Great Book Titles To Read and Beyond

Reading is undoubtedly one of the best ways to improve cognitive abilities and expand knowledge. Not only that but it’s also a great way to maintain mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, becoming more and more common in the fast-paced world we live in. 

On the other hand, if you look closely at the lives of the most successful people in this world. You would find that all of them, read intensively every day. Like Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, known as the greatest investor of all time. 

It’s reported that he spends about 80% of his time reading. When he started his investment business he would read between 600 to 1000 pages a day. That’s huge. According to Forbes, his current net worth is $105Billion.

He and his business partner and friend, Charlie Munger accreted their success to reading. The same goes for Bill Gates who reads 50 books per year. Elon Musk said that he learned rocket building by himself, by reading books. It’s a fact; successful people read, and read a lot. While it cannot be the only reason for their success but certainly it makes a big difference.

We at Swish want our users, to be the best they can be, so we’ve made for you a list of great books, recommended by the most successful people in this world. There is no better Return On Investment (ROI) than the one you get from reading, learning, and improving your skills. Buying books would cost a few dollars and the benefit you get from it (if applied to your life) can be infinite.

With that said let’s dive in!  

Article Structure 

Books on How To Think Better

Books on Flow and Peak Performance 

Books on Fitness

Books on Finance 

Books on Business

Books on Careers

Books On How To Think Better

Improving your thinking would have a tremendous effect on many other aspects of your life like better decision making, well-informed opinions, different ways to look at problems and solve them. Below are some of the well-selected books on the subject.

The Great Mental Models, by Shane Parrish

On sale on Amazon $12.89

Shane Parrish is a former Cybersecurity Expert at Canada’s Intelligence Agency. Back in 2001 when he found himself being loaded with bigger responsibilities. He realized that he’s making decisions that not only did affect his colleagues but also their families, not only his country but also others. 

He knew he needed better decision-making skills. So he turned to some mentors and read everything he could find on better decision making. He even took some time off to get an MBA. Only to realize that the theory was in divorce with reality. So instead he learned more and more about the people mentioned in the lectures like Charlie Munger. 

Charlie Munger thought about problems in a different way: he uses what he calls a latticework of Mental Models. A mental model is an explanation of how something works. Like, supply and demand is a mental model of the economy. First principle thinking is one of the core mental models often used by many successful people like Elon Musk. It is about separating facts from any assumptions and breaking the problem into its basic elements.

Mental models are founded in many fields like physics, chemistry, the military, engineering, and much more. In this book, you will acquire the wisdom of the greatest minds, like Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Nassim Nicolas Taleb, Peter Kaufman, and many others.

This book will change the way you think, how you see the world. It will not only help you find a better way to think about problems but actually avoid them. 

Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress and CEO of Automatic, said about the book ‘I’m really glad this exists in the world and I can see that I will be recommending it often.’ 

The book has 3 volumes and you can get all of them for as little as $56. But if you’re lucky you could get $50 as a gift if you have Amazon’s reward visa card. View the offer.

You could also check out the author’s blog Farnam Street, where he is on a mission to “help you master what other people have already figured out.” 

How Not To Be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg

 On Sale On Amazon $9.69

Did you ever think about how the math we learned back in school could be applied in real life? Well in this book you will get the answer. This is a book designed to give you the tools to apply very complex mathematical concepts and theories into your everyday life.

Jordan Ellenberg is a mathematical professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. To tell you he is a very smart man. The book was well written, in a beautiful way that was accessible, wry, and very interesting. 

If you think that math is just a bunch of abstract stuff then this book will prove you wrong. Full of intriguing stories ranging from political campaigns, lottery, the existence of God, how to keep planes from being shot down? the probability of developing cancer, why tall parents have short children? and many other real-life situations explained by a mathematical approach. 

You might find it hard to digest first. But just take your time with it. I assure you it will be worth your effort. After you read it and re-read it again, you will find that your thinking is sharper. This is the power of mathematical thinking. 

“How not to be wrong” was on the list of recommended books, by Ganju Nick, CTO, and co-founder of $700 Million Company ZocDoc. On Sale On Amazon $9.69

Super Thinking by Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann

On sale on Amazon $18.49

Gabriel Weinberg is the founder and CEO of the company behind the search engine DuckDuckGo(advocating personal data protection, ranked 4th in the USA), while Lauren McCann is a statistician and researcher, holding degrees in mathematics and operation research from MIT. 

