Life Changing Books

I spend a lot of my free time reading books and I listen to audiobooks almost anytime I’m doing mindless activities (yard-work, dishes, driving, etc…) This is a list of the books that have impacted my life the most and what I liked about them.



Tony Robbins Books


Tony Robbins taught me to disassociate my emotions from my circumstances. I can feel however I choose to feel. It doesn’t matter if good or bad things happen. There are people in unimaginably difficult circumstances that are able to be happy and people that lead the most luxurious lives that are miserable. His books also teach how to look for solutions to accomplish your goals instead of giving up when faced with difficulties. He teaches to take responsibility for what happens in your life.


Your Money or Your Life, Joe Dominguez and Vicky Robbins


This book taught me to value my time and my freedom. It taught me that I make far less than I thought when you subtract the money I need to spend in order to work and the time I need to spend in addition to my normal work hours. It teaches you to think about the fulfillment you will get for your spending in terms of how many hours of your freedom you must give up in order to buy it. The other thing that the book teaches is to value being self-sufficient as it is a more robust way to live because you are capable of handling more situations on your own.


A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy  by William B Irvine


This book made Stoicism more accessible for me living thousands of years after it was first practiced. It gave me a good foundation for later reading the translations of the older documents. It taught me to focus only on what I can control and to be happy as long as I am doing the right things and know my intentions are always good. Then the results will not matter to you except to learn from so that your future actions can be better. You only live in the present because you can’t change the past and the future is unknowable.  

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life


This book is especially useful in my personal finance class that I teach to high school seniors. It contains exercises that help students think about what work would be most fulfilling for them and steps toward finding or creating that job. This book is also useful for adults that aren’t 100% happy with their work. It teaches you to brainstorm about things you would enjoy and then find ways to test out your ideas without going through the expense of several years of training before finding out if you will actually enjoy the job. 18 years old is the legal limit to get a tattoo that will last your entire life, but your choice of career at this age can and probably should change as you get older and wiser.

4 Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss


Rich Dad Poor Dad created a drive to retire early but 4 Hour Work Week was the book that spurred me to think about what I want that retirement to look like. Tim Ferriss convinced me to think about what I really want out of life and then taught many techniques for leveraging my time so that I am free to do those things. I showed this book to a former roommate and he internalized the teachings far better than me allowing him to start working from home and then fully automate his job. This gave him the free time to do everything that he wanted.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey


7 Habits of Highly Effective People is the first personal development book that I read. I was in high school so I found it particularly transformational. The 7 habits are:

  • Be proactive
  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Put first things first
  • Think win-win
  • Seek first to understand
  • Synergize
  • Sharpen the saw

This book changed my mindset to be much more mature emotionally and helped drive me to work toward personal improvement. I recently re-read the book and noticed that many of the things I found insightful in other books were topics covered in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, but I either didn’t have enough experience to fully grasp their meaning while I was in high school, or I had forgotten over the years.

Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki


This was my first introduction to having my money make money for me and the possibility of early retirement. This book makes the concepts very accessible and I love it for that. Upon reading it later, there are many nuances that I didn’t catch when I was younger that I now know to be true. I do have some reservations with the book. There is something about Robert that feels fake to me and I have trouble trusting his words. I also feel that there are sections that are biased to serve his politics. Other than that, I still think it is an excellent book because there is no need to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

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