You Are What You Read
Until my twentieth birthday I had only ever read one book through all the way. Yes, one book. I was a literary noob, and I had never even considered the benefits of reading. After attending a seminar (you can read more in detail about this experience in my writing called The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned) I began stockpiling books and reading more than I ever had in my life. A year after the seminar I had read over 80 books, and I had built a library of around 250 books. It was after that first year that I discovered the truth that you are what you read.
The changes that I began to make in myself were all a result of my decision to start reading great and uplifting books; books that would take me higher in life if I lived by the principles they taught. I felt that there were significant differences in my confidence, my will to succeed, and my excitement for life. I had become a new man because I decided to start taking reading more seriously.
We all know that we must feed our bodies healthy foods if we want to live with true vitality. On top of this, I believe that it is even more important to feed our minds the right kinds of food, in the form of inspiring, educational, and time-tested books, blogs, or magazines.
Our bodies are important, but without a sound mind we would not even be able to make use of a healthy body. When the mind is healthy, all other areas of our lives soon harmonize together. Trashy tabloid magazines are like junk food for the mind. The only thing they do is dull our senses and drive us down into mediocrity. No good, in my view, could ever come from reading tabloid magazines. Who cares about what the Kardashians are doing? What are you doing? A good book on human psychology or human achievement is like health food for the mind. It nourishes the brain and grows your horizon with every page. I get so excited when I’m reading a great book because I know that the next page could hold some information that could completely change my life!
I would like to encourage you to start building your own library, if you haven't already. When I started building my library I took some advice from the master of self-development, Jim Rohn. He said “Your library needs to show that you are a serious student of health, life, spirituality, culture, uniqueness, sophistication, economics, prosperity, productivity and sales.” He also gave other great advice on building a library. He said that you should have a book about Gandhi and a book about Hitler so that you can see how incredible a human can be, and also how low a human can get. You need to show that you are a diverse student, one who looks at life from all sides.
I believe it is best to start with the classics that everyone recommends in the personal development sphere. To get you started I would like to recommend 12 books that have changed my perspective on life and questioned my paradigms the most. These books are very close to my heart, and I know that if they can change me in such incredible ways then they can do the same for you. The books, in order of importance in my life, are:
1 - Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
2 - Letters From a Stoic by Seneca
3 - Outwitting The Devil by Napoleon Hill
4 - The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss
5 - The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
6 - Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
7 - How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
8 - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
9 - Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins
10 - Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker
11 - The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
12 - The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
If you will buy and read these incredible books I can guarantee that not only will you see terrific changes in your mind and in your life, but you will absolutely have a desire to build an even bigger library for yourself. These books will hopefully inspire you to take reading more seriously, if you don’t already. Stephen R. Covey said, “the person who doesn't read is no better off than the person who can't read.” This quote is very dear to me because I was once a person who didn't read, and I can see how much reading good books has changed my life. Now I take my favorite books with me wherever I go, whether it’s down to the beach of over to the Mediterranean on a cruise contract. I will not leave the house without sufficient information to keep my mind working. To me there is nothing more agitating than to be waiting in a lobby or sitting on a bus with nothing good to read. When I travel the world doing music work I need to take at least five of my favorite books. It has been expensive with the excess baggage sometimes, but it has absolutely been worth it.
Once you have begun reading more and building your library you should take some advice from the Stoic Philosopher Epictetus; “Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.” If you will cultivate a deep love for good literature, and if you will show your learning through action and deed, you will find that your rise to the good life will be much smoother, and I can guarantee that you will see some incredible changes throughout your entire life as you expand the mind.