The book presents a set of tools (mental models) designed to help you break through complex problems to be able to make better decisions. Making decisions is something we do on an everyday basis. The quality of our decision and how we approach a situation will have a big impact on our lives. 

We want all the time to make the right decision. But if you look at this same concept by the mental model “inversion” instead of making the right decision you would think of how to make, fewer wrong decisions or fewer mistakes.

Ideas on this book are drawn from fields as varied as economy and biology. With many visual presentations to help you tackle the concepts more easily. You’ll find that we know the theory level of so many things, but we never know how they can be applied.

You could get the book with a free audible version from Amazon. On sale on Amazon $18.49

Books on Flow and Peak Performance.

Have you ever experienced this, you’re so much focused on a task, that you were, let’s say disconnected from the world around you? This is what is called the state of flow or peak performance. A state of intensive concentration so much strong that it prevents you from any form of distraction.

During one of the performances of the German Orchestra, the Berliner Philharmoniker (ranked one of the top orchestras worldwide, not surprisingly!). The piece being played then was Edvard Grieg’s “ In the Hall of Mountain King” a very difficult piece with an intensive, fast rhythm. What happened is that one of the violinists’ members broke 2 strings of his violin.

I watched a video of the concert and I was stunned. That person stood out, he was playing at a much higher level. He was so immersed in the performance that he damaged the strings. This is Flow at full expression!

Runners high also is a form of flow, experienced after running a long distance and having gone through so much pain. One of the Elite runners said about his best race “I’ve never felt lighter in a race. I didn’t hurt the whole time. It was an out of body experience

Sincerely I could relate to that myself. It’s been almost a year now since I started running on a regular basis. To describe what I have experienced, I would say that you feel you’re light, you don’t even feel the weight of your body carried by your legs, no pain, your mind is fully engaged, sharp, and clear (free of useless thoughts like “correct your posture, it’s painful”), it felt like I wasn’t running anymore. Moving my legs became effortless. 

The only problem with the flow or peak performance state is that it doesn’t last for a long time. The description above about my experience would amount to maybe 15+ seconds. That’s for an amateur like me but, Pro Athletes experience it for a longer time. Despite, much research about flow it is still elusive and not fully understood.

What we know for sure is that flow is experienced when you’re fully engaged in a task you enjoy be it physical or intellectual. Imagine what we would be able to accomplish as humans if only we could control the happening of flow or extend its time. Fortunately again this is something we can train for. Here I have selected these books about flow and peak performance. 

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

flow by mihayli

On sale on Amazon

As a starting point to his researches, the author tried to answer two main questions. What people felt when they enjoy themselves and why. After interviewing hundreds of experts (artists, writers, musicians, athletes) and thousands of people from different walks of life. He discovered that the answers were all, almost the same, something he would translate to the state of Flow or optimal experience characterized by complete immersion in one task, distorted sense of time, joy, fulfillment, and a sense of control.

In the book, you will find real-life examples of flow. Results of the interviews, done by the author and his team. It will be an interesting voyage between exploring concepts of consciousness, how flow is experienced through work, body, and thoughts. But also, seeing the potential for flow in our daily life, and how a purpose-driven life, gives more place to flow state.

On sale on Amazon$9.61

The Rise Of Superman by Steven Kotler

the rise of superman by steven kotler

Buy on Amazon

Back in 1990 when Steven Kotler became a journalist, extreme sports like surfing, skiing, rock climbing, snowboarding, were a hot topic.  So basically, if you were good at any of these sports and could write about them there was a lot of work. In order to get the opportunity, he lied to his editors (pretending to know about extreme sports) and started chasing extreme athletes across oceans and around mountains. 

During the next 10 years of his life, the author who is not an extreme athlete broke 82 bones. Every time he returned back after 4 or 5 months of recovery, he noticed incredible progress has been made.

What he would leave as impossible to do, was done and iterated upon. For example for many many years, it was impossible to surf a wave above 25 feet. There were physics papers to prove the impossibility of it. Yet now, surfers are routinely pulling into waves over 100 feet tall. That caught the attention of author Steven Kotler. So he asked himself what does it take to achieve the impossible?

