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I love reading but I am also a very methodical reader who does not usually plow through books. I like to take my time working through a book slowly and absorbing as much of it as possible.
I often like to start by reading the very end of each chapter and then going into the book knowing a little bit more of what to expect, in terms of structure and ideas (only for non-fiction of course). And as I work through books sometimes I might even re-read a chapter two or three times before moving on.
Over the past year, as I have gotten more into reading, I have realized that timing might be the most important factor when enjoying a book. A book can be jam-packed with value but if it is not the right time for you to read that book, it may just not stick.
These four books below just stuck with me this year and while I think the timing was perfect for me in some cases, I also just think that these are fantastic books that everyone should take a look at.
I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi is a must read for someone who is wanting to get serious about straightening up their finances. The author has an easy to read and humorous style of writing and you will likely fly through the book.
If you are new to credit, investing, savings accounts, and budgeting this book will walk you through how to get those things rolling and once you finish the book you will be ready to really begin your financial journey.
It is one of the few financial books that actually has good insight about credit cards and how to handle your credit as well which I really appreciated.
I also like how the author is realistic about why it is ok to splurge on certain things that you love. Everybody is different and likes to spend their money in different ways and that is not a problem. There is such thing as guilt-free splurging — you just have to do it consciously.
I appreciated the easy breakdown of a lot of financial basics in this book but what really got me hooked was the emphasis on automation. This emphasis is what honestly inspired me a lot for WalletFlo.
Putting as many things in your life on auto pilot as possible is a great way to reduce stress and energy that can be used up for other much more valuable things in your life like spending time with people and doing things that you love.
Which brings up the next book.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen is the type of book that can 100% change your life. This book teaches you a system of how to take control of every aspect of your life in order to live a more stress free existence.
The idea is that we constantly have hundreds/thousands of ideas and obligations popping in and out of our heads that weigh us down in ways that sometimes we are not even conscious about. But once we take control of these obligations by identifying them and implementing a system to deal with them, our lives will feel less stressed and we’ll actually get stuff done.
This book does require a lot of time on your part to fully implement the system. The good news is that in order to benefit you don’t necessarily have to implement the system 100%. I have implemented it in about 75% of my life and in those areas I do feel like I have taken control.
Using the Notes app on my iPhone, I have created a digital extension of my brain so that I always have all of the resources I need to get things done.
Whether those things relate to running a business, keeping up with groceries and nutrition, new hobbies, retirement, or keeping up with Christmas gifts, and dreams and aspirations, everything has a place that I can find it in.
If I ever feel like I am getting behind or overwhelmed, I simply tap into this ecosystem of organization and get myself back up to speed. Even if I don’t get everything accomplished, I still get reminded of what needs to happen and that feels much better than feeling like I need to do something but not knowing what I need to do.
And if you can’t get there to implementing the full system, there are some small tips that you can take with you like the two minute rule. The two minute rule states that if you can get it done in two minutes you should do it right then and there on the spot. I have stuck with this rule for the most part and it has allowed me to get little things done all the time like sending out emails, taking the trash out, the list goes on.
The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz is a little bit dated I will admit. However, this is truly a classic in my opinion. This is a book that will remind you of how special you are or can be and on the power of your thoughts. It helped me to think of my brain as a bank that I am constantly depositing to or withdrawing from.
If you are constantly depositing negative thoughts into your brain that is what you are going to be filling it with and pulling out of it on a daily basis. But if you start to pay extra attention to the thoughts that you allow to circulate through your head then you will begin to fill your life with more positivity.
As you start to think about success more often, your mind gets conditioned to think about plans for producing success. It’s like when you get infatuated with something like a car and all of a sudden you start to see it everywhere you go. If you get infatuated with success, you start to see little opportunities for you to jump on all the time. They may not all work but all it takes is one.
This is just not think happy thoughts BS either. There are legitimate neuroscience benefits to thinking positive by reinforcing positive neural networks in your brain. If you are not familiar with neuroplasticity, I would recommend looking into it by reading The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge.
You can literally reclaim real estate in your brain by focusing on positive images, memories, and thoughts. And that can have all sorts of positive effects on your physical and mental health. Brain regions that process pain, stress, and anxiety and depression, can literally shrink, allowing you to feel less of them. It’s pretty crazy stuff.
I read some really good books this year and it was hard to narrow it down to just four but I thought I would share these with readers because I truly think that a lot of people could benefit from some of these in various ways. If you have any of your favorite books you would like to share, feel free to do that below!
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.