked: How Leaders Connect Engage and Inspire.

Take action

The 48 Laws of Power  — Robert Greene

I have to say when I read this book it left me with mixed feelings. I had another go at it and still left me a bit puzzled but takes the idea of going the extra mile ruthlessly. The book does not shy away from pulling out all the tricks and techniques to leverage other people’s work to reach the top and quickly. I beg to differ with the book’s view but it did help play devil’s advocate.

The Execution Factor: The One Skill that Drives Success  — Kim Perell

This one takes a good look at taking ideas from concept to execution and looks in detail at everyone’s biggest opponent - procrastination.

It also provides an exciting view on passion, bringing it back to ‘pati’ which derives from the Latin word meaning “to suffer or endure.

Game Changers: What Leaders, Innovators and Mavericks Do to Win at Life  — Dave Asprey

This one is on the same theme as the Execution Factor but focusses more on getting clarity on the vision and not getting distracted by the 3 F’s and impulses!

Time management

The Free-Time Formula: Finding Happiness, Focus, and Productivity No Matter How Busy You Are — Jeff Sanders

This book takes a nice spin on the concept of free time. By fundamentally re-imagining the idea of time, the book identifies what we do and gives us a choice to do it or not do it.

The approach allows a shift of mindset about what we all do with our time.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever  — Marie Kondo

You’ve probably heard all about this book as it accompanies the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

The expert declutterer and professional cleaner takes you on a journey to achieve order out of chaos and explains how messy situations and homes can consume most of our time and energy.

The More or Less: The Life-Giving Benefits of Owning Less — Joshua Becker

This book also focuses on the idea of less is more and the burden of clutter. It talks about getting rid of useless or unused things to help you get order in your life.

Create Space: How to Manage Time, and Find Focus, Productivity and Success - Derek Draper

This book takes a slightly different approach, by focussing instead on the idea of creating space, both mental and physical, to generate new and quality plans.

It also covers self-improvement and the mindset of finding your purpose in life by making time and analysing where you want to be – something I recommend everyone does from time to time.

The 5AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life  — Robin Sharma

As a bonus, I have to mention this one. I don’t quite follow the rules as I get up at 6 am and not 5 but it provides an excellent inspiration on how starting early (or finishing late) can give you the edge and the advantage in life.

A note to remember: Don’t waste the time you got by waking up early or going to bed late and always make a plan.

I often find that when the mind is foggy and it’s hard to concentrate we just end up wasting time – unless we have a plan of course!

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