Five Motivational Books You Must Read Before It’s Too Late

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Your schedule is tight. You’ve got a million things to do, and you feel that if you have to read one more word on a screen or a page, you will lose your mind. So why should you take time to read a motivational book? Besides, you read several business blogs a day.

While there is certainly nothing wrong with reading blogs, a blog post — which is usually 500 words or so — cannot possibly take you into a subject in depth. A book can. A good book can challenge your thinking and prompt you to change your way of doing things.

Just as you need to do for most good things in your life, you must make the time to read a book. Put down your phone and pick up a book to read on the train or on your lunch break. Set aside 15 to 30 minutes before you go to bed at night. Once you’ve made that initial investment of time, the book will draw you in.

By reading an author’s advice, you will gain insights into your own way of doing things that you weren’t able to see before. We’ve put together a list of five of the best motivational books for business. Some are more well-known than others. Some are new and some are old. Pick a title that interests you at your local book store or download it for your e-reader and get ready to be challenged to shake things up a little.

List of five of the best motivational books for business

Flying without a Net: Turn Fear of Change into Fuel for Success

by Thomas J. DeLong

Harvard Business Review Press. 2011

Thomas DeLong, Professor of Management Practice in the Organizational Behavior area at the Harvard Business School, offers a clear, practical guide for examining what factors are holding you back from success.  He focuses on the fear most of us have of failing and how we can avoid this trap. In the book, he describes four factors that keep us from our goals: busyness, comparing, blame and worry.

Throughout the book, DeLong asks his reader pointed questions that allow for self-assessment. Because the questions are so direct and on target, you may feel he has been spying on you as you work.

Favorite quote: “Flying without a net doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that begins with the awareness of the forces that escalate your anxieties, act as traps, and cause you to turn to unproductive behaviors for release. The process also involves adopting counterintuitive practices that give you the courage to do the right things poorly before doing the right things well. And it’s a process that requires you to be vulnerable, something that driven professionals don’t like to be.”

How to Win Friends and Influence People

by Dale Carnegie

Simon & Schuster. 2011 (reprint)

One of the very first self-help books, Dale Carnegie’s 1936 classic stands up surprisingly well today because it is based on Carnegie’s keen understanding of human nature. In fact, given the many impersonal ways we communicate today, Carnegie’s emphasis on one-to-one communication is more important than ever.

Carnegie stresses that financial success is 15 percent professional knowledge and 85 percent “the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.” He writes with clear examples, using historical figures, business leaders, and everyday people as examples. The core idea behind Carnegie’s philosophy – one which Warren Buffet says changed his life –is that we can alter other people’s behavior by altering our reactions to them. Not only is this book helpful in business, it will give you a blueprint to becoming a better person.

Favorite quote: “Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve? Good! That is fine. I’m all in favor of it. But why not begin on yourself? From a purely selfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable than trying to improve others – yes, and a lot less dangerous.

Leverage Your Laziness

by Steve Bookbinder & Jeff Goldberg

Sound Wisdom. 2013

Don’t let the title throw you off. This book combines humor and sound advice to help you accomplish more of what you want to do in less time. The authors — self-confessed “lazy” guys – set out a practical plan for success that starts with you asking yourself these three questions:

1. Even if nobody paid me to do it, I would still…

2. Time flies when I am helping someone to…

3. If I were the character of a major Hollywood film, my character would…

In an easy-to-read format, this book offers strategies for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit to recognize personal strengths and to spend time developing those strengths more effectively and efficiently.

Favorite quote: In this book, we are challenging you to undertake a great mission…Completing this mission is easy, not hard, and it gives you the right to say in no uncertain terms, “I choose not to do that which I do not enjoy and I will take my chances with what I do enjoy.”

The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal

by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz

Free Press. 2005 (reprint)

We all have the same 24 hours each day, but why do some people get so much more accomplished than others? Loehr and Schwartz maintain that in order to be successful, we must learn to manage our energy. This book examines four primary energy sources: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual and offers practical ways to re-define and re-energize each area. The authors — who are the founders executives of LGE Performance Systems, an executive training program based on athletic coaching techniques — incorporate actual research rather than just theory, and their ideas are easy to understand and to implement.

Favorite quote: Feeling forever starved for time, we feel we have no choice but to cram as much as possible into every day, but managing time efficiently is no guarantee that we will bring sufficient energy to whatever it is that we are doing… The ultimate measure of our lives is not how much time we spend on the planet but rather how much energy we invest in the time we have.”

The Power of Positive Thinking

by Norman Vincent Peale

Important Books. 2013 (Reprint)

You’ve probably heard of this book because its title has become almost a cliché, but what you may not know is that when it was first published in 1952, psychologists and theologians alike accused its clergyman author of being a crank. Today, numerous scientific studies have proven the book’s basic premise– that an optimistic attitude makes you healthier, happier and more likely to succeed.

Positive thinking, as Peal sets it out, is not about sticking your proverbial head in the sand, but about changing the way you look at problems and setbacks – and at yourself. If you’ve read this book before, read it again and you are sure to gain new insights based upon where you are in life now. If you’ve never read it, you’re in for a treat.

Best quote: “You may permit a fact to overwhelm you mentally before you start to deal with it actually. On the other hand, a confident and optimistic thought pattern can modify or overcome the fact altogether.”

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