In order to answer this, he looked at business tycoons, artists, athletes, technologists. He discovered that no matter the domain, you could find an expression of ultimate human performance. Characterized by the same signature, a state of consciousness known as Flow. 

This is the story behind how author Steven Kotler got interested in, flow or ultimate performance. In the Rise of Superman, you will discover the science behind the state of flow. The author presents, his book as being “a book about the impossible”.

An amazing read if you’re interested in re-discover our true potential as human beings. Again this is not a how-to method explained to reproduce Flow but you will get an understanding of it, illustrated by stories of extremes sports athletes. 

You will be provided with science data ranging from neuroscience to sociology. Basically the more your read about flow the better you prepare yourself for it.  Right now author Steven Kotler is the executive director of Flow Research Collective studying ultimate human performance. You could elevate your performance with one of their training. Obviously, if you can afford it already.

Great book by the same author, The Art Of Impossible, peak performance in the lives of CEOs, entrepreneurs, elite athletes.

Bold, a business-oriented book good for people considering entrepreneurship full of stories of people like Lary Page, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk, Richard Branson…

One Tip :

Now, with these books, I recommend listening to what are called binaural beats. They are brain entertaining sounds designed for specific purposes like increasing concentration, inducing sleep, increasing creativity, lucid dreaming, meditation. You may have heard of it or not. These specific sounds were produced by the Label Hemi-Sync, after intensive scientific researches. 

To help you achieve flow while concentrating on your task. I selected The Breakthrough Cds of Hemi-Sync, which is specifically designed for PEAK PERFORMANCE. I have listened to it myself and it’s quite useful. 

There is indeed a change in the level of my focus while listening to it. I believe the more you’ll listen to this the more it will be easier for your brain to access the flow state. You can try it for yourself but I’m very positive you’ll find it very useful. For some of these CDs, you can listen to a free sample on Amazon or Amazon music.

breakthrough for peak performance  breakthrough for peak performance     hemi-sync breakthrough for flow

Books on Fitness

Now let’s shift to movements and physical strength.

Functional Training and Beyond by Adam Sinicki

functional training and beyond

On Sale on Amazon 

If you’re fed up with your workout routines where you repeat almost every day the same movements. Everyone can feel bored at a moment or another, even with something as healthy as exercising. This is absolutely natural because we are wired to be bored of something we do every day in the same way. Think of work, the everyday cleaning of your house, and many other things that we repeatedly ought to do and feel sometimes very bored with.

Well with this, you won’t ever be bored with your workouts. Why? Well because it will give you an overview of the most famous training styles. You would find incredible information about a variety of training programs and styles like bodybuilding, calisthenics, weightlifting, martial arts, parkour, Samurai training, Animals movements, Bruce Lee training, even training borrowed from famous comic characters like Batman, Superman, Songoku, Vegeta, and many other styles you may have never heard of.

Author Adam Sinicki is a full-time fitness and health writer, personal trainer, app developer, webmaster, presenter. He is a big advocate of differentiating your training. As he says sticking to one style is unnecessarily restricting and limiting. I stumbled upon one of his videos a few months ago when I started my calisthenics journey (still struggling to do a pull-up though, but I continue anyway). He has a youtube channel called  The Bioneer

Just watch a few of his content and you’ll find that he approach workouts in a different way. He not only talks about, how to train, but he goes beyond that to talk about the mind-body connection which I think is very important and neglected by most of the Fitness Youtubers.

He talks about, ways to maximize your energy level, get better sleep, better recovery, mental thoroughness and training, diet, peak performance, and many other aspects related to training. His way to bring all this together is amazing.

The book is for me a valuable investment because not only you would know about many workouts approaches as listed above but, you’ll know more about your brain, cognitive performance, productivity, personal development. You can also check out his blog full of insights about many subjects. Very useful content. Functional Training is On Sale on Amazon

The New Toughness Training for Sports by Jim Loehr 

the new toughness trai ning for sports

Buy on Amazon

Dr. Jim Loehr is the most famous performance psychologist, who was behind many world-class athletes like the tennis player Monica Seles. In this book, you’ll be given techniques and strategies you could implement in your training to perform better and level up your game to be the athlete you want to be. 

