12 Life Changing Books That Will Make You Think

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Non-fiction books have changed the way I think about things, changed my attitudes, and beliefs.

With non-fiction books, I find that lots of what is written I can take it or leave it. However, when I find a good one, I think to myself ‘Where has this book been all this time’?!

My memory is not great so I will read a book and forget a lot of it even if it’s a good one.

So, for my favourite non-fiction books I write out little summaries of my favourite points and try to go back and read them. Every time I go back over my favourite points, I remember that point again and think how good it is!

To put my book summaries of my favourite non-fiction books all down in one blog post would be far too long and unwieldy.

So, I’ve taken my top 3 takeaways from each book. It was tough to select three as these books really are jam packed full of great advice.

Life Changing Books: #1) Principles of Success by Jack Canfield

  • You only have control over three things in life; i) Emotions, ii) Thoughts iii) Behaviours

These drive your experiences. If you don’t like what you experience on a daily basis,

change your thoughts, change your habits, change what you read, change your friends.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will keep getting the same results.

  • Find people who have done what you want to do and copy them. Seek out a teacher; coach;

mentor, internet resource, etc. Can you interview them for 30 min? Can you shadow them for a day? One of the great strategies for success is to act as if you are already who you want to be i.e. thinking like them, talking like them, dressing like them. Success leaves clues.

  • Seek feedback regularly and often. Look for patterns in the feedback. If one person tells

you something they may be biased, but if three people tell you the same thing then there is some weight behind it

Life Changing Books: #2) Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson

  • Try and catch yourself when you start thinking bad negative worry-some thoughts. Think about something you are looking forward to i.e. holiday, a nice meal. Put steps in place to fix what you are worrying about. Will this be important 1, 3, or 6 months from now?
  • There will always be people who do things differently than we want them to, people who disagree with you, and people who maybe you don’t understand. There is a place in this world for everyone. Try to ‘seek to understand’ others i.e. what they are trying to say, where they are coming from, why they are doing what they are doing, and what is important to them?
  • The trick is to be grateful for good moods, and graceful in bad moods. Remind yourself that bad moods will pass, not to worry about them too much. Try and surround yourself with people when you are in bad/low moods. A low mood is not the time to analyse your life, if you have a legitimate problem it will still be there when your state of mind improves. Next time you feel low, remind yourself that this shall pass, and it will!

Life Changing Books: #3) What to Say to Yourself when You Talk to Yourself by Dr. Shad Helmstetter

Whatever thoughts you have programmed into you, or have allowed others to program into you, are affecting, directing, or controlling everything about you. Some of the programming we are not even aware of.

The more you think about something in a certain way, the more you will think that’s the way it is i.e. the more you think about yourself in that way, the more you will believe yourself to be that person.

What controls our success or failure is our behaviours. If we feel good or positively about something, we will behave more positively. If your feelings are positive and productive, your actions will follow.

It is our programming that sets up our beliefs, which then determines our attitudes. These then affect our feelings, which directs our behaviour, which determines our success or failure.

If you want to change the way you live, change your programming

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Life Changing Books: #4) Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

The poor and the middle-class work for money, the rich make money work for them. Don’t spend your whole life working to put money in someone else’s pocket.

People need to understand that it’s not how much they make, but how much they keep.

The rich with corporations 1) Earn 2) Spend 3) Pay Taxes

People who work for corporations 1) Earn 2) Pay Taxes 3) Spend

Life Changing Books: #5) Four-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

The 80/20 principle is the idea that 80% of your productivity comes from 20% of your time, and the other 20% of your productivity eats up 80% of your time.

Abandon concepts of retirement as holy grail and absolute income is the most important thing.

Relative income – i.e. the amount you earn per hour of work – is the most important thing.

Ask yourself “If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?”

Life Changing Books: #6) How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie


Remember people’s names. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.


In talking with people, don’t start by discussing things of which you differ in. Instead, talk about (and keep emphasizing) the things you have in common.

Keep emphasizing, if possible, that you are both striving towards the same end and that your only difference is one of method and not of purpose. Try to keep your opponent saying “yes, yes” instead of “no”.

Once in the “no” state, a person will try to remain consistent with that statement in order to keep up their pride. The skilful speaker will at first, get a lot of “yes” responses. This sets the psychological process of the listeners moving in the affirmative direction.

  • Try to put yourself in that person’s shoes. Think about why they act how they do or why they would say something like they did.
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Life Changing Books: #7) How to Change Your Life by Benjamin Bonetti

Laying the first brick of change is key, if you do not your aim/dream/goal can never become a reality. Much like a property renovation show, things may not go to plan, but with the right mindset and solid foundations, any obstacle can be overcome.

A clear image of the desired outcome is KEY

You need to be very clear on what you want to achieve.

Recognizing what you want to change is the first step to making that change.

Life Changing Books: #8) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Habit #1: Be Proactive and Take Control of your fate:

Effective People are proactive. they assume responsibility for their own lives. They look for solutions.

