I’ve never really been a bookworm. I only got into reading books when I was about 20. I was starting to get more and more interested in self-development and books are a great tool for that. I can’t say for sure, but the first memory I have of a book that really impacted my life was the 4-hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.
Since then I’ve read a number of books (some good, some bad) that have helped me develop myself into the person that I am today. They’ve changed the way I look at myself, at work and the people around me. They’ve made me a better person, friend, partner and leader and greatly improved my quality of life and so I want to share them with you in the hopes that they might help you as well.
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
Number one on my list is obviously (if you’ve ever met me) this wonderful book on vulnerability. Brené Brown is my hero. I talk about her to anyone I meet and often can not shut up about it. I have 3 copies of this book at home that I lend out to anyone that gives even the slightest hint of interest. I doubt I would ever date anyone that refuses to read it ;-) and some of my best connecting conversations with people have been about this book.
Why you ask? Well, I’ve always been someone that has a hard time dealing with emotions. For part of my life I believed I just didn’t have them or was incapable of feeling as deeply as the people around me. Which makes it hard to connect with other people. I never fully realised this until I read her book in 2014. I discovered how essential connection is for anyone to be a happy person and how much I was avoiding it because I was afraid of letting the real me be seen, of being vulnerable. Brené is such an inspiring writer that immediately after reading it I professed my love to someone close to me. I dared greatly. And even though it wasn’t mutual, I’ve never regretted the vulnerability.
Ever since then Brené has been my guiding star when it comes to realtionships, vulnerability, understanding my own decision making and that of other people, helping me to accept myself for who I am and showing that to the world.
Honestly, I could go on forever but I’ll keep it for aby now separate blogpost. I’m sure you’ve gathered that I think this is a must-read. And I’ve never met anyone who read the book and was disappointed.
You can buy Daring Greatly on Amazon and Bol.com or listen to it on Audible and have Brené herself whisper in your ear. Trust me, you’ll love it! If you sign up for the free Audible trial here you get 2 free audiobooks.
Number of times I’ve read this: somewhere between 5 and 10!
The 4-hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
Like I said, this was the first book I remember having a big impact on me. Not on a personal level like Daring Greatly did, but on how I viewed work and work-life balance.
He taught me that time is an entrepreneur’s biggest limitation to growth. You only have a limited amount of hours in a day or week. And if you’re running a business, that time is worth something. Once you figure out how much you are worth in an hour, it’s much easier to outsource tasks to someone else that can do it cheaper. Which frees up time for you.
He shares strategies and tips on how you can set up a business while maintaining a good work-life balance. Which is not necessarily ‘work’ for 4 hours and ‘live’ for the rest of the week. No, it’s what you make of it, what you decide you want to spend your time on. Which can be growing your business, or it can be to spend time with loved ones and hobbies.
Number of times I’ve read this: probably 3
Relateren kun je leren by Patricia van Lingen
First of all, I read this book in Dutch and it’s not available in English. But I still wanted to include it here because it has really shaped how I view relationships and how I view myself in relationships.
The main thing Patricia wants to explain in this book is that you attract a partner that only loves you as much as you love yourself. So if you really don’t love yourself you’ll end up in a relationship that’s not good for you. Not a new idea, I know.
But what I took away from the book was that men and women are inherently different (I won’t talk about wether that’s nature or nurture) and that men (in general) have a more ‘tough’ way of living, of taking charge, of being the provider, of giving. Whereas women (again, in general) are more prone to receiving, being taken care of, being ‘softer’.
Now, when I first read this, I had a bit of a resistance to this idea. I myself am naturally quite ‘tough’ and am a women that likes taking charge. Though after reading the book, I’ve come to understand how ‘being softer’ brings out the more vulnerable side of me, the side that feels and connects. And even though I’ve not subscribed to the idea that the man is the one that takes charge and the women simply undergoes his decisions, I have found that I can benefit from letting go of things more and following someone else’s lead. It allows me to just be and relax in a relationship instead of always wanting to make everything better.
I don’t think this book is for everyone, but I do thing everyone can get something out of it if you can look past the male-female typecasting.
Number of times I’ve read this: about 3