No one could ever achieve anything significant in his life without stretching his limits and going beyond his own limitations. You need mental toughness to get better. Sports don’t revolve around just physical ability, but how strong you are on the inside, will make all the difference. You could tell that the most successful athletes are undoubtedly the most mentally strong ones. 

Dr. Jim Loehr here challenges you to win the biggest competition you’ll ever have which is against your own self-doubt, self-limitation, fear, and insecurities. Check on Amazon

You can also check out the Book Boundless by Author Ben Greenfield who is a very known fitness and health figure. He was voted as America’s top personal trainer by The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Many of his books were best-sellers like Beyond Training mostly about endurance, health, and life hacks.

Books on Finance

Finance is an amazing field of study. I believe that you cannot succeed in life without at least a basic knowledge about its major concepts, like investing, budgeting your money, saving, valuing assets, interest, compound interest, inflation. 

If you ever manage your personal finance the right way. It would be a good indication that you would succeed in handling or managing a business. Understanding how to deal with money is something that every one of us should pay attention to. Because it may well determine the overall quality, let’s not say your life, but your financial independence. 

The Richest Man In Babylon by George Samuel Clason

the richest

Available on Amazon $6.99

This book was first published in 1926. Now after almost a century after its first publication it’s still considered to be one of the best books on personal finance.

The book is full of stories of merchants, tradesmen, of ancient Babylon, around 4000 years ago. It will give you rules to follow on how to generate more money, how to invest your money, how to protect your money. 

I loved the book because it was easy to read and above all very practical. What you will learn in the book, will be applicable right away to your personal finance. It is a title that is often recommended and referred to by many successful people like, businessman and investor John Daymond. Available on Amazon $6.99

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

rich dad poor dad by robert kiyosaki

Buy On Amazon $11.36

How come, that money which is a very important element of our life wasn’t even taught in our schools? The nine years old Robert Kiyosaki asked his father to teach him about money. But his father said he can’t help with the matter and asked him to go find his friend’s father who was at that time a successful businessman.

So author Robert Kiyosaki started his money and financial education at a very young age from a man who was dealing all day long with money. In the book, you will learn more details of this story but more importantly, about money.

This book has been named USA Today’s Number One money book two years in a row after its first publication in 2017. It was featured as a best-seller in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

Robert Kiyosaki who is now a successful entrepreneur and investor will challenge all of what you know about money. You will get a reset about, how to deal with money, how to earn more money, the best ways to invest it, how to use debt as an asset and invest it. 

It will even teach you how to deal more effectively with your taxes. This is an eye-opening read. Very practical and easy to follow. Written in a very engaging way. Buy On Amazon $11.36

The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J Stanley

the millionaire mind by thomas j stanley

Available on Amazon

Dr. Thomas Stanley holds, a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Georgia. Most of his writing is about the wealthy people in America. In this book, you will learn about how they think, how they see the world. It is an analysis of the success factors of affluent people, their lifestyle, and even how they choose their spouses. 

If you ever happen to want to be a millionaire it would be a good strategy to first learn about the millionaire’s mindset. 

By the same author, you can check The Millionaire Next Door which focuses on how the rich people of America acquire their wealth and how they manage it, and overall it gives surprising facts about the mindset of the well-off people.

Books on Business

If you want to live the thrilling adventure of starting a business, or you’re just interested to know more about the world of entrepreneurs. If also you wonder how to create and sustain your business below are some of the best books on the subject.

The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries 

the lean start up by Eric Ries

Available on Amazon

After its publication in 2011, this book has become a movement urging businesses to look at their management and practices with a fresh eye. The lean startup explains that if your want to succeed with your startup you need a sustainable business plan. The book gives you methods on how to find one. 

It challenges you to get over some assumptions that may cause the failure of your business. Also, you’ll learn about The Build-Measure-Learn loop is a powerful method, the more you iterate through it, the more likely your business will succeed.

The book also involves many other practical ideas you could apply to your business right away no matter if you just have an idea, or you’re already developing a new product. Like how to use an MVP (minimal viable product) to test your product with and get feedback from users or customers and then make the needed corrections. Available on Amazon

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right, Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

jab jab jab right hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

   Buy from Amazon

I really find the title so inspiring the business world does resemble boxing, full of jabs, uppercuts, and hooks. That’s a great title. Now this book is more intended for marketers, businesses who want to stand out in the noisy world of social media.