The outer circle is your ‘Circle of Concern’. This represents all the things you’re concerned about, ranging from the electricity bill to the threat of nuclear war. Inside this circle is the smaller ‘Circle of Influence’, which represents all the things you can do something about.

This is what effective people worry about, what they can control.

Habit #2: Write a personal mission statement and integrate it into your life

Have the desired end firmly in your mind before you start any task. The better the mental picture of the action is, the better its execution will be.

It’s much more productive to spend time anticipating an action and visualizing the desired outcome than just ploughing hastily on, possibly in the wrong direction.

Unfortunately, many people spend their time working toward goals that don’t really matter to them, because they never stopped to define them properly.

Being efficient means getting the maximum amount done in the shortest amount of time. But this is pointless if you don’t know what you’re striving for and why you’re doing it. It’s a bit like climbing a ladder that’s set against the wrong wall: you’re making progress, but in the wrong direction.

#3) To achieve your goals, it’s essential to stay:

  1. a) physically fit:

you need to exercise regularly, eat healthily and avoid undue stress.

  1. b) mentally well

Meditating, read plenty of books, avoid spending too much time in front of your television screen and keep a journal

  1. c) social and emotional healthy

seeking to understand others, building positive relationships with them and working on projects that help improve their lives.

Life Changing Books: #9) The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

  • Prolonged association with people who only speak positively of others will cause you to do the same. Make no mistake; you are affected by the company you keep. From the friends you keep to the advice you take, ensure that your environment is of the highest quality.

Why? Because it’s rare for a single person to “pull themselves up” to a higher-level job or position of success with no help. More commonly, you’ll be “lifted” by your equals and subordinates – the people around you.

  • After a while, we get so used to negative thinking that it feels normal. Our negative thoughts work like mental monsters: the more we let them into our psyche, the stronger they become, until they completely overpower our positive thinking. Eradicate all negative thoughts by thinking and acting positively, every day.
  • If you believe you can accomplish your goals, others will start supporting and believing you too.
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Life Changing Books: #10) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

  • Sometimes we feel like victims, but positive change only happens when you take full responsibility for your life. Sadly, many of us go through life as if our experiences were imposed upon us. Whether it be a failed job interview, a rejection from a loved one or even a missed bus, we see ourselves as the unhappy victims of life circumstances.
  • There is no point looking for an easy life, one without adversity. The only way you’ll get ahead is to find a goal that you want to struggle for. However, it’s equally important to say no to all the struggles and tasks that don’t bring you joy. Be ruthless and stop chasing the things in life that don’t make you happy. Concentrate on the few great things – and don’t give a f*ck about everything else.
  • Whatever you do in life will be a struggle, so you need to find the struggle that’s right for you. Since struggle is unavoidable, you must find something worth struggling for. You should identify what you really enjoy doing. Working on something that makes you happy means you’ll not only be undeterred by the constant battle; you’ll grow to love it. What do you really want out of life? In other words, what is your ultimate goal? i.e. the achievement you want written on your headstone?

Life Changing Books: #11) The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

  • Time is your most precious resource, so it’s crucial to figure out how to use it effectively. To do so, keep a time diary to find out where your time goes. Since time is so valuable, be aggressive about cutting out things that kill time, such as unnecessary meetings or social obligations. Just because someone invited you to dinner, doesn’t mean you have to go.
  • As an executive, you must make decisions and stand by them – even in the face of criticism.

Making decisions is difficult. But executing them can be even more challenging, as it takes a lot of courage. Still, if you want to be an effective leader, you must follow through on your decisions.

  • To make the right decisions, listen to alternative viewpoints and learn from past outcomes.

There’s a common misconception that the most effective organizations are the ones with the “best” people. In fact, organizations are successful when they motivate employees and support employee self-development.

Life Changing Books: #12) The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

1) When faced with an obstacle, most of us get angry, fearful and frustrated. We think it will derail our plans and hinder our progress. But obstacles can become advantages, and far from limiting us, they can lead us to success.

  • In order to perceive obstacles clearly, we must learn to see objectively.

When you encounter an obstacle, how do you respond? Do you think the world might be against you, and that nothing ever goes your way? Instead, you should be thinking about taking a step back, looking at the situation objectively and thinking, “What can I do to turn this obstacle into an advantage?”

So how can we achieve this objective perspective? By learning to detach yourself from your own personal – and highly subjective – view of the situation. You can do this by imagining that you are advising a friend about overcoming the obstacle. What would you say to them? How would you let them approach it?

  • Our will enables us to accept what we cannot change and change what we can.

This philosophy was developed by the Stoics in Ancient Athens and Rome, such as Epictetus, Seneca and Emperor Marcus Aurelius. They focused their will by always asking themselves what was in their control and what was not. They believed that we could not change external factors. These include natural events, other people’s actions, the inevitability of death, etc. They also believed, however, that we could change internal factors. These include our emotions, judgments, attitudes, responses and decisions.

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