Here are a few books to which I owe my sanity. Books open doors and these are no exceptions.
Getting Things Done, an amazing book on CEO-level productivity, is perhaps the single most important book I’ve read in my life. I’m an idea man and a borderline crazy-maker and I needed a system that could catch my good ideas and move them along. My first reaction to listening to David Allen’s seminar was to cover my entire refrigerator with yellow Post-It notes. Upon doing so I unlocked an energy that kept me up for 2 days. I have listened to his seminar over 10 times and own a copy of GTD on paperback as well.
How To Stop Worrying And Start Living is something like a collection of thought experiments that slowly decrease your anxiety. It can change the way you think if you give it a chance. What’s the worst that could happen, I ask ironically.
The 4-Hour Workweek is a how-to on how guide for how to do most business ventures in a more efficient way, and how to employee others to do work for you. If you are in a cubicle and you’ve never visited another country, this book will make you cry and then you will be better for it. I recommend this book to anyone.
If you want hobbies for a year related to fitness, this is the book to get. Run and swim faster. Run a marathon. Put on muscle. Fall asleep easier. Reverse “permanent” injuries. Learn to spot bad science in news articles. There is a LOT in this book and it is fascinating. I’ve read it a dozen times. It has a lot of dietary recommendations that are quite interesting and remarkably close to Paleo, but some of the science isn’t vetted and could be considered dangerous. (The diet is mostly great, but one thing in particular that I recommend against is avoid the tip of using fructose to blunt blood sugar increases from a meal. Clever, but this actually forces your liver to soak up glucose and I think it contributes to fatty liver disease. Don’t quote me–I’m not making a claim here. Do your own research there.)
The Power Of Full Engagement interests me because it almost single-handedly introduces an entire new field of scientific study: Oscillation. Your mind and your body both suffer when forced to do the same thing every single day, with no rest and no play. If you are anything like me, you’ll start to form many hypothesis like: It is healthy to sit in perfectly air-conditioned air 24/7 or does the body need variation? Does your body get healthier if you smoke a cigarette once in a while? What about an alcoholic drink? Is it more productive to play video games in between working than to try to work non-stop?
The Power of Now is the most bizarre book you’d ever find me reading. I remember turning on the audiobook and the first 16 seconds were so existential I burst into laughter. I was up for the challenge and so I continued to listen and I have since learned to respect Eckhart Tolle’s somewhat unique philosophy. I listened a second time as soon as the audiobook had ended, just so I could understand what he was saying. I owe a great deal of moment-to-moment happiness to his teachings, as strange as I initially thought they were. Eckhart has many books and resources but none of them surpass The Power of Now with its Question and Answer format. It answers all concerns and it leaves little room for excuse to not practice happiness right away.