Self Help Books I Love
My favorite self help books right now:
When I was a freshman in high school, my dad signed me up for Dale Carnegie courses along with his company’s salespeople. For those of you not familiar, these are leadership training courses, typically for adults. I was 14. I kicked and I screamed and probably cried about it, but I didn’t have a choice: my father was adamant that I follow through.
Why did my dad, CEO of a third generation family road construction company, feel that his 14 year old daughter could benefit from these training courses? Well, what I didn’t know or understand at the time was that most people can actually benefit from this type of personal and professional development. It forces us to see ourselves more clearly, define our strengths (and weaknesses) and develop neutral self awareness. My dad knew I was smart and motivated but also very shy and a bit standoffish around people I didn’t know. “Aloof” is how he often described me and he sensed this would affect me professionally in the future. I am a devoted and loyal friend and colleague but I am a tough nut to crack at first, even still, and that’s why I am constantly trying to evolve and improve.
I took another Dale Carnegie course when I first moved to NYC, fresh out of Colgate University, and job hunting. This was when I finally picked up How to Win Friends and Influence People and read it cover to cover in pretty much one sitting. I was sending out resumes and writing cover letters and one of the cover letter writing tips actually landed me my first interview. Many years later, when I joined The Meier Team at Corcoran, the first thing that Brian recommended I do was to read this very book. It’s his bible (and he recommends listening to the audiobook version). So I picked it back up. It’s the type of book you can always refer back to for reminders and tips and will probably always be a reference and inspiration for me.
One of my more recent discoveries is Jen Sincero’s, You are a Badass, which is super inspiring. It has a permanent spot on my nightstand now so if I’m tossing and turning at night thinking about a million things or I’m feeling a little anxious, I pick it up and scan a chapter or two, and it resets my frame of mind. In essence, it gives advice on how to create a life you LOVE: building the career you want, finding the partner of your dreams, making money you never thought you could have etc. Sounds kind of cheesy but it’s not. Jen’s writing is entertaining, thoughtful and witty and you probably won’t put the book down.
OK, I can’t lie, I really liked Fredik Eklund’s, The Sell. Fredrik is a larger than life character most widely known from the Bravo show Million Dollar Listing, but nobody can dispute that he is one of the most successful real estate brokers in NYC, and I was really curious about how he got to where he is today. I read it while I was studying for my real estate license and it was a nice break from the monotony of my online course. It’s somewhat industry specific but can really be applied to selling or marketing any product. He tells a lot of good anecdotes and offers pretty solid advice. Behind the bold patterned suits and over the top behavior is an extremely intelligent, motivated and successful individual (and there’s good reason for the flashy outfits and quirky high kicks, which he outlines in detail).
Last but not least, Erika Andersen’s, Be Bad First: Get Good at Things Fast to Be Ready for the Future. Not a page turner for me, but very good. Erika, who is a leadership readiness expert, posits that success in today’s world requires the ability to acquire new knowledge and skills quickly and continuously, despite our very mixed feelings about being a novice. So in order for us to be successful, we have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable about starting new things and possibly being terrible at them. That’s really one of my biggest fears: totally sucking at something and the embarrassment and humiliation that ensues, and that fear has often held me back in life. In today’s world, information and technology is changing so quickly that skills become outdated fast. We have to stay on our toes and adapt with agility, which doesn’t always mean we achieve mastery immediately. What I have learned and what I have to keep telling myself: often times you have to screw up in order to become successful. And that’s totally OK.
What else should I check out?