It will demonstrate that social media is essential for successful product marketing. How a great marketing campaign relies mostly on the quality of the content provided. How to gain more exposure in social media through creating outstanding content.

How Twitter can be a great way for marketing your products if used properly. It will also explain to you how businesses don’t get till now, the power of marketing through Pinterest.

The author has been voted by Bloomberg BusinessWeek (previously BusinessWeek) among the 20 people that every entrepreneur should follow. Check out on Amazon

Zero to One by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters

Zero to one by peter thiel wirth blake masters

Peter Thiel co-founded the financial technology company Paypal and is a well-known investor in the most successful and influential businesses on this planet like Facebook, SpaceX, Stripe, and many other successful businesses.

The book challenges you to be innovative. While coping ideas of others is fine and you can succeed in it. However, the author wants you to innovate and create new life-changing ideas new products. The author argues that building something different from others is a key to sustainable business success. 

Nonetheless, he affirms that this success will need many years of diligent work. He also explains in the book that to succeed a start-up or any other business needs a solid foundation built upon the right people who ultimately have the same interests.

You will also be provided with the 7 questions every business should answer. Check Zero to one on Amazon 

Books on Careers

Most of us spend a big portion of our waking hours working. So if your work is something you love doing then congratulations, you’re among the privileged people who never work a day as the saying goes “do what you love and you’ll never work for a day”.

The problem is that most of the working forces are doing something that they feel no connection or commitment to, they gain no joy from doing their work. In the USA itself, it is estimated that 60+% of Americans don’t like their jobs.  What can we do about that? Well, maybe author Cal Newport has something to say about all of that. 

So Good They Can’t Ignore you by Cal Newport 

so good they can't ignore you by cal newport

Author Cal Newport holds a Ph.D. in Electrical engineering and computer science from MIT and is an assistant professor at Georgetown University, he also writes about productivity, personal development, and focus. In this book, the author thinks, a bit differently about “follow your passion”. He argues that it is in fact bad advice. He illustrates this with a real-life example of people who ended up loving what they do. Because they acquired mastery, autonomy, and relatedness about what they do. 

Here he gives the example of the Environmental writer Bill Mckibben. Who at first didn’t have a unique or innate passion or talent for writing but ended up being one the most successful writers at least within his field. He says that the man succeeded simply because his work ethic was unique, he could produce an absurd amount of articles. He would keep writing and writing till he became this successful. 

Cal Newport talks about Career Capital and says if you want to succeed in your field of work or attain your dream job you should keep acquiring and developing your skills and adopt a craftsman mindset. He talks also about deliberate practice (first introduced by Anders Ericsson and then Malcolm Gladwell) as key to career success

While you may not fully agree with what the author has to say, but it’s a different way of looking at career and passion, and mostly you’ll get some good advice on how you can get to the work that you probably end up loving.

Available on Amazon

Deep Work By Cal Newport 

Deep work by Cal Newport

In a world where we are all the time distracted, it has become more and more difficult to fully engage or focus intensely on one task. 

Indeed we are all time bombarded by email notification, social media, advertising, and so on. Cal Newport through this book intends to give you strategies you can use to maximize the output of your work and also get the most of your free time.

The book will show you that multitasking and distraction are the enemies of productivity. You will get tips on how to focus your intention and eliminate the distraction.

Available on Amazon$14.99

Final word, I hope you could get something out of this list. What I will say at the end is this, we all have our own perspectives which are influenced by many factors like our personality, beliefs, ideas, how we see the world, and so on. It is absolutely predictable that two people may read the same piece of writing and they would have a relatively different appreciation of it. 

I think for most of the time we like books that are practical and which we can use and apply to our daily life. We love it if they can give us right away solutions to our problems, and answers to our questions. While it may be the case for some books you’ve already read, and this is great. 

However I think a book is considered to be great when it changes the way you look at the world, it changes your ideas and how you think. This is the craft of effective writing.

Keep reading and learning there is nothing we can do better with the little time we all have in this world. Be an inspiration and a good example to even one person. Make the difference!

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