1. How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger
My sales manager at National Mutual gave me this book to read as a young man in 1987. I remember thinking: "How can a book about a life insurance salesman in New York in the 1940s help me?"
Well it did, and still can help you too.
Sure, it was a different world, but every principle he displays from personal organisation, to setting goals, to helping people buy something they want rather than selling them something they need, still rings true today.
His personal story of overcoming adversity is worth it alone.
2. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
This is a childhood classic for grown-ups. It’s one of the most inspirational and beautiful stories I have ever read.
It reminds me that, as the Prince says: "What is essential is invisible to the eye."
It’s easy in life to get wrapped up in work or striving, and this book gives balance in showing the essence of who we are is indestructible and loved.
3. True Grit by Charles Portis
What? A book about a John Wayne movie? Yes, indeed.
Success often comes down not to talent, not to luck, not to networking – but to True Grit.
And the heroine of the story, Mattie Ross, shows such grit in a manner that reminds you that you can succeed in adversity, against the odds – if you refuse to accept what the world tells you that you should accept.
Read this book – and then watch the 1969 movie for which the Duke won his only Oscar!
4. Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch
In a low place in your life? Blaming everyone else but don’t know how to take the first step to recover? This is the book for you.
A friend gave it to me when I was lonely and depressed after my first marriage failed.
I gave up on it as spiritual quackery after the first chapter. Then another friend gave me this same book, and I took it as a sign that I better read it.
Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, this is a challenging and motivating book for change – as God says, if everything you believed got you to this point, isn’t it insanity to not want to change things?
5. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson
Reading essays that are well-researched, cogently argued and gracefully constructed is, for me, bliss for my brain.
These 12 essays are simply magnificent in examining the human condition and showing that yes, we possess the ability to live the life we want, if only we have the courage to be honest with ourselves.